Imagine yourself in the middle of a frozen wasteland, far from civilization. The snow has accumulated tremendously and has swallowed your feet completely. The bitter wind swarms about you, threatening to peel the skin from your face. You finally collapse in a heap from exhaustion and starvation. Unseen wild animals can be heard issuing their hunting cries in the distance. You are convinced that the end is nigh and you begin making amends with whichever god you believe in. The debut album from self-proclaimed “winterdoom” outfit Phantom Winter, “Cvlt”, recreates this scenario through their haunting compositions. Born out of the ashes of German post-metal group Omega Massif, Phantom Winter aim to rip any shred of hope you have in you and leave you for dead.
Whenever Aaron Turner attaches his name to a musical project, people take notice. Whether it be the forward-thinking metal compositions of Isis, the sludgy monkey-business of Old Man Gloom, the haunting drones of Mamiffer, the hardcore-tinged debauchery of Split Cranium and others, it’s hard to deny Turner’s musical prowess. So when Sumac was announced, everyone, including myself, was instilled with insurmountable excitement. Turner is joined by the equally proficient Brian Cook (Russian Circles, Botch, etc) and Nick Yacyshyn (Baptists), and the end-result is absolutely tremendous.Brimming with complexity and colossal heaviness, The Deal delivers the all the goods in a jam-packed 54-minute duration.
I was introduced to the eccentric yet virulent sounds of Muck sometime last year, when a friend randomly sent me the link to their 2012 full length, Slaves. The Icelandic quartet’s music immediately struck a chord with me with its erratic, complex instrumentation and general wackiness. Obvious reference points would be Coalesce, Botch and the like. But upon further inspection, one could see this wasn’t just rehashed mathcore sensibilities. Slaves definitely had a personality all its own. Muck return this year with the record’s follow up and it most certainly delivers. But rather than just rewrite Slaves, Muck opt for something a little familiar yet different at the same time. Much like its predecessor, Your Joyous Future is a unique animal.
The illustration of the woman about to have her throat sliced open by an unknown assailant is probably the best visual representation of Cowards‘ second full length album, Rise to Infamy. The Parisian quintet is said assailant; swift, cunning, merciless and violent. They attack when you least expect them and you won’t find time to recover from the initial blows before being subjected to more unhinged violence. A slashed throat will honestly be the least of your worries. The murderer analogy serves to prove that Cowards are no band to be taken lightly. Rise to Infamy is a dark and gritty record whose sole goal is carnage.
Since their inception in 2013 with their monolithic, hate-filled debut record Scorn, Primitive Man have shown no signs of slowing down. The Denver doom trio have since released several splits (and even a noise tape) that show the band becoming progressively more malevolent and generally terrifying. Which brings us to their newest dismal creation, Home Is Where The Hatred Is. The four track EP is the next step in the group’s evolutionary cycle into becoming the most gruesome doom outfit on the planet. For the next half-hour, you will be dragged into a claustrophobic abyss for which there is no escape, and the validity of your existence will be brought into question.
When musical minds of various ilks come together, one can only assume that the byproduct of their union is one that is equally varied and experimental in scope. Anatomy of Habit is just that. The Chicago-based quintet is comprised of members who have shared their time in acts like Tortoise, Indian, Bloodyminded, Joan of Arc and Radar Eyes. With each member coming from a completely different musical background, what could their collective compositions sound like? The answer(s) is epic, dark, sprawling, traumatic and multifaceted. Ciphers + Axioms, the band’s proper sophomore full length is all of the adjectives previously listed and more. The 42 minute behemoth of an album effectively avoids being pigeonholed into one specific genre and provides enough twists and turns to keep the listener on the edge of their feet and interested despite the lengthy durations of the tracks.
Formed in 2009 initially under a far more familiar Crowbar-ian banner, Ocean City, MD audio terrorists Full Of Hell have since grown into one of the most innovative acts in contemporary extreme music, bearing name to a consistent assault of constant reinvention bred from a seemingly unending wealth of existential woe and genre-weaving knowhow. On the live circuit, the quartet have fared similarly, holding their vile live exorcisms to the acclaim of endless punk houses and festival audiences the world over, slaying equally audiences Backtrack to The Body. While 2013’s Rudiments Of Mutilation seemed to serve as the band’s magnum opus and a comfortable defining point for the band’s shifting sound, this year’s Full Of Hell & Merzbow, a chance collaboration with the long-standing noise legend, marks the beginnings of yet another new trajectory into alienation for the initially hardcore-rooted band that proves that there is much hell left to explore. Continue reading →