Welp, the lists are officially out, and while I don’t necessarily object to semi-major sources pumping out their year-enders before December—SEO is an early-bird’s worm, after all—you won’t find one here for at least another two weeks. In other words, keep your eyes peeled and pants on. It’s coming, but as with everything in this god-forsaken city, it’s gonna be fashionably late.
WHAT TO HEAR: This week marks the return of the (seemingly at least) long-dormant Throaat with their first full-length since in a few years, Reflections in the Darkness (Dying Victims Productions). Rooted in thrash and first-wave black metal, Throaat’s grave-robbing sound has always been a simple one, but Reflections in the Darkness drives the band’s lo-fi approach to its absolute zenith with renewed aggression, gothic keyboard flourishes, and the most ferocious drumming they have ever laid to tape. Sure, we may have not heard from Throaat in awhile, but if you’re into sinister, straightforward underground metal dragged straight out of the dungeons of ‘87, this one is well worth the wait.
Speaking of comebacks and the late 80s, Tampa death metal pioneers Morbid Angel also return today with their new full-length, Kingdoms Disdained (Silver Linings Music). Reuniting Trey Azagthoth and founding bassist Steve Tucker, Kingdoms Disdained—while coming nowhere near the band’s dizzying early 90s high-water marks—is nonetheless a step in the right direction for a band who has taken a few questionable ones over the years. Produced by Erik Rutan—an underrated death metal icon in his own right—and thrumming with riff after massive riff, Kingdoms Disdained is more than worth a go if you’re a fan (or just, err, morbidly curious). If not, then who the hell are you and who let you in here?
After that, check out the release probably has the most overall listening legs for me, Eldamar’s A Dark Forgotten Past (Northern Silence). Tolkien-indebted, keyboard-drenched, and dripping with all sorts of grandiose goodness, Eldamar—especially in the way the one-man Norwegian project buries the guitars in some sort of Misty Mountain fog—bears more than a passing resemblance to Summoning. This is far more than a humble nostalgia project, however, blending a reverence of fantasy and nature with contemporary black metal melody to create one of the year’s most meditative metal listens. Check it out via bandcamp.
If Eldamar is the sound of mortals gazing at the stars, then The Negative Bias’s new record, Lamentation of the Chaos Omega (Aeternitas Tenebrarum Musicae Fundamentum) is the sound of the stars gazing back. The so-called “transcendental nightmare from the deepest darkspace” lands at the intersection of Mesarthim, Void Omina, and Terminal Redux-era Vektor (high praise, if you peeked at my most-listened to stuff last year), so grab your moon boots and check it out. After that, extend your trip around the black metal cosmos with Nemorensis’s The Fae Queen (Sol y Nieve), which spins out into the ether with more keyboards, huge sweeping crescendos, and the fury of some forgotten space god. Give it a listen via Invisible Oranges.
Finally, let’s bring things back to earth with Russian black metal outfit Jassa’s second all-consuming full-length in as many years, Incarnation of the Higher Gnosis (Fallen Empire). Essentially the sound of rotting in some foul Ural swamp covered in a swarm of vampiric flies, Jassa thrum, writhe, and beguile as always, so if you’ve yet to make the acquaintance, go ahead and shake the corpse’s hand while you still can.
WHAT TO SEE: The shows go on as always this week with Organ Dealer at Matchless, Hundredth at Brooklyn Bazaar, Reign of Zaius at Lucky 13 Saloon, Internal Bleeding at Hot Shots, The Undead at Blackthorn 51, and Glassjaw at Saint Vitus. After that Saturday oozes on with Immortal Suffering at Hartley’s, Revocation at Hot Shots for South Jersey Metal Fest 6, Never Say Die at The Spot, Narcotic Wasteland at Blackthorn 51, Midnite Hellion at Paul’s Tavern, Wolf Eyes at Saint Vitus, Dead Roses at Desmond’s Tavern, Coteries at Secret Project Robot, Billy Club Sandwich at The Kingsland, Ecid at Gold Sounds, and Mayhem/Immolation/Black Anvil at Irving Plaza.
Sunday, meanwhile, puts an exclamation point on a crazy metal weekend with Cleric’s record release show at Saint Vitus, Iron Chic/Off With Their Heads at Knitting Factory, and Bobaflex at The Kingsland, while Monday brings Dark Castle to Vitus and Tuesday welcomes Prurient to Elsewhere and Morta Skuld to Lucky 13 Saloon. Wednesday is headlined by Suicide Silence at Brooklyn Bazaar, The Life and Times at Saint Vitus, and Danny Elfman performing the Nightmare Before Christmas score live at Barclays Center, before Thursday wraps things up with Psychostick at Revolution, Bobaflex at Debonair Music Hall, and shred spectacular at Saint Vitus featuring Vinnie Moore and Gus G.
WHAT THE FUCK: The Saint Vitus house lager has long stood as a mandatory Brooklyn metal pilgrimage, but as far as its actual merits as a beer, well, that remains open for debate. Thankfully, however, this week Saint Vitus begin their unholy union with KCBC and their demon spawn—the Darkest of Lager—promises to significantly upgrade the tap situation up in Greenpoint. To celebrate, KCBC is hosting a trademark Vitus Morbid Hour on Thursday 12/7 from 7 to close, featuring ample pours of the new poison, free pizza, and, of course, plenty of metal. If you’re interested—it’s beer and meta and pizza, so I assume you are—full details can be found on the flyer below.