NINE SONGS I LIKED THIS WEEK IN LIST FORM DEC 6 – DEC 12 – PLAGUE EDITION #37
Wasn't an easy week, just on a personal level but also on a very musical level. I find that when I'm building something up, say planning a long-term interview project or transcribing a great conversation or prepping a feature like that AOTY 2020 list I did last week, it's like having a nice secret, and it keeps me focused and happy. The trouble begins for me once it's out and, say, the reaction isn't what I expected or the interaction with the artist post-interview wasn't great, and that's where I'm at my most vulnerable. And just when I was that I had a couple of unpleasant encounters take place. I just wrote about both and deleted it, I don't need the grief. I'll just leave it at being a shitty week, one where me putting this much energy into whatever it is I'm doing seems silly and futile and juvenile and useless. But hey, here's more music. Whatever!
And here's the usual "follow" us on" message, only a bit different: We're on Twitter now! I have no idea why! Great! Other than that check out our multiple interview projects and other cool shit. And if you'd like to keep abreast of the latest, most pressing developments follow us wherever we may roam (Facebook, Instagram, Spotify), to listen to our shitty podcast (YouTube, Spotify, Apple), and to check out our amazing compilation albums. On to the music.
1. Dangerous Thing – "Dry and Cracked Out," from Dangerous Thing (Death Metal – Independent). Math-infused brutal death metal that sounds like a factory imploding on its robots with lyrics that include a recipe for Taglioni al Amanita Muscaria Tartufo Bianco. I think. Some of the great minds, hands, and throats in the NYC brutal/math scene have converged on your head to produce one of the best, most entertaining, and brilliant EPs all year. Jump in, the water is ferocious. FFO: Artificial Brain, Afterbirth, Wormed.
2. Vandreren – "Beyondman," from Chapter I (Goth/Rock – Independent). It's been a good while since I freaked out over a completely unknown Bandcamp band like this but the time hath indeed come. Vandreren is a Brazilian duo making what feels like to me like the kind of Joy Division worship Oranssi Pazuzu would do. Now, granted the entire EP/demo isn't as wonderfully heavy as this specific song and it mostly rests somewhere on the death-rock/new-wave lo-fi line. But this here is music magic, this is why I listen to music – so weird, so nonsensical, and so little reason to believe these various ingredients would amount to anything and yet like all good music it is a kind of miracle. Someone sign these cats, thanks. FFO: Soft Kill, Rope Sect, Oranssi Pazuzu.
3. Cardinal Wyrm – "Mrityunjaya," from Devotionals (Prog/Heavy/Doom Metal – Independent). I there is a cure to the unnamed disease I described in the intro it's music like this. Idiosyncratic metal band Cardinal Wyrm return to us with a brand new album that proves, yet again, that the best weapon against the spread of nothingness is character, the outward projection of a personality that's weird enough and captivating enough to remind use that that's what we have too – personality. There's something beautiful in that, to connect via weirdness. Nothing about this should work, nothing about its slippery definition of itself is comfortable or easy, but it doesn't matter, since the end result is, in professional terms, fucking magic. Bang yer heads. FFO: Big Business, Kyuss, Iron Maiden.
4. Déhà – "Hole," from Contrasts II (Post-Black/Atmospheric BM – Musical Excrements). In keeping with the same theme of dejection and revival this (another) new release from Belgian wonder-man Déhà is another important lesson. Also, as with Cardinal Wyrm, in personality, and god knows the multi-instrumentalist, music-making-machine has tons of that, which is something of a miracle considering his output. A normal human would have been worn out and jaded by now, I know I would have been (just read this post!). But not him. And so that's one source of inspiration, that he never stops, no matter how hard it must be to keep releasing perfect music and watch as another nameless masked band gets all the hype. But that's the thing – to love and appreciate Déhà's music doesn't include only the appreciation of his brilliance – that usually takes about five seconds after pressing "play." It includes the rejection of the cult of mystery or esoteric, of the cult of the masked band, of the "an album every 17 years" project. And that's a hard thing, for everyone, myself included. There's a reason hyped bands appeal to many people which is it works, these things work, and there's a reason we put a premium on bands that hardly release music. All Déhà has is his work, however, are his music, and his humility. And so he'll continue to produce countless masterpieces per week, and people, like me sometimes, like us all sometimes, will discount that wellspring of inspiration and love as somehow cheapening the experience. And we would have all made the same grave mistake. This is perfect post-black metal. If music is what you seek then look no further. FFO: Fen, Ba'a, Arkheron Todol.
5. 0-Nun – "Part II – The Volumetric of Oblivion," from The Shamanic Trilogy (Black Metal – Brucia Records). Well, it seems that the esotericism against which I had railed against in the previous entry is back. What can I say, I enjoy being sucked into black holes just like the next person. You probably think I'm mentioning said black hole because of the stunning cover art for this compendium of three EPs from this Brazilian one man project, and you would be partially correct. Partially because this actually sounds like being in a black whole – zero love, zero warmth, nothing but all-crushing gravity. But, true to all of the projects released this year by best-new-label Brucia Records, there are not just empty black metal calories but a rich, disturbing, and very strange experience. That's also, I should say, really good. FFO: Decoherence, Teratolith, Creature.
