Guys, I think we might have fucked up. For years we metalheads have fantasized about hell on earth. From the goat altars of satanic black metal to the fire-licked peaks of every tech-death album cover ever, we imagined an underworld ascended—a dark fantasy dragged into the light. Now that we are living it on a day-to-day (and executive-order-to-executive-order basis), however, it’s safe to say we got more than we bargained for. So sorry earth. Our bad. We’ll try to keep our mouths shut next time (if there is a next time).
WHAT TO HEAR: The release slate is a little thin this week, so in the absence of a marquee record to kick things off, I’m instead going to lead the way with a matter of personal taste—Wiegedood‘s De doden hebben het goed II (ConSouling Sounds). Hailing from the burgeoning metal hotbed of Belgium, these atmospheric black metallers deal in a thunderstorm palate of gray and grief not unlike that of their countrymen and women in Oathbreaker and fellow Old World practitioners like Waldgeflüster. It’s not groundbreaking stuff, but for a stormy week in mid-February when nothing else seems to be going right, the full bandcamp stream is good enough to get me by.
Not your thing (/heard it too much already to care)? Then check out The Grinding Wheel (Nuclear Blast), the umpteenth studio album from New Jersey thrash legends Overkill. There’s not too much to say about this one overall, but I did happen to catch an Overkill video on MTV Classic’s Metal Mayhem block this weekend, and am happy to report that the Mustaine-indebted sneer and rhythm-forward attack are still essential to Overkill’s sound however many years later. This won’t get near the hype of Hardwired…to Self Destruct, or even a new Exodus record, but musically it more than holds up.
After that, we head to Norway where Nidingr are prepared to unchain The High Heat Licks Against Heavens (Indie Recordings). The band’s first release in over four years, this one is precisely the chaotic black metal experience you’d be hoping for from Rygg and co., so make sure to check it out. Once you’re done there, lend Finnish melo-death vets Mors Principium Est and their new LP Embers of Dying World (AFM Records) your ear. I never really listen to this kind of stuff anyway, but have heard they’ve taken quite the slide in recent years, so proceed with that knowledge in hand.
Finally, let’s wrap up releases this week with Uptown (The Flesner), the debut solo record from instru-metal pointman Trevor de Brauw (Pelican, RLYR, et al.). To classify this as more of the same—fantastic guitar tones, minimalist arrangements, and hookier than an instrumental album has any right to be—from de Brauw is reductive, but somewhat accurate. So if that’s even remotely your thing, go give it a listen.
WHAT TO SEE: Shows, shows, shows (sung to the tune of “Girls, Girls, Girls”) and they all begin tonight with Darkwing at Lucky 13 Saloon, GosT at Broolyn Night Bazaar, and a Judge late show at Saint Vitus. On Saturday, Warthog leads the way at Sunnyvale, followed by two Suuns sets at Saint Vitus, Cock Sparrer at The Warsaw, and August Burns Red/Protest the Hero at the Starland Ballroom, before Sunday wraps up the weekend with My Own Will at The Gateway and Career Suicide at Saint Vitus Bar.
After that, Monday comes rolling in with a free Mary Todd rager at Saint Vitus before Tuesday follows suit with Havok and Exmortus on the very same stage. With shows like Blind Idiot God at Saint Vitus and I Prevail in the Marlin Room, Hump Day never stood a chance, while Thursday brings the week in metal shows on an uncharacteristically quiet note.
WHAT THE FUCK: Listen, I love Iron Maiden as much as the next red-blooded, history-swilling metalhead, but naming your newborn son, quite literally, “Iron Maiden” is about five bridges too far. You can’t tell me “Bruce” or “Steve” wouldn’t have sufficed?