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Dead Horse (Thrill Jockey)
Bummer’s tongue-in-cheek song titles belie the seriousness of their subject matter: the systematic destruction of the American dream. Good times! I’d like to say the songs themselves are more fun, but while they aren’t exactly funeral doom, their noisy hardcore can peel some serious paint. Still, the lyrics aren’t the only thing here with unexpected depth: I wasn’t expecting to hear guitar work that reminded me of Sonny Sharrock. Come for the wacky song titles, stay for the social commentary and experimental musicianship.
Museum On The Horizon (Profound Lore)
Sacred Bones to Profound Lore may not be the weirdest label leap ever, but it’s up there. Pop. 1280 named themselves after a classic noir with a pitch black sense of humor and their music isn’t much more uplifting. Their minimalist take on industrial harkens back to the very beginning of the form – more Throbbing Gristle than Ministry. Not exactly brutal, but a riveting listen for more than just rivetheads.
Rivers of Nihil
The Work (Metal Blade)
Honest to Dio, I had never heard a note of these guys before now, dismissed them as yet another deathcore band – but I would obviously be remiss if I didn’t include them in my writeup for this particular site. And friends, let me tell you, I was very wrong. This absolutely rips. An invigorating genre-agnostic blend of death metal, prog, electronic, jazz inflections, even some arena rock riffage, each new listen brings up undiscovered pleasures. I can’t say how this compares to their previous work but color me impressed.
It’s easy to be skeptical of funeral doom – it’s very much a “right mood” kind of music. Skepticism helped invent the stuff a quarter-century ago, and they continue to be the best at it. They bring a sense of grandeur to their cathedrals of despair. It’s not like a lot of us didn’t spend the last year and 1/2 slogging through long, slow periods of depression or anything. Companion perfectly captures that feeling but in a way that provides catharsis instead of malaise.
Fields of the Nephilim Spa-goth-i Western guitar, gratuitous hawk noises, a Pat Benatar cover – in case you’re wondering what decade and genres Unto Others worship, they’ve decided to make it real obvious on their sophomore full-length. They can worship whatever they want as long as they continue to make music this catchy, as far as I’m concerned. Unto Others don’t really paint their batcave any shades of black we haven’t already seen, but they know all the right colors (or lack thereof) to hang with the gloomy greats.
Undo the Chains (Redefining Darkness)
Sometimes you hunger for innovation and sometimes you want the most meat and potatoes speed metal you can cram down your gullet. Wraith provide the latter and boy is it delicious. Sample song titles: “Dominator,” “Mistress of the Void,” “Victims for the Sword.” They definitely scratch the Midnight/Bewitcher itch – a craving that can only be satisfied with killer hyperspeed riffs and shouted choruses.
OTHER SHIT THAT COMES OUT TODAY
Angels & Airwaves – Lifeforms (Rise) Listen
The Body/Big|Brave – Leaving None But Small Birds (Thrill Jockey) Listen
Cognizance – Upheaval (Prosthetic) Listen
Doro – Triumph And Agony Live DVD/CD (Rare Diamonds) Listen
Grinder Blues – El Dos (Metalville) Listen
Mandoki Soulmates – Utopia For Realists: Hungarian Pictures (InsideOut) Listen
A Pale Horse Named Death – Infernum In Terra (Long Branch) Listen
Paradox – Heresy II: End Of A Legend (AFM) Listen
Sleep Token – This Place Will Become Your Tomb (Spinefarm) Listen
ToxicRose – In For The Kill (Crusader) Listen
Tremonti – Marching In Time (Napalm) Listen
We Butter The Bread With Butter – Das Album (AFM) Listen
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