Welcome to list season, everyone, when our dysfunctional family of taxable tastemakers, comment board critics, and casual passersby gather around the long table we call the internet to spit opinions into one anothers’ faces and flatulate. Randy Blythe will be arrested in a Best Buy, new albums will only matter if they have top insert-integer-of-choice potential, and shows, well, let’s just say Vitus is a long walk when its this cold. So goes the most wonderful time of year, and we are all drowning in it, so pour yourself another egg nog, dust off those old Mayhem tapes, and hang on for dear life. Together, we might just make it through this.
WHAT TO BUY: For the first time in what seems like months, the metal release slate has gone off the boil. And although the true addicts might be bummed to hear the cooling trend is set to continue through the new year, the silver lining is that you’ll now have opportunity to go back and check in on everything you missed this year, as well get acquainted with some new names you might otherwise have overlooked.
And that begins with Haethen, who today come storming in via Philly’s increasingly trodden (see Woe, Horrendous, Coffin Dust, et al.) path to underground metal success wielding their debut LP, Shaped By Aeolian Winds (self-released), like a torch. Immaculately rendered and teeming with excellent performances, the nine-song slab of pastoral black metal in no way reinvents the wheel, but instead situates it within the urban sprawl of their chosen scene. The result is akin, in many respects, to our own borough’s blackened output, including Yellow Eyes, Anicon, and Vorde, who they recently opened for at The Acheron, but is anchored by a natural reverence that will surely appeal to fans of recent releases from Panopticon, Falls of Rauros, and Winterfylleth. Needless to say, if you’re not into, or are simply over, the pastoral black metal thing, Aeolian Winds probably won’t do much to change your mind, but everyone else—especially fans of the genre—owe themselves a listen.
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It’s also a solid week for Baltic black metal, with Sweden’s Bhelg and the Dutch dudes in Nihill both pounding new full lengths into euro-centric ears today. The former, Draumr Ast (Nordvis), though born from the fertile Gothenberg DM scene, owes more to its Norwegian neighbors to the west, gazing out on the rustic grandeur of Ulver from a smudged, grimy window in the basement it sounds like the band tracked this one in. Meanwhile, the latter, Verderf (Burning World Records), adopts a decidedly higher-fi approach, but remains the more punishing of the two listens, wedging elements of noise, sludge, and death into its compact black metal framework. The result is claustrophobic, cacophonous, and cathartic, so make sure to check it out the next time the universe has you feeling like putting holes in the sheetrock.
If you’re looking to keep things stateside and subwoofer destroying, Maryland death/doom unit, Fortress, and their latest LP, Unto the Nothing (Unholy Anarchy Records), have just what you’re looking. Try not to throw this one on if you have plans, though, because it’s in no hurry to go anywhere, lurching stoned along a series of subterranean paths with no exit. If you like what you find down there, the band has a few weekend trippable shows coming up in York, PA, DC, and Fredricksburg, MD, so fire up the metal mobile and get out there.
Nut and bolts this week include a new demo track from Myrkur, the one-woman black metal project of Ex Cop’s Chanel modeling frontwoman, Amalie Bruun. If you’re into second wave shriekage and controversy (not mutually exclusive, I know), throw it on and make sure to tune in for the Danish howler’s Reddit AMA tomorrow at 3pm. Getting into 2015 releases now, Swedish black metal heathens Marduk just premiered the first song from their forthcoming LP, Frostschwein, which, while totally slamming, flirts with the whole Nazi metal thing in a very straightfaced way. One hopes all of this can be chalked up to historical fascination, not philosophical sympathy—and one also thinks Century Media would be smart enough not to back a band toiling in the latter—but I suppose time, and a lyric sheet, will tell.
WHAT TO SEE: If you’re planning on catching some shows this week, then start in Greenpoint where Saint Vitus has virtually everything you could ever want. A Prosthetic Records Holiday Party headlined by Junius and post-Deafheaven apostles, So Hideous? Check. A sludge spectacular featuring Doomriders—spearheaded by Converge’s Nate Newton, currently the busiest dude in metal—and fellow Boston riffsmiths, Summoner? Double check. Too high to surf those bandcamps? No worries, Bongripper hit the stage on Saturday with some help from heshers in Hasj and Hound, respectively. Clear the chamber and get out there. By far the biggest show of This One Goes To Eleven’s slightly modified week, however, arrives on Monday, when Crowbar, Unearth, Black Crown Initiate, and Divider roll into Greenpoint for what is sure to be one hell of party. Whatever you do, however, make sure to get there early for a free screening of Noisey’s NOLA: Life, Death, & Heavy Blues From The Bayou documentary.
Over in East Williamsburg/Bushwick (whatever), The Acheron host a rad Sabbath day throwdown with Go Deep, Hollow Earth, KDC, Oldbones, and Discontent, and it costs less than a burrito, so don’t sleep on it. Elsewhere things are quiet—too quiet—so unless your planning to trek all the way out to Jersey to catch KORN at The Paramount (in which case, sigh), take a couple days off and recharge for the jampacked holiday calendar ahead.
WHAT THE FUCK: Although Revolver Magazine’s 20 Best Albums of 2014 list has been making the internet rounds since its unveiling last week, it needs to be seen again to believe. Linkin Park at number four, people. LINKIN PARK. FOUR! Satan is all “smh” right now.
- Slipknot – .5: The Gray Chapter
- At The Gates – At War With Reality
- Of Mice & Men – Restoring Force
- Linkin Park – The Hunting Party
- Motionless In White – Reincarnate
- Behemoth – The Satanist
- Mastodon – Once More ‘Round The Sun
- Judas Priest – Redeemer Of Souls
- Machine Head – Bloodstone & Diamonds
- Every Time I Die – From Parts Unknown
- Godflesh – A World Lit Only By Fire
- The Pretty Reckless – Going To Hell
- Killer Be Killed – Killer Be Killed
- ††† (Crosses) – †††
- Black Label Society – Catacombs Of The Black Vatican
- Black Veil Brides – Black Veil Brides
- Body Count – Manslaughter
- Suicide Silence – You Can’t Stop Me
- Godsmack – 1000hp
- Triptykon – Melana Chasmata