WHAT TO BUY: We start this week with a legitimate AOTY contender in Tribulation’s The Children of the Night (Century Media). Ensconcing listeners in a warm analog embrace before slipping a blackened Swedish shiv between their ribs, this one is a near pitch-perfect amalgamation of old and new that has some pretty big media outlets wetting their Watain undies in anticipation. “When I listen to The Children Of The Night, the album I’m most often reminded of is Metallica’s 1986 monument Master Of Puppets,” writes Stereogum’s chief metal head Michael Nelson because, as he says, “Like Master, The Children Of The Night feels like the product of a confident band in complete control of its estimable powers.” I’m not necessarily sure if you’ll agree—and definitely don’t go in expecting thrash; Tribulation owe more to Blue Oyster Cult than Exodus—but this one is a definite essential so make sure to check it out.
And speaking of throwback sounds, Gruesome are clawing up from the graveyard dirt today with their debut slab of Chuck Schuldiner-worshipping death metal, Savage Land (Relapse). Fronted by Exhumed’s Matt Harvey and featuring members of Possessed, Malevolent Creation, and Derketa, Gruesome might initially come off as a novelty act (even the band’s logo salutes Death with a classic cobweb motif) but as soon as the title track’s rotting riffs hit your central nervous system, all of that will be well and truly forgotten. Death metal can be a lot of things—technically impressive, sonically abusive, completely impenetrable—but rarely is it this much fun. If you’re a fan of Leprosy-era death, or just want more solos and breakdowns than you can shake a dismembered limb at, then this beast, now streaming at Decibel, is yours for adoption.
Need a proper chill out after those back-to-back bludgeoners? Aelter—the dark western side project of Wolvserpent’s Blake Green—and their new record, Aelter IV: Love Eternal (Pesanta Urfolk), have just what you need. Essentially a distillation of the the Idaho blackened doom duo’s most ethereal elements, Aelter IV: Love Eternal sounds like what they’d play on the jukebox in a purgatory saloon, brimming with baritone brooding, reverb-soaked slide guitar, and the clinking of pre-showdown spurs. Saddle up that red-eyed hell horse, tighten that skull-bone bolo, and check out the title track via Noisey.
Now kick aside the tumbleweeds, and tap into some of those good ol’ fashioned grooves, starting with Norwegian black n’ roll outfit Shining’s latest full-length, IX-Everyone, Everything, Everywhere, Ends (Season of Mist), which features more than enough Darkthrone-isms to keep both ends of their chosen spectrum satisfied. After you’re done in that dungeon, go get your riff on with Gravitron (Tee Pee), the newest beer-swilling, Smashing Pumpkins-indebted offering from Jersey stoner kings The Atomic Bitchwax. Either way you’re going to have fun, so don’t overthink it.
Dovetailing nicely off that pair, is Luna Sola’s crushing and cannabis-perfumed stoner opus, Blood Moon (Slush Fund Recordings), which actually dropped yesterday (4/20, in case you were so high you forgot) because, well, duh. A guest appearance from Kyuss/QOTSA bassist Nick Oliveri and the “Rocky Mountain High”-ish slide guitar solo on a track called “Dead Mountain” are pretty good indications of where this one is coming from and where it is going, but Invisible Oranges is streaming the whole thing should you feel the need for some additional research.
Finally, smash all of this into oblivion with Russian death/doomers Mare Infinitum’s Alien Monolith God (Solitude), which is in absolutely no hurry to flatten whatever metropolis it’s currently carving a path of countryside destruction toward. Mellotrons and squeaky clean-vocaled choruses lend this whole thing a power-prog hue, but there is no mistaking these riffs for what they are: Giant, village-destroying claws. Get crushed, people.
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WHAT TO SEE: After a crazy, final Mohawk-spiked New York’s Alright, the week’s shows kick off at Vitus tomorrow with cleanteeth, Beast Modulus, and more. North Cackalacky psych rockers U.S. Christmas follow for a good one on Thursday, while Incantation, who were in Long Island last week, bring their killer breed of death metal westward on Friday for a raging weekend kick-off. Don’t party too hard though, because you’ll definitely want to get up early on Sunday for Mors Mystica’s Black Metal Symposium, offering, and I quote, “diverse theoretical exposures of the living intersection between mysticism and black metal.”
If that’s making your bullshit radar sing, then just wait until the evening when Windhand frontwoman/powerhouse Dorthia Cottrell headlines a solo show featuring some crushing doom from Blackout and Shroudeater. Finally, first-wave grindcore pioneers Repulsion wrap things up on Monday night, trekking all the way from Michigan for a full-bore face-blast boasting some additional punishment from the likes of Dehumanized, Skullshitter, and more.
Elsewhere in Brooklyn, The Acheron hosts a pair of throwdowns this week, starting with LIVVER, Rozamov, and Godmaker on Friday and concluding with a weird-fest featuring Wizard Rifle, Netherlands, and the austerity program on Saturday. Lucky 13 Saloon follows suit with a good one featuring Mindscar and Ulcer on Friday, while The Paper Box gets seriously gnarly on Sunday with Today is the Day, Lazer/Wulf, Tiger Flowers, and a few other awesome acts.
Manhattan once again proves its not all homogenized culture mimicry and pyramid rent schemes, starting with a benefit event for Big Rob Castoria at Mercury Lounge tomorrow that includes slamming music from Horizon Edge, Killcode, Mother, and more. Just up the street, The Bowery Electric hosts NYC hardcore legends Agnostic Front, The Mob, and Urban Waster for a sold-out Friday face-melter while Webster Hall welcomes The Used and Every Time I Die to The Grand Ballroom and pit pros Bane to The Studio for a sick Saturday back-to-back. If you’re into mid-oughts nostalgia, then those are for you.
WHAT THE FUCK: Not metal, but still the best thing the internet as produced this year by a large margin.