Alright. Here we go. This One Goes To Eleven is officially back from the August dead, and just in time too, with one of the craziest metal weeks of the year waiting in the wings. Grab those headphones, credit cards, and PBRs and let’s get down to business.
WHAT TO BUY: When it comes to currently operational and creatively relevant death metal icons, Erik Rutan is up there with the likes of Karl Sanders, Luc Lemay, and Jeff Walker—an undisputed heavyweight legend of metal’s most masochistic varietal. Debate that all you want, but one listen to Hate Eternal’s latest full length, Infernus (Season of Mist), should put the matter in the dirt. From the manic buzz of “Locust Swarm” to the impossibly catchy riffs of “Pathogenic Apathy”, Infernus rips, froths, grinds, and burns through a blend of hyper-technical modern death and classic crust that has the metal media mumbling “death metal AOTY” through their dislocated jaws. Obviously, with the first installment of Death Karma’s Burial Rituals lurking in the mirror and a brand new Horrendous LP waiting up ahead, those declarations seem premature, but one thing that can be said now (and with certainty) is that Rutan and co. just dropped a fucking gauntlet. Do not miss it.
Up next is Wolfheart‘s Shadow World (Spinefarm), a massive and monumental slab of Finnish melodeath from the mind of former Before the Dawn/Dawn of Solace architect Tuomas Saukkonen. Now I get it, melodeath is a dirty word to a lot of you core kids out there–conjuring visions of homogenized, arena-ready chugga chugga with Evanescence choruses–but the reality, one which Saukkonen reinforces again and again throughout Shadow World, is decidedly different. Throat lacerating growls, ridiculous blast beats, and some of the most crushing riffs put to record this year are all par for Wolfheart’s proverbial course, with hooks aplenty for those who choose to recognize memorable songcraft as an actual attribute. If this sounds like your thing, check it out. If not, do the same.
In blown-way-the-hell-out-of-proportion news this week, are Myrkur‘s M (Relapse) and Ghost‘s Meliora (Loma Vista), two of 2015’s most anticipated—and preemptively reviled—new releases. The former, a dutiful servant of Gregorian melody and ice-choked tremolo picking, would ordinarily earn some solid bandcamp buzz, but this is 2015 and Myrkur is a former Chanel model and indie songstress, so M instead been saddled with world-ending import. Production from Ulver’s Garm, plus guest appearances from members of Mayhem and Arch Enemy, help with the street cred, but honestly let’s just agree to leave this one alone for awhile. Ghost meanwhile, arrive sans the B.C. and plus a new Papa (Emeritus III, for those of you keeping track at home), but the song remains mostly the same: Competent occult rock draped in the robes of a goat-sacrificing black metal kvlt. Worth a listen, but not really metal, is my final and, if I must say, reasonably fair verdict.
In direct contrast to those comparatively welcoming access points (let’s not forget our own context), UK black metal oddities Lychgate are bubbling up from London cobblestones today with their second twisted full length, An Antidote For The Glass Pill (Blood Music). Laced with chilling organ flourishes that could score a silent film about Jack the Ripper, Lychgate pinball from blackened blast beats to serial killer symphonies within the space of a measure or two, stitching it all together with the howls of funeral doom figurehead and Esoteric frontman, Greg Chandler. You might need more than a listen or two for this one to land, but trust me, once it does it’ll send your head bouncing off the down the block.
[bandcamp width=100% height=120 album=2596347940 size=large bgcol=333333 linkcol=e99708 tracklist=false artwork=small track=371049892]
Looking to rawk after that one? Then turn your gaze to Washington, where proggy Pacific Northwest power trio, Wild Throne, are set to unleash their debut LP, Harvest of Darkness (Roadrunner) on the largely unsuspecting masses. If you dug the manic, hook-packed anthems on the band’s 2014 EP, Blood Maker, then Harvest should have more than enough good times to go around. If not, then perhaps Kadavar‘s brand of blissfully stoned bell-bottom metal—proudly displayed on the German rockers’ new LP, Berlin—is more your speed.
After that, dive right back into the extreme with Craving To Eternal Slumber (Hammerheart), the latest EP from Japan’s long-reigning doom kings, Coffins. You know what to expect from them by now—riffs with all the agility of a two-ton anvil—so if you’re fiending for something with some more giddy-up, then perhaps River of Nihil‘s new vat of brain-boiling tech death, Monarchy (Metal Blade), will help to satiate that need for speed, speed, speed.
Finally, let’s wrap it up with even more unmitigated destruction, this time from blackened Colorado hellscapers, Adversarial, and HM-2-leaning Tampa death squad, Dark Sermon. Both Death, Endless Nothing and the Black Knife of Despair (Dark Descent) and The Oracle (eOne) are sure to satisfy your hideous noise quotas, so make sure to give them (A. and B.) a listen. If nothing there really scratches the pit itch, however, then perhaps Extinction A.D.‘s re-thrashterpiece, Faithless (Good Fight)—currently kicking around over at Metal Injection—is the balm you’re looking for.
WHAT TO SEE: While I’ve personally sucked at getting out to shows lately, that doesn’t mean things have tapered off, as tonight’s lineup—featuring Love Moon at The Acheron, The Grief’s first-ever NYC show at Blackthorn 51, and Sannhet/Uniform at Saint Vitus—proves beyond a shadow of a doubt. Saturday doesn’t let up either, with Suffocation and Artificial Brain kicking off a celebration Long Island death metal past and present at Revolution in Amityville and The Acheron’s Fórn and Lycus-headlined doom spectacular providing us city slickers with an absolutely killer option.
Sunday arrives wearing a Lucky 13 Saloon meatgrinder (featuring The Drip and Organ Dealer) as a hood ornament, while further north, The Acheron hosts a hardcore throwdown with Concrete, Assault and Battery, and Blunt Force. NYC metal seems to be taking Monday off, so get some fucking rest and turn up on Tuesday for The Atlas Moth, Vattnet Viskar, and Family at Saint Vitus (no Atriarch though, as they dropped off the tour a few weeks back).
Wednesday is an exercise in contrasts, with the only two notable shows being either AC/DC at MetLife Stadium (go see the Young bros together for the last time) or Extinction A.D. and Axe Ripper at The Acheron. Pick your poison and get out there. After that, make your final pilgrimages on Thursday when Earth—who hit Saint Vitus for a sold-out space-out with Holy Sons—and Beast Modulus—capping a busy week over at The Anchored Inn’s anchor—both rumble into town to do their thing.
WHAT THE FUCK: Other stuff out this week? How about new albums from Buckcherry, Disturbed, The Devil Wears Prada, Lynch Mob, Butcher Babies, Pop Evil, and, yep, P.O.D. Someone go take a look out their window and let me know if the world ended.