Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Primordial: Where Greater Men Have Fallen (2014)


If you’re one of the few metalheads who isn’t familiar with Primordial, you’re missing an essential and truly unique piece of the metal landscape, and you need to go buy 2005’s The Gathering Wilderness right now. But most of you already have strong opinions on the band, mostly positive. Where Greater Men Have Fallen is a predictable continuation of the band’s trajectory, with predictable results. And I’d say that’s a very good thing.

Most of us would agree that Averill’s vocals are the real draw to this band, and he’s still in fine form. His emotional gravity is unmatched in the metal world, and tunes like the title track (and really, the whole album) make good use of it. For those who have complaints with the band, there isn’t a lot to assuage your doubts. Sometimes, the instruments can be rather boring (“Babel’s Tower”). Even the black metal riffing of “The Seed of Tyrants” isn’t anything special. Because this is a singer’s band more than anything else.

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Lotus Thief: Rervm (2014)

Hey, Give Me My Lotus Back!

Unless I’m mistaken, Lotus Thief began life on the companion Allies disc to Botanist’s Doom in Bloom. If you’re not familiar, that disc featured different bands using the drum tracks from the Botanist album to play completely new songs. It seems at least one of those has been fertilized and is now growing on its own.

The band features Otrebor (of Botanist) so of course I’m already inclined to like it. But even if you don’t care for Botanist, that shouldn’t have any bearing on this, because it doesn’t sound even remotely like it.

"You are using your guitar in metal as a weapon. It is an axe, literally, and you should be wielding it, right? Zhi-di-di-di-GA! Oh, yi-di-di-GUH, ERR! You're just chopping at these Middle Earth creatures with your axe, di-GA!"

--John Roderick

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Joshua's Dungeon

Since this has always been a blog where I share whatever I feel like sharing, I thought I'd start posting some of the drawings I've been doing lately.

This is a dramatic/triumphant scene from history's greatest TV show, Adventure Time, where Finn obtains a sword that's literally made out of demon's blood and faces down a giant, maniacal monster.

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Solefald: Norrønasongen - Kosmopolis Nord (2014 EP)

I don't quite know how to categorize Solefald, and this new EP doesn't make it any easier.

I was first introduced to them eons ago by The Metalcast, so they were a pretty early addition to my extreme metal library. (I almost wrote "oeuvre," but I'm trying not to be an asshole.) I had picked up their Icelandic Odyssey albums, which had a couple of fantastically killer songs and a whole lot of head-scratchers. But then out of nowhere they released Norrøn livskunst, which was sort of Sigh-meets-Kvelertak-meets-Helheim, and easily the most underappreciated album of 2010. Then, dormancy.

Wednesday, January 07, 2015

I apologize for the slow pace of posts here lately. Between Christmas celebrations, my own illness knocking me out for a day, and the illness of my children (two tested positive for pertussis this week), I've been so busy I haven't had any time to listen to any new music. Hopefully I'll be back to it soon.

Tuesday, January 06, 2015

Dark Americana Briefs, Volume 19

King Buzzo: This Machine Kills Artists (2014)
3.5 out of 5 stars

King Buzzo (of Melvins fame) released an acoustic album in early 2014. It's entirely him and his acoustic guitar, sometimes with vocal distortion but mostly this is naked singer-songwriter. In mood and style I'd say it's pretty close to Wino's Adrift, with lively, energetic and surprisingly uptempo riffs but a downbeat mood. It doesn't have quite enough to keep it really interesting across the full 45 minutes, but it ain't too bad.

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Nekrofilth: Filling My Blood with Poison . . . (2009 Demo)

Maggots in Your Skull

Last year, Nekrofilth satisfied those of refined taste with their tasteful full-length debut, Devil’s Breath . Hells Headbangers, always eager to cater to those of us with delicate musical palates, took notice, and decided to reissue the band’s 2009 demo, Filling My Blood with Poison . . .

This Cleveland steamer apparently knew exactly where to go, right from the start. Although, to be honest, it’s not like this is a particularly difficult thing to do. These are simple hardcore/thrash riffs played with reckless abandon, and where there are solos it’s like they just fucked around for a second or two with the intention of going back to fix it later. But they didn’t. Because they clearly don’t give a fuck, and it shows in all the right ways.

Monday, December 29, 2014

Jesters of Destiny: Fun at the Funeral (1986)

Faith Restored

I’ve got to be honest: I’ve never been a big fan of Faith No More. Not that I dislike them, exactly. I will say I don’t feel one way or the other about their reunion.

Why bring them up here? Jesters of Destiny was an L.A. band that could easily have been their peers. Maybe even the superior band. This is a reissue of their only record, 1986’s Fun at the Funeral, and it really gives off a Faith No More vibe. The punk-inflected “Incubus” is the most direct comparison to FNM, but the irreverence of the entire record reflects that spirit. Only, for my money, this is far superior.

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Metal Briefs: Two by Two by Two Part Four


Two songs each. Two sentences each.

Portal / Blood of Kingu: Split 7" (2014)
3.5 out of 5 stars

This is a rough, early version of Portal that would have been intriguing as a first taste of the band. Blood of Kingu is blackened death metal at its best, but stacked next to Portal almost anything sounds tame.

On Hells Headbangers