WHAT TO BUY: So yeah, there was never much question about where we were going to start, was there? Deafheaven‘s third LP, New Bermuda (Anti-) is a force—an aural storm surge flooding basement black metal and mainstream music crit alike. Deafheaven’s third LP is controversial, with debates over authenticity and guitarist Kerry McCoy’s hate-speech laced tweets raging like a garbage fire. Deafheaven’s third LP cements them as the most divisive (and possibly gifted) metal band since Black Album-era Metallica, and yet all anyone really wants to know is if it’s, like, really better than Sunbather. Well, I like that McCoy as augmented his usual Smiths/Ulver palette with shades of Oasis and Exodus. I like that frontman George Clarke is pitching his screams. I like that the album feels like a cohesive collection of songs, as opposed to a single slow-motion movement. I even like that the interludes are gone and the album art is black. But then again, that’s just me. Personally—and I chose to write about New Bermuda in those terms—I think Deafheaven have somehow, despite an expected a regression toward the mean, written another modern metal classic that half the metal community probably won’t bother to listen to. Which is also great. Dissent and disagreement are vital in this line of work. But man, just go listen to this thing first. I have and I’m finding it hard to feel anything else.
If you’re shrugging that one off (like tells us something we don’t, am I right?), then make a b-line straight for Harvest of Darkness (Roadrunner), the debut full-length from proggy Washington power trio, Wild Throne. The manic, tangled nest of a post-hardcore magpie, Harvest has drawn comparisons to the likes of At The Drive-In, Dillinger Escape Plan, and a host of other bands Wild Throne, frankly, don’t have a whole lot in common with. But that is kind of the point. Apart from a few tunes off the band’s killer 2014 EP, Blood Maker, Harvest sounds like nothing else to hit the metal market in the past half decade, and is all the better for it, super-gluing huge, radio-ready choruses to one of the most humbling rhythm sections currently operating anywhere, in any genre. These guys will definitely be more than a little polarizing (I’m sensing a theme here), but words just don’t paint pictures like this, so make sure to check out Stereogum’s free stream before it strips its bolts and Frisbees off into the fucking void.
After you’ve chugged that brain-frappe, tune in for the return of Kylesa, who drop their first album since 2013, Exhaustive Fire (Season of Mist), today. If you were tell me at the zenith of the Savannah sludge movement, that Kylesa would, 6 years on, have released more music than Baroness with better critical returns (within the trve metal cvlt, at least) than Mastodon, I would have raised the maximum amount of eyebrows. And yet here we are, in the year 2015, and that is more or less the way things have gone down. Agree or disagree, Exhaustive Fire is the strongest argument available, so give it a listen and see if you come around.
This is a big week for mainstream releases as well, with Clutch and Children of Bodom set to release their new LPs—Psychic Warfare (Weathermaker) and I Worship Chaos (Nuclear Blast)—alongside Absolute Hope, Absolute Hell (eOne), the latest breakdown beatdown from Fit For An Autopsy; Condition Hüman (Centruy Human), yet another post-Mindcrime salvo from Queensryche; Silence In The Snow (Roadrunner), the latest relay from camp Trivium; and Kill The Flaw (7Bros), the new Sevendust record that no one asked for. If a lot of that seems snarky, that’s probably because it is, but don’t let my shitty disposition deter you from checking these out. In the glass house of guilty metal pleasures, I certainly shouldn’t be the one throwing stones.
After that, cleanse the ol’ palate with Self Portrait (Deathwish), the latest typhoon of despair from downcast Bay Area hardcore vets, Loma Prieta. Even if you rarely stray to the punk side of the tracks, this one should make the listening queue anyway. In direct polarity to that, is DeathDealer‘s latest power metal opus, Hallowed Ground (Steel Cartel), so throw those horns up and check it out. Finally, if you’re only tuning in for the gnarliest, nastiest stuff on the market, then make sure to grab a copy of De Profundis‘s Kingdom of the Blind (Wicker Man), which is bubbling up from the London cobblestones like a great black bile today.
WHAT TO SEE: Weather be damned, get out there tonight and get your monthly sonic punishment kicked off with a power electronix headcleaner from Alberich, Azar Swan, Lussuria, and the good folks over at The Acheron, then batten down the hatches for Saturday which is set to arrive with more rain, wind, and shows like Epica at Irving Plaza, Proxima Control at Blackthorn 51, Destroy Judas at The Acheron, and Beast Modulus at The Grand Victory in tow. If that somehow isn’t enough to choose from, then night one of NY Deathfest 3—which finds Dead Infection, Immortal Suffering, Ringworm, and plenty more punching a whole through the Saint Vitus roof—should do the trick.
If you’re still breathing after that, Sunday simultaneously welcomes The Eddie Leeway Show to The Bowery Electric and wraps up NY Deathfest 3 with appearances from Soils of Fate, Cannibal Holocaust, Morpheus Descends, and more at Saint Vitus. Monday is spearheaded by a Pentagram appearance at Saint Vitus (as well as a KORN show, but let’s not talk about that), so get up there and check that out, or wait until Tuesday, when the Bobby Liebling and co. offer up a sold-out encore and Call of the Void, Bleak, and Meek is Murder roll into Black Bear Bar.
On Wednesday, Irving Plaza returns with another polarizing option, headlined by Atreyu and Wovenwar, while Black Bear Bar hosts their second rager in as many nights, featuring Angel Vivaldi, The Algorithm, and more. Finally wrap of week with Metalachi’s annual appearance at The Gramercy Theatre, Cannibal Holocaust at Lucky 13 Saloon, and a skate-metal special at Saint Vitus, courtesy of The Shrine.
WHAT THE FUCK: For the second week in a row, I’ve overlooked a bandcamp gem from one of my favorite bands because clearly I’m fucking slipping. So cast out me in the cold, damp street. Damn my future children and curse my name until it becomes a slur. But whatever you do, make sure to download Slugdge’s Dim & Slimeridden Kingdoms (independent)—an Artificial Brain-ian blast of ultra-catchy, slug-obssesed death metal—for a name-your-price rate today.
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