A week off for travel, and here we are, right back in the fire. Not that I’m complaining, of course, but good dark lord, a little rest for the wicked (so I can listen to these records more than once, mostly) would be nice.
WHAT TO HEAR: As alluded to above, there’s no shortage of graph-worthy metal on tap this week, but no band has earned the right to lead us off quite like Darkthrone, who return out of the cold (and don’t forget the dark!) with their new and aptly titled LP, Arctic Thunder (Peaceville Records). Fenriz—the long-running Darkthrone chieftain, for those of you not good with names—has been busy of late, what with “accidentally” getting elected to office in Norway and all, but Arctic Thunder more than holds up, churning through one frosty rager after the next. It doesn’t appear this one is streaming anywhere yet, but if you want a taste, check out the record’s lead single, “Tundra Leech”, below.
After that, we take the not-so-short trek to Tasmania, where progressive (and blackened, how could I forget blackened?) death metal quartet, Départe, are set to unshackle their titanic new opus, Failure, Subside (Season of Mist). In many respects—from the accent mark to the themes of isolation and introspection—the band bely their homeland (if you didn’t know any better, you’d be forgiven for thinking them French), but once the organ-liquefying death and massive melodies kick in, it becomes clear this is a band far removed from any familiar world. If you are looking for a metal experience that finds payoff in even the most challenging moments, then this one is a must-hear.
After those two heavy hitters, what comes next is mostly a matter of preference, which for me means the immense, downcast black metal of German atmosphere mongers, Waldgeflüester, and their new LP, Ruinen (Nordvis). Fresh off their split with Panopticon this spring, Ruinen finds the band in fine form, blasting through an array of hugely melodic black metal that makes for a perfect companion to the dimming grey of the year. Check it out—and of course grab a copy—via bandcamp.
Continuing the black metal assault, meanwhile, are crusty Portland trio Urzeit, who broke their nearly two-year silence on Monday with the release of their first-ever full length, Anmoksha (Independent). Though hailing from “Cascadia” HQ, Urzeit apply a different veneer to their breed of black stuff, embracing raw, relentless horror in lieu of their region’s usually lush approach. In demo and split form, this sonic template proves thrilling, but now, stretched out over the course of an entire LP, the results are downright devastating, leaving nothing but scorched earth in their wake. If you feel like becoming the detritus, check it out via their bandcamp now.
More black metal you say? Well you’re in luck, because Cara Neir are also stepping out of the shadows this week with Perpetual Despair is the Human Condition (Broken Limbs Recordings), which will rip your face off with its harsh drum machine nihilism. Check it out via Invisible Oranges. Once you’re done with that, keep the punishment rolling with Voices (Earache Records), the latest offering of brutality from Singapore grind vets, Wormrot.
Finally, your palate cleanse comes in many forms this week. Into glacially paced death metal? Check out the new split from Spectral Voice and Phrenelith via Invisible Oranges (Iron Bonehead). Want something fringe and arty? Try 40 Watt Sun‘s Wider Than Sky (Radiance Records). Prefer something fun? Then Red Fang‘s Only Ghosts, streaming here, is for you (Relapse). But whatever you go for, remember to buy it, because that’s how this machine fills the tank.
WHAT TO SEE: The shows start flowing tonight with appearances from D.T.L./Maniac Rise at Lucky 13 Saloon, Megadeth/Amon Amarth at the Prudential Center, Coheed and Cambria/Saves the Day at the Capitol Theatre, Burn/9 Lives at Saint Vitus, and Discharge/Eyehategod/Toxic Holocaust at The Studio at Webster Hall. If there’s not something for you in that pack, you obviously have to revaluate some shit, but in the meantime, perhaps Saturday has what you need in the form of Black Metal Ritual V featuring Luciferian Rites at Lucky 13 Saloon, Disassociate at Don Pedro, Mondo Drag at Vitus, and Dillinger Escape Plan‘s NYC swan song at Webster Hall.
Sunday is quiet but Monday makes up for it with Pink Mass and Pisskvlt at Saint Vitus before Tuesday rolls around with a Fantastic Planet 20th anniversary celebration featuring a live set from Failure. After that, Wednesday comes through with Enuff Z’Nuff and Prisoners of New York at Saint Vitus, Dream Theater at the New Jersey Performing Arts Center, Nothing But Thieves at Irving Plaza, and The Devil Wears Prada at Webster Hall in tow. I’m not recommending those last two, but hey, they’re there if you want to go.
Finally, Thursday wraps things up at Saint Vitus, Webster Hall, and Irving Plaza, where Daughters, A Wilhelm Scream, and Pennywise ply their respective trades. It’s not the greatest batch of shows I’ve ever set to WordPress, but chances are if you dig deep enough, you’ll find something worth braving society for.
WHAT THE FUCK: Apparently Fieldy, of Korn infamy, is working on an instrumental jazz fusion album called Bassically. Couldn’t make this shit up if I tried, people.