WHAT TO HEAR: Two words: Power Trip. The Texas chainsaw-wielding thrashers are back this week with their sophomore full length Nightmare Logic (Southern Lord) revved up and ready to go. One of the most vicious and vital pieces of metal released this year, Nightmare Logic is equal part riffs and rhetoric, asking the Exodus-t-shirt set to think (just a bit) while they bang their fucking heads. Sure, re-thrash purists might balk at the uptick in mid-tempo grooves (“Executioner’s Tax (Swing of the Axe)”, the title track, etc.), but this is no Black Album, so just shut up and get in the pit.
Meanwhile, just down the proverbial block, New York sludge vets Unearthly Trance are back with their first LP in seven years, Stalking the Ghost (Relapse). There’s just something about punishing sludge that makes my eyes glaze over, but thankfully Unearthly Trance add just enough to psychic swirl to the bludgeoning to keep things interesting. If you’ve been a fan along, then you’re going to dig this subtle update. If you’re just getting acquainted, don’t worry, Stalking the Ghost is the perfect gateway to hell.
Speaking of old bands making new noise this week, Tri-State death metal legends Immolation are doing exactly with that with their 10th studio offering Atonement (Nuclear Blast). A mixture of the band’s guttural diatribes, classic mid-tempo grooves, and modern metal melody, Atonement settles into Immolation’s revered back catalog with an approach that is more recalibration and than reinvention. Needless to say, if you’re fiending for some classic death metal this week, look no further than Yonkers.
After that, turn your attention to King Woman and their debut full length, Created in the Image of Suffering (Relapse). A dusky doom vehicle for Kristina Esfandiari—a music lifer and shoegaze vocalist by trade—King Woman put their name on the metal map with 2014’s stellar EP Doubt, and Created in the Image of Suffering picks up right where that one left off (presumably mid-spell above a bubbling, mist-wrung cauldron). A must-hear for fans of Windhand, Chelsea Wolfe, Insect Ark, and others, this one is currently streaming over at Noisey, so get over there and check it out.
If the melancholic call of black metal is your siren song, however, then Italian purveyors of such depressive goods and sundry, Avantgarde Music, have just what you need this week. First up is Manetheren’s The End—a Cormac McCarthy-ian concept album about a solitary man wandering the wastes as the world begins to fall—which is followed closely by Asofy’s Nessun Luogo, a slow drip of liquid drone and black metal-patented desperation custom-made for life’s bleakest moments. Two entirely different sonic trips rendered in the same emotional palette, the pair are currently streaming over at Invisible Oranges, so grab those headphones and get listening.
Finally, we wrap up the weekly releases Berlin blackened crust outfit Ancst and their new micro-LP, Furnace (Vendetta Records). At once brooding and brutal, Ancst, as evidenced by last year’s debut, Moloch, are currently coughing up some of the most compelling black bile in Europe at the moment, and Furnace only reinforces that claim. Sleep no longer. Ancst have arrived.
WHAT TO SEE: As we speed toward the inevitable heat death of the planet, at least get out and enjoy the balmy weather this weekend with Muert at Lucky 13 Saloon tonight and a MASSIVE Saturday, featuring The Body at Saint Vitus Bar, Whitechapel/Cattle Decapitation/Goatwhore at Irving Plaza, Ignite in the Marlin Room, Attacker at Blackthorn 51, and The 2nd Annual Hardcore Veterans Benefit at Lucky 13 Saloon featuring Leeway, Reason to Fight, and more. Don’t let that hangover get the best of you, however, because Sunday doesn’t let up, boasting shows like IKILLYA at the Knitting Factory, and Pain of Salvation in the Marlin Room.
If you survive all that, Monday comes through with a free Letallis-headlined gig at Saint Vitus before Tuesday offers up a much-needed bit of respite. After that, Wednesday welcomes David Duchovny (yep, as in Mulder) to Irving Plaza while Thursday wraps things up on a fittingly frenetic note with Iron Reagan/Power Trip/Krimewatch in the Marlin Room and Secret Cutter/Haunt/Nerve Shatter at STVTS. Enjoy the ride, fiends.
WHAT THE FUCK: To whoever stole Immortal Bird‘s van-and-gear in Brooklyn this week, let me be another one in the chorus of locals currently shouting “fuck you.” Obviously if you know anything about this, please come forward. If you know anything about this and don’t, stop reading and don’t come back. Earn your own shit, pay your own way, and leave an already tenuous metal scene out of it.