NINE SONGS I LIKED THIS WEEK IN LIST FORM FEB 1 – FEB 7
Welcome to another week of mildly mild music packed within the general form of extremely extreme music that is this lovely series of posts to which I had given the unfortunate name that serves as the title up there. Hope you've all had a good week, I've had a kind of confusingly OK week, including me talking at a conference about how I see my music writing engage with my academic writing about literature, violence, and trauma. I was super nervous about it, because who in their right mind would use the platform of an academic gathering to talk about YOB and LINGUA IGNOTA (all-caps gang gang) but the result was quite interesting. I don't mean the talk itself, that was atrocious, I mean that by thinking out loud about some of these connections I kinda sorta spoke them into being. So, interesting. What comes of it? Who knows. All we can do in life is try and do intersting shit, that' it. Before we get to the SONGS I'd appreciate it if you would consider following me on any one or all our the various provided platforms. Just because it's fun. For me. For you too, I think: Facebook // Instagram // Spotify // Patreon. And be sure to check the offspring of a manic mind in my Best of 2019 and Best of Decade lists, as well my ongoing Albums of the Decade interview project. Just as a side note, this was a crazy week to try and narrow down all the crazy music out there to just nine songs, so I'll do a longer post on the Patreon-only Facebook group with all the great stuff that didn't make it. Enjoy!
1. Leeched – "The Grey Tide," from To Dull the Blades of Your Abuse (Metallic Hardcore – Prosthetic Records). The sophomore full-length from Manchester crew Leeched is just fucking horrible. It's dark, the riffs are actually, literally overbearing, the vocals are barely audible, and there are all kinds of weird, redundant 90s-esque samples going on in the background. And all this horrid mess, this unhinged energy, and a sense of someone just vomiting riffs in a windowless dungeon makes for one of the most compelling songs, albums, and just experiences in life I've had a very long time. Being with that person who is vomiting in a windowless dungeon is not great joy – the smell isn't the greatest, not to speak of really not wanting to be there – but you have to be there. You're locked in, you have to see it, have to smell it, have to listen to it. Because it's that good. FFO: Harm's Way, Cult Leader, Lifesick.
2. Caged Bastard – "Recluse" (Noise/Black Metal – Independent). Moving out of the dungeon and into the oppressively dark night we have the new single from Tunisian one-man black/noise project Caged Bastard. Which is kind of funny, since one of my absolute favorite releases last year was an EP by a project by the name of God's Bastard, that, at the time, was uknown to me other than the presence of a known drummer (Lev Weinstein). And here we have Caged Bastard that was unknown to me, other than a known drummer, in this case the great Lee Fisher (Fawn Limbs, Takafumi Matsubara, et al). But aside from the silly connection I make in my mind, this is just jarring, disturbing music. I happened to pick this one song, but the debut fell length that came out late last year is just as insane, dark, and reminiscent of bands like…. Well, of bands I will now name. FFO: Gnaw Their Tongues, Wreck and Reference, Mamaleek.
3. Solothus – "The Watcher," from Realm of Ash and Blood (Death Metal – 20 Buck Spin). I like hip hop quite a bit. OK, I'll say it, I really like Drake. And regardless of all the things Drake gets hate for (many of which warranted) he is great in doing something which has always been the mark of great hip hop, which is the complimenting coupling of deep, deep bass sounds with a very light, ethereal melody on that. I have found that formula also explains a good deal of the death metal I love, that it's oppressively heavy all while using light lemon splashes of melodic acid to raise that heaviness from being too much fatty and/or dark in your mouth/ear (mixed metaphors, much?). And it's precisely these elements that have made the first single from Solothus' 20-Buck-Spin debut stand out as much as it has. It's scary, no doubt, but it feels light, and somewhat melancholy. I like that. Also, am I the only one who thinks this album cover is the death metal version to Korn's Follow the Leader? FFO: Vastum, Temple of Void, Mortiferum.
