PICK OF THE WEEK: Turian explode with captivating, diverse attack on mind fuck ‘No Longer Human’

Photo by Kyle Burnett

Sticking with a formula that works for you never is a bad idea, because why disrupt that which isn’t broken? Or so the saying kind of goes. But that doesn’t always apply, even when the mixture of elements is powerful and moving, because if it doesn’t do anything for the creator, the final product will not have the intended impact and eventually will lose power.

Seattle crushers Turian have been at it for several years now, making mostly grindcore-style noise that certainly was impactful, but obviously the band felt like they needed something else. Enter their amazing new full-length “No Longer Human,” a 10-track affair that’s still heavy musically but refuses to remain in any boundaries as they slather their music in noise, New Wave, metal, punk, and yes, even some grind. A game-changer was the inclusion of vocalist Veronica “Vern” Metztli to the original trio of guitarist Ryan Moon, bassist Cris Sanchez, and drummer Andrew Nyte, and combined, these four just explode with colors, passion, fury, and energy that cannot be contained just within this record and makes itself something that exists within you as you experience this absolute killer of an album.

“Slowdeath” tears the record open with punchy venom, harsh howls that make your bones hurt, and sludgy hell slurring all over. The vocals get nastier as the playing increases its danger, and then it’s on to “Snakehead” that explodes with thrashy rage. “Hatred for man, flesh melts away, all I see is wasteland, hair entwined with snakes,” Metztli wails, their wrath spilling over and melding with daring, striking playing that sinks into arteries. “Judas Tree” brings catchy rock riffs and a vibrant chorus that lives in your bloodstream. “Judas tree, go to sleep!” Metztli howls as the band chugs and stabs before slinking into atmospheric chill. “Malfunction” has guitars going off as nasty vocals scrape, and the charging, jolting playing loosens teeth. Metztli speaks fluidly, “Presented my arrival, my dreams were fed to me,” as the melodies loops back before a devastating finish. “Ten Misfortunes” has thick bass and Metztli switching to croaking slurred vocals, a dreamy pace swishing into sudden unsettling drama. A strange vibe arrives as feedback spits and echoes, and the vision ends abruptly.

“Willoughby” brings rubbery guitars and a zany pace, the vocals smashing into your comfort zone. “That train don’t stop here,” Metztli howls as a bizarre haze begins to rise, and then the guitars jolt your nervous system back into shape. “American Dog” has a catchier approach with a song teeming with anger, Metztli jabbing, “People are dying, and it’s never his fault,” something that is easy to understand and also sickens your belly, and later on the blast of “bred to kill” absolutely drips with disgust. “Buster Room” speeds in with spat-out vocals, the playing carving paths to punk-fueled extremes. The leads drive through the night, everything slinking off into calm. “Narcissus” bludgeons as the guitars dare, Metztli wailing, “It will not consume, it will only create.” The brutality simmers as spacey guitars launch, Metztli speaks and repeats the chorus, and the final moments take a neck-jerking turn. Closer “Saila Maaso” goes off and mashes with a hardcore vibe, the relentless energy getting inside your skeletal system. The pace draws blood as you’re shaken to your core, and the final moment is Metztli howling a restless “Fuck!”

“No Longer Human” is a massive step forward for Turian, and that’s not a negative comment on their back catalog at all, just a statement of how surprising and volcanic this record truly is. This is one of those albums and bands where you can’t accurately transfix a description, because they defy all sub-genre marks and seemingly exist in every single one of them. This record is packed with rage, power, and energy, and every repeat visit you make uncovers devious new wrinkles you never noticed before.

For more on the band, go here: https://www.facebook.com/turianband/

To buy the album, go here: https://turian.bandcamp.com/album/no-longer-human

For more on the label, go here: https://www.facebook.com/wisebloodrecs

Irish beasts Coscradh devastate psyches with glacial cataclysm on crushing ‘Nahanagan Stadial’

It’s been pretty damn hot with some violent storms here lately in my part of the United States, which hardly is ripe time to think about arctic conditions that render our land a frozen tundra. Yet here we are, with a massively heavy record named after an ice age that impacted the world about 10,000 years ago and destroyed life and impacted the Northern Hemisphere for thousands of years.

