After a Maiden-mandated detour last week, we are back to regularly programming, and just in time too, with one of the biggest and best release slates of the year suddenly upon us like a Half-Life head crab. Join me, if you dare.
WHAT TO HEAR: We begin this week with local boys, Geryon, and their sophomore record, The Wound and the Bow (Profound Lore). Comprised of Krallice’s Nicholas McMaster and Lev Weinstein, the two-piece push their motherband’s avant-garde tendencies into the red with a knotted, guitar-less strain of death metal that sounds like it just broke CDC containment. It’s not the most accessible thing on offer this week, but in terms of technicality and singularity, nothing else really comes close. If you’re from the area—which I assume most of you are—and want to hear what the dystopian future of Brooklyn metal sounds like, then look no further than Noisey’s full stream.
Up next is the third AOTY contender in as many weeks (following Cobalt and Graves at Sea’s respective salvos), Palace of Worms‘ mesmerizing blackened beast, The Ladder (Broken Limbs). A slithering, shape-shifting piece of one-man black metal, The Ladder—the third full length from Bay Area vet, Balan, under his Palace of Worms moniker—has understandably drawn more than a few Leviathan comparisons. But as showpiece tracks like “Nightworld” make abundantly clear, there’s a hell of a lot more to the formula than that, including, most notably, a penchant for monolithic, sky-scraping moments. No matter your feelings on the whole hybridized black metal thing, this one is one of 2016’s definite must-hear records (check it out via Invisible Oranges’ album premiere).
Next up—because we do still need to honor the forefathers, no matter the immensity of the new guard—is Arktis (Candlelight), the latest solo offering from Emperor frontman and fully-vetted metal legend, Ihsahn. Anyone who has followed Ihsahn’s solo career over the past decade, knows that while black metal remains at the root of everything he does, his music can be scarcely described as such, and Arktis is no exception, welding all matter of prog and songcraft to that framework to see what sticks. Thankfully for us, most everything does, resulting in one of Ihsahn’s finest individual offerings ever. If you’re curious to hear what the man/the myth/the legend is still up to, then lend this one an ear.
However great those albums may well be, in terms of sheer grab-you-by-the-throat appealthis week, they simply can’t touch the self-titled debut from Manchester-based blackened metal trio, WODE (Broken Limbs). A exhilarating, fist-pumping blend of anthemic throwback death metal and riff-forward black stuff, WODE have put together Europe’s answer to Horrendous, rattling off six ripping odes to dust and bone on what essentially amounts (a three-track demo tape notwithstanding) to their first try. Fuck legacy and hype. If you’re looking for horns-up metal with all the trappings of a future classic, then WODE’s full stream on Terrorizer should be your first stop this week.
The American underground also kicks up quite a racket this week, thanks in large part to Sourvein‘s sludge-tastic Aquatic Occult (Metal Blade) and Bog of the Infidel‘s corpse-painted orthodox black metal assault, Asleep in the Arms of Suicide (Eternal Death Records). The former has some serious pedigree, working with likes of Graves at Sea in the past (and if you can’t tell, I REALLY like The Curse That Is), while the latter, though USBM by definition, wears the Scandinavian blood crown with pride. In other words, go check these out, like, now.
Extremophiles also have plenty of insanity to sink their teeth into this week as well, beginning with Inherit Disease‘s latest brutal death metal masterpiece, Ephemeral (Unique Leader), and continuing with Polish black thrash outfit Ragehammer‘s aptly titled new LP, The Hammer Doctrine (Pagan Records). Like a chia pet, just add water (or, in this case, beer) and watch these fuckers grow.
Finally we wrap the week by tipping our collective toe into the mainstream, where Deftone‘s latest lightning rod, Gore (Warner Bros), keeps bobbing tot he surface while bullseyed axeman, Zakk Wylde, in up to his waist, is rapid-firing pinch harmonics at the sky in celebration of his second-ever solo effort, Book of Shadows II (eOne). Always had a bit of a soft spot for the post-Ozzy Wylde offerings myself, but don’t worry, if you’re avoiding these like the plague this week, I won’t take it personally.
WHAT TO SEE: I’m working the weekend away, so get out there and see something for me, starting tonight with Throaat and One Master at Lucky 13 Saloon and Holocaust/Exinfernum at Blackthorn 51. Saturday keeps things firing, with Bloodwraith at The Cobra Club, Tau Cross at The Acheron, UNIFORM at Saint Vitus, The Cult at Wellmont Theatre, Hidden in Plain View at Black Bear Bar, and the almighty Ramming Speed at Shakers Pub on Long Island, so if you survive that, more power to you.
On Sunday, you can either check out Windfaerer at Black Bear Bar or Speed Metal Dating at Saint Vitus, so make your pick and get yourself warmed up for Monday, which welcomes Yellow Eyes and the debut of their respective supergroup, Sanguine Eagle, to Lucky 13 Saloon, Fear Factory to Gramercy Theatre, Issues to Irving Plaza, and Ace Frehley to B.B. King’s place. On Tuesday, the stacked Decibel Magazine tour rumbles into Webster Hall with Abbath, High On Fire, Skeletonwitch, and Tribulation in tow, so make sure to check that out. If you’re not looking to drop over $30 on a show, however, then perhaps Corrosion of Conformity at The Wonder Bar is the better value.
Wednesday looks equally strong, with Kvelertak, Torche, and Wild Throne arriving at Irving Plaza for what is, hands down, the funnest show of the week, while Ghost and the CoC round out the offerings with appearances at the Wellmont Theatre and Saint Vitus, respectively. The Corrosion boys aren’t done there, however, headlining another Vitus evening on Thursday, which is sure to pair nicely with a host of other insane shows including Ramming Speed at The Acheron, Underoath at the Playstation Theater, Carnage Krew at Lucky 13 Saloon, and the Melvins/Napalm Death/Melt Banana throwback spectacular at Music Hall of Williamsburg.
WHAT THE FUCK: Bad news/good news this week: Unfortunately, due to unforeseen (and landlord-related) circumstances, Mountain God have had to drop off This One Goes To Eleven’s upcoming Slaves BC ripper at The Acheron. Thankfully, however, the Thera Roya dudes stepped up on short notice to fill in, so grab your tickets and join us on our eternal trudge into the abyss…