Another week, another bonkers roster of metal releases. It’s a good problem to have, but I’m not even caught up with August yet. Oh well, onward into the void.
WHAT TO HEAR: First up this week is one that I and more than a few other heavy metal degenerates have been waiting breathlessly for since 2015: Crypt Sermon’s The Ruins of Fading Light (Dark Descent). The follow-up to the band’s celebrated debut Out of Garden, Fading Light is everything you want from an album four years in the making: Bigger, heavier, catchier, and more ambitious, stretching out over 10 tracks of ooey, gooey Dio-y goodness. The album doesn’t show off the absurd virtuosity of guitarist Steve Jansson and drummer Enrique Sagarnaga, but instead puts them to work in Service of the Song, each punctuated by the crystalline pipes of Brooks Wilson, who, no matter how ornate the trodding, trotting structures become, always manages to work in a fistful of hooks. Give in and give it a listen via Decibel, humble pawns.
Nipping at that one’s heels is the return of another personal favorite for me—Cloud Rat, AKA the Thou of grind—and their new LP, Pollinator (Artoffact Records). A constantly mutating blend of melodic hardcore, slowcore, post-black metal, and, of course, radioactive grind, Pollinator doesn’t use its blinker when changing lanes, and yet everything feels of a part, thanks to Madison Marshall’s desperate yalp and the band’s emphasis on dramatics at every turn in their exit-less interstate system. You won’t hear a more ambitious “punk” record all year, but if Pollinator still isn’t out there enough for you, the band have also released a companion EP, Do Not Let Me Off the Cliff, as an outlet for the shit that’s even crazier than what they’re doing on a daily basis.
Once you’re done getting your head torn off by that pair, burn the body with Weeping Sores’ False Confession (I, Voidhanger). The brainchild of Pyrrhon’s Doug Moore—rounded out by Pyrrhon percussionist Steve Schwegler and Hell/Tchornobog bassist Gina Eygenhuysen—Weeping Sores turn down the skronk and crank the low end for a melodic brand of death/doom featuring just enough touches of that classic Pyrrhon dissonance to keep you guessing. It lumbers. It churns. It growls. It grates. It’s stank-face crushing and crushingly sad. In other words, it’s everything you want from death/doom, so whatever you do, don’t sleep on this one.
Did someone say black metal? No? Well, we’re gonna talk about it anyway, starting with Eternity—the side project of Blasphemer (of Aura Noir and Mayhem fame)—and their first new LP in over decade, To Become the Great Beast (Soulseller Records). It’s grainy, gritty second wave perfection, so make sure to give it a spin before checking out Dold Vorde End Navn’s Gjengangere i hjertets mørke (Soulseller Records). Featuring members of Dødheimsgard, Nidingr, and more, Gjengangere is notable for the inclusion of Ulver acolyte Håvard Jørgensen, who, as you might expect, has a similar second-wave formula to Eternity, only upping the lushness and grandeur.
Meanwhile in the charred borderlands of blackened death, Portland duo Nightfell—comprised of Tragedy/His Hero is Gone’s Todd Burdette and Mournful Congregation’s Tim Call—and their new full-length beast A Sanity Deranged (20 Buck Spin). Featuring guests vox and instrumentation from Neurosis’ Billy Anderson, this one hits like a hammer and cuts like a knife, so if you’re looking for the best of both worlds, make sure to give it a listen. After that, bow down to Texas trio Haunter and their new one, Sacramental Death Qualia (I, Voidhanger.) The means to the end may vary, but the end remains the same.
After all that, wraps things up with a pair of polar opposites in Eschaton’s Death Obsession (Unique Leader)—a new batch of shreddy/catchy tech death from New England—and Ram’s The Throne Within (Metal Blade)—the latest offering from the Swedish heavy metal vets with an authentically British sound. Choose wisely.
WHAT TO SEE: Out in the big bad world, the shows go on tonight—Friday the 13th, it’s worth mentioning—with Reign of Fear at Lucky 13 Saloon, Valence at Whiskey Shack, Kamelot at Terminal 5, and The Armed at Saint Vitus. On Saturday, check out Wovenhand at Vitus and Jethro Tull at Forest Hills Stadium, and Wicked at Blackthorn 51, followed on the (black) Sabbath by Billy Stark Stone and Rico Blythe at Arlene’s Grocery, All That Remains/Lacuna Coil at Webster Hall, Babymetal at Terminal 5, Bury Your Dead at Saint Vitus, and No Redeeming/Urban Waste at Niagara.
If you survive all that, Monday welcomes Priestess to The Broadway, followed on Tuesday by Conflict at The Kingsland and Tesla at The Paramount. Wednesday features a pair of killer shows at Vitus—Venom Prison/Homewrecker at 8pm and Lingua Ignota at 11:30pm—before Thursday wraps things up with T4C 9 at Our Wicked Lady and H20’s 25th anniversary bash at Amityville Music Hall.
WHAT THE FUCK: Happy Friday the 13th, folks!