It’s harrowing subject matter to use as inspiration for your first record (especially as our climate again is ridiculously volatile), but it’s fitting Irish black/death metal band Coscradh chose that for their debut “Nahanagan Stadial,” the Irish name for that event. That’s because this album is as heavy as a glacial sheet scraping across the land, swallowing everything in its path and bringing oppressive pressure that encapsulates you into the earth forever. The band—lead vocalist/guitarist Ciarán Ó Críodáin, guitarist/vocalist Jason Keane, bassist/vocalist Hick O Aodha, drummer Boban Bubnjar—commit to that heaviness early and often, delivering five tracks and 41 minutes of devastation that feel impossible to climb out from underneath, so you might as well not even try.

Opener “Nahanagan Stadial” runs a healthy 9:44 and simmers in noise before doom drops and the vocals wretch. Guitars wail as the playing combusts, blasting savagery and spitting shrapnel. The growls begin to crackle as the aura blackens deeply, punishing cries extend, and the ferocity burns flesh from bone as everything disappears into a haze. “Feast of the Epiphany” rips open and spills guts on the floor, beastly howls land hard, and the pace absolutely crushes. The leads torch as violent howls cause reverberations, the low-end bludgeons, and then the guitar work blinds, hovering and threatening until hissing power tears everything away.

“Plagues of Knowth” explodes right away, pummeling and taking victims along with it. The pace is fast and gnarly as an animalistic assault spreads and increases the levels of danger. Riffs accelerate as the pace envelopes, absolute chaos mashes brains, and a noise cloud swallows everything whole. “Cladh Hàlainn” goes 7:19 and dawns out of another pocket of sound, and then the playing jackhammers as the insanity thickens and feels like it’s opening a gap in the earth. The guitars jangle and make your senses tingle, the tempo crumbles, and the power slams through rock, swimming into the deep sea. Closer “Feallaire Dóite” is the longest track at 11:52, staggering in and crushing in sooty murk. Shrieks rupture as the power buckles, ominous guitars blacken the skies, and the guitars catch fire, consuming all that lies before it. Lava flows, noise corrodes, and the guitars ripple out and leave ash behind.

Over these 41 minutes, Coscradh bring the freezing power and upheaval that’s hinted in the album’s title and smears that all over their doomy infestations. “Nahanagan Stadial” packs doom-encrusted black and death metal into a concoction that feels as weighty and destructive as the earth icing itself over and imprisoning everything inside. This is a devastating debut record that feels as massive as its collective parts.  

For more on the band, go here: https://www.facebook.com/Coscradh/

To buy the album, go here: https://invictusproductions.net/shop/coscradh-nahanagan-stadial-cd-digipak/

For more on the label, go here: https://invictusproductions.net/

Chicago thrashers Bloodletter add fresh new coat of blood to powerful initial EP ‘Malignancy’

I’m weirdly protective of thrash metal and also have a major aversion to it because this is the style that got me into heavier music and always will have a major place in my heart. I love this style of music and have joyously been accumulating vinyl versions of the records that filled by teenage years with at least a little bit of happiness but also can’t handle a lot of the newer bands that can’t get the vibe right.

That’s not to suggest newer bands can’t get it right, and Chicago beasts Bloodletter are proof positive you can play this style with violent precision in 2022. This is an interesting release because it’s not new music, considering “Malignancy” originally came out in 2014. But the band re-recorded their first EP after a few years of perfecting their trade, and the band—vocalist/guitarist Pete Carparelli, guitarist and Pat Armamentos, bassist Tanner Hudson, drummer Zach Sutton—takes those early creations and injects them with new spirit and savagery, putting a beating on these songs and your physical well-being.

“In These Ruined Halls … Reputation for Cruelty” starts the record ominously with bells chiming and birds cawing before the track shreds and spills blood on the streets. There’s a black metal tenacity to the guitars and a rampaging as Carparelli wails, “No regrets! No remorse!” as the track clubs you bloody.  “Blackest Mass” swaggers and trudges, bleeding attitude as shrieky howls punish, and the storm gets stronger. “The hour is upon us, vengeance will be ours,” Carparelli vows as strong leads burn, giving off a classic metal vibe as everything ends violently. “Skullsplitter” stomps away and immediately threatens as Carparelli wails, “Meet me in combat, I will claim your life.” The playing gets rowdier and bloodier as it goes, with the final threat of, “Resist my rule and meet my ax,” landing right between the eyes. “Poisonous Affair” is a quick punk metal blasts that runs 1:08 and wastes no time, the playing jackhammering, the riffs powering, and the bass burying you in soot. The closing title track starts with the drums crushing, giving off a “Painkiller” vibe before everything opens savagely, mangling with melodic yet vicious thrash. The leads glimmer as the playing soars, the band deals final gusts of punishment, and your bruised body lies prone from which the vultures can feast.

