NINE SONGS I LIKED THIS WEEK IN LIST FORM MAY 17 – MAY 23 – PLAGUE EDITION #10
Yet another week of incredible music, much too much for me to cover here, so, as always I'll dump a few extra recomendations on the Patreon-only Facebook group. But, if I may, that's not the biggest news this week. The slightly larger news, to insist on this tired metaphor, is the new episode from our MATEKHET podcast called "Church of Authenticity." We delve further into our discussion of "authenticity" in metal and hardcore, and fan quite wildly out from our recent interview with Ian MacKaye (Fugazi, Minor Threat) to a wider discussion of religious authenticity and some of the possible links between hardcore/punk and radical Protestants in the seventeenth and Eighteenth centuries. The discussion also begins to swivel toward a new kind of authenticity, the "mystery" or "performance"-based one with a clip from a recent interview we did with Ulver's Kristoffer Rygg (the complete interview is here). All available everywhere, I guess (YouTube, Spotify, Apple, etc). But the biggest big news is this:
This Friday, May 29, will see the release of our new compilation album, MILIM KASHOT VOL 2. Last year's comp, VOL 1, was really my way to pay homage to all the wonderful new and old voices that make up a very exciting, forward-thinking local scene. It went well, it felt great, and I knew another one was on the way. But seeing that much of the passing year, this blog's tenth, was spent talking with musicians and artist from all over the world, and seeing that I felt a deep connection with many of them, I felt it was appropriate to fashion a compilation that would speak both to the specificity of this blog and its locality as well as to those worldwide connections. The onset of COVID-19 only made that decision clearer, resulting in what we think is an exciting blend of some of the best, most advents underground metal and hardcore today. From amazing (as of now) smaller bands such as Brii or Bormavet, to up-and-coming underground favorites such as Esoctrilihum and An Isolated Mind, to mainstays such as KIP, Lehavoth or Emptiness, and legends such as Spectral Lore and Split Cranium, MILIM KASHOT VOL. 2 was a labor of love and I cannot wait until you hear it. Also the global situation being as it is (shit) we have also decided to let the local/global aspect influence what we hope will be the effect of this album, with all proceeds split between The Global Foodbaking Network and local animal sanctuary To the Wildlife. Other than that, as always, follow us on Facebook, Instagram, Spotify, Patreon, and Bandcamp. A special shout out to one of the best meme pages on the planet, Riffposting, for shouting us out in the best way possible recently. Much thanks and respect. On to the music!
1. Chepang – "Pakhandi," from Chatta (Grindcore/Avant-Garde – Nerve Altar). Nepalese grindsanity collective Chepang are back with their second full length and boy this stuff has not gotten any easier. What it has is, shockingly, gotten even better, especially is you're one of those people who enjoy both the "my face is being pressed against the sun" as well as the "who am I? Why am I here" brands of musical violence. Confusing, assaulting, sincere, and just wonderfully unique and creative. FFO: Swarrrm, Karkait, Endon.
2. Wailin Storms – "Crow," from Rattle (Goth/Doom – Gilead Media). Continuing the trend of the past few years, one in which bands that I would guess listen to a lot of metal put out the kinds of albums metalheads listen to that are not metal (Drab Majesty, Rope Sect, Soft Kill, etc) the newest from Durham band Wailin Storms has to be one of the better ones of the bunch. Not that it's fair necessarily to clump somewhat similar bands together but life is not fair. And, again, even given those comparisons, and perhaps to other bands with a more, say, Americana feel, such as Huntsmen or even Inter Arma, Wailin Storms still seem in the head of that pack (no idea if that metaphor makes sense), providing compelling, atmospheric rock with a slight doomy twang. Again, that last sentence likely makes little sense. It's good. FFO: Scott Kelly, Rope Sect, Soft Kill.
3. Godwyrm – "Void, The Mind Killer," from Uzumaki (Black Metal – Independent). Something I have been harping on about lately is the amazing live stream Oranssi Pazuzu delivered the other week. If you've seen it I think you know what I'm talking about (here it is), but basically it was an artistic reimagining of whatever it is we mean when we say "studio performance" or "live stream." Meaning that the good people at OP took the time to crack the riddle that is the predicament of playing in a live setting without an audience and produced art. Which drives in the same cliche, tired and eternally true sentiment that art can be made out of any situation or circumstance, it just requires figuring out how to do so. And this debut demo/EP from American one-man project Godwyrm is a perfect example. From the humming overdrive channel, to the room-reverbed clean guitar parts everything about this recording screams "this is me in my bedroom." But where other artists fail at transmuting that setting into something new Godwyrm takes this basic set up and turns it into magic. Compelling atmpspheric-esque black metal, and don't even get me started on this cover art – best of the year. FFO: Yellow Eyes, Aureole, Turia.
