Another week of winter is in the books and with it, plenty of metal—both live and otherwise—to keep you warm. Huddle up and thaw those hands beside the hellfire.
WHAT TO HEAR: First up this week is No Cross No Crown (Napalm Death), the latest studio full-length from Southern crossover titans, Corrosion of Conformity. Far more than just another notch in the band’s already very notched belt, however, No Cross No Crown demands your attention because of one thing and one thing only: Pepper Keenan. Returning to the fold for the first time since 2005, Keenan’s impact is immediately felt, his drawling roar leading the line as a predictably catchy barrage of galloping riffs and harmonized shred rollick away behind him. Is it an instant CoC Classic? That remains to be seen, but as far as “old guy” metal records go in 2018, No Cross No Crown already has one hell of a head start.
Closely behind that is one of the first black-metal-album-of-the-year contenders of 2018 in Panphage’s Jord (Nordvis). The third and final album from the murky one-man band, Jord is thrumming, cascading black metal at its most meditative, marrying aching melodies to post-industrial rhythms and filtering everything through a thick blanket of morning fog. Continuing Fjallbrandt’s reinterpretations of classic Swedish folk songs, Jord feels appropriately ancient and fittingly monolithic—a perfect mid-winter escape from consciousness, should that be the kind of thing you’re looking for.
Meanwhile, if you’re in a frosty folk metal mood—and it’s January, so if you’re not now, you never will be—make sure to check out Heidevolk’s Vuur van Verzet (Napalm Records). Now I’d be lying if I said I was a longtime Heidevolk apostle, but the impression I’m getting from those who are, is that Verzet is something of a sea change for the band. Gone is the Viking garb and frontman Mark Bockting, replaced instead by a spare all-black ensemble and Jacco de Wijs. Beyond the aesthetic shifts, the sound has sharpened into a fine ice spear, combining mid-tempo riffage and the elegant baritone croon of metal’s only (?) notable dual frontman (as in two lead singers, neither of whom do anything but sing) attack. In other word, there’s more than enough weird stuff happening here to warrant a listen.
Finally, wrapping up the release docket this week is Tamsins Iilkam (Metal Blade), the latest offering from Faroe Island doom collective, Hamferð. One part Sigur Ros, one part Paradise Lost, Tamsins Iilkam specializes in slow-motion torrential downpours—winding, patient crescendos that toe the line between gorgeous and ghastly. If you’re already familiar with the North Atlantic metal underground—or Hamferd themselves—you probably get the picture, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t pretty to look at.
WHAT TO SEE: The January thaw is officially on, and that’s a good thing because there’s a metric ton of stuff to get out and see tonight, starting with Iron Reagan/Despise You at Brooklyn Bazaar, Junta at Heck, Point Blank at Shillelagh Tavern, Acid Priest at Debonair Music Hall, and Dying Fetus at Vitus. The fun then continues on Saturday with Sworn Enemy at Blackthorn 51, Empire in Descent at Gussy’s, Demonic Sweaters at Gold Sounds, ELEFANTKILLER at Lovecraft Bar, Meet Me at the Altar at Dingbatz, and Glue/Urchin in the Brooklyn Bazaar basement while True Widow/Sannhet/Planning For Burial do their thing upstairs in the main show room.
On Sunday, DMP hit Lucky 13 Saloon, AeonRings shred Stimulate, and Nobody’s Babe bash the patriarchy at Gold Sounds, before MLK Day comes through with Say Anything at Irving Plaza, Remain/Chaste at Saint Vitus, and another necessary reminder to support metal of all colors. Tuesday, welcomes Henry Rollins to The Space at Westbury and Open the Nile to Vitus before Wednesday (Thursday is unusually quiet this week) closes the ouroboros with Tantric (holy shit, still?) at Blackthorn 51, another Henry Rollins gig at the Starland Ballroom, and Ode to Doom at Arlene’s Grocery featuring Begotten, St. Bastard, Eternal Black, and more.
WHAT THE FUCK: RIP to the last living original member of Motörhead, “Fast” Eddie Clarke, who passed this week at the age of 67. Lemmy gets most of the Motörhead plaudits and for good reason, but you can’t make a metal record with a little geetar, and fast Eddie’s blues-punk approach was always a vital foil to iconic frontman’s rolling thunder. Pour some out and get in the pit.