“Malignancy” certainly lives in a different form than it did originally, and time and seasoning helped Bloodletter add some extra power to these songs for this re-recording. This is thrash that sticks to your bones, melodic enough but never at the expense of the power and violence packed into these tracks. This is a nice appetizer before the band comes back with their next full-length, and this will keep us filled up enough until they fill up our plates with rotting meat and bone again.

For more on the band, go here: https://www.facebook.com/bloodlettermetal

To buy the album, go here: https://wisebloodrecords.bandcamp.com/

For more on the label, go here: https://www.facebook.com/wisebloodrecs

Liminal Shroud blossom, burst with rousing black metal force on stunning ‘All Virtues Ablaze’

It’s incredibly easy to get lost in sorrow and despair when that’s what surrounds you, and trying to climb out can be a massive battle of wills as you try to defy the easy move of wallowing in negativity over the harder fight of working through it all. But there’s a way through, hard as it may seem to find, and sometimes we just need to immerse ourselves in our surroundings to find some healing.

A lot of that thinking is worked into Liminal Shroud’s great second record “All Virtues Ablaze,” a veritable coming-out party for a band that already packed a heavy punch but now has discovered something otherworldly. Yes, they explore these elements on four massive songs that are engulfed in atmospheric and melodic black metal, and while that’s a great allure philosophically, I can’t get over just how vastly improved this band is, which is no knock on their stellar debut “Through the False Narrows.” The band—guitarist/vocalist/piano player Aidan Crossley, bassist/vocalist Rich Taylor, drummer Drew Davidson—sharpens all of their tools, shows dynamic and exciting songwriting, and captures your imagination and gamut of feelings on an album that has an insane amount to give.

“Hypoxic” opens with noises crumbling and an approaching storm gaining speed as the power explodes, vile growls gnawing at bone. The drums blister as the ground rumbles beneath you, the playing soars, and creaking howls do damage, lighting up before the melodies get thicker and richer. A massive deluge soaks the earth, punishing and bringing a spirited ending. “Mists Along Florencia” begins somberly, slowly melting from a hole in the sky before the ignition is struck with the drums decimating and the burly basslines flexing. Energetic guitars mount an offensive as the emotion gushes, and the growls pivot hard toward your chest. Some proggy trudging muddies the waters, the playing keeps gaining momentum, and a final gust gives way to a slowly dissipating wave that pulls out into static.

“Transmigration I: Pelagic Voids” bleeds in and continually gets heavier, rounding into wrenching vocals and playing that gets your heart rate moving before heading for the clouds and getting more reflective. The guitar work has folkish notes as the mood gets somber, and then the riffs rip out muscles, the energy infects, and the elements drill and emote. The pace is then fully engulfed as the chaos collects, moving into closer “Transmigration II: The Cleansing Ash” that starts with trickling pianos and a pace that takes its time to gain ground. When the madness rounds up, the playing gets more aggressive, laying waste and acting like a thunderstorm that’s stationary and sending trees bending. Sounds echo, group calls send energy through your system, and the playing combusts, churning out into heat.

Liminal Shroud have demonstrated dramatic growth between albums one and two, as “All Virtues Ablaze” is a portrait of them coming into their own and showing incredible power. That’s not a knock on where they were before at all as it was solid ground, but this album is so dramatically on a different level that I’m excited to see where they go from here. This is an excellent record, one with the ability to garner them a larger following and their name on more tongues as people discuss what newer bands are making metal exciting again.

