For metal fans, today isn’t just grocery shopping on an empty stomach, it’s Ghandi walking into a goddamn Wegmans. After a couple of lean weeks, hell has officially risen on earth and, with it, a salivary gland-stimulating roster of new releases and wicked shows just begging to be devoured. So grab the cart and get at it, because much like bananas (fucking bananas, man) this stuff won’t last.
WHAT TO BUY: We start this week with what is already being hailed the “first great album of 2015”, Napalm Death’s Apex Predator – Easy Meat (Century Media). The 16th full length offering from the long-reigning grindcore kings, Apex Predator feels ferocious, frothing, and, in most other ways, fucking awesome, bone-sawing it’s way into your skull with a proven blend of pit-ready chug and pure, unfiltered anger. If this was the work of a new band (and not a bunch of dudes who have been at it since pre-…And Justice for All), the metal world would cease its orbit to listen and drool and prognosticate, so try not to take it for granted.
Speaking of new bands we should all be shutting our mouths and listening to, Salt Lake City power metal revivalists Visigoth drop their debut LP, The Revenant King (Metal Blade), today, officially earning both themselves and their chosen genre “Next Big Thing” status. Before you get your inner crust up in vested arms, however, know that this isn’t your uncle’s power metal. It hits the weight room. It has friends in other genres. It goes to therapy once a week and can laugh at itself a little bit now. In other words, if you aren’t going to check it out simply because of the label, then you deserve to miss out on one of the raddest metal debuts in recent memory. The riffs might fool you into thinking K.K. Downing and Glenn Tipton are still jamming together. Frontman Jake Rogers is a force of fucking nature. There’s a Manilla Road cover. It’s fantastic, fantastical, and, most importantly, a hell of a lot fun, so grab your sword and join the battle.
If all that clean singing has you feeling like you just made out with a tube of Crest, don’t stress, because DIY metal’s resident Riggs and Murtaugh, Thou and The Body, have the perfect palate (de)cleanse for you in the form of You, Whom I’ve Always Hated (Thrill Jockey). Unlike last year’s heralded split, the band’s chose not to divide and conquer this time around, combining their equally formidable but entirely distinct approaches to noise making on each and every track (think Full of Hell & Merzbow, Indian’s From All Purity, et al.). If the gruesome twosome’s torture chamber-ready cover of Nine Inches Nails’ “Terrible Lie” is any indication, this one is going to keep punish gluttons very happy in 2015.
Sludge slugs should also help themselves to Lord Dying’s latest heaping spoonful of Northwest grime, Poisoned Altars (Relapse), which explodes out of the of a High on Fire and Red Fang black hole like a hideous new planet. If you consider yourself a collector of venomous riffs and other assorted creatures, then this one, which you can still stream over at Relapse’s Soundcloud, is for you.
If you’re looking to expand your death metal horizons instead, then California hardcore/death outfit, Xibalba (essentially the Mayan equivalent of hell) and their third full length, Tierra Y Libertad (Southern Lord), have just what you need. A caustic blast of revolution music screamed half in English and half in Spanish, Tierra Y Libertad and its ricocheting barrage of mid-tempo grooves and D-beat face meltage, pairs well with Psychogenocide (Unique Leader), the Sumerian-tinged 2011 debut from Dubai death metal quartet Nervecell, which sees reissue today. Metal belongs to the world, people.
Alongside Napalm Death, Venom is the other legacy act coming correct today, dropping their latest classic blackened metal anvil, From the Very Depths (Spinefarm), on the chests of everyone who thought these dudes were too old to shred anymore. If you’re looking for more contemporary black metal sample (remember, Venom were the band to coin the phrase way back in ’82), then orthodox German outfit, Ascension, and their sophomore LP, The Dead of the World (Season of Mist) have just what you’re looking for, whipping occult atmospherics and spine-tingling tremolo lines into a potently icy potion. Finnish face painters, Archgoat, are also sure to grab some attention with their latest blood chalice, The Apocalytic Triumphator (Debemur Morti), and it’s thought-provoking lead-single lead single, “Congregation of Circumcised” (not kidding).
Finally, we begin our cool down with charred Scottish post metallers Falloch, and their new God-usurping opus, This Island, Our Funeral (Candlelight). If you’ve ever been to the Scottish Highlands, you will no doubt find much of its drama and majesty embodied in each artfully composed epic. If not, Icelandic brooders Sólstafir should provide a suitable touchstone.
WHAT TO SEE: In addition to two feet of snow, neo industrial duo Youth Code hit Saint Vitus tonight with Sannhet and Statiqbloom for what is sure to be a perfect winter-weather warm-up. German noisemakers Ramleh follow with a two-night stand on Wednesday and Thursday, with the likes of JFK, Kleistwahr, Alberich, Theologian, and more, ensuring your ears will be ringing well into next week.
The Acheron, meanwhile, has the weekend covered, with a killer back-to-back featuring Tombs and Black Anvil on Friday and This One Goes To Eleven’s very own death metal rager featuring Horrendous, Artificial Brain, Throaat, and Kosmodemonic. To have both Horrendous and Artificial Brain (who each dropped metal-album-of-the-year contenders in 2014), crushing the same stage on the same night is insanely exciting and a must-see spectacle for any Brooklyn hesher, so make sure to grab tickets ($10!) while you still can.
If you’re looking for a Friday death metal appetizer for that one, make sure check out Fit For an Autopsy, Lorna Shore, Doomsday Mourning, and more at the Brooklyn Asylum, an off-the-beaten path event space located in the burgeoning Bushwick/Maspeth/Ridgewood nexus. Needless to say, it’s an awesome weekend to be a tri-state death metal fan.
Finally, if you gravitate toward bigger names and bag checks, then Friday night’s Machine Head stand-alone at Irving Plaza is both a must-see and the perfect precursor to Through Space and Grind, which hits the Gramercy Theatre on Monday with Napalm Death, Voivod, Exhumed, Iron Reagan, and Black Crown Initiate in tow. Ladies and gentlemen, say goodbye to your faces/heads/gods/souls.
WHAT THE FUCK: We’re sorry, MCA. We’re so sorry.