Imagine that the prehensile appendage of some unseen, Lovecraftian creature wraps around your ankles and pulls you through an interdimensional portal into a realm far worse than Hell. You are dragged, writhing in terror, through corridors of darkness where malformed beings grasp at and pick away at your flesh. This is a realm where your worse fears and anxieties are manifested and heightened. A place that acts as an intense fever dream of which there is no waking. A place where death is the only release from relentless psychological torture. This is where you are transported to while listening to Imperial Triumphant‘s Abyssal Gods. Through the use of mangled instrumentation, haunting atmospheres and a modern black metal foundation, this New York musical act creates one of the more unsettling and simultaneously awe-inspiring metal releases of the year. It’s an intensely claustrophobic record that only the most masochistic metal fans will enjoy.
One look at the grim, barren landscape that graces the cover of Lament Cityscape‘s debut full-length, The Torn, brings the thought of the Earth’s inevitable dissolution to mind. Rapid industrialization and environmental and societal collapse will be the catalysts to our self-induced apocalypse. That empty, infertile patch of land that stretches for miles on the album’s cover will eventually be all that’s left to see on the planet. Man’s interaction with the environment and the negative effects that result, may or may not be the focal point of this Californian duo. Regardless of their intention, The Torn inadvertently serves as a soundtrack to life after the fall of civilization. Lament Cityscape‘s massive compositions paint a bleak picture of a planet ravaged by years of neglect and spotlights the struggles of those left behind.
Pennsylvania hardcore band Sovereign have come out swinging, again, with the re-release of their debut album The World Takes. Originally appearing in September of 2014, this new version finds the band having re-recorded the guitars and fully remixed and remastered what was already an angry, heavy slab of crusty d-beat/hardcore. The re-release is truly a beast, the new mix and master job having pushed the distortion and impact to the limit, further augmenting the atmosphere of rage and urgency that pervades each song. Continue reading
Mankind’s inevitable extinction is not a foreign concept to heavy music artists. The mere idea of the human race ceasing to exist resonates profoundly within the metal and hardcore world. There are those who warn of the end of days and critique humanity, and there are those whose dissatisfaction with human beings instills a desire to accelerate the rate of the coming extinction. Either way, the concept is not a new one no matter how it is addressed. So what makes Locrian‘s Infinite Dissolution any different, other than the fact that is not strictly a “metal” album? The Chicago/Baltimore-based experimental trio’s approach to music attempts to revitalize an almost archaic concept and examine it with fresh eyes and ears. Locrian do not wish to preach to humankind about their self-destructive actions, nor do they wish to damn all of us on Earth either. Through multi-faceted compositions and non-linear narration, Infinite Dissolution urges the listener to reflect on the inevitability of the end; a bleak concept the band makes somber and beautiful simultaneously.
I’ve been following Will Haven since the release of their 1997 album El Diablo, when I encountered the song Ego’s Game on a Revelation Records sampler CD (back when those still were a thing). I saw them live the summer of that year and was hooked by the downtuned, sludgy riffs and hardcore intensity. Continue reading
Syracuse, NY’s Bleak has come of age on their first full length release We Deserve Our Failures via the venerable HEX Records. Since I first encountered the band at a very random live show in 2013, they’ve changed considerably. Most notably, they changed vocalists later in that same year, eschewing the raspy scrape and sneer of former singer Mike, and trading it in for the vicious growl of current frontman Skot. With that altered lineup and a couple of shorter releases under their belts (2014’s s/t EP and a split 7” with PA hardcore crushers Sovereign), the band has grown from a noise drenched, simplistic assault into something somehow beefier, more mature, and more complexly heavy. Continue reading
Greg Puciato of The Dillinger Escape Plan, John LaMacchia of Candiria, Julie Christmas of Made Out of Babies and Jeff Caxide of Isis. Just the mere prospect of these musicians coming together would excite any fan of forward-thinking heavy music. In November of 2008, it happened with the first self-titled Spylacopa EP. The six-track release was commendable for deviating from the formulas of each of its members respective musical outlets in favor of something more accessible but no less heavy and catchy. A follow-up release was scheduled for 2011 but never came due to the passing of drummer Troy Young. Isis and Made Out of Babies broke up and Julie Christmas’ musical output stopped after her 2010 solo record, The Bad Wife, and her Coextinction Recordings release. Spylacopa was beginning to feel like a distant memory. But, not far into 2015, LaMacchia announces that the group’s long-delayed debut full-length will be released. Sure enough, March saw the unveiling of Parallels, a 40-minute tour de force of metallic eccentricity. Continue reading