WHAT TO BUY: Out of the Rust Belt and into the fire. If you were to sum up Pittsburgh sludge-core contingent Slaves BC‘s debut full length, All is Dust and I Am Nothing (Veritas Vinyl), in a sentence, that would be it. Churning out a litany of demos, splits, and EPs over the course of their 4-year existence, Slaves BC have built a sizeable and devoted social media following, which, though a vital component of a successful band in the year 2016, has also created the one thing a band fears the most: Expectation. Thankfully, however, All is Dust more than lives up to the hype (self-inflicted or otherwise), with a seething, searing onslaught of charred, punked-up doom that is sure to have both hardcore kids and sludge slugs soiling their black spray-ons. I hear a lot of great music from unproven acts week-in, week-out, but of these bands, only an infinitesimal proportion feel like they have what it takes to break into the wider metal consciousness. Slaves BC are one of those bands. Check out the full stream on their bandcamp and I think you’ll see what I mean.
While a slowish week on the big-name front, the underground remains on absolute fire, thanks in part to Circle of Salt/Taggarik (Eternal Death), a slamming two-song split from its Canadian black metal namesakes. If you’re looking for some perfect late February listening, you came to the right place, with each contribution turning in its own unique brand of frostbite, from Circle of Salt’s enveloping wind to Taggarik’s slow trudge into the trees. Eternal Death has the full two-song slab on their Soundcloud, so borrow 15 minutes from Father Time and check it out.
After that, let’s take this traveling road show to Croatia, where avant black metallists Pogavranjen have readied their latest LP, Jedva Čekam Da Nikad Ne Umrem (Arachnophobia), for hyper niche dissemination today. To call this “black metal” is somewhat deceiving—the band also you words like “psychedelic” and “jazzy” to describe their music—but ultimately the foundations are there, helping to root the cacophonous string explorations and spider web polyrhythms into something more or less palatable. If you’re looking for the most challenging listening experience on offer this week, then you came to the right place (assuming that place is Invisible Oranges’ stream, of course).
For something a little easier on the digestive tract (but still plenty heavy, don’t worry), then check out Polish shape shifters Entropia‘s latest effort, Ufonaut (Arachnophobia), which hits all the contemporary metal touchstones—black, death, doom, etc—over the course of its seven tracks. After that hop the next flight home for Philly blackened sludge outfit Bastard Thieves‘ self-titled salvo (Dullest Records), which combines the lo-fi grime of basement black metal and the chugging swagger of modern sludge into a truly punishing concoction.
[bandcamp width=100% height=120 album=2266334973 size=large bgcol=333333 linkcol=0f91ff tracklist=false artwork=small]
If you’re not into the guitar thing (so 1972, am I right?), however, then you’re in luck this week, with a trio of power electronics releases set to push the world’s synthesizers to the brink of theoretical limits. Start with Gnaw Their Tongues‘ ruthless split with Actuary (Black Horizons) before moving onto Ten Thousand Miles or Arteries‘ Even Spilled Seed Crawls Toward the Womb (Annihilvs Power Electronics). Whatever you do, however, make sure to cap it with Bloated Pig Carcass in a Shallow Wake (Annihilvs Power Electronics), the latest reeking gore bucket from “self-harm electronics” vanguard Daniel Suffering and his sadomasochistic performance extension, Whorid.
WHAT TO SEE: It’s a hell of a Friday night in NYC metal, so get out there and get in the pit, starting at The Acheron, where grindcore titans, Magrudergrind, headline alongside the likes of Incendiary, Triac, and Mutilation Rites. If that’s not your relentless, lung-busting speed, then perhaps Nightwish at the Starland Ballroom, The Cult at Music Hall of Williamsburg, and Rivers of Nihil at Saint Vitus Bar will satisfy the necessary requirements. Saturday bolsters the impressive weekend roster with throwdowns from Dehumanized at The Acheron, Sheer Terror at Vitus, and Candiria at Maxwell’s, but make sure to capitalize on the metal while you can, because it will be your last chance to do so until Tuesday.
On said Tuesday, things kick off in crushingly heavy fashion, with Bell Witch and Wrekmeister Harmonies hitting Vitus for a glacial-paced gathering of doom nerds (myself definitely included) while Bullet for My Valentine (yuck) hit the Playstation Theater, just in case you’re in the mood for a night of questionable decision making. Wednesday is an off night, so relax and get ready for the band that started all of this over 40 years ago, Black Sabbath, who arrive at Madison Square Garden for what could quite possibly be their final NYC show ever. Needless to say, WE ARE NOT WORTHY.
WHAT THE FUCK: One band unfortunately absent from the show rundown this week are Canadian trad metallers, Cauldron, who recently suffered a nasty van accident while on tour, forcing them to cancel their scheduled appearance at Saint Vitus. All the band members are expected to make full recoveries, but guitarist Ian Chains got pretty banged up in the wreck, requiring some serious medical attention, which in turn requires either good ol’ fashioned American health insurance or the equivalent of a bureaucratic mugging.
Thankfully in order to help the band, the awesome people up at Saint Vitus have set up a Natur-headlined benefit gig— set to go down this Monday, February 22nd—and all you have to do is buy one $10 ticket. I am certainly not here to tell anyone what to do, but with all the bullshit going down in the metal world of late, this seems like an awesome, easy, and rocking way to dish out some much needed karma and help a very rad band get back on their boots.