6. Undergang – "Rødt dødt kød," from Aldrig i livet (Death Metal – Dark Descent Records). Hunter Hunt Hendrix had an interesting Twitter thread at some point this week (btw, we have a Twitter now too) about how she felt Liturgy was so violently rejected by black metal when the band first came out. I'm not going to describe the whole thing (you can read it yourself) but there was one part I found interesting about how all she ever wanted to do was to take the material of black metal not join the scene. And I commented there, and now here, that that's precisely why I think so many dumb criticism was and still is thrown her way since for some black metal isn't something you can "borrow from" it's a monolith of "truth" that can only be performed a certain way. I say all this here because I encountered an interesting bit of blacklash from a certain subset of people concerning Undergang this week (this encounter is part of my bad mood), having to do with Undergang being, I guess, "poser" death metal somehow or "trendy" or whatever. And I have a feeling that this has to do with another case in which someone or a group feels as if Undergang is somehow "appropriating" something or not "living the life" or that their fans don't own pet rats, I really don't know what, in a way not unlike what I just described with Liturgy, albeit to a much lesser degree. And not going into the kind of descriptive detail I usually delve into when describing a band's music I will say only this: I'd like to see you write a better song than this one. You can't. FFO: Necrot, Cerebral Rot, Pissgrave.
7. Sumac – "Two Beats" (Experimental – Sub Pop). Speaking of people who don't give a shit, and speaking of people who do their own thing, and speaking of music the in its very existence cleanses the soul from the kind of filth that everyday life gathers in, ah, life – this. Not really sure how to explain this one, but I guess if you Sumac's work, at least its recent stuff, then you know what to expect. But basically it's 18 minutes of basking in realiy-shaped sound and then listening to it again, and again, until you forget you ever had that stupid argument online. Kind of. Soul-affirming, life-enhancing magic. FFO: Man I don't know.
8. Acid Womb – "The Upheaval," from The Ladder (Death Metal – Independent). OK, now that I have vented some, back to being a normal human being: this, off of what seems like the debut EP from Canadian band Acid Womb (good name) is very heavy, very mean, and I like it. So, there. More melodic/djenty probably than most of the stuff I listen to most of the time but this is done too well, written too well, and too damn, I don't know, heavy for me to ignore. I guess I'll notch it up as that Afterbirth/Wormed/Origin part of my brain. Would be very interested to see where this goes in the future. FFO: Afterbirth, Wormed, Encenathrakh.
9. Soul Glo – "(Quietly) Do the Right Thing," from Songs to Yeet at the Sun (Hardcore – Secret Voice). There quite a bit of debate about this last spot, between some very anthemic post-whatever (Respire), and some etherial atmospheric black metal (Necrowinter). But as the running theme of this themeless post has been "character" then how can I resist the madness, desperation, weirdness, and passion behind this latest EP from Philadelphia's Soul Glo. Have never really been into them or raelly knew about them if I'm entirely honest but that's about to change. Fast. FFO: Shin Guard, Senza, Frail Body.
FIVE MORE THINGS YOU NEED TO KNOW
ONE – The soundtrack to the Cyberpunk 2077 game is out on YouTube and you can catch new songs from the likes of Deafkids, Tomb Mold, Mastiff, Converge and many more.
TWO – There's a new comp coming out of drone and metal that benefits Amazonian tribes and features music from Loam and Blood of the Black Owl. Support here.
THREE – If you're hungry for some chaotic grind/gorecore with a plethora of different vocalists and creepy movie samples then I think this is your thing.
FOUR – Being a parent is obviously a source of endless anxiety as it is, and trying to gauge what kinds of an effect this current situation has on that is hard to do, let alone trying to figure out what the effect is on my kids. But I keep finding myself having these flashes of just horrible worst case scenarios in random moments, to the point that I have to physically shake my head to get rid of it. Like horrific daydreams.
FIVE – Deafkids just keep releasing more and more brilliant small-scale experiments, this EP being the latest example. If they're reading this then please I need this all on one huge, never-ending album.
ONE LAST TIME PROMISE: Italian avant-garde metallers Ad Nauseum are teasing a new album. Here's said teaser.
OK JUST THIS: Abigor released a surprise album this week, I listened to it and mostly really liked it. And I realize there are many out there who don't have any issue where albums are published and who's what, but I will say this: I would have listened to this and supported it with a much lighter heart had it not been released on World Terror Committee. That's just me. And I know that there those out there who don't care about this stuff and those who may be upset by my statement but two quick points: 1) It's how I feel 2) Most of ya'll don't even read this fucking blog so whatever. And I also know that some will read this and say this statement isn't enough, to which I will say: 1) It's how I feel 2) Most of ya'll don't even read this fucking blog so whatever.