While doom has been in some sort of self-imposed stasis for much of the summer, the lumbering horde returns today with a hammer-wielding vengeance spearheaded by new records from (spoiler alert) Windhand, My Dying Bride, Tyranny, and more. Before we get there, however, we do have one order of business to attend to…
WHAT TO BUY: And that’s Norwegian black metal battalion, Tsjuder, and their killer new LP, Antiliv (Season of Mist). A chain-rattling frost-blast of Bathory beatdowns and Tom G. Warrior-worship, lead single “Demonic Supremacy” takes no prisoners and asks no quarter, and the rest of Antiliv follows in similarly icy bootprints, reinforcing the band’s Satanic leanings at each and turn in the bone-strewn labyrinth. If you liked these guys before, there is nothing here to pull you from that path, and if you’re just discovering them now, your indoctrination will be brutal but quick. Antiliv is that awesome, that versatile, and that heavy, so head over to Decibel and warm yourself beside the free stream’s crackling hellfire.
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The first stop of this week’s slow-and-low tour de force, meanwhile, comes courtesy of Windhand and their cobwebby new LP, Grief’s Infernal Flower (Relapse). If you’re already familiar with the Richmond crypt keepers—and you probably should be by now—then you pretty much know what to expect: Riffs that crumble like the ruins of old cities juxtaposed against the mournful witching-hour laments of frontwoman, Dorthia Cottrell. If not, then this one is a pretty solid starter kit, condensing the hypnotic brew of 2013 MAOTY-contender, Soma, into smaller, more readily accessible dosages. That approach hinders the record’s ability to hit the same transcendent peaks/noxious catacombs as its predecessor, of course, but a listen is still in order all the same. Check it out via NPR and then grab a few tickets to the band’s upcoming appearance at Gramercy Theatre on October 21st.
After that, let’s point da’ choppa toward Scandinavia, where Finnish funeral doom eulogists, Tyranny, have their latest full-length, Aeons in Tectonic Internment (Dark Descent ), ready for the crushing of skulls and souls alike. The band’s first LP in over a decade, Aeons is about as cheery as you’d expect an album whose title essentially translates to “trapped for awhile in the dirt”, with gut-busting growls and plodding riffs ruling the day. When the hoods are sporadically cast off—as they are on the final, black metal-inflected passages of album opener “Sunless Deluge”—however, Tyranny eclipse the doom n’ gloom with a conviction belying their traditionalist roots, so make sure to check it out.
Of course, if your searching for something a little more limber, then you needn’t look any further than My Dying Bride’s new anthemic doom opus, Feel the Misery (Peaaceville). Rife with huge hooks, bigger riffs, and (over?) buffed production, this one is a fun, goth-inflected listen that slots in nicely alongside 2015’s already impressive roster of trad metal offerings, so lend it at least a song’s worth of your time. Once you’re done there, turn your now cartoonishly-flattened attention span to Skepticism’s first full-length since 2008, aptly titled Ordeal (Svart). Perhaps the most fascinating listening experience of any record this week, Ordeal was recorded in a single live take in front of an actual audience with no overdubs, and yet still somehow manages to sound pretty damn fantastic, so yeah, eat your heart out Birdman.
Olympia throwback metal unit, Christian Mistress, are also back with a new record, To Your Death (Relapse), today. Toiling in a tough genre to stand out in, Christian Mistress have had always had help from frontwoman, Christine Davis’s dusky pipes, but unfortunately this time around, they aren’t quite enough to elevate the band from good to great. That’s not to say To Your Death doesn’t hit some impressive highs, of course—”Neon” and “Open Road”, for instance, are just the kind of dive-bar rabble rousers you hope for from a record like this—but overall, Christian Mistress’s inability to capture the conviction and energy displayed on 2012’s stellar Possession, relegates this one to the pick and choose pile. Approach it thusly.
The Black Dahlia Murder are also back today, swinging their familiar sonic sledgehammer with abandon. The Michigan grinders have been around for over a decade, so you probably know what to expect—speed worship, crushing breakdowns, big hooks—from Abysmal (Metal Blade) by now. If not, however, the free stream should help to satisfy the curiosity at the expense of a limb or two.
Elsewhere (in this case Montreal), Canadian post-rockers BIG|BRAVE, are set to unleash their Southern Lord debut, Au De La , on open-minded ears today. While not specifically metal, the power trio’s connections to the likes Godspeed You! Black Emperor and Low certainly warrant at least a speculative listen, so head over to Noisey for exactly that. If it turns out that’s not your particular cup of downcast tea, then perhaps almost comically prolific one-man black metal band, Vardan, and his [I’ve lost count] release of the year, From the Pale Moonlight (Moribund), has what you’re looking for.
WHAT TO SEE: Welcome to the weekend, undead masses. Get things started with Vincent Price is Right, Discontent, and Gloom at Lucky 13 Saloon tonight, and then gear up for Saturday, which offers a brass-knuckled fistful of killer shows including Anicon at Union Pool, Moontooth at Don Pedro, Hellbent Hooker at Saint Vitus, Total Fury at The Acheron, and The Rock Carnival, featuring Slash, Black Label Society, Skid Row, King’s X, and a whole host of other questionable bands at some park out in Jersey.
Said Carnival continues on Sunday, with sets from Anthrax, Crobot, Clutch, Slaughter, and more, so check that out if you’re idea of a good time is crushing food-truck sliders with a 53-year-old biker chick named Hammer. If not, then Whipstriker at The Acheron and Faster Pussycat at Black Bear Bar should be suitable alternatives. Monday follows with sets from Slugs on Speed, HellKeeper, and Nightcrawler at Saint Vitus, who also come correct on Tuesday with a Lich King/Hatchet/The Donner Party-helmed throwdown that is sure to loosen those molars. After that things slow down a bit, until Thursday that is, when Trivium—with some help of the good people over at Revolver—are set for their smallest show in almost a decade at, you guessed it, Saint Vitus. Man, if they were just playing Ascendancy in full, my inner 17-year-old would be there in a heartbeat.
WHAT THE FUCK: Last week I somehow forgot to mention Burial Shrouds (Avant Garde), the new full-length from one-man Russian black metal outfit, Sivyj Yar, and for that I sincerely apologize. Like its predecessor, From the Villages’ Dead Darkness, Burial Shrouds is an exemplary synthesis of depressive black metal and post-rock fueled by an ACTUALLY (see: Ghost Bath) interesting cultural backdrop. I can’t recommend this one enough—especially as a soundtrack for the brooding autumn ahead—so let’s all just pretend we had this little chat 7 days ago and go from there.
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