WHAT TO HEAR: If you haven’t already picked up on it, black metal is my thing. I write about it, I listen to it, I play it. It calms me down, wakes me up, and, paradoxically enough, makes the world a little less dark in the process. In that spirit, we tear into this week’s release bone with a little help from local boys Woe and their first record in four years, Hope Attrition (Vendetta Records). A monolith of long-form black metal dexterously rendered in gray and black, this one—as you may have guessed from its title—is both a direct response to the [rapidly deteriorating] state of the world and the personal journey of frontman Chris Grigg, who wrote and scrapped nearly a full album’s worth of material before arriving at the finished product (which packs about three LPs worth of riffs into seven songs). So yeah, go check it out via Noisey. You won’t be disappointed.
Also of mandatory note this week is the new self-titled LP (Relapse) from legendary Florida death metal squad, Obituary. The whole throwback death metal has been done to, well, death in recent years, so it’s nice to finally hear an ACTUAL old band do it and do it this damn well. If this were some crusty upstart outfit from the Midwest, the metal-verse would be losing its damn mind, but since it’s Obituary, it’s just business as usual. Cynicism aside, however, if you’re in the mood for meat and potatoes, there’s no better piece of extreme music on offer this week.
Speaking of old school death metal, German purveyors Venenum are back with their first release in over 6 years, Trance of Death (Sepulchural Voice). It’s a nice healthy blend of traditional riff-writing and contemporary execution, so check it out. If those don’t sate your appetite for all things death, then you might have a bit of a problem, but I’ll posit Dodecahedron‘s Kwintessens (Season of Mist)—a Deathspell-worshipping blast of Dutch dissonance—as a worthwhile addition.
Meanwhile, toeing the line between all that down-tuned brutality and the frosty atmospherics of Scandinavian black metal are long-running Finnish outfit Lantern and their new LP, II: Morphosis (Dark Descent). If you’re already familiar with the Finnish death metal template—blackened as opposed to buzzing—just add 25 years of metal hybridization to that formula and you’ll be on the right track. But as always, a quick listen should get you there far faster than I can.
Finally, wrap the week with sweeping, snowy Québécois black metal from Délétère and their new LP Per Aspera Ad Pestilentiam (Sepulchural Productions). If that doesn’t scratch the winter weary itch, then perhaps Fell Ruin’s To the Concrete Drifts (I, Voidhanger) or MMXIV – MMXVI (Iron Bonehead), the new split from twisted Euro black metallers Onirik and Grimfaug will. Needless to say, it’s a hell of a time to be (just barely) alive for metal fans.
WHAT TO SEE: With winter back in full swing, the call of the couch may be strong tonight, but trade it’s temptation for a killer lineup of Friday shows, including St. Paddy’s rangers like Murphy’s Law at Don Pedro, Shadow Windhawk at Lucky 13 Saloon, and Begorrah at The Shillelagh Tavern. If you’re looking something less festive, however, then Sunn O))) at Knockdown Center—my pick of the night—should more than suffice. If all the Guinness and Powers didn’t get ya, then also make sure to get out there on Saturday for Breakdown/Red Death at Saint Vitus, Tortured Existence/Night Rite at Lucky 13 Saloon, and Senses Fail at Webster Hall.
Sunday is mellower, but After the Burial at Webster Hall and Captured! By Robots may be worth late-weekend fliers before Monday rolls around with Remwar at Alphaville and the first evening of Bring Me the Horizon‘s two-night T5 stand. Tuesday boasts the back half of that, as well as Le Butcherettes at Saint Vitus, but if you really want to get your head kicked in, just wait until Wednesday when Nails, Toxic Holocaust, and Gatecreeper hit Music Hall of Williamsburg. Finally, Thursday wraps things up with Dio tribute band Last in Line at Blackthorn 51 and Senses Fail at the Starland Ballroom.
WHAT THE FUCK: You had to know it was coming, eventually. Once the scorned fan testimonials and former bandmate takedowns subsided. Once the long con felt so old it was new again. Blake Judd is officially back and he’s dragging Nachtmystium with him. There will be a new EP, Resilient, two US festival dates, and, presumably, a small army of USBM fans ready to Venmo him their kidneys as soon as he asks. Which is fine. It’s your bank account, your time, and your prerogative after all. But as W once eloquently said, “fool me once, shame on…shame on you, fool me—you can’t get fooled again.”