Monday, October 31, 2016

Bandcamp Picks: Ulcerate, Polyptych, Barghest/Teeth, Our Place of Worship is Silence

Few bands have been as successful in reshaping a genre in their own image as New Zealand's Ulcerate. Shrines of Paralysis both encompasses and transcends death, black and doom metal, and is exhausting in its commitment to the kiwi band's unique vision of metal. The last two Ulcerate albums were a window into death metal's future as newer bands tripped over themselves in their rush to emulate; no doubt this new release will inspire a whole new wave of imitators. [$9.99]

The problem with making death metal with a progressive mindset is that straying too far in one direction means losing sight of the other. Not so with Chicago's Polyptych, whose third album Defying the Metastasis strikes a balance between twisted riffs, jagged Voivod-esque rhythms and pure aggression. A band whose talent and originality should earmark them for the discerning death metal fan. [$7.99]

Barely 6 months after their 7" with Fister, DoC friends Teeth return with a new split cassette courtesy of Cvlt Nation. On the 20 minute track "The Hell That Whispers In My Bones", they push their slow dissonant style as far as they've ever taken it, netting them their strongest material to date. Louisiana's Barghest hold up their end by taking the express train from "black" to "metal", only making stops at "kvlt", "trve", and "grim". [$6]

If 20 minutes of sanity eroding death sludge isn't enough for you, Our Place of Worship Is Silence share not only members with Teeth but their atonal approach as well. Their aptly titled debut The Embodiment of Hate is dark and unrelenting, a maelstrom of churning riffs and pounding drums. More straightforward than their other band but a fitting companion nonetheless. [$7]

Sunday, October 16, 2016

Sanitys Dawn Interview

My trips to NY aren't complete without cornering a bunch of bands for interviews. To whit: Hanover's Sanitys Dawn, who I saw on a night at Saint Vitus packed with grindcore goodness [courtesy of Catbomb NYC]. I snagged them that night to do an interview for my podcast, but after they told me that it was the first interview they'd done in 6 years, I promised them a follow-up. Here it is, finally, the second Sanitys Dawn interview in 6 years, which vocalist Tobias "Topsy" Sarnetzki and drummer Sven "Holm" Horl took turns answering.

Sunday, October 9, 2016

Bandcamp Picks - Neurosis, Sea of Bones/Ramlord, Subrosa, Crowhurst

It shows how disconnected I am these days - I had no idea a Neurosis album was in the works for this year, let alone that it was already out. Fires Within Fires picks up where the band left off four years ago, their pioneering use of seething dynamics on full display, snaking riffs giving way to oppressive fury and vice versa. Neurosis will probably never recapture the claustrophobic intensity of Through Silver in Blood (celebrating its 20th anniversary this year, and still regarded as the band's high water mark), but with everything they've accomplished, it's reassuring to know that one of the most important bands in heavy music still has this kind of fire. [$8]

It would be impossible to overstate the influence Neurosis has had on metal - certainly a band like Sea of Bones wouldn't be here without them. On their recent split with Ramlord, the trio utilize slab heavy riffs, a multiple vocalist attack, and the occasional noise ambient interlude - all the hallmarks of dedicated Neurosis worship. Meanwhile, New Hampshire's Ramlord base their blackened doom racket around some Hellhammer/Celtic Frost minimalism. Two bands unafraid to wear their influences on their sleeve(less jackets). [$2]

Salt Lake City's Subrosa also sprung from the well that Neurosis dug, specializing in the same kind of loud/soft interplay. With its forlorn strings, heavy riffs, and the triple vocal assault of Rebecca Vernon, Sarah Pendleton, and Kim Pack, For This We Fought The Battle Of Ages is akin to a more metal version of frequent Neurosis collaborators Amber Asylum. With four of six songs stretching past the 10 minute mark, this is a master's class in both "tension" and "release".  [$8.99 CAD]

Anyone who likes their music atmospheric and filthy will get their fill of both with LA's Crowhurst. Simply titled II, their second album takes Unsane's skronking heft into sludgy depths, then combines the whole thing with discordant black metal and some truly unpleasant psychedelia. A bouillabaisse of mind-rotting heaviness - combine with mind altering substances at your own risk. [$5]