Sh*t That Comes Out Today: November 20, 2020
Great week for new releases; three made my Decibel year-end list. These all make for perfect listening to drown out your racist uncle on your Thanksgiving dinner Zoom call — because you better not be gathering in person this year. Also, try not to be the racist uncle yourself.
Moment (Century Media)
It’s hard to think of a Gothenburg Sound artist more consistent than Dark Tranquillity — even their gothic industrial albums kinda rule! Prior to Moment, the band’s founding guitarist (and major songwriter) Niklas Sundin left, a loss that would cripple just about anyone else. Instead, they enlisted Christopher Amott (ex-Arch Enemy) and Johan Reinholdz (Nonexist) as replacements and knocked out an absolute scorcher of a melancholic melodeath record. Seamlessly incorporating the aforementioned gothic-industrial sensibilities over the years has allowed them to give hook-laden tunes like “Transient” and “Identical to None” unexpected layers and depth.
Ravening Iron (No Remorse)
Yeah, I know this surprise-dropped on digital a couple weeks ago, but the 20th is the official listed release date. Featuring ultra-producer Arthur Rizk (Power Trip, Mammoth Grinder) and his Sumerlands bandmates with ex-Iron Age member/real-life blacksmith Jason Tarpey on vocals and “hammer and anvil,” this Texan trad metal act brings a Conan-weight punch to their classic axe attack. No frilly shirts here. Eternal Champion armors up and strides confidently onto the field of battle, effortlessly dispatching swords-and-sorcery anthems like “Skullseeker” and “A Face in the Glare.” This is basically as good as I always wished Manowar were.
Fuck the Facts
Pleine Norceur (Noise Salvation)
Fuck the Facts refer to themselves as “Canadian bastardized grindcore.” They’re grind but you’d never mistake them for Exit 13 or something. While the group has been pretty quiet since 2015’s Desire Will Rot, you can’t keep a good bastard down. Pleine Norceur continues their tradition of excellence, mixing together grind, death, and tech/prog metal into an utterly unique blend. At times it feels reminiscent of the melancholic mayhem of Envy. It’s still thoroughly their own, even if their musical parents won’t acknowledge this illegitimate spawn.
The ad copy for Preyer promises “sonic pummeling like never before,” a selling point that really makes one step back and think about how weird metalheads are. It’s not wrong, either. I mean, we’ve been pummeled sonically by hardcore-influenced death/doom like this in the past, but it’s still quite the single-minded fist shower. Also these dudes have a lot of hair and I’m very jealous. Basically, this is the kind of thing that I can’t get through an entire album of but recognize as very good despite that. If you can take their articulated anger, you’ll love this.
Killer Be Killed
Reluctant Hero (NB)
I wrote about this in more depth in Decibel, but the short of it is: the sophomore release from Killer Be Killed kicks way more ass than you’d expect from a “supergroup” with as disparate a lineup as this. Max Cavalera (Soulfly/ex-Sepultura), Greg Puciato (ex-Dillinger Escape Plan), Troy Sanders (Killer Be Killed), and Ben Koller (Converge) join forces for an album that allows each of them to shine while somehow feeling like a coherent band unit at the same time. Absolutely recommended, no reluctance whatsoever.
I get a lot of post-rock in my inbox, and most of it is too boring to bother including in these columns. The latest from pg.lost bucks that trend by, well, not being boring. Although they clearly have their roots in tension-release behemoths like Mogwai and Godspeed You! Black Emperor, their use of Krautrock rhythms and electronic layers help give them that extra little something that puts them closer to more energetic acts like Boards of Canada or Maserati, or even a cool indie film soundtrack. The emotional depths they’re able to explore with their instrumental forays helps them stand out.
Before the Winter (Jolly Roger)
Jethro Tull beat out Metallica for the first Best Hard Rock and Heavy Metal Performance Grammy in 1989, thus making flute-oriented classic rock officially more metal than thrash. That makes Witchwood the most metal thing I’m covering this week — possibly this year! These Italian heavy rockers bring some fanciful footwork to their blues/prog-influenced tunes, plus the killer hooks that a lot of their fellow Tull/Purple/Heep enthusiasts neglect. The band may be stuck in the past, but you’ll want to add Before the Winter to your future listening for sure.
OTHER SHIT THAT COMES OUT TODAY
Blunt Razors – Early Aught (Deathwish) Listen
Communic – Hiding From The World (AFM) Listen
Contrarian – Only Time Will Tell (Willowtip) Listen
Empress – Wait ‘Til Night (Brilliant Emperor) Listen
Fuming Mouth – Beyond the Tomb EP (NB) Listen
Hjelvik – Welcome To Hel (NB) Listen
Iron Maiden – Nights Of The Dead, Legacy Of The Beast: Live In Mexico City (BMG) Listen
Jinjer – Alive In Melbourne (Napalm) Listen
Lords of the Drift – Arecibo Message (Stay Gold) Listen
Mizmor & Andrew Black – Dialetheia (Gilead Media) Listen
My Dying Bride – Macabre Cabaret (NB) Listen
Onsegén Ensemble – Fear (Svart) Listen
Refused – The Malignant Fire EP (Spinefarm) Listen
Skelethal – Unveiling the Threshold (Hells Headbangers) Listen
Tombs – Under Sullen Skies (SoM) Listen
White Magician – Dealers of Divinity (Cruz del Sur) Listen