Under the Radar Releases, March 2019: Oozing Wound, Black Vulpine, and Dwarrowdelf
Welcome to our new monthly column, where, as you may have guessed, we’ll be highlighting a few select releases that might slip under your radar! Feel free to complain about our choices in the comments below.
You really can’t go wrong with a cover image of a barbarian lady riding a goddamn sabretooth tiger on what appears to be a background cel from Star Trek: The Animated Series, and thankfully the music inside lives up to the ’70s-inspired sweetness on the outside. Taking in The Sword’s sci-fi swing, Mastodon’s twisty prog, Kyuss’s laid-back desert jamming, and Royal Thunder’s downer indie delivery, and you’ve got one heck of a stoner metal stew. It feels appropriately epic and yet intimate at the same time, the deliberate pacing driving each heavy riff into your soul. They give themselves room to breathe and to build to devastating doom crescendos. The swirling groove in “A Lucid Dream” sweeps up everything in its path, and you better hope you have a good grip on your tiger when it hits.
The phrase “oozing wound” brings all sorts of delightful imagery to mind: yellow goo dribbling out of abscesses, flies crawling across rotten flesh, exploded pustules. In other words, be careful when you do an internet search for the band Oozing Wound. Noise rock often leans too hard on the “noise” part and not enough on the “rock,” but this Chicago trio works in enough metal thrashing madness to make the cacophonous lurches exciting instead of annoying. It was recorded at Steve Albini’s studio, so you know it’s gonna have that abandoned industrial warehouse sound to it. The vocalist screams like he’s trying to disgorge a severed hand from his throat. It taps into that primal aggression, that disgust with the world as it is and the need to lash out. Song titles like “Surrounded by Fucking Idiots” and “Tween Shitbag” demonstrate the band’s nihilistic worldview pretty effectively. The sound matches the words.
Metal can take you places. Sometimes that place is the Mines of Moria. Dwarrowdelf is another name for that fabled dwarven labyrinth stretching under the Misty Mountains, and also the name of one British dude that really loves Lord of the Rings and Summoning. It’s not that you haven’t heard music like this before — it’s just that it’s done really well here, like Midnight Odyssey but obsessed with Middle Earth instead of space. This stuff can turn into cheese real quick, but this experienced blacksmith forges atmospheric black metal that takes you on a thrilling journey through the twilight hall. Dwarrowdelf uses his keyboards, drum machine, minor key guitar riffs, and Viking troubadour vocals to capture the perfect Tolkeinistic vibe. Each song is on the long side, all the better to sweep in the listener. They never outstay their welcome — no Balrogs here to knock the record into the pit.