OBSCURE TERROR: SHEVER, BONES, ANICON
Hello MetalSucks! I’m back again, to your collective delight/chagrin/indifference. Here are a few things I’m currently obsessed with — one old, one new, and one, well, Swiss? I’m especially excited about the new sHever record. Weird, female-fronted doomy bands are all the rage right now, and these broads deserve to be fawned over just as much as Witch Mountain or Royal Thunder (if not even more, if you like it heavier). Give them a shot.
Besides these, I’ve been spinning Revenge’s discography (holy fuck, their cover of Bathory’s “War” is ace!), endless Barbatos, and lots of Waylon Jennings. What’ve you been listening to?
After seeing these ladies absolutely stun the crowd at Roadburn 2010 as part of the Tom G. Warrior-curated Only Death Is Real event, I was smitten, and rushed to their merch table to buy as much merch as my frail American wallet could handle (fucking Euros, man – that exchange rate can get brutal). I didn’t hear much about them after that, but luckily for me, a chance forum post by Totalrust Music informed me that the Israeli label had recently released sHever’s second LP. Even luckier: Rituals was worth the wait. The album offers up fifty minutes’ worth of crawling, cavernous blackened death/doom, with Alexandra’s hoarse, guttural howls complemented by backing screams from bassist/violinist Nadine and guitarist Jessica and interspersed with unsettling whispers and witchy invocations. The riffs are slow, distorted, and sludgy, the drums sparse and ritualistic, with the bass tone rumbling menacingly underneath. The self-proclaimed “witch doom” quartet have been kicking around their native Switzerland for the past eight years, appearing at high profile festivals like Roadburn and Doom Shall Rise and releasing a handful of demos and albums, without attracting the kind of attention that is their due. Here’s hoping this new opus will send them screeching out into the public eye. Fans of Mythic, Derketa, and Otesanek, prepare to lose your shit.
A new song from Rituals:
It it ain’t broke, don’t fix it, and if it happens to be thrashy old-school death metal, leave it the fuck alone! That’s the approach that Chicago brigade Bones utilize on their self-titled debut (which came out on Planet Metal in 2011, but that I only now gave a good listen). All their press materials keep calling them “crusty,” and I suppose I can see why: there’s a dirty, lo-fi production slapped all over everything, scattered with d-beats and narrated by feral roars that comes across like some mutated version of Antisect with Kam Lee on vocals, or that new Wolfbrigade record dusted with a little more grime. Helmed by three members of sadly defunct black thrashers Usurper and graced with slimy zombified artwork (a dual effort between Putrid and XNA Casperson), Bones is the total package if you dig this sort of thing, and really, why wouldn’t you?
Bolt Thrower’s bastard children, Trenchgrinder, have rapidly become one of my favorite local NYC bands, and I know everyone involved has killer taste (axeman and The Acheron/Anchored Inn’s proprietor Bill Dozer never takes off his After The Bombs longsleeve and used to play in Atakke, so that’s proof in the puddin’ right there). Therefore, when vocalist Owen Rundquist sent me a link to a new project he’d been working on, I expected at the very least a solid listen. What I got was far more. The project he and a friend has been working on in secret, and had had mastered by Colin Marston at the Thousand Caves, has just become one of the best bands in this cesspool of a city. Anicon is black metal through and through, and really fucking good black metal at that! American in execution, but Scandinavian in sheer savagery and atmosphere, especially when the guitar work and melodic lines are concerned. Their first recording sprawls like the first Krallice record and shines like Ash Borer, but has far more in common with vintage Satyricon and Taake (Anicon’s “The Tomb of Illusions” sounds as though its main melodies were plucked straight off of Hordaland Doedskvad, slowed down to ¾ of the speed, then allowed to fester). Stream the whole thing here, and thank me later.
“Grim Kim” Kelly is an NYC-based writer and merch-slinger whose writing has appeared inTerrorizer, Metal Maniacs, Decibel, NPR, Invisible Oranges, Brooklyn Vegan, Pitchfork, andThe Atlantic. Thanks to tour and the lure of overseas metal fests, she’s never actually in New York, but is stoked to live in the same city that Negative Plane and Carmine’s pizza call home. Keep up with her on-the-road exploits & numerous band recommendations on Twitter.