Happy belated MLK day, everyone. If you’re coming off a three-day weekend, welcome back to earth. If not, hopefully there’s something here to help. Before we begin, however, let’s just take a second to remember that metal, and it’s diverse, globe-spanning constituency—despite what a bigoted minority of artists and fans might spew—probably wouldn’t exist without the efforts of Dr. King. So next time you feel like vibing someone at a show or sneering at a subset other than your own, table it. Metal might not be for everyone, but it doesn’t belong to anyone, either.
WHAT TO BUY: In what has to be a first for This One Goes To Eleven, we kick today off with a record that wasn’t even released in the past month. Before you grab your pitchforks and take to the streets, however, know that The Quivering Lights (Bindrune)—a pastoral split LP from the metal eccentrics Nachtreich and Spectral Lore—was originally scheduled to drop today but came off the press early (another unprecedented event) and has been sitting in the Eihwaz webstore waiting for your greedy black metals paws to come clawing for a few weeks now. An organic blend of Nachreicht’s neoclassical compositions and Spectral Lore’s otherworldly black metal, The Quivering Lights tells the sorrowful story of Dionysus and Apollo, letting each genre bleed back and forth like the colors of an expert waterpainting. If you’re looking for something mournful for the bitter months ahead, well, here you go.
If you prefer your music blackened with the flames of a trash fire instead of the heat of the sun, then check out Caïna’s fourth full-length, Setter of Unseen Snares (Broken Limbs), which comes seething out of the UK underground today with a potent combination of black metal grit and industrial grind. Though a one-man band since forming in 2004, Caïna, or more specifically, Andy Curtis-Brignell, recruited some help for Setter of Unseen Snares, with Laurence Taylor coming on to provide vocals and lyrics. The end result lands near the nexus of a Krieg/Godflesh/Raspberry Bulbs Venn diagram, which, in addition to communicating what Caïna sound like, also indicates the potential these guys have. Check them out before everyone else catches the scent.
Spanish thrashers Breathless also come correct on their second LP, Return to Pangea (Xtreem Music), which washes up on our shores this week like a warship adrift. It would have been fascinating to hear the band integrate their native tongue into the genre (the Norwegians long ago proved that language is a secondary concern in the metal world) but this is a thrash album, so you know the drill: Come for the riffs, stay for the riffs. Same exact thing goes for Greek heshers Biotoxic Warfare and their new LP, Lobotomized (Slaney), which was uncaged yesterday. Rethrash is thriving in Europe right now, so make sure to keep one ear to the Old World cobblestones.
After you’re done with all of that, Arch Enemy fans will want to check out Christopher Amott’s other band, Armageddon, and their new full length, Captivity & Devourment (Listenable). An intricately wired melodic death metal cyborg, this one comes programmed with enough shifting polyrhythms, sweep picking histrionics, and melotrone goodness to keep even the über nerds happy. Shred never dies.
Finally, in the interest of homefield advantage, we wrap up this week’s new shit with a bow from Brooklyn post-metal figureheads, Sannhet. Give their latest Isis-by-way-of-Alcest space/time warp, “Lost Crown”, a spin and then nab a pre-order of their upcoming LP, Revisionist, over at The Flesner (for those of you hoping to support your local record shop, it’s due on shelves 3/3).
WHAT TO SEE: With the winter ice-fist softening just a bit, the Vitus trek should be just about frostbite free this week, which bodes well for Pennsylvania sludge heathens, Secret Cutter, who hit Greenpoint on Thursday for a riff-packed rager with Godmaker, Huldra, RHIN, and Pink Mass. Brooklyn hard noise outfit Couch Slut follow on Friday with Tiles, Microwave, and Chang Gain Grave, so make sure to buy stock in hearing aids while you still can.
Meanwhile, Texas post-metal soundscapers Set and Setting are set to (hopefully figuratively) punch a hole in The Acheron roof with self-professed Brooklyn “cave metal” trio Blackout and Jersey instrumentalists, A Film In Color. Outside of that it’s a down metal week here in Metropolis. Seether, Papa Roach, and Alien Ant Farm all make tour pit stops in Manhattan, though, so if you’re really desperate for something heavy, take a deep breath, steel yourself, and remember you’ve come back too far to relapse now.
WHAT THE FUCK: This week we have a bittersweet (as opposed to our usually embittered) What The Fuck, thanks to never-before-seen footage from the very last show Dimebag played with the original Pantera backline on New Year’s 2001. Performing party-hardy covers and originals under the secret moniker of Gasoline, this pre-Damageplan lineup puts on a thoroughly entertaining set (ever wonder what Dimebag would sound like shredding all over “Jailbreak”? WE HAVE THE ANSWER AT 6!) before being joined by Pantera bassist Rex Brown for an encore cover of “Moby Dick”. This is a must-watch for any and all self-respecting metal fans, so dig in and make sure to give Chris Stiles a shout out for sitting on this footage for setting such awesome footage free.