Sh*t That Comes Out Today: October 9, 2020
Here are some of this week’s recommended metal releases to listen to when you’re not spinning the first six Van Halen records repeatedly (RIP EVH).
Ascension Of The Watchers
Weird how all this Fear Factory drama is happening around the release date of Burton “C. Bell” Seabell’s latest album from his Ascension of the Watchers project, right? Pretty good publicity there! Conspiracy theoreticals aside, Apocrypha should satisfy those fans of FF’s more atmospheric tracks and Seabell’s clean singing voice. It’s not entirely fair to compare them, but this definitely feels like a more darkwave version of the act he formerly fronted. And it’s solid goth fare — it just lacks the dynamics that made Seabell’s work with Fear Factory so special.
Blue Oyster Cult
The Symbol Remains (Frontiers)
Like I wasn’t gonna feature the first new Blue Oyster Cult album in nearly 20 years. While never really metal, the band’s influence on the genre looms large from the late 60s to today (see Ghost) — although songs like “Stand Up and Fight” prove they’ve been paying attention at the metal fests they’ve played. If you’ve seen them live recently, they’ve basically become a really good bar band, and that’s what you get here: well-written hard rock songs with their little unique touches. Allen Lanier’s sorely missed, but the duo of Eric Bloom and Buck Dharma help keep the signature sound intact — and “The Alchemist” and “The Return of St. Cecilia” could be new cult classics.
Child Soldier: Creator Of God (Federal Prisoner)
Surprise! This came out early because some asshole leaked it, but I still want to write about it. Former Dillinger Escape Plan front-screamer Greg Puciato’s solo debut allows him to really let the listener into his head. There’s stuff in here obviously reminiscent of his former act, but there’s just as much synth pop and Nine Inch Nails and acoustic excursions. He seems to be following the path of fellow vocal explorer (sometimes literally, in the case of his vocal phrasings) Mike Patton. At 75 minutes, it’s a lot — and often hangs together loosely — but it’s definitely worth the journey to the center of Puciato’s mind. Just don’t get lost in there.
The Affair of the Poisons (Peaceville)
I first became aware of Hellripper through the one-man Scottish band’s capricorn-ily awesome song “All Hail the Goat” from 2019’s Black Arts &Alchemy EP. The follow-up full-length, The Affair of the Poisons, deserves all the hails the goat got. I receive cauldron-loads of blackened speed metal in my inbox, but Hellripper stands out. The livestock-shredding solos alone make it worthwhile. Factor in the fact that this lone lowlander knows how to write some seriously catchy barnburners and you’ll be in hesher heaven.
Emotionally charged, hardcore-influenced indie rock with raw-throated vocals — I wish there was a name for this stuff. Ah well. Whatever it’s called, Touche Amore do it very, very well. Not only do the words feel straight from the heart, but they back it up with insanely catchy songs. Lament feels the most indie and least hardcore of their releases to date, but they pull off the transition without it feeling like they’ve abandoned their core sound. Plus the video for “Reminders” has a bunch of hardcore/metal dudes with their adorable pets, so they know EXACTLY what we need during quarantine.
Optical Delusions (Heavy Psych)
Warlung may seem like yet another Sabbath/stoner band at first glance, but that initial impression proves to be — wait for it — an optical delusion. Pulling in bits of doom metal, stoner rock, and even some epic NWOBHM riffing, they create something that feels familiar but still exciting. Comparisons to Uncle Acid and the Deadbeats wouldn’t be inaccurate, but this Houston-based act replaces the lysergic fog with the dry heat of their desert surroundings. There’s more, for lack of a better term, joy to their approach — they sound like they’re having fun, and it’s infectious.
OTHER SHIT THAT COMES OUT THIS WEEK
Crippled Black Phoenix – Ellengaest (SoM) Listen
Five Finger Death Punch – A Decade Of Destruction, Volume 2 (Prospect Park) Listen
Gargoyl – Gargoyl (SoM) Listen
Johansson & Speckmann – The Germs Of Circumstance (Soulseller) Listen
King Parrot – Holed Up In The Lair EP (Housecore) Listen
Linkin Park – Hybrid Theory 20th Anniversary Edition (Warner) Listen
Mark Boals & Ring Of Fire – All The Best (Frontiers) Listen
Necrophobic – Dawn Of The Damned (Century Media) Listen
R.I.P. – Dead End (RidingEasy Records) Listen
The Unguided – Father Shadow (Napalm) Listen
Venom Prison – Primeval (Prosthetic) Listen