For more on the band, go here: https://www.facebook.com/liminalshroudofficial/

To buy the album, go here: http://www.willowtip.com/store/

For more on the label, go here: http://www.willowtip.com/home.aspx

PICK OF THE WEEK: Chat Pile place fury on capitalism, lies, Grimace on brain-jerking ‘God’s Country’

We live in a lie of a country here in the United States, and hopefully all the blind patriots we haven’t already run off will leave permanently after reading that. We have a group of people who claim these comical “pro-life” statuses and want to force births to happen but don’t give a fuck about the children once they’re here, the poor, the sick, the mentally ill, innocent people in other countries we kill, the actual planet we live on, gun violence. Fun people.

While not necessarily focused on what I listed above, Oklahoma City-based noise maulers Chat Pile are living right in the middle of where so many of those people live, and their frustration boils over onto their excellent and brain-ravaging debut full-length “God’s Country.” Living amidst a lot of hell in the Midwest, the band—vocalist Raygun Busch, guitarist Luther Manhole, bassist Stin, drummer Captain Ron (not the Kurt Russell version)—laments global capitalism and its effects on people who have no means to compete; environmental issues with our increasingly boiling planet; and the pandemic over nine tracks that are impossible to ignore. There are elements of grunge, down-tuned metal that slays, and punk chaos, and Busch’s relentless and stream-of-consciousness delivery leaves an impact that will stick with you and continually loop through your brain.

“Slaughterhouse” opens the gates on this trip with drums melting and the guitars bleeding as Busch immediately takes center stage and refuses to release your attention. The repeated howls of “hammers and grease” repeatedly lurch as later Busch wails, “And the sad eyes, goddamnit, and the screaming, there’s more screaming than you’d think,” as the track comes to a mangling finish. “Why” is one of the most aggravated, sobering statements on homelessness that might exist in all heavy music, with Busch frustratingly wondering, “Why do people have to live outside?” before reminding we have the means as a nation to stop this. Yet we don’t. The playing chugs and provides perfect background for this justified rant, Busch jabbing, “Have you ever had ringworm? Scabies?” as the final hammers crush bone. “Pamela” pulls back a bit sonically though it’s still jarring. Shimmering guitars and speak-singing combine, bringing the first of many Nirvana vibes, which is a major positive. Murder and extreme unease race through your stomach as the story unfolds, stabbing that point home as Busch numbly calls, “Stare at the lake, biding my time, waiting to die.” “Wicked Puppet Dance” ruptures blood vessels as feedback collects and the bass lurches, ripping apart the remaining threads of sanity. Barked vocals and acidic playing infect and bring panic that slips away when the song ends but stays in your mind.

“Anywhere” is cloudy, yet melodic as it enters the room, Busch jarring with, “Think there was brain on my shoes,” before repeatedly lashing, “Stop it!” The sticky chorus that also reminds of Nirvana has Busch warbling, “It’s the sound of a fucking gun, it’s the sound of your world collapsing,” a line that could become an obsession to call back. Shrieks drive as the guitars snake and snarl, jolting and electrifying your mind. “Tropical Beaches, Inc.” is flattening and heavy, the low-end thrashing feeling like the Deftones at their heaviest, with Busch spitting out, “Deeper cuts, bloody sheets, making money, man on TV, haunt you, haunt me.” This is brutal and so satisfyingly heavy, making me think of hot summers at Ozzfest in the mid-aughts. “The Mask” is more psychological damage, more daggers to the brain, recounting a crime spree that feels like half panic attack, with the chorus a simple demand of, “Line up the animals!” It eats into you, the playing bludgeons, and the final moments tingle your nerve endings as you slowly lose consciousness. “I Don’t Care If I Burn” is an uncomfortable rant, something that would make you worry the narrator was about to do something dangerous. Amid noise that feels like a fever dream, Busch works through the meltdown, seething in his calm, dreaming about killing this person before warning, “You may not remember me, but bet your last fucking dollar I remember you.” It leaves you shivering and shaking in fear as closer “grimace_smoking_weed.jpeg” opens and manages to increase the psychological damage. Over 9:06, the band unleashes a thick, damaging campaign as Busch stammers about drug use, self-harm, and that goddamn mascot from the world’s largest fast-food chain. It’s also kind of funny as he increasingly grows more irritated with Grimace, howling, “Purple man, stop coming into my room, stop looking at things that aren’t meant for you.” The playing devolves emotionally as does Busch who cries, “I’m trying to kill myself,” before ending with, “I know we’re not that high, but if I do it right, I can break my neck, I don’t wanna be alive, I don’t wanna be alive, Grimace!” It puts a startling, terrifying nail in the slowly decomposing coffin.

