WHAT TO HEAR: Before we get to the dungeon spawn, however, we should first address the week’s biggest, shiniest release, Wolfheart’s Tyhjyys (Spinefarm). Now, I’m not a huge melodic death metal guy, but of the contemporary crop, Wolfheart—the youngest brainchild of Tuomas Saukkonen (Before the Dawn, Black Sun Aeon, etc.)—are certainly one of the most compelling. Balancing the fist-pumping cheese with frosty Finnish brawn, beguiling key changes, and titanic, ear-worming riffs, Tyhjyys is not only an artistically relevant encapsulation of its genre, but also the second such album from Saukkonen and co. in as many years. It might not be for you (especially if you’re coming from a GC/PV background), but check out the lead single “Boneyard” below and see for yourself.
With that one out of the way, it’s time to get weird with Cloak of Altering and their latest cauldron of clanging avant black metal, I Reached for the Light That Drowned in Your Mouth (independent). Perhaps the manic vocals, industrial beats, and nausea-inducing guitar work are giveaways, but Cloak of Altering prescribe to the Gnaw Their Tongues School of Black Metal Mania (yes, they’re both helmed by Maurice “Mories” De Jong), furthering their sound in a host of torturous new ways on each new release. Reached for the Light is certainly no exception, so get over to the Cloak of Altering bandcamp and check it out.
Next up is Abreaction, the latest full length from Svart Crown, AKA the best remaining band on the once-proud Century Media roster. Best described as post-Deathspell Omega, the French outfit further their exotic, technical inclinations on Abreaction, winding their way through everything from chamber hymns to dissonant death metal dirges. Sure, they’re not reinventing the wheel here, but if it still rolls, don’t fix it, amirite?
After that, dive back underground for Light of the Morning Star‘s Nocta (Iron Bonehead), a haunted and haunting application of blackened gothic metal that will have you up all hours of the night, jumping at every drip in the castle hall. This muscular take on what is typically airy style makes you wonder why more bands didn’t take Opeth’s Ghost Reveries/Blackwater Park blueprint and run with it (including Opeth themselves), but for now fans of that era would do well to content themselves with this.
Other bits and pieces this week include two totally different takes on black metal in Cold Fell‘s Irwell (Argento Records) and Patria‘s Magna Adversia (Soulseller Records) as well as a nice helping of experimental sludge from Boston outfit Rozamov and their new EP, This Mortal Road (Battleground Records). As always, happy moshing.
WHAT TO SEE: As winter returns, another host of metal shows is riding its frosty coattails, starting tonight with Sexual Suicide at Lucky 13 Saloon, Kore Rozzik at Blackthorn 51, and An Albatross/Fucking Invincible at Saint Vitus. Saturday follows that up with a Scissorfight matinee at Vitus (followed by SubRosa/Pilgrim later in the evening), Artificial Brain at Knockdown Center, and Bomb Scare at Shaker’s Pub. If none of those suit you, then wait until Sunday when Wrist Deep hit Vitus, Ache at Matchless, Embrace Agony take to Blackthorn 51, and the almighty Anvil play the Studio at Webster Hall.
The working week kicks off with a free Detach the Islands show at Saint Vitus on Monday, while Tuesday rolls around with Weeping Icon at Sunnyvale and Night Demon at Dingbatz. After that, Wednesday batters that ubiquitous hump into a pulp with Amaranthe at Webster Hall and a doubleheader at Vitus featuring that rescheduled Witch Taint séance at 8pm and Royal Thunder/Beast Modulus at 9:30pm. Finally, Thursday locks things up with Carpenter Brut at Schimanski and The Press at Saint Vitus.
WHAT THE FUCK: Drowning in tapes? Burned out on vinyl? Well, leave it to Trent Reznor and co. to blaze the latest physical release trail with their latest merch drop: A (literal) box of dirt. Bow down before the one you serve, indeed.