With the dog days looming and a fistful of rad releases in wait, let’s forego the pleasantries this week in lieu of sheer, cold-hearted efficiency. Something tells me I won’t hear too many complaints about that when all is said and done, anyway.
WHAT TO BUY: Before we get to Locrian‘s new reality redefining LP, Infinite Dissolution (Relapse), let’s first address the mechanized elepahnt in the room: Locrian are arguably the most underrated band currently operating in metal. Following a lengthy toothing period in the underground, the Chicago post-metal auteurs eventually graduated to Relapse in 2012, going on to release one of 2013’s finest extreme offerings in Return to Annihilation—the push that that now looks to be only the tipping point. Locrian are (and I stress) NOT about to become the next Isis, but on the back of Infinite Dissolution—far and away their most melodic and guitar-driven work—they certainly deserve to be in the same ballpark grandstand, weaving tangled webs of blackened noise and atmospheric crescendo into one of the most fully realized releases of the year. Gregg Norman (Russian Circles, Pelican) steps in to produce, with his CV offering an inkling of what lies in wait, but even if that’s not your thing, you owe this one more than just a sideways glance.
Relapse isn’t done there, however, backing another gargantuan helping of epic in Australian black metal collective Hope Drone‘s latest leviathan, Cloaked in Ash. Boasting some eye-rolling track names (“Every End Is Fated In Its Beginning”, ”Carried Apart By Ceaseless Tides”), PR-approved art-direction (swirling cosmos, rune-based band logo, et al.), and bloated arrangements, this one has all the hallmarks of a young band striving for maturity. When it all comes together, as it does in the opening moments of “Unending Gray” (atmospheric black metal where the drums are up in the mix!), however, these guys scrape some pretty impressive peaks, so make sure to check it out via Decibel.
Not content to let Relapse simply have all the fun, Profound Lore are set to unleash III, the third salvo from veteran UK death/doom outfit, Indesinence, from its subterranean lair today. Consistent with the Canadian label’s unwavering commitment to sonic punishment in 2015, III oscillates between stiff-necked dirges and mid-tempo death with surprising agility, reinforcing Indesinence’s international doom status in the process. It’s not a sliced bread moment, of course, and there was no reason to expect it would be, but those of you who dug Indesinence before their three-year hiatus will find no reason not to return to the same poisoned well once more.
“New Wave of American Heavy Metal” (remember that?) pioneers Lamb of God, much to the delight of my inner 17-year-old, also make a comeback today with their 7th LP, VII: Sturm Und Drang (Epic). The Richmond technicians have always found genesis in turmoil, and that remains true this time around, with Randy Blythe’s well-documented Czech saga and Chris Adler’s Megadeth residency bookending Sturm Und Drang in uncertainty. The side effect of that, of course, is that the music itself hasn’t changed all that much in the decade or so since Ashes of the Wake first clubbed mid-tier metal out of its Breaking Benjamin-induced slumber, so check it out or don’t, but just don’t expect too many surprises.
Meanwhile, over in France, unapologetic tech-death contingent, Kronos, are flying the banners for their 4th, and most polished LP, Arisen New Era (Unique Leader). Like Poland and Behemoth, when it comes to Francophone death metal, it’s hard to escape the shadow of Gojira, but Kronos do their damnedest, so make sure to give it a listen. After that, double down on the soft cheese with Symphony X and their umpteenth power metal opus, Underworld (Nuclear Blast). Needless to say, between these two, your all-important neoclassical shred reserves should be topped off for the foreseeable future.
Finally, if you’re yearning for some Sludge burning, Arizona desert cult, Godhunter, and Austin doom squad, Destroyer of Light, have a new split, aptly titled Godhunter vs. Destroyer of Light (Heavy Friends), dropping today. It features 20 minutes of new material and a cover from each, so give it a listen and then turn your attention to Hex of Nine Heads (Caligari), the long-coming debut from Santa Cruz black metallers, Gloam, which breathes a breath of rotten air back into a USBM scene in desperate need of exactly that.
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WHAT TO SEE: It is right into the deep end of the pool this week, with both The Beyond Brutal Show featuring Immortal Suffering and the opening night of Dissociative Visions, including One Tail One Head, Sortilegia, and Vanum’s first-ever live performance, set to go down tonight at Gussy’s and Saint Vitus respectively. After that, Saturday continues in much the same blood vein, with Gussy’s hosting I Am The Trieme, Last Legion, and more; Vitus returning for a second helping of Dissociative Visions with Sinmara, Predatory Light, and Vilkacis; and Kosmodemonic headlining Lucky 13 Saloon alongside St. Bastard, Disparager, and Matte Black.
On Sunday, the controversy-saddled Mayhem Festival rolls into the Nikon at Jones Beach Theater with Slayer, King Diamond, The Devil Wears Prada, and a host of others in tow, while Deep Purple offer a legit legacy alternative over at the NYCB Theatre at Westbury. If you’re looking to save some cash (and a lot of mileage), however, then just head down to the Lucky 13 Saloon, where New Hampshire crust kings Ramlord headline a free one alongside Dumal, Lord Almighty, and Ozama.
The 9-5 work week shows no mercy either, kicking off on Monday night Whitesnake at the aforementioned NYCB Theatre at Westbury and a rare appearance from Krallice at The Acheron. The Waterbury stronghold backs that up with a killer black metal brusier featuring Barghest (their first-ever NYC appearance), Anicon, and Serpentskirt the following night, providing a perfect pairing for both Blänk, Sangharsha, and Umbra at The Meatlocker and The Ravenna Arsenal at Saint Vitus.
On Wednesday, Blänk and Sangharsha join forces once again, rolling into Greenpoint in support of Philly grind supergroup Die Choking, before Thursday brings our weekly show ouroboros full circle with Severed Head of State at The Acheron and Artificial Brain at Saint Vitus. Get out there and lose your head.
WHAT THE FUCK: Pretty bummer news cycle this week, starting with the tragic death of After the Burial guitarist Justin Lowe (following a prolonged period of mental illness) and ending with former Enabler bassist Amanda Daniels’ allegations of domestic abuse at the hands of ex-boyfriend and Enabler frontman, Jeff Lohrber. Needless to say the world can be a very shitty place, but instead of dwelling on that fact, let’s use stories like this as motivation help make it a little better. Cheers and have a great weekend, everyone.