Welcome to April everyone. If we are to believe the pundits (and Adam D’s year-round party shorts), there’s more bearable weather right around the corner. Until it arrives, however, feel free to follow me back down to hell where the brimstone fires are stoked and the magma pools are just begging for a beer and a soak.
WHAT TO BUY: If you’re pinching the record-buying pennies this week (in preparation for either Record Store Day or the impending snow-melt flood of spring expenses) then let me make this easy on you. The only album you truly need today is Ecate (Neurot Recordings), the absolutely crushing new full length from Italian doom merchants Ufommamut. There’s been plenty of awesome doom rumbling through this space of late (Elder, Crypt Sermon, etc.) and there will certainly be more to come (new Bell Witch anyone?), but if you’re looking for the Donnie and Marie of slow and low—a little bit Exorcist, a little bit Alien—then this one, currently pummeling in skulls over at Decibel, has just what you need.
If you’re looking to keep things New World, then perma-stoned Brooklyn trio Blackout and their self-titled debut (Riding Easy) is also mandatory listening. Noisey recently called Blackout “Brooklyn’s next great doom band”, and while that’s probably more clickbait than anything else, these guys (and a lady) are still pumping out some insanely well-formed face meltage for such a young (in terms of studio output, at least) band. They’re playing a record release show at Union Pool on April 11th in case you need to test that for yourself, but something tells me you’ll be running for the merch table before their set is even halfway finished.
Doing very little to lift the veil of darkness we’ve so far established is one-man Argentinean project Downfall of Nur and its new Andes-cresting LP, Umbras de Barbagia (Avantgarde Music). A., who handles guitar and vocal duties alongside a session drummer, has been pumping out an epic Tolkien-ready blend of folk, Cascadian black metal, and post-rock for several years now, but Umbras de Barbagia is the purest distillation of that formula yet. Said formula, you could argue, is by no means groundbreaking, but A.’s truly tortured vocals, juxtaposed against an instantly accessible sense of melody, pushes it into the red. If you’ve been enjoying the South American underground of late (calling Goat Semen apostles), then this one, streaming via Avantgarde’s bandcamp as we speak, is an absolute must-hear.
Meanwhile, our beloved street urchins will probably take more kindly to Violent Reaction‘s seething full length debut, Marching On (Revelation). A furious-at-everything blend of British Oi! and American hardcore, Marching On makes up for what it lacks in originality with pure conviction and watertight songwriting. Say what you want about their straightedge pathos, but these Merseyside maniacs still know how to have a little bit of fun (as long as you’re idea of fun is curb-stomping the consumerist establishment) so make sure to check out the stream over at Stereogum while you still can.
If you’re still not satisfied, then maybe it’s time to ask yourself what you truly want. Technical contemporary black metal? Try Antagoniste‘s The Myth of Mankind (I, Voidhanger). Scuzzy throwback thrash? Check out Inculter‘s Persisting Devolution (Edged Circle). Legacy bands doing legacy band things? Reignite an old flame with Nightwish‘s eighth full length, Endless Forms Most Beautiful (Nuclear Blast), or fall head over heels for Prong‘s new cover album, Songs From The Black Hole (eOne Music). If none of those do the trick then it’s probably time to lower your standards.
WHAT TO SEE: Shows. You want ‘em. We got ‘em, starting with a tech-death special featuring Revocation, Artificial Brain, and Psalm Zero on Friday. This is a make-up date for a show that was originally supposed to go down late last year, so get out there and thank Satan for second chances. If that’s not your thing, then Father Befouled, Encoffination, Ghoulgotha, and Martyrvore probably isn’t either, but that doesn’t mean their battle of the best/worst band names on Saturday isn’t worth at least a shot. If you’ve still have a head left on your shoulders after that pair, then get up to Greenpoint on the Sabbath for a rad hardcore-tinged noise-punk rager featuring Single Mothers, Dirty Nil, and City of Ships. Finally wrap up the Vitus week with another fringe metal affair headlined by legendary Gothenberg avant outfit Makthaverskan that bears mentioning on cache alone (amongst a glut of other awesome things).
Elsewhere in Brooklyn, things kick off with a series of nuclear reactor meltdowns tonight, including Mutilation Rights, Anicon, and Iron Force at The Acheron; Oneirogen and Andrew Hock at Trans Pecos; and Reaping Asmodeia at Coco SixtySix. Meanwhile Friday brings Violent Reaction (see above), La Misma, and more to The Acheron for a pure hardcore throwdown. Get in the pit or wait until Saturday when Secret Cutter, Bleak, and Old Bone hit the Waterbury Street institution.
If that’s not enough then head over to the Gramercy Theater where UK post-hard-electronicore dudes Enter Shikari are set to headline a weird one or Lucky 13 Saloon, who host local metalcore dudes We Are All Savages on Saturday. If you’re looking for the best bang for your metal buck, however, then get out to The Blue Room in Secaucus for NJ Toxic Fest 3 featuring Skarhead, Razorblade Handgrenade, Brick By Brick, Sicker Than Most, and about 11 other awesome bands for just $25. Insane doesn’t even begin to describe it.
WHAT THE FUCK: I know this practically fictional, Council for Public Safety-disseminated pamphlet has been making the Internet rounds for a while now, but when it resurfaced yesterday I simply couldn’t resist. Designed to discourage tourists from visiting an all-but rebel-held NYC back in the 70s, Welcome to Fear City: A Survival Guide for Visitors to the City of New York (not a working title) remains the single most metal document the government has ever put into circulation. Trust me, you’re going to want to check it out.