4. Old Man Gloom – "Calling You Home," from Seminar VIII: Light Of Meaning (Sludge/Post-Metal – Profound Lore Records). The two albums OMG released in the last few months feel like something different, and perhaps this song best embodies that sense of, ah, difference. OMG has always been a band propelled by love and violence. Yeah, I know that sounds like a weird thing to say, but it is what it is. Those two elements were fighting each other to a bloody pulp thought the years, with some albums being more on the violent and some more along the lines of if not love then something like untethered creativity. And these two Darkness/Lightness "seminars," even if we entirely overlook the symbolism of their titles, feel like the members of Old Man Gloom, in the aftermath of everything that has happening them in recent years, most notably the loss of Caleb Scofield, are standing in a structure that is a cross of between a ritual circle and that transportation ring that Transformers used to have in the OG series, and just unite to become pure emotion. Raw, beautiful, sometimes kinda ugly (the tone of that intro lead guitar is not pretty, or confusing, and coming together to create perhaps the most potent human statement of the year. Where do you go from here? FFO: SUMAC, Cave In, Cult of Luna.
5. Bedsore – "The Gate, Closure (Sarcoptes Obitus)," from Hypnagogic Hallucinations (Death Metal/Prog – 20 Buck Spin). Last week 20 Buck spin threw a diamond-shaped wrench in the works with the incredible new single from Texas' Skeleton. This week the surprise gem comes from Italian prog-deathers Bedsore with a fantastic and brief preview into what sounds like a feast for Morbus Chron fans. And if you're a fan of those defunct yet resurrected (i.e. Sweven) Swedish masters then that's exactly the reference you too will hear in this (again, brief) first single from Bedsore. It has the drama, the ferocity, and the cerebral quirkiness that made MC so great, adding a nice touch of post rock. Can't wait to hear the rest of this. FFO: Morbus Chron, Sweven, Malokarpatan.
6. Cosmic Putrefaction – "The Horizons Towards Which Splendour Withers," from The Horizons Towards Which Splendour Withers (Death Metal – I, Voidhanger Records). The short version is this is, right now, my favorite death metal album of the year, excluding Sweven which, I mean, isn't actually death metal. As I have already stated when the first couple of singles came out this album is everything last year's debut seemed to promised only delivered magnificently. More focus, more cohesion, more atmosphere, and an overall dynamic monster of an album. "Cosmic" is a word thrown around much too lightly these days when it comes to metal albums and, whatever, star constellations. But if that annoying category means something like "music from another world" then this album fits right in. Incredible. FFO: Tchornobog, Haunter, Ch'theilist.
7. Vassafor – "Eyrie," from Vassafor III – To The Death (Black/Death – Iron Bonehead Productions). Vassafor's 2017's Malediction was easily one of the most terrifying and frighteningly good black/death albums in recent memory. Aside from hemisphere mates Portal one would really struggle to find music so dense, evil-sounding, and accomplished. Now the New Zealand terrors are back and, judging from this "short" preview, much less interested in draping a velvet blanket of doomy fear and much more in, ah, fucking shit up. Sounding like a brutal Vassafor/Diocletian hybrid the new material sounds as nasty as it does scary, though I do hope the album has some of that trademark boogieman vibe I have grown to love so much. FFO: Teitanblood, Diocletian, Portal.
8. Temple Nightside – "Death Eucharist," from Pillars of Damnation (Death Metal – Iron Bonehead Productions). Staying down under, and remaining in the twisted circle that is the Portal-Diocletian-Grave Upheaval-Vassafor clan (those dinners must be fascinating) Iron Bonehead have also released a first single from the new Temple Nightside album and boy oh boy it sounds terrific. Pitch-perfect production, riffing fro days, tormented vocals, amazing instrumentation. Can't wait to hear the rest of this. FFO: Vassafor, Malthusian, Auroch.
9. Karst – "Mermithid: Genesis of Nervous Decay," from Genesis of Nervous Decay (Death Metal – Independent). Karst out of L.A. produced some of the most riveting, well-written, dynamic new death metal in recent memory with a couple of just stellar demos (still bummed about one of them getting lost in the mail). Just one of those acts you hear and immediately expect to do well in the very near future just for the sheer quality of what they do. With a new EP coming, and a first single out, it seems they have only gotten better and more ferocious. Crushing stuff for those yearning to be crushed. FFO: Cerebral Rot, Mortiferum, Undeath.
FIVE MORE THINGS YOU NEED TO KNOW
ONE – Seaven Teares, the amazing medieval-inspired project by mastermind person Charlie Looker released a first single from its unearthed EP Older than Love. Nothing sounds like this.
TWO – Interesting black metal label Dusktone released a new sampler, for those itching for find even more new music.
THREE – Underrated Swedish post-metal/sludge band Gloson released a new live album.
FOUR – It's great that the kids are back in kindergarten, great for them for meeting their friends and great for us for getting some time to ourselves. But the whole new/old situation just shines a light on how scarce and stressful whatever time we have with our families really is.
FIVE – Decibel is streaming a new Undergand/Dead split (!) here.
ONE LAST THING, PROMISE: Seriously, the new compilation is going to be nuts.