Across the world, people are worshipping a zombie prophet and mourning the ashes of humanity’s most famous cathedral. Needless to say, it’s been a pretty metal week in our neck of the multiverse, so stop by and check it out.
WHAT TO HEAR: First up this week is the long-awaited Dead to a Dying World with their sprawling new full-length, Elegy (Profound Lore). The Texas outfit’s first contact since 2015, Elegy is a heartstring-puller from the off, juxtaposing the beautiful and brutal with three massive post-doom centerpiece separated by a quartet of string interludes. If you’re looking for riffz, you probably came to the wrong place, but if you’re fine with a different kind of heft, then Elegy’s tactile, tensile sadness is sure to crush you all the same.
Same goes for A Letter of Red (Svart Records), the seventh sacrifice from heavy-psych coven Sabbath Assembly. The record sees the return of Randall Dunn as producer for the first time since the band’s debut, and in turn sees a spring-like return to their rock n’ roll roots. “I imagined us all in the cosmos with 70s hi-fi headphones on riding a great winged beast airbrushed on the side of a Chevy van,” he says of the album’s inspiration, and with plenty of help from frontwoman Jamie Myers—and the shape-shifting guitar work of Kevin Hufnagel—A Letter of Red paints that picture vividly.
After that keep the trip going with Haze Mage’s full-length debut, Chronicles (Grimoire Records). Specializing in what they call “swords and sorcery” doom, Haze Mage hit all the expected touchstones—Sabbath, St. Vitus, Sleep, etc.—but it’s an unexpected influence that truly sets the apart: Matthew Casella’s crooning Glenn Danzig baritone. Needless to say, if you’re looking for Danzig tunes with the horror vibes of Samhain (and without the shittiness of Glenn Danzig), this one is worth a look.
Meanwhile, across the world, prolific Australian black metal outfit Mesarthim are back with the latest in their long line of surprise releases, Ghost Condensate (self-released). When it comes to “cosmic” anything, no one does it better than Mesarthim and their Oort Cloud of hazy synths and grainy guitars, and Ghost Condensate—comprised of two 20-minute movements—is their most realized work to date. Perhaps most notably, the band are also crowdfunding their first-ever vinyl release, so get over to their bandcamp throw a couple bucks at what is a very good cause indeed.
When you’re done there, dust off the telescope once more for Cosmic Purification’s At the Threshold of the Greatest Chasm (I, Voidhanger). But this time you’ll want to point it down instead of up, because the new death metal project of The Clearing Path and Summit’s G.G. offers only the faintest glimmer of stars from its deep, dark Lazarus pit. If you prefer your death metal with a bigger studio budget (wrong, but to each their own I guess), then also make sure to spend some time with Allegaeon’s epic, earworming new LP, Apoptosis (Metal Blade).
A nice study buddy for that one is Fractal Universe’s Rhizomes of Insanity (Metal Blade), a 10-track symposium on progressive death metal and, if frontman Vince Wilquin is to be believed, the concept of insanity itself. Finally, cleanse the palate of all that highbrow bullshit with a brand-new 7” split from Iron Reagan and, yes, Sacred Reich. You gotta fight for your right to party, folks.
WHAT TO SEE: Friday kicks off the week in shows by packing crazy bills into into just about every metal-friendly venue in the tri-state, including Hatebreed/Obituary/Cro-Mags at PlayStation Theater (jesus, the whole place is gonna be a pit), Children of Bodom at Irving Plaza, Veil of Maya at Gramercy Theatre, Nihiloceros at Lucky 13 Saloon, Mo’ynoq at Mill Hill, Bangladeafy at Katie’s, a L.O.T.I.O.N. record-release rager at Trans-Pecos, and a Hypoxia CD-release bash at Saint Vitus. Saturday—4/20, fwiw—shows no mercy with SMD at The Kingsland, Tribus at Blackthorn 51, FastPlants at Lucky 13 Saloon, Unearthly Trance/Grey Skies Fallen at Shakers Pub, Tesla at Starland Ballroom, Acid Mothers Temple at Market Hotel, and an all-metal tribute to the Bee Gees at Saint Vitus featuring Netherlands and more, before Easter Sunday welcomes Blood Chalice/One Master to Lucky 13 Saloon, a Terry Green matinee at Saint Vitus followed by Brother Hawk in the primetime slot, and Acid Mothers Temple at The Saint.
Monday welcomes Mutant Scum to Vitus while Tuesday brings Sea of Treachery to The Kingsland, Uli Jon Roth to Gramercy Theatre, Combichrist to Debonair Music Hall, and Ufomammut to Saint Vitus. Uli Jon Roth and Combichrist return on Wednesday at Wonder Bar and Gramercy Theatre, respectively, while Lower Tar hits Vitus. Finally on Thursday wrap things up with Anvil at Saint Vitus and Sunn O))) at Brooklyn Steel.
WHAT THE FUCK: Want to blow off some steam this week? Try a Gorgoroth Adult Coloring Book! (Or just shove a crayon directly into your eye, up to you.)