SH*T THAT COMES OUT TODAY – THE JANUARY 17TH, 2012 EDITION
I was surprised at the amount of quality releases that come out today before I set out to write this column since it’s still only the third week in January. New music from The Devil’s Blood, a ton of power metal releases AND Al Jourgensen’s long-anticipated excursion into country… this is a good fucking week.
Almah – Motion (AFM)
Another helping of heavy power metal from this Brazilian crew. There is a certain sect of bands that stick in a certain template of power metal without ever really changing or updating it, and Almah definitely fall into that category. Staying on a set course is just fine by me, as the band just finds new ways to kill it on each release. High-pitched, operatic vocals, tight instrumental sections and blazing leads and solos are all over the record, just like the band’s previous two albums.
Buck Satan And The 666 Shooters – Bikers Welcome! Ladies Drink Free (AFM)
Bikers Welcome! Ladies Drink Free is the debut album from Al Jourgensen’s new band, which also features Rick Neilsen (Cheap Trick), Tony Campos (Static-X) and Mike Scaccia (Rigor Mortis). The record is a country album, but Jourgensen and his bandmates’ involvement ensures this is a much more twisted version of country. The record has all the necessary country twang and sensibilities, including a string section, but it’s just a little heavier and even includes some electronica-style drums on some tracks. Revolver is streaming the whole thing, so go listen right here.
The Devil’s Blood – The Thousandfold Epicentre (Metal Blade)
In 2009, when The Devil’s Blood released their last album The Time Of No Time Evermore, I was blown away by the band’s retro-rock style and songwriting. The band is definitely reaching to the past, using high falsetto vocals, a simplistic riff rock template and elements of psychedelic rock in their tunes. There are many good bands doing this, but The Devil’s Blood are a step above as the music just grabs you. Listen to them now. Do it. I’ve listened to a few tracks from The Thousandfold Epicentre streaming online and I can’t wait to get the record. Calling it in January: this one is probably going on my end of the year list.
Everything Went Black – Cycles Of Light (Prosthetic)
This is the debut album of this St. Louis band. They play intense metallic hardcore, kind of like a combination of Entombed and Tragedy. The debut is excellent. Fast as shit, and excellent guitar tone. I like.
Farsot – Insects (Lupus Lounge/Prophecy Productions)
The follow-up to 2007’s IIII is another foray into atmospheric post-metal done beautifully. The band’s music features unique instrumental passages mixed with blackened vocals and spoken word samples over the music. The end result is brutal and brilliant all at once. Farsot are from Germany, and this record is released on Lupus Lounge, a subsidiary of Prophecy Productions.
Hate Squad – Katharsis (Massacre)
Although this record is pretty simplistic, it’s still alright. Hate Squad play some pretty basic death metal, although their lead guitarist is good enough to set this band apart. The songs are brutal enough, and although this is by no means excellent, it’s worth a listen. This is the sixth album from the German group.
Iron Saviour – The Landing (AFM)
Just like labelmates Almah, Iron Saviour are a band that sticks to the basic formula of power metal, with excellent results. Soaring vocals, powerful choruses and great instrumental melodies make this release an excellent addition to your power metal catalog.
Lantlôs – Agape (Prophecy)
Another release, another album of dissonant and dreary post-rock/black metal from Lantlôs. The band has released three albums (including Agape) of dark, dreary tunes, fusing the dissonant guitar and bass work of black metal with lighter post-rock style instrumentation crawling along at a doom-level pace. The band is yet another German band releasing an album today in the States.
Loincloth – Iron Balls Of Steel (Southern Lord)
Featuring the bassist and drummer of technical doom band Confessor, Loincloth makes its debut with Iron Balls Of Steel. The band plays an instrumental style of technical prog metal, which is technically good, but it does get kind of stale with its minimalism. There’s a lot going on here, don’t get me wrong, but it doesn’t stand out much between tracks. Take a listen over here.
Nekromantheon – Rise, Vulcan Spectre (Indie Recordings)
If you want a band that puts Slayer, Kreator, Sodom and other early thrash greats in a blender and distills it to an even mixture of all, this is your band. This recording — quality included — sounds like something one of these bands could have recorded in the mid-80’s and just now unearthed. This is the second album for the Norwegian group. Terrorizer is streaming the record, and you can listen to it here.
Stormzone – Zero To Rage (SPV)
More excellent power metal coming out this week. Stormzone are based in Belfast, Ireland, and this is the band’s third album. Besides being an awesome heavy metal/power metal band (definitely more on the heavy metal side), the band features Davy Bates, former drummer for Sweet Savage, a legendary 1980s-era heavy metal band. Riffs, solos, anthemic choruses, repeat… when a band gets it right, there’s no need to change the formula.
Touchstone – The City Sleeps (SPV)
Touchstone bridge the gap between symphonic and progressive metal, mixing a heavy metal backbone with female vocals, keyboards and some extremely melodic touches as well. It’s alright, but the music too often falls into lackluster territory. There are some great moments here, but as a whole, this album — the band’s third — doesn’t keep me listening.