Beneath the Remains, June 2019: Faerie Ring, Superstition, and Beastwars
Welcome to Beneath the Remains, the monthly column in which we highlight a few select releases that might otherwise slip under your radar!
Who needs June gloom when you have June DOOM? This month we feature three heavy-ass acts from different parts of the world and different parts of the metal spectrum.
Faerie Ring – The Clearing (King Volume)
Can you ever have too much stoner rock? Of course not. It’s the potato chip of heavy rock genres. No matter how many servings you consume, it’s still delicious. Faerie Ring’s name may sound like they should be rocking out slickly-produced stories about Lord of the Rings in a falsetto, but they don’t use nearly enough shampoo to be a power metal band. Even though they’re based in Indiana, this foggy foursome don’t need to go to the desert for inspiration — they bring the desert to them by conjuring giant riffs through a wall of fuzz. Their mastery of the Sabbath sound shows through trippy tracks like “Lost Wind” and “Somnium.” There’s nothing new here, but it doesn’t matter. The Clearing is just satisfying on every level.
Superstition – The Anatomy of Unholy Transformation (20 Buck Spin)
You won’t find this writer waxing rhapsodic about the New Wave of Old-School Swedish Death Metal, mostly because I have little use for the First Wave of Old-School Swedish Death Metal. Still, sometimes a member of the undead horde sticks out — maybe it’s wearing a nifty bowtie or sombrero or something. Superstition are one of those standouts. The band hails from the deserts of New Mexico, and their moldy melodies feel more sun-bleached than snow-covered. The dry, vulture-picked bones of songs like “Spiritual Sunderance” and “Passage of Nullification” provide a solid structure for guitarists K.M. and L.S. to drape shredded carcasses over. L.S.’s vocals have enough box canyon echo on them to keep them from killing the tunes (belching is so much more appealing when it’s bounced off a few walls first). The thrashy elements and technical noodling help give these zombies some fresh unlife.
Beastwars – IV (Destroy)
As seen in the minor New Zealand horror classic Deathgasm, Beastwars were one of the more promising exports from the land of the Kiwi. Then they broke up. Then singer Matt Hyde was diagnosed with non-Hodgkins lymphoma, and that caused a lot of soul-searching. He came through chemotherapy with the cancer in remission, the band got back together, and IV was born. A searing mélange of grunge, stoner metal, and sludge, their fourth effort deals with death and its inevitability from the point of view of someone who stared down the reaper. Even if the songs weren’t rock-solid slabs, that extra boost of emotional energy helps them feel harrowing. It’s hard to make something this heavy feel so personal. Beastwars succeed. This is some serious thunder from down under (or way above, in the case of the tumultuous “Storms of Mars”).