WHAT TO HEAR: We begin this week with Horseback‘s Dead Ringers, yet another installment in Relapse’s rapidly expanding catalog of metal-adjacent offerings. If you’re familiar with Jenks Miller’s sonic CV, you certainly know that this is not a man who balks at musical evolution nor its inherent risks, but nonetheless, the bubbling synth, drum machine ticks, and heavily processed guitar tones that dominate Dead Ringers still register as a surprise. Dealing in an atmosphere and mood typically reserved for Miller’s Americana outlet, Mount Moriah, this one is a far cry from the serrated Appalachia-tinged black metal of Horseback past, and would be virtually unrecognizable if it weren’t for the name on the package. I’m not saying you shouldn’t give it a listen, of course—that’s never really been the prerogative of this space—but you should definitely know that you’re not getting a metal record before diving in to Stereogum’s full stream hornsfirst.
Lumbering closely behind that one is Yodh (Gilead Media), the second full-length anvil-drop from one-man Portland doom project, Mizmor. Helmed by the man known solely as A.L.N., the hour-long odyssey is”an impassioned struggle with the nature of survival – why humankind continually chooses life each day in the face of adversity, pain, depression, and suffering,” which roughly translates, in non-label-speak, to “misanthropic blackened sludge.” Some killer artwork from Zdzislaw Beksinski—and subtle influence from the local Cascadian scene—rounds out the whole package, so make sure to pick up a copy if you like what you hear.
Pairing nicely with that one Hyponic‘s newest avant-garde funeral doom import, 前行者 (Weird Truth Productions). The first record from the Chinese act in over a decade, this one certainly lives up to the wait (if you’ve been waiting), putting together a thoroughly bizarre fringe-doom experience that, much like the latest Psalm Zero record, owes as much to the worlds of post-punk and psychedelia as it does metal. If that seems to be a theme this week, then apologies. Just dealing the cards I’m dealt here.
In straight-up, no-chaser news, however, is Musica de Nuestra Muerte (Hell’s Headbangers), the brand new split from Brazilian war metallers, Grave Desecrator (who’s recent Season of Mist full-length deserves a revisit) and their Chilean neighbors, Slaughtbbath. If that one doesn’t tear your head off, then perhaps Spin Adrift‘s giant breed of melodic, solo-laden doom—on full display on their new LP, Chained to Oblivion (Prosthetic Records)—is for you. As promised, there’s no fucking around here, only—as Metallica once eloquently penned—metal up your ass.
Finally we wrap the week’s releases with two records peddling face-melting riffs like carnival popcorn. Whether you opt for some fuzzed-out stoner from the plains of Indiana—Devil to Pay‘s A Bend Through Space and Time (Ripple Music)—or merciless Polish death—Vader‘s Iron Times (Nuclear Blast)—is up to you, but trust me when I say you really can’t go too wrong.
WHAT TO SEE: Friday starts the weekend with a killer show trio featuring Gnaw/Brown Angel at Saint Vitus, Cage/Brick By Brick at Lucky 13 Saloon, and Fin’amor/Hercyn at Blackthorn 51, before Saturday steps in and picks up the proverbial metal Olympics torch Cough and Hasj at Union Pool, Kult of Mary at Clash Bar, and Tomb/FIN/Angmar at Saint Vitus. After that, Sunday wraps things up with Helstar and Omen (again at Vitus), Spectral Voices at Blackthorn 51, Gazzan (featuring members of Integrity, In Cold Blood, and American Werewolves) at Lucky 13 Saloon, and finally Baroness and Pallbearer at Webster Hall.
The voices are quiet on Monday, but on Tuesday the tremor is back with shows like Hidden Bakery w/ Lungs at Saint Vitus and by Wednesday we’re sure to be foaming at the mouth for Black Sabbath at the Nikon at Jones Beach Theater and Death Spells at Bowery Electric. Finally, on Thursday the iron curtains fall on another week in NYC metal, but not before SUMAC make try once again to detonate Vitus’s sound system.
WHAT THE FUCK: We now live in a post-Ronnie-James-Dio-as-a-hologram world, people. Like a rainbow in the dark, indeed.