Happy St. Patrick’s Day everyone. Pour a Guinness, throw on some Primordial, and settle in with another edition of This One Goes To Eleven, now an official green-Exorcist-puke-free institution.
WHAT TO BUY: So yeah. Ghost Bath. China’s Deafheaven incarnate. This year’s crossover metal darlings. Makers of beautiful aching black stuff about suicide. It probably goes without saying, but this shadowy collective would have been a lightning rod even in clear skies and yet they we are, in the eye of their own self-inflicted storm. In case you somehow missed it, after a recent interview with Noisey’s Kim Kelly, alarm bells started ringing at metal hoax HQ, and with some diligent research and a follow-up conversation with the band, it was eventually revealed that despite branding and selling themselves to both audiences and their former label, Pest Productions, as Chinese for several years, the band actually hailed from the not-as-exotic plains of North Dakota.
They wanted to remain anonymous, they said. The music is what matters, they reiterated, and to a point, they were right. When evaluating a band, the music—especially when it’s as finely composed and rendered as it is on the band’s sophomore full length, Moonlover (Northern Silence)—always matters. It’s just not the only thing that does. I beat you over the head with a very similar dialog about Burzum last week. Some people choose to separate the art from the artist. Some people do not. Ghost Bath best moments, such as “Golden Number” (arguably one of the finest tracks produced by the extreme music underground in 2015) tempts me toward the latter. Being deliberately misled for marketing purposes puts a bolt gun those sympathies’ skull. In the end though, the only thing you can really do is hear it for yourself and arrive your own conclusions. So go do that—it’s streaming on their bandcamp and dropping in physical form as we speak—and then let’s, as a community (or whatever), pack up and move on.
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Now, beginning our no-bullshit portion of this week’s programming, we have Ranger‘s face-melting, beer-swilling debut LP, Where Evil Dwells (Spinefarm), rampaging out of Finland today with more than enough Big Four worship and Judas Priest operatics to keep both you and your deadbeat dad partying well into the leather-black night. Between Ranger and the likes of Foreseen HKI, Finland is not-so-quietly becoming Europe’s thrash stronghold, so make sure to check it out before the scene burns out, gets bastardized, or is befallen by one of a million other pessimistic outcomes that will surely, with time, come to pass.
In supergroup news, Pyramids—whose core members now include Blut Aus Nord mastermind Vindsval and Krallice messiah Colin Marston—drop their new record, A Northern Meadow (Profound Lore), today. Pyramids brand of brooding, intricate, and polished post-metal has earned them ample comparisons to Radiohead (thanks in large part to R. Loren’s and M. Kraig’s clean, cathedral scraping moans), but look past that and you’ll find an album that epitomizes the Profound-Lore-in-2015 sound in fittingly enigmatic fashion. There are a lot of different and disparate ingredients in the Pyramids pantry these days, but when they all come together, the results are simultaneously thrilling and disorienting. Check out Stereogum’s free stream. With a little patience, you will see what I mean.
Occult Italian psych rockers Father Murphy push the genre bending near to the breaking point with their new LP, Croce (The Flesner). If you’re looking for some headspace expanding weirdness, give it a spin. Just don’t go in expecting ominous riffs, goat’s blood blasting, and candle smoke incantations because Croce specializes in secular insanity (sorry Satan).
Finally, because we can’t go 200 words without using “black” and “metal” in the same sentence, let’s conclude this week’s release portion with a trio of new charred releases, starting first with Aosoth appendage The Order of Apollyon and their debut slab of early-Behemoth hailing blackened death, The Sword and the Dagger (Listenable Records). After that, either descend into the subterranean torture chambers of Australian outfit Norse’s twisted new EP, Pest (self released), or beam to the rogue satellite that is Dødheimsgard’s (aka DHG) new and wildly experimental A Umbra Omega (Peaceville). The choice is yours but you really can’t go wrong.
WHAT TO SEE: No rest for the wicked this week, as Saint Vitus gets things underway in ripping fashion tonight with Louisville noise-smiths, Young Widows, who arrive armed with opening sets from both Shannon Wright and the Austerity Program. Wednesday night, meanwhile, ratchets up the riff machine with Lo-Pan, Against the Grain, Humanless, and more. After all of that, you couldn’t be blamed for wanting to give your eardrums a quiet Thursday night on the ol’ psycho emotional couch, but don’t, as NJ prog metal heathens Binary Code are set for a tech throwdown with help from their fellow freaks in Beast Modulus, Torrential Downpour, and Circuitry.
The weekend looks equally insane, with San Fran blackened misery kings Dispirit in town for a stacked two-night stand, featuring an all-star Brooklyn black metal line up of Vorde, Theologian, and Anicon on Friday, and a pysch-heavy affair starring Occultation, Ominous Resurrection, and Summons on Sunday. In between (just in case you’re camping out or something) you can catch Philly hardcore outfit Preskool Dropouts with Anxiety Hammer, Slimy Member, and more.
If you’re looking to keep things in Greenpoint, just down the street at Coco SixtySix, Florida hardcore crossover kings Shai Hulud will take the stage on Thursday alongside Disparager, Silence Equals Death, and more. A little further adrift, Blue Oyster Cult are set to get all Upper West Side with an aging biker chick special at The Concert Hall on Friday, while Enslaved and YOB highlight an absolutely crushing show at The Gramercy Theater the following night (god I love YOB).
If you’re looking to get a little crustier, however, then head over to The Acheron instead, where NYC metalcore lifers Tiger Flowers have just what you need, dealing the angst alongside So Hideous, Godmaker, and a couple others. Queens, by comparison, get its due on Monday with Rich Cavalera-fronted rippers Incite making the only New York-area stop on their Up In Hell 2015 tour at Blackthorn 51.
WHAT THE FUCK: The new Liturgy record (now streaming over at NPR). That is all.