This week we have instrumental opuses, powerviolence pits, black metal bands playing death metal, and some geographic drama all writhing, copulating, and cross breeding in this gaping, colorless void we call a column. It’s the end of days, as it is every Tuesday, and we wouldn’t have it any other way.
WHAT TO BUY: Aside from the odd Russian Circles/Pelican reference, we don’t talk much about instru-metal much in this space. The sub-genre has stalled in the past half-decade, with its trademark melodrama moving on to blacker pastures, dragging the media’s ADHD-addled attentions with it. Today, thanks to Brooklyn trio Sannhet and their continuously mesmerizing full-length, Revisionist (The Flesner), however, the metal world as a whole has cause to sit up and take notice. For show-going NYC metal fans, this probably comes as little surprise: Sannhet’s cinematic live show is spectacular and they play live A LOT. What is shocking about this record (no matter where you’re reading from), however, is just how compelling and engaging it is without visual or narrative accompaniment. On Revisionist, Sannhet have whittled their rocketship melodies and purposeful song structures to the sharpest point imaginable, cutting with scalpel-like precision on each of their nine, gorgeous tracks. Black-gaze—fuck it, modern metal in general— doesn’t come any better or more beautiful than this, so make sure to spend some time with it as soon as possible.
If you prefer more historically accurate brand of black metal, then USBM pioneers Leviathan’s shiny new LP, Scar-Sighted (Profound Lore), is probably more your cup of oozing inky discharge. Michael “Wrest” Whitehead—The Man in this one-man band—deserves the recent Decibel cover story on basis of his career and influence alone, but that doesn’t make Scar-Sighted (which you can stream via Profound Lore’s bandcamp) any less worthy of the occasion, relentlessly churning, thrumming, and burning with a Billy Anderson-aided sense of scope, depth, and drama. Wrest’s vocal work here is stunning—the stuff of a multi-lingual super spy in hell—and his soaring guitar lines more than keep pace, proving that old dogs don’t need new tricks as long as they can still rip your face off.
Bursting out of the chest of that same Pacific Northwest USBM scene like a larval Alien are Triumvir Foul and their frothing debut EP, An Oath of Blood and Fire (Godz of War/Third Eye Temple). Featuring members of black metal heathens Ash Borer and Urzeit (who themselves share members), Triumvir Foul were grown in the rotted-out corpse of classic death metal (there’s an Autopsy cover here, lest you forget), tenderizing their prey with a non-stop barrage of lo-fi riffs and petulant spazz outs. If you’re looking to get devoured, Noisey has the full (and fucking awesome) stream currently stalking their CMS.
Doom apostles, meanwhile, should be kneeling at the altar of Windhand this week, where frontwoman Dorthia Cottrell is readying her self-titled solo debut (Forcefield) for release today. A tranquil, song-centric slab of acoustic Americana (think Soma-centerpiece “Evergreen”), this one is still heavier than most of the other shit on this list, so make sure to pick up a copy for those lonely late nights and hungover mornings. Pacific Northwest slow-smiths, Maestus, meanwhile, bring the decibels on their massive, 75-minute debut epic, Voir Dire (Domestic Genocide), which provides a fertile breeding ground where doom, black metal, and post-rock have blended into a single potent mutt. Mastered by Agalloch’s Jason Walton, it probably goes without saying that this one boasts enough shades of grey to keep you out of the theater for the time being.
Finally, since we’ve stuck entirely to domestic shores thus far, let’s wrap the week up with a two Euro-centric releases from the good folks at Prophecy Productions. Start with UK outfit A Forest of Stars, whose new LP Beware the Sword You Cannot See blends black metal with a swirl of psych, then check out Romanian powerhouse Negura Bunget’s Tau, which flips that recipe upside down, spiking some classic psych with a heaping spoon of blackened goodness. Nice and chilled out now? Good. Now go thrash your face off with classic some Scandinavian D-beat courtesy of Terveet Kädet and their new LP, Lapin Helvetti.
WHAT TO SEE: If you’re looking to get your Vitus on this week, things begin with a pneumatic bang tonight when Cali powerviolence mercenaries Nails take the stage alongside Incendiary and Deathcycle. Doors are at 8, but with Nails’ breakthrough LP clocking in at around 18 minutes, expect to be out in time for a late dinner with the Mr./Ms./cat. The weekend brings Amherst, MA’s resident Dinosaur Jr. Jr.’s, California X, in for a Saturday sludge-pop bliss-out while criminally underrated metallic hardcore heathens, Enabler (who once had a former Fall Out Boy drumming for them), arrive on Sunday to crush the vibes with some help from the bootheels of Hivesmasher and Shitkill.
The Acheron is also cooking up a good week, with Nashville grinders Bleed the Pigs leading the way tonight alongside Anicon, Skullshitter, and Mongrel and local noise-core breakouts Couch Slut wrapping things up on Friday with No Way, Bardus, and Grizzlor.
In between there are plenty of additional showcases to check out, beginning at The Paper Box with Buffalo DM lifers Malevolent Creation, Blood Feast, and more on Friday, and Blind Idiot God’s record release bash on Saturday featuring Gnaw, Rhython, and Oneirogen. Burgeoning Jersey metal DIY, The Meatlocker, hosts Nerver Shatter, Sunrot, and Waste Lands on Friday as well, followed by the first annual Scumdawg Fest, which goes off at Lucky 13 Saloon on Saturday night with Excercitum, Sweet Magma, and more. Entry is free if you show before 10pm, so get off the couch and make that happen.
WHAT THE FUCK: While the possibility that Chinese black metal breakouts, Ghost Bath, may instead hail from North Dakota (first reported by Kim Kelly in her recent interview with the band over at Noisey) is certainly an interesting and What the Fuck-worthy development this week, I’d like to instead focus on our second bon voyage in as many weeks, this time for Chicago misery merchants Indian. I’m all for bands calling it quits when faced with slogging on in the name of duty/commerce, but this surprise sign-off from one of doom metal’s finest bands still sucks. Turn them up and embrace the pain.