I’ve had a busy weekend, with two late nights in a row catching Deafheaven and Autopsy/Black Breath in Seattle (yes, they all killed), on top of more activity than usual during the daylight hours. But I did manage to do some web surfing and e-mail reading and found quite a lot of new things to like. I’ve collected a few of them in this post and will try to round-up the others for another post tomorrow.
I heard a lot of good things about this Milwaukee band’s last album Clandestine Abuse (2011), but somehow it got lost in the mountainous piles of music I intended to check out. I’m not going to miss the next one. Its title is World Keeps Sinking and it’s due for release on August 23 by Gilead Media. And why am I not going to miss it? Because this morning I heard the album’s first advance track, “Kuru”, and it kills.
The mid-paced song is freighted with earth-splitting sludge riffs and laced with caustic hardcore-style howls, heavy as fuck and doomed as a village in the path of a lava flow. But there’s more to the song than the weight of sledgehammers coming down on fragile skulls and the dissonance of squalling guitars. The band incorporate some surprising instrumental segments that hint at post-rock and even jazz, without diminishing the music’s suffocating atmosphere of hopelessness. Good stuff — which you can hear next (the album can be pre-ordered here).
I still have trouble typing this Indiana band’s name without misspelling it, but the struggle is worthwhile because they’re still putting out interesting music. We’ve written about them before, most recently in TheMadIsraeli’s review last summer of the band’s Being EP. This weekend he urged me (repeatedly) to check out their new single and video, “Neural Union”, which was released a couple of days ago and is now available on iTunes, Amazon, and Bandcamp..
We’ve had a few debates on this site in the past about the use and misuse of the term “progressive”, especially when applied to bands who label their music “progressive death metal” when they’re really nothing more than cookie-cutter deathcore outfits who’ve thrown in a few passages of ambient synths and/or a few bars of spacey guitar noodling. In the case of “Neural Union”, however, it’s the label “deathcore” that’s now suspect.
The song does include, here and there, a few clanging chords, like rebar rhythmically slamming against a concrete floor, but it’s breakdown-free and the lyrical subject matter is a far cry from the usual deathcore rants. “Neural Union” is a seamless integration of aggressive pummeling and mystical atmospherics, performed with a high level of instrumental flair and anchored by the kind of deep, bestial vocals that would be at home on a doom/death recording. The song’s elaborate structure justifies its extended length, and the video (directed by Scott Hansen Productions and featuring fascinating visual sequences by Norman Leto) is really well done and suits the music.
And now we move from the sublime to the ridiculous. In Defence are a band from St. Paul, Minnesota, who have just released a new music video for a track called “Curbside Dentistry” from their 2010 album Party Lines and Politics (out now on Profane Existence Records and downloadable at Bandcamp). It’s both hilarious (in the vein of Red Fang’s bits of video genius) and uncomfortable, as only DIY dentistry can be. The video is highly amusing and really well executed, though it includes enough gore that if you have a truly weak stomach you should be forewarned.
I’m digging the music, too — a head-battering, mosh-inducing blend of hardcore punk and metal with a satirical message about a serious subject (what the fuck do you do when you have no fuckin’ health insurance?).
A couple of months ago I featured a single by a one-man death metal band from Lawrence, Kansas, named Godless Angel, the man being Derek Neibarger, who has been a welcome commenter on this site in addition to churning out some eviscerating music under his angelic alias. He has just released a new single, “Kingdom of Decay”, which is available as a name-your-price download on Bandcamp (along with all of his other output).
The entrancing melody at the song’s beginning is a bit of a head-fake, a softening-up before a phalanx of grisly, hammering riffs hits home. The song includes a snakelike solo that you can almost feel wrapping around your throat, as well as a strangled outpouring of vocal bile that’s downright gruesome. Very nice.