In desperate need of a remedy for you holiday-weekend-hangover hangover? Well, you’re in luck, because today’s edition comes with a double-dose of bludgeoning, blackened relief. Marking the music industry’s semi-standardized move from a Tuesday to Friday release slate, this week drags both the final batch of traditional releases (RIP) and the first Friday rollout with it, offering up all the toxic, mutant bile you could humanly hope to consume and still survive. Kick back, relax, and soak in the insanity.
WHAT TO BUY: Batting lead-off in this expanded order are Colorado doom-smiths Khemmis and their debut slab of Fourteener-scraping riffage, Absolution (20 Buck Spin). A surprisingly self-assured slab of both classic and death doom varietals, Absolution has descended from its thin-aired mountain lair to kneel at the shrines of Wino and YOB, earning a place alongside Crypt Sermon’s Out of the Garden in doom-debut-of-the year-conversations in the process. If you’ve grown tired of the Pallbearer-propelled slow-and-low explosion over the past few years, this one probably won’t do much to turn your head, but everyone else should make the trek over to Noisey for the full stream.
After you’ve come down from that Rocky Mountain high (sorry, couldn’t resist), settle in with The Directress (independent release), the latest genre-bending brew from Bay Area “witch metal” outfit, blackQueen. Though semi-operational since ’98, blackQueen do not date themselves, with mastermind Pete Jay (formerly of Assuck) tossing off death, doom, and USBM influences like skipping stones. Billy Anderson production and guest appearances from original Assuck singer Paul Pavlovich, former Witch Mountain belter Uta Plotkin, and the one and only Wrest add some serious cache, but regardless of who has the mic, this one stands on the strength of its songs alone.
Also of note today, Swedish blackened industrialists Diabolicum have woken from whatever vat of molten iron they have been hibernating in for the past 14 years, wielding a brand new full-length, Ia Pazuzu (The Abyss of the Shadows) (Code 666), like a hammer. With collaborations with the likes of Watain and Shining—plus a debut demo recorded at abandoned mental hospital—on the ol’ CV, these guys have definitely earned their stripes, so make sure to check out the full stream if you’re not already familiar.
And speaking of earned stripes, legendary UK pot-stirrers Cradle of Filth are certainly as decorated as any of Satan’s generals, readying their 11th offering, Hammer of the Witches (Nuclear Blast), for deployment this Friday. Featuring song titles such as “Deflowering the Maidenhead, Displeasuring the Goddess” and “Your’s Immortally”, this one certainly sounds like classic Cradle on the surface, but whether it will hold up under further scrutiny (lord knows it’s recent predecessors haven’t) remains to be seen. Hopefully Dani and co. can get this thing turned around, but until they prove they can, it’s probably best to start by simply dipping your toes.
If you’ve been following along with this space over the past few months, you have also surely heard mention of self-flagellating Italian black metallurgist Vardan and his obsessively prolific output, and today welcomes yet another (the 5th of 2015 to be exact) of his manically depressed spawn, Winter Woods (Moribund), into the wretched world. Grab that to go with your now 13 deep Vardan LP collection, and then make sure to check out throwback Danish death metallers Undergang and their new downtuned dungeon whip, Døden Læger Alle Sår (Dark Descent), currently spinning on bandcamp alongside some fairly NSFW album art for your heinous viewing consumption.
Finally, familiarize with the charred Italian hardcore of The Clearing Path and their first-ever full length, Watershed Between Earth And Firmament. The one-man project of Gabriele Gramaglia—who comfortably cites Converge and Blut Aus Nord in the same breath—Watershed Between Earth And Firmament offers catharsis for both listener and creator alike, shining light on Gramaglia’s bleakest moments with a caustic mix of progressive black metal and HM-2 aggression. Last year’s stellar Nux Vomica LP offers a rudimentary comparison, but it doesn’t take long to realize that The Clearing Path have no interest “crossover” or, for that matter, boundaries in general, spinning off into the void like the broken antennae of a long-abandoned space station. I suggest you get out there and start chasing that signal while it’s still in range.
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WHAT TO SEE: Save for a second Goatwhore/Ringworm/Black Breath jawbreaker at Vitus on Tuesday, show-going conditions remain in a state of holiday-concussed recovery for much of the week, before picking back up on Thursday with Sunrot, Furnace Head, and a bunch of other avant-sludge acts at The Meatlocker. The momentum from that one apparently rolls right into Friday as well, with Ajax, Fatigue, and Vanity hitting The Acheron; Fin’amor, Dyed in Grey, and Foirmoda landing at Lucky 13 Saloon; and In This Moment, 36 Crazy Fists, and The Defiled taking up the mainstream baton at the Starland Ballroom. If nothing on those rosters quite hits the sweet spot, then hopefully Gospel of Witches (featuring members of Immolation) and Alekhine’s Gun at Blackthorn 51 will.
Saturday gets equally crazy, with Rosetta/So Hideous/No Way and Dehumanized/Dysentery/Torturous Inception kicking things off at Vitus and Evenflow (on LI), respectively, while Red Dragon Cartel—the new project of Bark at the Moon axeman Jake E. Lee—hit Blackthorn 51 with Tempt and Finster Baby. After that, Sunday wraps things up back at Blackthorn with Flotsam and Jetsam, while St. Lucifer’s Halfway House for Wayward Souls (otherwise known as Vitus) hosts Nerve Shatter, Oldbones, and Kids Having Kids for a neckbreaker of mass proportions.
Beyond that, it’s a pretty slow week, so stay in and catch up on some listening or band practice or something (sure, whatever, thanks dad).
WHAT THE FUCK: A death metal Grease cover? Nothing wrong with low-hanging fruit, I suppose…