“God’s Country” is a record that’s been tough for me as a writer, who is trying to keep up with multiple records per week, because it has me completely arrested and has had so much of my attention that I don’t know how to turn away. Chat Pile isn’t inventing something new but they’re doing it in such a way that you cannot bury it, you won’t be able to ignore it, and the stories will start living in your brain. This is unhinged, dangerously, psychologically warped, and so fucking infectious and great that I can’t imagine this album leaving my personal rotation anytime soon. Fuck.  

For more on the band, go here: https://www.facebook.com/chatpileband

To buy the album, go here: https://nowflensing.com/collections/chat-pile

For more on the label, go here: https://nowflensing.com/

Imperial Triumphant’s continual warping of black metal’s order peaks on weird ‘Spirit of Ecstasy’

Photo by Alex Krauss

The cities feel like they’re crumbling beneath us. I guess it’s kind of always felt that way, but it seems like the deterioration has accelerated and we have little time left to recover. Maybe that’s dramatic, but I don’t necessarily think it is. The concrete surrounds us as does corruption, lies, abuse, and the lack of sympathy for people who some see as different. We’re in a sea of poison, drowning.

Imperial Triumphant have been ahead of the curve in more ways than their musical prowess. The NYC black metal trio, consisting of vocalist/guitarist Zachary Ilya Ezrin, bassist/keyboard player/theremin wizard/vocalist Steve Blanco, and drummer Kenny Grohowski, who is a different Kenny G than the ones metal dorks are upset about, have been revealing this decay and dissolution ever since they got started, but that focus became razor sharp on their past few records. Their latest is “Spirit of Ecstasy,” one of the most ambitious and warped albums of their entire run, and that’s saying something considering these avant-garde masked beasts have been doing wild shit for quite some time. But this one drives into your psyche a little differently. They’re joined by a slew of guests including the aforementioned Kenny G, who brings substantial darkness to his contribution; guitarist Max Gorelick who has collaborated with the band before; Voivod vocalist Snake; the enchanting Andromeda Anarchia of Folterkammer who handles some of the haunting choral sections; guitarist Alex Skolnick of Testament; guitarist Trey Spruance of Faith No More and Mr. Bungle; Saria Woods on choirs; Yoshiko Ohara of Bloody Panda on vocals; and a slew of other players who add horns, bass, vocals, you name it to this goddamn leviathan.

“Chump Change” opens with the drumming scalding and the guitars immediately making you dizzy, the jazzy bass playing rescuing you from passing out. Then death starts to trudge and feel dangerous, the muddy playing spirals, and crazed runs and whipping sounds shake your guts, thick humidity following. The soloing scorches, the howls melt, and the playing recoils and fades. “Metrovertigo” comes in with fuzzy guitars and strange vocals squeezing you, the torment spreading and clouding your brain. The band piles on as the assault thickens, and then you enter into a weird dream state, twisting your senses, pushing you down a jagged path that slowly slips away. “Tower of Glory, City of Shame” begins with a cinematic sweep, a jazzy run turning into sludgy fury and rubbery, alien playing that veers toward zany. Chorals fill the air and your mind, loopy melodies swell, and crazed screams from O’Hara dig into your chest and increase your adrenaline. Darkness melts as trouble boils under the surface, old clips zap, and the tension ricochets and leaves ample bruising. “Merkurius Gilded” has strings stinging and we move through sepia-slathered dreams, the playing spilling and moving through mystery. Kenny G’s sax playing adds a classy and unsettling aura as the guitars begin to storm, and the fears increase. The choral section chills your flesh as the playing openly mauls, speeding up before fading away.

