Damn, since when did April become October? We have a bonkers week in metal to get you, so grab your board and let’s hang ten.
WHAT TO HEAR: Leading off the order this week is the latest longplay from psychedelic sludge kings Inter Arma, Sulphur English (Relapse). The band’s first output since 2016’s Paradise Gallows, Sulphur English is slightly earthier affair, delving into bluesy, terrestrial side of the quartet’s often extra-terrestrial sound—especially when the gain knobs get spun to the left, as they do on standouts like “Howling Lands.” There’s still plenty of Inter Arma’s punishing sludge scattered throughout the sprawling runtime too of course, so if you’re cruising for a bruising, carve out some time and headspace and check out one of the most ambitious metal records of the year.
Speaking of cold winds and the like, make sure to let atmospheric black metal vets Waldgeflüster sting your soul this week with their latest LP, Mondscheinsonaten (Nordvis). Meaning “Moonlight Sonatas” in German, Mondscheinsonaten is at once a tribute to Bavarian winters and a product of their thaw, ebbing like some Planet Earth timelapse with gently caressed acoustics and massive, amp-exploding melodies. Waldgeflüster have been perfecting their blend of folk and pastoral black metal for awhile (recently collaborating with the Panopticon if you’re looking for a stateside parallel), so open the windows and turn it the fuck up.
Shoving a similar needle into the same vein, meanwhile, are Tolkien-branded Canadian black metal maestros Numenorean and their sophomore full-length, Adore (Season of Mist). Numenorean bumped into some controversy with the cover art for their first LP, which depicted a mutilated kid (pro tip: don’t do that), but Adore leaves all that behind with a sound that could Make it Big, as we say here in the industry. There’s screamo sensibilities and metalcore aggression, all welded to the frame of some very pretty, expensive-pedalboard atmo black metal. Get your sad face on and check it out.
Sulphur English is the only record with AOTY portent this week, however, with Jersey’s own Hath turning in their own contender, Of Rot and Ruin (Willowtip Records). Like our top album of last year, Horrendous’ Idol, Of Rot and Ruin uses death metal as a launching pot for grander experimentation, pinging from black this to core that like signals off a forgotten satellite. And while the band earn their “progressive” tag, Hath use their considerable chops for good, weaving in and out of one memorable SONG (as opposed to a collection of generic shred templates) after the next. Give it a listen via MetalSucks and just try not to get pulled under its spell.
In the pit, meanwhile, you’ll find Vessel (Corpse Flower Records), the long-awaited sophomore full-length from Seattle grind supergroup, Theories. If that doesn’t electroshock you back into coherence, then perhaps Fatal Visions (Edged Circle Productions), the latest LP from Norwegian thrashers Inculter has the voltage you require.
Finally wrap up the week’s essentials with a little exercise in contrasts courtesy of Nekrasov’s The Mirror Void (Prosthetic) and Big Business’ The Beast You Are (Joyful Noise Recordings). The former is resolution-averse, mystery-shrouded one-man black metal, while the latter is sunny spring sludge that will have you neck deep in a Floor kick in no time. Don’t stress though. Either way, you can’t go wrong.
WHAT TO SEE: The best live metal Friday in recent memory goes down tonight with Dream Theater at Beacon Theater, Touche Amore at Brooklyn Bazaar, Okilly Dokilly (that Simpsons metal band) at Arlene’s Grocery, Psycroptic/Cannabis Corpse at Gold Sounds, Baroness/Deafheaven/Zeal & Ardor at Terminal 5, and fucking Uada at Saint Vitus. If you’re still in one piece come Saturday, check out Murphy’s Law at Blackthorn 51, Suffocation/Belphegor at Metropool, Lez Zeppelin at Gramercy Theatre, The Alarm at Irving Plaza, Knocked Loose at Starland Ballroom, Sweet Magma at Desmond’s, Beatdown Nation at Brooklyn Bazaar headlined by Chains of Misery and Mad Diesel, Stillsuit in the BK Bazaar Cellar, and a Saint Vitus birthday bash with Inter Arma and Forn. Finally on Sunday, get out there and catch Rapid Deployment at Niagara, Full Bush at Lucky 13 Saloon, Rarity at The Kingsland, Flaw at Championship Bar, and CarOps at The Meatlocker.
Monday, meanwhile, welcomes Seax to 102-06 43rd Ave, Foehammer at Vitus, and Aborted at Knitting Factory, followed on Tuesday by Salvage the Tongue at The Meatlocker, We Came as Romans at Gramercy Theatre, The Claypool Lennon Delirium at Brooklyn Steel, The Machinist at The Kingsland, and L.A. Guns at the Iridium. Wednesday finds Knocked Loose at Revolution and Condor at Brooklyn Bazaar, before Thursday wraps things up with Born A New at Saint Vitus, Lynch Mob at Blackthorn 51, Jesus Wept at The Meatlocker, and Whitechapel at Starland Ballroom.
WHAT THE FUCK: At the risk of giving that little church burning prick anymore free publicity, let’s use this to talk about tomorrow, which is apparently Record Store Day. If you enjoy the wax-shopping experience, but wish there longer lines filled with people who purchase LPs by shouting “ALEXA, BUY FATHER JOHN MISTY” the other 364 days a year, then these are the metal releases you may or may not find on shelves tomorrow.
Sunn O))) – Life Metal
Motorhead – “Overkill/Bomber” and “Rockaway Beach”
Goblin – Yell
High on Fire – Bat Salad
Mastodon – Stairway to Nick John
Pelican – Midnight & Mesalamine