Seven full length albums in and Every Time I Die show no intention of slowing down and mellowing out. The band’s has changed their sound in small increments throughout the course of their existence, but have never once sacrificed their heavy and creative edge. The band were once more chaotic and unhinged than they are now, as heard on the The Burial Plot Bidding War and their first full length, Last Night in Town. The chaos carried over a little bit into their second and breakout album, Hot Damn! Songs like “I Been Gone A Long Time” showcased a more hard rock inspired sound that would start to appear more in subsequent albums. Gutter Phenomenon took that hard rock style, injected it with some southern swagger, and poured all over the band’s already unique sound. The Big Dirty continued along this path but showed the band experimenting with more “traditional” rock structures, as seen in songs like “Buffalo Gals” and “INRIhab”. The band continued to experiment with different styles and structures while simultaneously returning to the more violent aggression of their earlier albums on New Junk Aesthetic and more so on Ex-Lives. From Parts Unknown, their most recent effort, is the culmination of what the band has been inspiring to do on their past two records. It’s a solid 30 minute aural assault that may be one of the finest records that they have crafted in their roughly 15 year career.
This review is far from unbiased. I confess I’ve booked this band before so I can personally attest to their awesomeness. But biased or not this review will give light to one of the most promising up-and-coming punk acts in So Cal or anywhere.
The phrase “hirn fein hacken” translates from German to “get your brain chopped into pieces”. When a band names an album something of that caliber, they have a lot to live up to. Thankfully, the Austrian racket-makers Bulbul do just that. In the six-year gap between their last album, the eccentric trio have crafted a collection of 10 multi-faceted jams that are bursting with creativity and mild-schizophrenia. Hirn Fein Hacken is a gleefully weird, colorful and erratic album that defies categorization and places Bulbul at the forefront of all things weird.
Doom and sludge metal, like all genres of heavy music at one point or another, can start to become one-dimensional. Some bands tend to be a culmination of Black Sabbathian chord progressions, fuzz-ridden grooves, and occult and bong-praising lyricism. These are not necessarily bad things, but they do leave something to be desired in some people. Luckily for those who want their doom to be more forward thinking, there happens to be a myriad of bands who strive for just that. One of which is New York’s HUSH. The band is still in its neonatal stages, but is destined for greater things as they grow. Their debut full length, Unexist, can attest to that statement. Unexist is HUSH.’s first big step into the fray and it makes quite the tremendous first impression.
Instrumental music can be somewhat challenging to make. Music that is devoid of vocals usually needs to be multi-faceted and grandiose in order to keep some listeners’ attentions. Luckily, it is not too difficult to find good instrumental-only acts. Whether it be on the more rock side of the spectrum (Explosions in the Sky, Tortoise, etc) or the more metallic side (Russian Circles, Pelican, etc), solid instrumental music exists in all different forms. But, just like everything else in life, a breath of fresh air is needed. That is where the Arizona’s Tempel come in. Though the duo of Ryan Wenzel and Rich Corle have been collaborating since 2003, it is not until this year that we see the full product of their efforts. Their 53 minute debut album, On the Steps of the Temple, is a metallic marvel and gives a lot of their contemporaries a run for their money.
The world is not a very pretty place, and Lord Mantis knows this. Even if you cannot fully decipher their scathing lyrics, their music alone can attest to that sentiment. These Chicagoans have always had a penchant for the dark and bleak, as previous album Pervertor showcased. So it is not a complete surprise that the group’s new full length, Death Mask, sounds like the soundtrack to the end of the world, or at the very least, a horrendous genocide. Lord Mantis up the ante for their third full length and Profound Lore debut, resulting in what is quite possibly their most sickening display to date.
Jar’d Loose’s 2012 debut, Goes to Purgatory, was almost too good to be true. The Chicago quartet expertly combined the driving rhythms associated with bands like Helmet, with subtle noisy debauchery and offbeat vocals. The end result was an eccentric, fresh take on the 90’s-tinged alternative metal and noise rock sound. Goes to Purgatory was pretty straight forward, but was pulled off with finesse and provided the framework for the band’s sound. But a band as odd as Jar’d Loose are not above pushing their own boundaries. Their sophomore full length, Turns 13, shows the band extending their tendrils into new territories while still maintaining their dirty sound.
The Brooklynites Tiger Flowers have been making quite a stir in New York in recent years. The metallic hardcore outfit is slowly becoming a household name in Brooklyn, and is really starting to garner attention abroad. Partnering with Deathwish, Inc and Melotov Records for the release of their debut full length is sure to rake in more potential listeners and hopefully get the band the recognition they deserve. Dead Hymns is the name of that aforementioned full length and it is 31 minutes of blistering chaos, grumpy riffing, and emotionality.
There is very little you can do to prepare yourself for the disorienting madness that is Pyrrhon. You could study the technical death and experimental metal greats for hours on end, but you may still find yourself at a loss for words. The New York experimental metal quartet have unleashed an utterly polarizing, 54 minute behemoth that is sure to perplex and mesmerize those who allow it to enter their ear canals. The Mother of Virtues is proof that there are still boundaries to be pushed and areas left to explore in metal.