“Death on a Highway” pelts with drums and psychedelic keys that add a coolness element, the growls beginning to carve into your chest. Strange tones swim as cosmic backlash spreads its wings, madness swirls amid the stars, and the growls engorge before the track disappears into the cosmos. “In the Pleasure of Their Company” is a great instrumental that plays with your mind right away, horns blows out their tension, and wild jazzy noodling takes over as the track gets its legs underneath it. Warm guitars sprawl, the melodies slink all over, and the shadowy savages lurch through and leave madness behind. “Bezumnaya” sinks in chilly winds, chants work their way down your spine, and warbled Russian feels otherworldly and an imminent threat as the strange chaos gets more penetrating. Guitars increase the filth quotient, the playing combusts, and an uncomfortable ambiance takes hold and staggers into the gutters. Closer “Maximalist Scream” dawns with engines roaring and the playing following suit, mauling and thrashing as the bass plods. Snake slips in as his unmistakable voice pulls you into reality, speeding and threatening, making your demise seem imminent. The haze thickens as the warbles increase, unhinged howls erase any sense of safety, and proggy synth swallows this whole, ending the record in a tumble back into time.

Imperial Triumphant hardly have played by any rules or ever worried about accessibility, and that said, it’s still an impactful statement to say “Spirit of Ecstasy” is the band’s weirdest, most unpredictable record to date. It’s also an incredible rush, some of the most imaginative and challenging music of their lives, an album that moves beyond metal in many ways and still remains impossible heavy. This band is a on constant mission to create art that doesn’t flinch, pushes boundaries, and expands what’s possible in heavy metal while remaining an entity that’s operating on a higher level than most other artists.   

For more on the band, go here: https://www.facebook.com/imperialtriumphant

To buy the album, go here: https://centurymedia.store/dept/imperial-triumphant

For more on the label, go here: https://www.centurymedia.com/

Triumvir Foul launch offensive to torch malignant forces on savage ‘Onslaught to Seraphim’

There are plenty of people frustrated with religion right now, especially here in the United States where we’re basically under Christian control and where the separation of church and state have been burned as thoroughly as Nordic churches in the early 1990s. It’s infuriating and unacceptable to subject people to a book written 2,000 years ago when technology and knowledge was primitive and when plenty of people don’t care to live by a religion in which they have no investment.

Not that “Onslaught to Seraphim” is inspired by what’s going on in this place, but Triumvir Foul sure as hell sound like they’re sharpening their blades and activating their warn horns on this devastating piece of work. This third record, their first full-length since 2017’s volcanic “Spiritual Bloodshed,” might as well unite those who refuse to live under religious tyranny and will fight back at all costs. The band— guitarist/bassist/vocalist Ad Infinitum (Ash Borer, Serum Dreg), drummer Cedentibus (also of Ash Borer and Serum Dreg as well as Utzala, Dagger Lust and plenty of others)—sounds as channeled and violent as ever as their mix of volcanic black and death metal acts as a firestorm of chaos designed to battle forces that have become oppressive and dangerous. This is livid, putrid, poisonous madness, which is exactly what we need right now.

“Presage” starts this psychological warfare with ominous keys floating and grunted chants before the guts are ripped out violently. The pace is furious as the band tears toward you, delivering punishment that pelts your brain as the final screams wretch with hell. “Flesh Diocese” not only is a great song title, it’s a total ripper, the guitars attacking the reckless bloodshed, the vocals cutting through bones. The leads blaze brightly as howls open congealed wounds, the delirious final moments melting flesh. “Domini Befallen (to Doom)” is sludgy and mauling, letting molten rock bubble through the earth, tearing open and bringing devastation along. Beastly growls pummel, the guitars simmer, and the pace chars, leaving ash and blood behind. “Bašmu Enthralled, Horned Creations” bleeds in and slowly comes to life, the growls strangling as the power eventually bursts. It tears open with a tornadic fury, the playing batters, and the monster lurches again, scraping flesh and taking psyches with it.

“Serpents’ Gnash for War” destroys right away with nasty, bloodthirsty rage, the growls massacring as the pace gets even more humid. Your mind is put to the test, the bass drags bodies behind it, and the leads emit terrible heat as everything ends abruptly. “Slither of Corruption (The Demise of the Three Serpents)” is smashing as the riffs encircle and the growls crush before things gets speedier. Maniacal howls mix with the playing that drills you to the ground, an absolute death crush is achieved, and the power blasts to the end. “Infected Virtue” unleashes rampaging guitars and vile howls, the fluttering pace making your blood rush. The steam rises as the pace rips hard, skulls are crushed, and everything rams into the closing title track that blasts through in a blinding fury. The drums maul as everything comes at you in devastating, dark waves, the vicious growls sounding like they’re gurgling blood. The leads spark fire, raw playing severs spines, and everything spills into hell.

