SEEN AND HEARD: GATECREEPER, FÓRN, PREDATORY LIGHT, HOBBS’ ANGEL OF DEATH, OPETH
I’m finishing this post on the way to the airport, where I’ll board a flight for Las Vegas with my spouse to attend the wedding of one of her nieces. We’ll be there for three days. That may interfere with NCS activity for the rest of the week. If there’s not much up on the site between now and Sunday, that’s the explanation.
But it may not interfere. Everyone I know who will be at this thing, including my wife, plans to spend a lot of time in the casino. I’m not much for gambling; throwing away money in an undoubtedly losing cause tends to sap the pleasure after a while. And since I’m not keen on getting broiled outside, that leaves the hotel room… and metal.
In the meantime, here’s a quick round-up of new music. Because time is short, I have to largely dispense with reviews/descriptions today. The last time I did this, a reader jumped on me for not at least providing a genre description, so I’ll do that.
The first item is a song by Arizona’s Gatecreeper from their debut album Sonoran Depravation, the glorious cover of which is at the top of this post.
I’m really happy for Gatecreeper, who are getting to release this album through Relapse Records on October 7. I’ve been following and writing about them for a few years, and they deserve the exposure this will bring.
Below is the opening track, “Craving Flesh”, which is excellent. To quote from the press release: “crusty, doom-soaked death metal at its most infectious and uncompromising with a massive sound that calls to mind the classic Swedish buzz-saw attack of Dismember and Grave mixed with the impeccable groove of Obituary and Bolt Thrower.”
Boston’s Fórn is another band I’ve been following and writing about for a couple of years (most recently here), and as with Gatecreeper, when I see they’ve released something new I tend to pounce on it pronto.
Within the last 24 hours they released a new single named “Ambitions Toward Nothingness”. It’s available on Bandcamp for $1, with 50% of all download proceeds going to BLMCambridge.org in support of Black Lives Matter.
Prepare to be crushed by the doom of Fórn.
I don’t think we’ve written about Predatory Light before. They used to be based in New Mexico and are now ensconced in Seattle. Their line-up includes current or former members of Anhedonist, Vanum, and Ash Borer, and if that doesn’t peak your interest I’ll be surprised.
After a couple of demo cassettes and a split, Predatory Light will be releasing a self-titled debut album through Invictus Productions on September 22 (with a vinyl edition to be co-released by Invictus and Psychic Violence).
Below you can listen to the first advance track, “Path of Unbeing”, which premiered at Metal Injection yesterday. It’s an excellent song, and for those who don’t want to be surprised, it’s black metal.
HOBBS’ ANGEL OF DEATH
The next band, who hail from Melbourne, Australia, represents a comeback. I’ll quote the info I received from Hells Headbangers, who will be releasing an album by the band named Heaven Bled on October 14:
“Helmed by one relentless maniac named Peter Hobbs, HOBBS ANGEL OF DEATH are one of the more unsung cult favorites of ’80s metal. Hailing from Australia many years before it was cool to do so, the band released two classic demos in 1987, Angel of Death and the telltale Virgin Metal Invasion From Down Under, before time came for the inevitable debut album. That album, 1988’s Hobbs’ Angel of Death, was released by Steamhammer during the label’s glory years, and quickly found a devoted legion of fans enthralled to HOBBS’ Kreator-meets-Dark Angel style of death rash…. It would be many years before a follow-up, 1995’s Inheritance, and the band broke up not long after.”
And that ought to give you a clue to what you’re about to hear on the album’s first advance track, “Son of God”. It’s good shit.
I’m sure everyone who cares about Opeth has heard this next song, either through the rip of a radio show that was quickly yanked from YouTube on Monday or through the official premiere that occurred yesterday. I’m including the stream here mainly to provoke some discussion, because people seem to enjoy talking about Opeth’s evolution (or devolution, depending on your perspective).
Based on that evolution/devolution, I had low expectations going into this new album, Sorceress. And so I was somewhat pleasantly surprised by the song (which is the title track), though that may have something to do with my mindset as I went into it. The funky opening is kind of fun in a not-metal funky way, there’s some crunch in the pounding, main riff that follows (which, like the song as a whole, smells of trippy stoner doom), and the outro guitar instrumental is kind of interesting.
But on the whole, I’ll pass. What do you think?
I like “Sorceress” okay by new-era Opeth standards, but the fact that I even have to make that qualification is enormously depressing. And this is coming from a guy who probably likes Watershed best of any of their records.
“Sorceress” does have a nice groove. To be charitable, it is “heavier” than pretty much all of Heritage and Pale Communion. I’m still not excited for this album, but if they can stay in this pocket, maybe I’ll like best of the three.
Count me in as another who considers Watershed their best. This song sounds crunchier and heavier than anything I have heard off of their last two albums, both of which were incredibly disappointing to me. Will I buy this album? I don’t know. I like this song, the lack of heaviness is what has put me off of this band, and this song seems to be sort of bringing it back. If the rest of the album is similar, I might consider purchasing it.
*I’m most fond of Still Life and Blackwater Park, but Watershed was solid as well. I’d be upset about the change Opeth have made, had they not made so many good albums prior. As for this 70s/80s prog shit…if I wanted to listen to 70s/80s prog, I’d just listen to 70s/80s prog(which I also love). Opeth is a classic example of a band that doesn’t equal or exceed the sum of its parts. Mikey will never outdo King Crimson or Frank Zappa, and he needs to stop trying.
I don’t think Opeth sounds that much like either Crimson or Zappa.
I was rather indifferent to Heritage. A mess of an album, but it has grown on me. But I loved Pale Communion, not sure how anyone who loves prog doesn’t love it.
I very much was digging the new song. I was luke warm on Heritage but really came to like Pale Communion. I would love for them to go back and write an album like Still Life again but I will not hold my breath.
I’m with you on all accounts. “Heritage” was a massive disappointment for me. It’s the album I go to least (see: never). As someone who loved everything this band did from “My Arms…” through “Watershed”, the “evolution” was someone plain to see. However, it was botched with “Heritage”, which I’ve said in the past simply lacked songs. It was a hodgepodge of ideas. “Pale Communion”, on the other hand, is what “Heritage” probably should have been. It’s got some great songs on it and I’ve grown to like it myself.
All of this said, Opeth will never lure me back the way they used to, though. This material (and type of music) is not what I originally loved about Opeth and though I can evolve to an extent with them I still want them to shred a little and bring the heavy (death metal vox there or not).
I feel like I need an in depth explanation for why you put each of these bands into the genre you did…get on that slacker, otherwise this article is garbage
I knew I could count on your support. 🙂 Excuse me for a few minutes while I go cut myself.
He mad you didn’t include another Baby Metal article. Forn is awesome. Gatekeeper and Predatory Light are growing on me…keep on keepin on, Islander.
Thank you Stilgar. The Brute does have a well-known jones for Baby Metal. It’s very hard to keep that need satisfied on a regular basis.
If thats code for “Id rather dive headfirst off a building into a thumbtack than listen to them”, than yes…I have a jones for Baby Metal
Just you wait till they hit the late teen. Than we’ll be seeing a change of heart, where you’ll eventually end up getting a bit more than just a “jones” for them. 😉
Sounds a lot like Audioslave, but I like it ok. I dont think Opeth ever do the same thing twice.