In a fit of domestication (and, in this case, transparency), I spent this past Sunday assembling IKEA furniture for my girlfriend. And as anyone who has ever spent their weekend assembling IKEA furniture can tell you, the only thing it makes you want to do is throw on something caustic and smash that pile of Swedish voodoo back into the splinters from whence it came. So here’s to that caustic something and the perhaps foolhardy hope that I can find solace in sonic destruction alone.
WHAT TO BUY: From the warm analog glow of Dawnbringer’s Night of the Hammer to the dungeons and dragon-isms of Visigoth’s debut, The Revenant King, classic sounds have recently commandeered underground metal, putting Philly supergroup Crypt Sermon and their first-ever full length, Out of the Garden (Dark Descent), behind the proverbial wheel. Featuring members of Ashencult, Hivelords, Infiltrator, Trenchrot, and Labyrinthine, Out of the Garden writhes with big baroque riffs, castle spire-climbing choruses, and pure modern shred (these leads will grab your attention span by the throat), becoming one of the best-yet heavy releases of 2015 in the process. If you’re exclusively into tech death or neo-industrial grind, there’s no real need to tune into the full stream, but everyone else (especially fans of anything Dio—Rainbow, early 80s Sabbath, solo) should consider it mandatory listening.
In case that one somehow doesn’t satisfy your weekly riff quota, then check out South Beach bubble-sludge kings Torche and their Relapse records debut, Restarter, which detonates in the crossover metal borderlands today. Toning back the hooks and ratcheting up the aggression, Restarter, influenced perhaps by frontman Steve Brooks’ time spent writing for Floor in the past 18 months, is Torche’s heaviest offering yet, tearing off headbangers like old scabs. Listen to the whole thing and then get out there when they hit Vitus with Nothing and Wrong in a months’ time (it’s sold out, so start that ticket search now if you’re not already on the list).
With colder climes calling, we head to Finland where legendary Viking metal battalion Ensiferum have readied their latest full length, One Man Army (Metal Blade), for global deployment. Counterbalancing their nerdgasmic folk leanings (either your thing or definitely not your thing), Ensiferum’s battle scarred epics do the heavy lifting here, injecting a much-needed element of hardcore grit to a an oft welter-weight metal niche. The four bonus tracks—longer than most EPs these days—might be overkill, but this one, for all its fiery riffs and assorted sonic hyperbole, is a must hear nonetheless.
If you’re looking to keep it local, then check out another retro-minded Philly act, Ruby the Hatchet, who, after a 2014 spent turning Brooklyn’s finest metal venues inside out, release their new vision quest of a record, Valley of the Snake (Tee Pee), today. Once you’re sufficiently blurred out on their hazy blend of stoner riffs and acid-fried organ, snap back to NYC bullshit with post-hardcore noise boyz Fashion Week, and their nihilistic debut, Prêt-à-Porter (Solar Flare). Like their namesake, Fashion Week specialize in brooding misery with occasional spikes of red hot anger and are about to be a big deal, so make sure to grab a runway-side seat over at Invisible Oranges.
Further astray, blackened Mexico death metallers, Hacavitz, have their new full length, Darkness Beyond (Dark Descent), streaming over at Decibel now. In college, my English degree came with a pre-attached “Differing Cultural Perspectives” requirement, and Hacavitz certainly fit that bill, but its Goat Semen and their latest slab of Satan-loving Peruvian death metal, Ego Svm Satana (Hell’s Headbangers), who are passing out the thesis syllabi as we speak.
Finally, in order to neatly and conveniently bookend this week’s new releases with the second of its two fabulous new doom records (and thus satisfy my never-ending thirst for order in a world of chaos), we now turn our attention to Providence, Rhode Island, where long-tenured doom trio Elder are preparing to unchain their widely anticipated opus, Lore (Armageddon Shop), on Friday. Simultaneously mind expanding and skull crushing, this one has been lulling the greater metal press into a YOB-inspired trance over the past few weeks, becoming a genuine doom record of the contender in the process. But fuck the labels and odds making. Let’s keep this simple. What we have here is the sound (big-booted riffs and ebbing techicolor psych) of an obscenely talented band hitting their sun-scraping apex. Sit back and behold.
WHAT TO SEE: Winter seems to be relenting slightly this week, which means the trek beyond the wall to Saint Vitus just became slightly less impenetrable. That’s a good thing too, given the stacked lineup of shows that begins tonight with Walter Schreifels’ (Gorilla Biscuits, Quicksand, Rival Schools) chill out project, Dead Heavens headlining their third of three Vitus shows this month. Instrumetalists This Will Destroy You follow for a back-to-back on Thursday and Friday with Christopher Tignor and So Hideous supporting the former and Sannhet (whose new record drops a week from today) and Planning for Burial backing up the latter.
On Saturday, Haunted Hotel Records hosts their 13th birthday bash with some help from German powerviolence mutants YACØPSÆ and the eardrum destroyers known as Bastard Noise. Remember your earplugs for that one. Sunday is an off night, but Monday wraps our modified week up with righteous rager featuring Geoff Rickley-fronted hardcore outfit, United Nations, Black Clouds, LOUD BOYZ, and Crushed.
Down borough at The Acheron, Providence hardcore lifers Dropdead arrive on Wednesday night for what is sure to be a neckbreaker with Creeping Dose, Narcoleptics, and more, while up in Queens, Sworn Enemy hit Blackthorn 51 for a Saturday face-melter. Of course, if you’re going anywhere on Saturday and you’re being totally honest about it, it’s gonna be Webster Hall, where Behemoth, Cannibal Corpse, Aeon, and Tribulation make up a crazy marquee full of big-budget metal insanity. These dudes don’t come around too often, so make sure to get out there and welcome them to the neighborhood.
WHAT THE FUCK: A bittersweet farewell to the dudes in Hull, who played their final show at CoCo 66 this past weekend. Long before the Liturgy zenith, long before Vitus and The Acheron, and long before the internet had multiple blogs post a week dedicated to such things, these guys were here killing it all the same. God speed you black emperors.