More sickening news from the world at large this week. I love metal. My guess is you do too. But as we approach one of the 2016’s first serious AOTY contenders –and one not without its own ethical complications–let’s try to keep all this in perspective. We aren’t saving or taking lives here. We are talking about entertainment, so keep calm and respect your fellow hessian.
WHAT TO HEAR: That aforementioned heavy hitter? Cobalt‘s first record in 7 years, the vast, genre-defying Slow Forever (Profound Lore). Presumed dead by most following the dismissal of their hate-speech spewing frontman, Phil McSorely, in 2014, the Colorado outfit embraced the resulting anonymity, quietly recruiting disgraced Lord Mantis screecher Charlie Fell and setting to work on the comeback that now lies before us, massive, skinned, and writhing like the subject of its own opening tack, “Hunt the Buffalo”. A far cry from the band’s black metal roots, Slow Forever is instead a riff-driven, double-LP-length affair, stuffed with bombastic metal moments, ambitious arrangements, and a complete disinterest in the style du jour. If you were into post-metallic records from the likes of Sumac last year, but wished for a greater emphasis on songcraft and hooks, then this one—now streaming via Show No Mercy—is going to pull your brain out through your nose.
Next up, is yet another collaborative full length from The Body, who have now joined forces with Baltimore powerviolence A-listers, Full of Hell, for One Day You Will Ache Like Ache (Neurot Recordings). We touched on The Body last week, and their propensity to switch masks on an album to album basis, so there’s no need to belabor that point. Having just seen Full of Hell live two weeks ago, however, I would like to take this opportunity to say these guys are set to be extreme music’s next great shape shifters, dragging their breed of hyperdrive grind into the realms of harsh noise and power electronix, kicking, bleeding, and screaming. This one is a perfect studio encapsulation of exactly that transition, so turn it up (via Decibel) and scare the unholy shit out of the neighbors.
Legendary Viking Metal warlords, Amon Amarth, are also back today, swinging their 10th full length, Jomsviking (Metal Blade) like a battle axe. If you’ve been even remotely following metal over the past decade and a half, you no doubt know what to expect—solid, cinematic metal with a distinctly Norwegian bombast—but Jomsviking does add a few new wrinkles to the ol’ cloak, including the addition of a new drummer and the decision to dive headlong into the concept album deep end. Needless to say, throw this thing on the next time you feel like slamming a few beers and have some fun.
The best conventional Friday night record on offer this week, however, has to be Like Rats‘ sophomore salvo, titled, shockingly, II (Southern Lord). A meticulously filled bucket of old school death metal, d-beat breakdowns, and riffs ga-fucking-lore, this taught, 33-minute Balrog whip finds the Chicago trio—including ex-Weekend Nachos bassist Andy Nelson—in a state of full-on heavy metal revelry. Celtic Frost is a chief name check, as are Obituary, so if this sounds like your kind of good time, make sure to check it out via Noisey.
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Deep space death metal may not be an officially accepted genre as of yet, but with the likes of Slugdge, Artificial Brain, and self-proclaimed “hibernating nano robots,” Wormed, expanding minds and universes alike with their intergalactic strain of sonic leprosy, it won’t be long now. Put that eyebrow down and check out the latter’s brand new LP, Krighsu (Season of Mist)—an obscenely technical face melter about the “last posthuman being of a new era” in a “immerse robotized galaxy”—which is currently beaming straight from Spain (and Decibel) to your pre-frontal lobe. As if it need be said, resistance is futile.
Finally, we end the release portion of this week with two contrasting records, the first—VLK‘s Of Wolves’ Blood (Tour de Garde)—is Midwestern black metal at its purest and finest, while the latter—Blood Ceremony‘s Lord of Misrule (Rise Above)—is swaggering bell-bottom doom of the highest order. No matter what you choose, you can’t go wrong, so commit to something and go with it.
WHAT TO SEE: If you’re not headed home to join your family in worship of some false idol this weekend, then you’re in luck, with shows like Power Theory at Blackthorn 51 going down tonight, while Whiplash and Fucking Invincible headline Saturday nighters at Saint Vitus and Aviv, respectively. On Sunday, Gash and Pink Mass headline a crazy, BDSM-themed matinee at The Grand Victory, so if you’re looking to get tied up, check it out.
If not, Webster Hall gets to work on Monday, with Like Moths to Flames headlining the Studio, while Intronaut and Scale the Summit take care of the Grand Ballroom the following night. Wednesday, meanwhile, welcomes the almighty Iron Maiden to MSG (I’M GOING WEEEEE!), while Crowbar headline a much smaller affair at Saint Vitus alongside Unearthly Trance and Manipulate. After that, things more or less shudder to a stop for the week, so make sure to get out there and see something while you can.
WHAT THE FUCK: Have a great Easter, everyone.