Provided your eardrums haven’t reduced to shrapnel after last week’s onslaught of new metal, you’ll be pleased to hear this week brings yet another home-brewed batch of sonic insanity. Stuffed to the stitches with death, doom, occult, and all forms of extremity in between, today reinforces what we all already knew: There’s no rest for wicked fucking awesome.
WHAT TO BUY: While there are plenty of headliner-worthy albums dropping this week, the across-the-board consensus seems to be that Blut Aus Nord are owner’s of the most important. Boasting one of the most blemish-free black metal CVs in existence, the anonymous French French myth makers have long taken a quality-over-quantity approach and Memoria Vetusta III – Saturnian Poetry (Debemur Morti), Blut Aus Nord’s first album since 2012, is no exception. There’s been a lot a talk about the album concluding the Memoria Vetusta trilogy which began back in 1996, and although both Debemur Morti and frontman Vindsval have refuted it’s actually a trilogy, one thing remains certain: It is one the finest black metal releases of 2014. Those sorts of comments get tossed around a lot both here and in other places, but Noisey’s full free-stream backs this one up, pushing the band’s autumnal mode into its twilight-tinged golden hour. Fire it up and enjoy.
Like Memoria Vetusta III – Saturnian Poetry, in its harnessing of uncontrollable natural forces, at least, is The Cavern (Relapse), the latest offering from Richmond metal mutants, Inter Arma. Dubbed an “EP” for technical intents and purposes, this one-song, forty-plus minute manifesto, currently streaming on Pitchfork Advance, finds the band dwelling in their doomiest territory yet, lurching through riff after bone-crushing riff, employing Windhand’s Dorthia Cotrell for a potent cameo, and ascending snow-capped peaks only to throw itself off them. “Americana” is often used to describe Inter Arma’s approach, if not music, and while that’s probably more PR-speak than anything, the grandeur of The Cavern and the melting pot of influences it dips from, does more to reinforce such claims than anything else in the band’s catalog. If you enjoyed last year’s Sky Burial, then make sure to pick this one up (as well as tickets for the band’s CMJ showcase next week).
As long as we are talking about Relapse and doom, we also have to address the metal titan’s other EP this week, spawned just up 95 from Inter Arma by one of the most revered bands in modern metal. The first, and perhaps last, doom experiment from grindcore stalwarts Pig Destroyer, Mass & Volume, a monolithic A & B-side affair recorded on the heels of 2007’s Phantom Limb, sees physical release for the first time this week via some pretty rad toxic-waste splatter vinyl, and, as you probably guessed, it’s a punishing listen. The opener, “Mass”, is a feedback strewn slowburn that scorches some seriously expansive sonic wilderness, while “Volume”, per its name, is a condensed blast of hideously awesome sludge that is sure to make you question the existence of beauty, happiness, safety, and other related items. If you’re looking to book yourself a seat in the torture chamber, check out Revolver’s free stream below.
American death metal is having itself a good week, as well, thanks to new records from Revocation and Horrendous. No matter how you feel about the Boston heshers (over-produced, too popular, dated your sister, et. al), their Metal Blade debut, Deathless, is the fullest realization of the Revocation sound yet, ricocheting from earworm riffs to mind-numbing tech blasts with pinball-wizard precision. But in the immortal words of Levarr Burton, don’t take my word for it. Horrendous’s sophomore LP, Ecdysis, meanwhile, trends more old-school than progressive, but, like Revocation in their infancy, have already been saddled with comparisons to early Metallica and all the attendant baggage such statements bring. Whether or not the band warrants, or can survive, such claims remains to be seen, but Ecdysis’s epic, mid-tempo opener, “The Stranger”, certainly seems up to the task.
If you’re looking for something with a little more mood and a lot more mellow, Brooklyn dark rockers Occultation just dropped Silence In the Ancestral House (Profound Lore), a album destined to become the best collection of Halloween sex music this side of 70s-era Barry White. Produced by Converge’s Kurt Ballou at the appropriately spooky God City Studios in Salem, MA, Silence pivots on guitarist E.M.’s (AKA Negative Plane’s Ed Miller) serpentine riffs and Adam Burke’s killer album art, conjuring some truly haunting moments as it descends toward rock/metal purgatory. In the interest of full disclosure, I just booked the band for a Palisades show on 11/21 (also featuring Kosmodemonic, Mountain God, and Think Tank), so obviously I’m into (and shamelessly plugging) it. I promise, though, I’m not on the take. This thing, helmed by lead single “Laughter In The Halls of Madness”, is actually as good as I’m saying it is.
