With Northside Festival looming and summer fuck-it starting to sink its fangs in, this week has been tougher than most, so let’s just skip the preamble and get at this before I decide to start shoving Buzzfeed-ish lists down your throats.
WHAT TO BUY: While probably not “hesh” enough in many aesthetic respects for the metal stack at your local record shop, Brooklyn noise duo UNIFORM‘s new LP, Perfect World (Alter/12XU), is far and away the heaviest thing on tap this week, skulls, crosses, and pentagrams be damned. Comprised of ex The Men producer/shredder Ben Greenberg and Drunkdriver’s Michael Berden, UNIFORM, though born out of convenience (when both discovered they lived on the same street), is not an easy ask, filtering its creators’ massive-ist tendencies through a janky 80s preamp and primal drum machine for an exercise in claustrophobia and release. The result is simultaneously cathartic and exhausting–the sound of desert turning mountains into more desert–so make sure to check it out the and grab tickets to their upcoming record release show at Trans Pecos while you still can.
Speaking of Ben Greenberg, he also earns behind-the-glass credits this week for Ancient Sky‘s newest batch of heavy psych, Mosaic (Wharf Cat Records). Like Tame Impala if Tame Impala grew up getting high to Black Sabbath records, Ancient Sky blend droning, Delta-inspired backdrops and soaring vocals from frontman Brian Markham into an incandescent brand of jam that has drawn comparisons to the likes of Pink Floyd, Hawkwind, and more. “Metal or not?” remains a pertinent question, but spend some time with the full stream (or, better yet, catch them at Wharf Cat’s Northside Festival Showcase next Saturday) and something tells us you won’t care.
In music news you don’t have to ask questions about, however, are legendary Norwegian outfit Gorgoroth and their 11th full length, Instinctus Bestialis (Soulseller) and Midnight Odyssey’s titanic 143-minute opus, Shards of Silver Fade (I, Voidhanger). Both should help to fill your black metal quotas to the foreseeable future and back again, but just make sure to swap out the corpse paint every few hours lest it start clogging those precious pores.
Not to sound redundant or anything, but while not necessarily metal, Constantly Off (Brutal Panda), the new crusty and crushing record from Philly noise-rockers Fight Amp, is also an absolute must hear. Sure to satisfy all that pent-up post-Montage of Heck angst you’ve grappling with the past month or so, Constantly Off kicks off in full-on sludge mode before gradually gravitating back toward a Lightning Bolt/METZ-monitored fallout zone of pit-ready grooves and serrated screeching. Give it a listen and then get out there and catch them at Vitus next week with KEN Mode, Pyrrhon, and Couch Slut for what is bound to be one of the raddest shows of the season.
After your skull has returned to a solid state, go check out self-professed German “FILTH” mongers, Nightslug, and their lung-collapsing new LP, Loathe (Broken Limbs). A bile-crusted blend of punishing sludge, tortured feedback, and other assorted nightmare ammunition, Loathe is one of the week’s most surprising offerings, so whatever you do, don’t sleep on it (as if its not going to keep you up long hours in the dark anyway).
Before we wrap, also make sure to toke up with Oakland weed metal outfit Connoisseur‘s half studio/half live full length, Stoner Justice (Tankcrimes), which blends elements of thrash, sludge, and stoner into a potent, cotton-mouthed strain. After you’ve come down from that, throw on high-concept crusters Temple of Dagon‘s new EP, Revelations of the Spirit (Black Voodoo), and drift off into oblivion.
WHAT TO SEE: The live pilgrimages begin at Saint Vitus as they always do with a solid noise rock/hardcore throwdown from Verses Narrow, Go Deep, Cavallo, and more on Wednesday, followed by Coliseum, Child Bite, and No Way on Thursday. Friday meanwhile finds Immortal Suffering hitting Lucky 13 Saloon for a record release bash featuring Mortal Decay and Dracaris; Akris, Thera Roya, and Sunrot stopping by the Meatlocker; and the legendary Bongzilla landing at The Acheron with Crypt Sermon for what is bound to be the doom show of the summer.
Saturday gives that declaration an immediate run for its money, however, with Bell Witch, Quebecuois black metal punks, Akitsa, and special guests prepped for Pitchfork’s heaviest Northside Festival showcase to date, set to kick off at Saint Vitus at 8pm. Hair metal sleepers Girlschool follow on Sunday night for another Northside-backed blast, but the pick of that evening is definitely Enabler, Meek is Murder, White Widows Pact, and Mary Todd at The Acheron, which is bound to leave you hungover and whiplashed for the work week ahead.
If you’re looking for an earlier bed time, therefore, then check out the Dominican Day Parade hardcore matinee at The Grand Victory, featuring Downlow, Apparition, and Zombie, or just get some rest and wait until Monday, when Otep wraps up our Tuesday-to-Tuesday show week with a set in the Union Square broom closet we call The Studio at Webster Hall.
WHAT THE FUCK: In the year since Myrkur‘s press release-ready brand of black metal first came to light, the safe stance has seemingly been the skeptical one. It’s not that former Chanel model and indie pop starlet Amalie Bruun’s forays into icescapes of Scandinavian black metal weren’t solid. They were. But if you took the gorgeous caucasian girl out of the equation, Myrkur quickly became just another black metal white noise machine. Last week, however, Bruun and co. dropped the second frothing, unhinged single off the upcoming (and Ulver-mentored) full length and, to be totally honest, it looks like I’ll be eating my Converse come August. Check it out and brace yourself, because the brakes on this hype train are about to go up in smoke.