Welcome to 2016, everyone. It’s a new year full of the same despair, depression, and destruction, and I’m thrilled, once again, to share it with all of you. If you’re just joining us, this is a column about metal and I am your host. If you’ve been here before, proceed to the play buttons. In either case, however, let’s get going, because if there’s one thing about that never changes in this batshit industry, it’s that a second of standing still puts you a decade behind.
WHAT TO BUY: We kick off a brand new year in the same old fashion, with Existence is Horror (Season of Mist), another searing slab of hybridized mayhem from the rulers of the St. Louis underground, The Lion’s Daughter. With close connections to fellow Gateway-gazing sludge collective, Fister, you’d be forgiven for assuming this one is a trudging, bludgeoning affair, but The Lion’s Daughter place a far greater emphasis on the charred half of their “blackened sludge” predilections, surging relentlessly forward, a battalion of brutal screams, cascading blast beats, and churning riffs carrying their banners before them. There’s a lot going on here, but production from Sanford Parker—who has worked with the likes of Rwake, Tombs, and YOB of late—keeps everything coherent, making Existence (and it’s attendant free stream) a must-hear for fans of Nux Vomica, Inter Arma, and the multitudinous host of beefed-up USBM brusiers that have come before them.
Of course, in the metal world early January is often used as a safe dumping ground for “supergroups”, and this year is no different, with Venomous Concept—the hardcore-influenced project of former members of Brutal Truth, Napalm Death, and Corrupt Moral Altar—dropping their third salvo, Kick Me Silly – VCIII (Season of Mist), today. Thankfully for everyone involved, Venomous Concept sound like they’re having a fucking blast on Kick Me Silly, and that certainly helps to buff out a few of the obvious seams, namely a handful cringe-y, Casualties-esque melodic moments that stray too near the rock radio wastelands for comfort. In other words, if you just want a straightforward good time, and have some built-in fandom for the likes of Shane Embury and Dan Lilker, this one is more than worth a spotty a moment or two, so make sure to check it out.
Nothing tips the #narrative scales this week, however, quite like Danish death metal squad Brutus, who are set to drop their first record, Murwgebeukt (Willowtip), in over a decade today. Following the release of their promising debut and the subsequent suicide of their driving creative force, Ploegbaas, in 2006, Brutus went more or less radio silent, but thankfully, ten years removed from that body blow, they are back and as brutal as ever. If you’re into splattershot low-end, relentless face-frying grind, and lo-fi sonic gore, then this one is a must hear.
Finally, if you’re looking for classic sounds this week, you’re in luck, with Exmortus offering up another helping of battle-ready orgasma-shred with their new LP, Ride Forth (Prosthetic), and Canadian denim disciples, Cauldron, brewing a fresh batch of Sabbath backpatch goodness on their latest full length, In Ruin (The End). After you’re done devouring those, grab Autopsy’s new 4-disc box set, After The Cutting (Peaceville Records), which—thanks to a copy of the death metal legends’ 2015 EP, Skull Grinder, in addition to a bunch of classics and rarities—is sure to be just what the doctor butcher ordered for the brutal months ahead.
WHAT TO SEE: Plans this weekend? Well, cancel them, because the show roster is absolutely stacked, starting tonight with Defeated Sanity at Lucky 13 Saloon, Cruecified at Blackthorn 51, and the first evening of Russian Circles and Cloakroom’s two-night Saint Vitus stand. If that’s not enough, then get out there on Saturday for an ABC No Rio hardcore matinee headlined by Renounced, an appearance from Venom Inc. and Necrophagia at Webster Hall, and the conclusion of that aforementioned Russian Circles Vitus brood-fest, which, like Friday, is very sold out.
Things slow down a bit after that, with Zevious and Antidote headlining Sunday’s only extreme shows of note (at Saint Vitus and Lucky 13, respectively), before St. Bastard and Hellkeeper wreak their unique breeds of havoc at Vitus on Tuesday. Wednesday is quiet, so grab a drink at Duff’s or stay in and keep warm, but whatever you do, make sure to save some energy for Thursday, which wraps up TOGTE’s weekly calendar with a face-melting set from death metal legends, Nile, at The Gramercy Theatre and a certified start-to-finish rager at Saint Vitus, featuring 1349, Tombs, Full of Hell, and Artificial Brain. If that’s not the best bill of the yet-young year, then I don’t what is.
WHAT THE FUCK: In other news, this week’s most-Deathklok-worthy headline goes to Abbath, whose new, viral-ready snow globe line looks certain to keep the hellfires kindled in this, our everlasting winter.