Hard to believe we’ve come this far and not even addressed Exodus’s Blood In Blood Out, the face-melting reunion with singer Steve “Zetro” Souza, but that’s just the nature of the (over?) crowded metal world we now live in. The band’s 11th full length rips with the energy of a debut so make sure to give it a spin. No matter you’re feelings on modern metal—into it, over it, whatever—you have to admit, they just don’t make ‘em like they used to. Finnish death/doom squad Swallowed are proof that doesn’t have to be a bad thing, however, stringing up the genre paradigm with line after line of hideous feedback on their new full length, Lunarterial,. There’s plenty of analog heresy and respect for Finland’s overlooked extreme lineage to keep the traditionalists interested, but the genre-bending blasts of blackened noise are pure 21st-century evil.
Finally, make sure to check out the new full lengths from Menace Ruin, Ancient VVisdom, and Wormwood, arranged here in increasingly heavy order. Meance Ruin’s Venus Armata boasts more than enough Celtic-inflected drone to keep the bong-light vigil lit well into the night, while Ancient VVisdom’s latest dark metal penance, featuring tunes like “Chaos Will Reign”, would slot in nicely alongside Occultation’s aforementioned offering. Upping the aggression ante considerably, however, are Wormwood and their self-titled LP, which deconstructs classic doom with an array of rusty hardcore implements, per the de rigueur of Boston metal in the post-Converge era. And if that sounds like an insult, please relax, because I’m seriously still finding fresh bruises from Blissfucker.
WHAT TO SEE: Those of you still weeping bitterly about getting sold out of tonight’s King Diamond show at Best Buy Theater, please accept my heartfelt condolences. But dry your eyes (no, seriously, the corpse paint is running), as there are plenty of killer consolations on offer this week, kicking off in earnest on Thursday night when Long Island mathcore vets Car Bomb hit Saint Vitus with some help from Dehumanized and Alekhine’s Gun and noise rockers No Way take The Acheron stage alongside Bardus, Faking, and Husbandry.
The Vitus fun continues Friday night with Rosetta, So Hideous, White Widows Pact, and Tiger Flowers set to unleash some eclectic fury on the Greenpoint stronghold, which will need to make a full recovery for the unofficial NYC metal show of the week on Saturday night, featuring Skeletonwitch, Black Anvil, and Evoken (commence deep breathing into paper bag). A 10th anniversary bash for Decibel magazine, this one is sure have the Gotham metal scene out in full force, so if you don’t already have tickets, perhaps a connoisseur’s set from Swedish power industrial act Brighter Death Now at The Acheron is the shoulder to unleash your second metal-related breakdown of the week upon.
On Sunday, Vitus continues its MVP performance with a killer bill featuring Only Crime, Iron Reagan, and Ma Jolie, before wrapping up what may be the year’s best run of metal shows at a single venue on Monday with Greek-hailing death metal gods, Dead Congregation, who spearhead an impressive line up bolstered by the likes of Mausoleum, Pissgrave, and more. Once again, in what is a definite theme this week, The Acheron provides the face-melting alternative, headlined this time by one of the hardest working acts in NYC metalcore, Tiger Flowers, whose recent LP, Dead Hymns, is a must hear if you haven’t already.
WHAT THE FUCK: Because it happened on a social media platform and involves Billy Corgan, please take all of this with a grain of salt, but last week Smashing Pumpkins guitarist J.J. Schroeder posted this photo of a Sunn Concert Lead amp, a practical deity in the doom world, to Instagram, writing “Billy and I are making a doom metal album #smashingpumpkins #sunn.” Whether or not Schroeder is serious or simply trolling remains to be seen, but I (can’t believe I’m saying this) actually sort of hope its genuine. Say what you want about Corgan (d-bag, indie Axl Rose, who?), but the guy always knew how to craft a killer guitar tone and a memorable riff.