Remember all those mean things I said about August last week–how the pickings were slim, there weren’t many shows, and so on? Well I take it all back. This week makes up for it and then some, so let’s thank the almighty law of averages and get on with it.
WHAT TO HEAR: Leading us out of the landing bay and into the uncharted depths of space and time this week is Starspawn (Dark Descent), the debut full length from Denver death denizens, Blood Incantation. Though by no means the first in the recent laser turret barrage of Xenomorph-indebted galactic death metal explorations, this 34-minute adventure to the metal frontier and back is arguably the burgeoning niche’s finest offering yet—not to mention one of the year’s best metal records, full stop. Warping between asteroid-sized riffs, Gorguts-indebted dissonance, and the starry-eyed gaze of Darkside-era Floyd (a surprising metal touchstone here in 2016), this one is as catchy as it is cacophonous—as reverent as it is boundary breaking—and absolutely demands a listen. If this is what these guys came up with on the first try, look the fuck out.
If you’re looking for a more straightforward affair, however, then the buck stops at Skeletonwitch, who’s ripping new EP, The Apothic Gloom (Prosthetic Records), drops today. At this point—15 years and 5 albums in—you pretty much know what to expect from the charred Ohio thrashers, and The Apothic Gloom, the band’s first record with new frontman in Wolvhammer’s Adam Clemans, is certainly no deviation from that script. I’ve always had a soft spot for Skeletonwitch’s no-frills jugular-hunting, so I’m going to tell you to go check out Decibel’s full stream and pick up tickets to their Iron Reagan-backed sort-of Halloween rager at Saint Vitus, but if that’s not your thing, just ignore me and move on down line.
After that we head underground—literally—for Myrkur‘s new EP, Mausoleum (Relapse), recorded live in actual catacombs. What may sound like a gimmick on the surface, actually lends itself quite well to Amalie Bruun’s ethereal Danish folk shanties, which—to the certain delight of the dick-brained Five Finger Death Punch fans who have been shouting “not metal” all along—make up the entirety of this nine-song collection. Having seen Myrkur live a few months back, I can safely say her seemingly engineered clean passages are far more than studio trickery, and Mausoleum makes that abundantly clear, but whatever you do, don’t go in expecting Ulver-indebted black metal histrionics. For Myrkur, those days may well be done.
Next up is The Last Stand (Nuclear Blast), the latest full-length from Swedish power metallers, Sabaton, and Take Me Home (High Roller Records), a new 7″ from the prolific Chris Black (of Dawnbringer fame) and his Schenkner-metal project, High Spirits. If you like new metal that sounds like old metal, then these shred-fests are for you.
Meanwhile in Tom G. land, the former Celtic Frost frontman claims to have unearthed a “lost” Hellhammer single, Blood Insanity (Prowling Death Records), which he is helping to usher to shelves today. Take that with a grain of salt but check it out nonetheless. Same goes for the remaster of Faith No More‘s 1985 debut, We Care A Lot (Koolarrow Records), which, more than anything, should be noted for the two reunion shows with original singer Chuck Mosley it has spawned. Finally let’s end the week on a black note, with Feral Light—the black n’ roll project of ex-Wolvhammer axe man, Andy Schoengrund—and their ripping new full length, A Sound of Moving Shields (Sentient Ruin Laboratories). (Also a sneaky-great album name, for whatever that’s worth).
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WHAT TO SEE: The weekend gets off to a good start tonight with one of the heaviest Fridays in recent memory, spearheaded by shows like Razor/Bat at Saint Vitus, Black Mask/Ides at Clash Bar, Multicult/Couch Slut at Aviv, and Pyrrhon/Plebeian Grandstand/Artificial Brain at Trans-Pecos. If you still have some beer left in the tank after that, make sure to get out there on Saturday for The Obelisk All-Dayer at Saint Vitus (featuring Mars Red Sky, Kings Destroy, and plenty more), IKILLYA/Spectral Voices at the Nihil Gallery, and Mutilation Rites/Skullshitter at Aviv (via The Acheron Presents).
After that, Sunday welcomes Black Wail and Tiger Flowers to Saint Vitus and Sheer Terror to the Rocks Off River Cruise circuit, while Monday comes correct with Madball, White Widows Pact, and Coldside to the aforementioned Greenpoint safe haven. You might just want to bring a tent to that one as well, because on Tuesday, Elder, It’s Not Night: It’s Space, and Polygamyst also take the Manhattan Ave stage. If that one isn’t quite hitting the spot, don’t worry, as the rest of the Tuesday show roster is equally stacked, with Black Sabbath hitting the PNC Arts Center and drag-punks GRIT taking to the Silent Barn. From there things slow down a bit, with Wednesday night’s Prisoners of New York throwdown at Vitus standing as the only real show of note, so go put your boots up and recharge for another ridiculous weekend ahead.
WHAT THE FUCK: Here we go, ladies and gentlemen. We’ve got a brand new Metallica song (competent) off an upcoming double-album (remember Load/Re-Load?) titled Hardwired…To Self-Destruct (which, let’s be honest, wouldn’t be the first time). If this all sounds pessimistic, that’s because it absolutely is, but for now I’ll reserve the requisite judgment until November 18th, when this thing drops alongside hot-takes a la avalanche.