“Onslaught to Seraphim” is a total declaration of war on your senses and the forces Triumvir Foul find oppressive and ripe for destruction. Every record from this band seems to up the hellish ante and puts more weaponry into the fight that won’t end until every opponent’s blood has been shed. This is relentless, unforgiving music that could scare the fuck out of those unprepared for the assault.

To buy the album, go here: https://vrasubatlat.bandcamp.com/album/vt-xxvii-onslaught-to-seraphim

Or here: https://invictusproductions666.bandcamp.com/album/onslaught-to-seraphim

For more on the band and the label, go here: http://www.vrasubatlat.com/

And here: https://invictusproductions.net/

Instrumental doom trio Lathe spill dusty, sunburnt melodies, tales on warm ‘Tongue of Silver’

Photo by Daniel Regner

Evening is coming, your blood pressure finally is starting to slow down, and you need to wash in the early darkness because everything you’ve seen today has been too much to absorb. You just want somewhere to rest as you watch the colors in the sky turn into different shades before it all is devoured by the darkness, the only time where you feel secure.

I got that whole vibe from “Tongue of Silver,” the debut full-length of Americana/drone instrumental trio Lathe, who have created an album that makes me think of the finest elements of Earth, Murder By Death, and Pittsburgh power trio the Long Hunt. The band—guitarist/bassist/organist Tyler Davis, pedal steel player/guitarist Eric Paltell, drummer Flynn Diguardia—uses these eight songs to weave together separate vignettes, stories that you can imagine in your own mind as there are no words to guide you. It’s the soundtrack to that time of day I describe in the opening, the perfect companion to reflecting on your pain and suffering as whatever substances you need to relax make their way through your brain. Hey, life is fucked.  

“Vinegar” starts introducing you to the warm pedal steel guitar that’s such a welcome and dominant factor on this record, mixing with the slinking bass and keys dripping, leaving condensation on your windows. Dusty and sunburnt, the playing flows into moody darkness, basking in shadows before rumbling into the night. “Drain” moves in with gothy organs and guitars swimming as the tempo kicks into gear. The pace keeps playing games, luring you in before shaking you, then the drumming comes to life, splintering to the finish. “Heat Wave” brings moody heat, the guitars shimmering and floating, burning through your senses. Your flesh burns as the playing steadily drives, moving further into soaking heat that eventually dissolves. “Rodeo Fumes” opens with engines revving and soaring before the drums go off, and the drama increases. The playing is faster and trudges in spots, increasing the pressure as guitars snake through, drowning out in thick static.

“351W” is a shorter track, almost like an interlude with cataclysmic noise, drone clouds lowering to the earth, crumbling into the atmosphere and spilling into “Cauliflower” that brings bluesy hell that gently rolls over the land, the smoke driving behind it all. Guitars explode and flood as psychedelic power multiplies, the heat intensifies, and the fog finally dissipates. “Journey to the East” moves in with sounds reverberating and a hypnotic haze, the playing swelling and gusting. A heavy psyche atmosphere gets more intense, the music darts toward space, and the melodies rest in the sunset. Closer “Morris” lands with heavy drone, burly muscles, and the guitars creating a glaze. The sounds avalanche as the playing scorches, organs drip into the ground, and the final moments evaporate.

“Tongue of Silver” is an adventure from start to finish, as Lathe carve out these cinematic instrumentals that fill your mind with rich visuals that take you somewhere else. These songs would be perfect at sunset as the light slowly disappears from the sky, and the horizons are baked in oranges and purples. This record was a revelation from the first time I heard it, and it’s sure to take on a new life of its own every time I take this adventure.

For more on the band, go here: https://www.facebook.com/lathe66

To buy the album, go here: https://grimoirerecords.bandcamp.com/album/tongue-of-silver

For more on the label, go here: http://www.grimoirerecords.com/

PICK OF THE WEEK: Wake traverse dimensions past physical plane on great ‘Thought Form Descent’

Branching out beyond our world into something else, be that physical or mental, sure sounds like a great escape in order to help salve some wounds. We’ve beaten this horse corpse to death, but there is so much horror all around us, and so many people are suffering with psychological conditions that seem endless that taking a trip into a different plane can sound way too irresistible.