4. Sulfuric Cautery – "Pustulous Vein Drainage," from Chainsaws Clogged With The Underdeveloped Brain Matter Of Xenophobes (Grindcore/Death Metal – Goatgrind Records). Grindcore is the sonnet of heavy music. Being as short as it usually is it somehow manages to employ a kind of repeated structure. Usually something like a few repeating parts, a ballistic freakout, and a riffy outro. Which is precisely the structure of the 24-second sonnet by Ohio's very own, Sulfuric Cautery. And while for some doing anything within a given form is boring, I find it exhilirating, to be excited by something you know will happen. Why aren't all songs 24-seconds long? I wonder. FFO: Insect Warfare, WORLD, Deterioration.
5. WAKE – "The Abyssal Plain," from Devouring Ruin (Post-Metal/Grindcore – Translation Loss Records). WAKE just gets it, there's really no other way to say that. They just get it. They get making an entrance that counts, they get not sleeping on their own riffs, they get creating atmosphere and a kind of general emotional dynamic, they get recording and production (which means they get hiring Dave Otreo, who is, I believe, a fucking legend), and they get songwriting. This performance is just astoundingly tight, and emotive, and heavy. It has it all. The chances of this album not making it to some year-end list is exactly zero. Amazing. FFO: Converge, Inter Arma, Cloud Rat.
6. Rain of Salvation – "The Sound of Triumph" (Hardcore – Independent). Unfortunate name and all, Rain of Salvation released one of my absolute favorite hardcore albums last year and this new single is just them keeping up with all that good shit. Supremely well done, aggressive, somewhat metallic hardcore along the vein of such bands as…. Well these. FFO: Incendiary, Dead End Path, Twitching Tongues.
7. Left Cross – "Hail of Doom," from Prophecy of Conquest (Death-Doom – Stygian Black Hand). Richmond Virginia's Left Cross are a death metal band with some doom influences. Richmond Virginia's Left Cross like to release EPs when they're not otherwise occupied with other bands (Antichrist Siege Machine, Embra, et al). Richmond Virginia's Left Cross just released the best death metal song of the year, so far. So, don't read any of these vapid words, just listen to this damn thing. This is one tape I'm going to HAVE to own. Jesus. On a side note: People are probably going to think that drumming like this is easy. It isn't easy, it's fucking masterful. FFO: Vastum, Phrenelith, Mortiferum.
8. King of Swords – "Colder," from The Wolf You Feed (Metallic Hardcore – Independent). I guess it's only appropriate to include one other banger metallic hardcore slice of rusty shrapnel in your head in this already over-driven, and over-dark post. This time the mayhem is coming from the hardcore capital of the world, New Jersey, with the full-length debut of King of Swords. Nasty, beefy, probably very tattooed, and excellent. FFO: Nails, The Banner, Harm's Way
9. Axebreaker – "Eternal Threat," from Vigilance + Live Assault V (Obsolete Units). Terence Hannum has long been an object of this insignificant publication's adoration. Whether through his work in Locrian, his own solo projects (one case in point), his synth-pop group The Holy Circle, of by basically breathing, Hannum has always managed to inject the unsteady feeling of avant-garde into anything and everything he does. A few years back, and given growing political polarization in the States, Hannum began his antifascist power electronics project Axebreaker, that is now about to release a set of new material and some live stuff. Eerie and menacing in that "it's the end of the world but we're not going to make it fun for you" kind of way, it's another landmark in an already landmarky career. FFO: The Body, Author and Punisher, JK Flesh.
FIVE MORE THINGS YOU NEED TO KNOW
ONE – Migration Fest (Gilead Media + 20 Buck Spin) tickets are out, first round at least.
TWO – Oranssi Pazuzu, one of the greatest, most inspiring bands on the planet, has announced its new album, due April, and there' a trailer that already sounds like the best shit ever.
THREE – Well, I guess a big fire broke out and no one is going to be making records anymore. Or something.
FOUR – I think at times my daughter is kind of proud of us, in a very weird, precocious, and charming way.
FIVE – There's a new band comprised of Church of Ra folk and YOB. Death metal, of course.
ONE LAST THING, PROMISE: That insane Cult of Fire double album is coming later this month, if you're into larger-than-life black metal. Another song came out, here.