Following the holiday and post-holiday illness-related hiatus, we are back with the first TOGTE of the new and mundanely terrifying year. As always, we will be covering new records, local shows, and other assorted headlines from across the metal-verse, so strap in and prepare for self-implosion.
WHAT TO HEAR: In a fitting twist of fate, we start this week with the first marquee release of 2017—Black Anvil‘s As Was (Relapse)—which was born right here in the gutters of New Yahk. The band’s third full length, following 2010’s Triumvurate and 2013’s stellar Hail Death, As Was is nothing short of a sonic revolution for the band, with glistening arpeggios, major key flirtations, and massive clean choruses calling to mind some sort of New World Tribulation. The whole thing is still liberally seasoned with seething black metal tirades, but make no mistake: This is a hard rock record forged in a black metal smelt. Not the other way around. When it all comes together—as it does on album closer “Ultra”—it’s pretty compelling stuff, but if you’re expecting the Black Anvil of yore (read: like three years ago), it’s going to take a little getting used to. Stream it via Noisey.
Relapse isn’t done there, however, bringing The Drip‘s punishing new LP The Haunting Fear of Inevitability down like a death sentence gavel this week. A masochistic blend of hardcore anger and grindcore spazz, the Washington outfit deal in a breed of unfussy aggression that registers very high on the punk-as-fuck meter, regardless of whatever pinch harmonic-punctuated breakdown is squealing away in the background. There’s not a huge amount to unpack here, but if you’re just looking to get your ears beat in for 30 minutes, Invisible Oranges’ full stream is for you.
Dwelling in similarly caustic sonic territory is Code Orange‘s Forever (Roadrunner), which augments the band’s usual brand of Steel City hardcore with an u expected fistful of brooding post-grunge anthems. What this new approach loses in cohesion, Code Orange more than make up for it in conviction, adding serious crossover potential to their usual “serious band” schtick. In the end—in concert with the major label involvement and perceived accessibility of tracks like “Bleeding in the Blur”—this probably just means metal fans are going to turn on Code Orange any second now. Resist the temptation, however, as Forever, despite its saccharine deviations, remains one of the must-hear metal records of the yet-young year.
After clawing your way through those, turn your attention to Norway, where long-running but rarely-heard-from charred death metal outfit Shaarimoth have their second-ever full-length, Temple of Adversarial Fire (WTC Productions), ready for blood-letting. Steeped in the occult—both thematically and sonically—this 11-song, 47-minute opus is not your typical death metal meat grinder, but that’s precisely why you should check it out. Consider this the first of many calls to keep 2017 weird (and rife with the love of Satan, if that’s your thing).
Speaking of which (Satan that is), you’re definitely going to want to hear Rites of Inverse Incarnation (WTC Productions), a new EP from Italian black metal supergroup Fides Inversa—featuring members of Blut Aus Nord, Behexen, Dark Sonority, and more. If that Golden State Warriors of black metal roster isn’t enough to get you in the door, I don’t know what is. After you’re done with that, wrap things up with Machine Messiah (Nuclear Blast), the latest record from revered Brazilian death metallers turned reviled groove metal pioneers, Sepultura. It’s not as bad as their worst and nowhere near the heights of their best, and that’s really all you need to know.
WHAT TO SEE: On the show front there’s plenty more to go around, beginning tonight—a Friday the 13th, I might add—with Cognitive, Artificial Brain, and Organ Dealer at Hartley’s, World War IX at Lucky 13 Saloon, and godheadSilo at Saint Vitus. On Saturday, Boston heathens Panzerbastard hit Lucky 13, Anaka take to the Gramercy Theatre, and Khemmis play a sold-out doom special at Vitus alongside Crypt Sermon and Sannhedrin. If that’s not enough weekend insanity for you, however, perhaps Sunday night—featuring Old Wounds at Vitus and Paragnosis at Lucky 13—can help.
MLK Day comes correct with City of Caterpillar at the busy Greenpoint holy site, who also return on Tuesday for an encore performance. The same night Artificial Brain—one of the best live metal acts in the Tri-State, for what it’s worth—take to The Studio at Webster Hall stage before Wednesday rolls around with a screening of the new Melvins documentary, The Colossus of Destiny-A Melvins Tale, at, where else, Saint Vitus. If you’re still up for more after all that, Thursday wraps things up with some Black Light Black Metal yoga at Lucky 13 and Into Another/Supertouch/High Disciple at Saint Vitus.
WHAT THE FUCK: Will you look at that? Governor’s Ball finally got a headliner worth mentioning around these parts. But before your inner prog-metal nerd prematurely climaxes, it has to be said that after years of recording apathy and extremely limited touring, Tool returning to play a couple of glitzy summer festival appearances alongside a host of glow stick-necklaced pop acts seems like a blatant cash grab at best. Maybe there will be a Vitus after-party (I’d even settle for a ticketed T5 appearance), but I’ll believe it when I see it and until I see it I reserve the right to bitch.