It’s officially September and you know what that means people: FALL RELEASE SEASON TIME WOOP WOOP [airhorn, airhorn, airhorn]. So take to the battlements and brace yourself, because if today is just the beginning, I’m legit scared about what’s to come.
WHAT TO HEAR: First up this week is Cairn (Gilead Media), the epic, introspective new long play from one-man Portland doom savant Mizmor. Unfolding over the course of four gargantuan confessionals, Cairn tells the story of ALN’s slow crawl away from faith and the emotional fallout that comes with everything that once helped you make sense of the world suddenly evaporating around you. It’s heavy, personal stuff, and the music reflects that—from dusky acoustics of “Desert of Absurdity” to hysteric black metal crescendos of “Cairn to Suicide”—but everything is anchored by ALN’s chief tool: Mournful, crushing doom that tries and rewards patience in equal measure. Depending on your ability to exercise said patience (it’s gonna take a few listens, trust me), this one has serious AOTY potential, so don’t miss it.
Clicking up through the gears, we arrive at Vitriol’s To Bathe From the Throat Cowardice (Century Media)—a record that might well change the way you look at technical death metal moving forward. The fucked-up brainchild of Instagram guitar stud Kyle Rasmussen, Vitirol are far more than a massive social following on a big label, however: They are a frothing, straight-faced, graphically dexterous death metal band who blend the old-school aggression of bands like Hate Eternal, Morbid Angel, and Nile with some serious new-school chops. If you can’t get into OSDM cause it’s too ignorant and can’t get into tech-death because it’s too precious, To Bathe From the Throat of Cowardice—another one you’ll be seeing on some lists come November—is your one-way ticket out of purgatory (headed southbound, of course.)
After getting run through that psycho-emotional wood chipper, you might need a bit of a cool down and thankfully both Foscor and Kayo Dot are happy to oblige with their new LPs, Els Sepulcres Blancs (Season of Mist) and Blasphemy (Prophecy Productions). The former is brooding post-metal, minus all the pretty-boy shininess, while the latter is art rock-tinged experimental, but both paint with a monochrome palette of silvers and greys that are sure to be nice fit for the skies ahead. Check them out here and here if you’re looking to catch your breath.
On the underground black metal circuit, meanwhile, Sleeping Ancient awake with their new full-length, There is No Truth But Death (Viridian Flame). Bearing the torch for Texas black metal, Sleeping Ancient—which started as a post-rock outfit before charring in the Houston heat—juxtapose shouted hardcore howls against a thrumming a black-metal backdrop to create something at once comfortingly familiar and refreshingly unique. If that’s not quite tickling the autumnal funny bone, however, The Ember, The Ash—the new depressive black metal project from Unreqvited’s TK—have just what your looking for with their desperate, downcast new LP, Consciousness Torn From the Void (Avantgarde Music).
Finally, if that new Vitriol joint only piqued the appetite for oodles of noodles, then there’s plenty more knotty, knuckle-nuking tech death on offer this week courtesy of the Leeds-based Cognizance and their new one, Malignant Dominion (Prosthetic Records), as well as 646965 (Unique Leader), the latest LP from the groove-oriented nuts in Omophagia. Wash all those down with the melodic misanthropy of Disillusion’s The Liberation (Prophecy Productions)—the band’s first output since 2006—and you’ve had yourself a pretty damn good week.
WHAT TO SEE: Meanwhile, in the world of metal you have to put clothes on for, you can catch Liturgy at Market Hotel, As Cities Burn at Saint Vitus and Eyehategod at White Eagle Hall tonight, followed on Saturday by the Chris Cyanide solo bass project at Lucky 13 Saloon, Wound Man at Rams American Pub, Siege/Fistula at Brooklyn Bazaar, Mad Phoenix at Cobra Club, Avail at Warsaw, Eyehategod at The Kingsland, Nebula at Vitus, and Back to School 2019 at White Eagle Hall featuring Martyr AD, Folly, Vein, and more. After that, wrap up the weekend on Sunday with Radiate at Knitting Factory, SOS at Tompkins Square Park, Whiner at Vitus, and Boris at White Eagle Hall.
On Monday, The Convalescence at Vitus is your only real option, but Tuesday makes up for it with HammerFall at Brooklyn Bazaar, Subhumans (UK) at The Kingsland, and Boris/Uniform at Elsewhere. Wednesday is spearheaded by ‘68 at Vitus and Soulfly/Unearth at (Le) Poisson Rouge before Thursday wraps things up with Richie Ramone at Revolution Bar, The Muckers at The Broadway, and God Is an Astronaut at Music Hall of Williamsburg.
WHAT THE FUCK: Welp folks, we’ve officially arrived at the end times. How do can I tell this particular moment apart from the six trillion other apocalyptic happenings currently assailing our planet? Because Rob Halford has officially announced his first-ever holiday album, Celestial, with a new single, “Donner & Blitzen”, and it’s only the first week of September. I hope you’ve been stockpiling canned goods, because the grid will be collapsing any day now. Good luck and God speed, cherished (and former) readers.