Canadian metal dreamers Wake dug deeply into that concept on their excellent sixth record “Thought Form Descent,” their first for genre giant Metal Blade. The album is a concept piece that follows a fictional protagonist who experiences a near-death experience and then comes to terms with wanting to be closer to that reality than the one presented in real life. Using concepts such as lucid dreaming, meditative states, and other metaphysical ideas, the character finds existence on two planes possible but unsustainable, with the end goal seeking to destroy both. It’s a heavy concept, but one that certainly is understandable and approachable. Along with this, the band—vocalist Kyle Ball, guitarists Arjun Gill and Rob LaChance, bassist Ryan Kennedy, drummer Josh Bueckert—also expanded its musical palette, still delivering the heaviness and brutality we’ve come to expect from the band but also adding new elements, dreamier sequences, more melody, and an uncompromising vision that males this fascinating the record the experience that it is.

“Infinite Inward” opens like a sound swarm as it thaws and pushes, the growls smashing the earth. The riffs attack as the atmosphere thickens, the vocals rip, and the playing spirals and tingles, rupturing and slaying as the pain trickles away. “Swallow the Light” mauls as spacious notes reverberate, then the guitars cut through the bone. Black metal-style shrieks take you down as hardcore trudging makes its presence known, scorching and ravaging as the melodies circulate. Light glimmers as calm dawns, the storming slightly returns, and the final jolts of punishment ring out in your ears. “Mourning Dirge (Repose of the Dead)” immediately weighs down on your chest as scathing howls burn and a proggy sequence increases the creativity. Muscles are mashed as the vocals hammer and the playing smothers with relentlessness, the frenetic pace shaking your skeletal structure and gazing into space. “Pareidolia” is a serene instrumental with clean guitars draining, flowing and lighting up the sky.

“Venerate (The Undoing of All)” bubbles to the surface and eventually unfolds, the glorious guitars increasing your serotonin levels. Then a massive death assault is mounted as the drama increases, and the growls crush amid heavy waves of power. A spurt of calm lets you breathe before the hammers drop again, the playing blackens, and the terror fades. “Observer to Master” ruptures as an unforgiving pace rips, the howls ravaging through the universe. Melodic gusts knocks you to the ground, the vocals melt bone, and the guitars beam, frying into your brain. The force loosens bricks from buildings as lava spills from the earth, stampeding before washing away. “Bleeding Eyes of the Watcher” slowly rumbles as the chaos enters and multiplies, the drums coming apart and destroying. A black metal spirit enters the fray as savagery bolts, and the madness floods, the gears smoking as the gears grind. Growls stretch as the playing tramples, slowly turning to ash in the fire. Closer “The Translation of Deaths” is an instrumental that soaks in noise and cloudy coldness, glistering and fading away into a place previously unknown.

Wake always have been one of the more interesting and challenging bands in heavy music, and what they pull off on “Thought Form Descent” makes that crystal clear as these eight thought-provoking and cataclysmic songs wash over you. While a record based on a fictional situation, itreally is something that most people can relate to as we try to work past our own shortcomings and find a way to maintain significance. This record can be a good means to that end, and it also provides an exciting, captivating collection that freshens everything you knew about heavy music.

For more on the band, go here: https://www.facebook.com/wakeyyc

To buy the album, go here: https://www.indiemerch.com/metalbladerecords

For more on the label, go here: https://www.metalblade.com/us/

Wailin Storms steam through darkness, weave broken tales with ‘The Silver Snake Unfolds’

Photo by Andy Marino

There are those movies and stories in which you indulge when it’s dark and hope is bleak as you just try to find a way to get away from your reality. Dusty floors, people weaving through drink and drugs, lives potentially in danger, possibly a ghost in the room. It doesn’t provide much comfort, seeing these stories play out, but your mental security wasn’t really the goal here.

North Carolina-based psyche and noise powerhouse Wailin Storms weaves these types of tales, and they spill over onto their killer second record “The Silver Snake Unfolds,” containing eight tracks that take you on rides through storms and haunted hollows as you watch these stories play out and imitate the tension you feel deep inside. The band—vocalist/guitarist Justin Storms, lead guitarist/backing vocalist Todd Warner, bassist Steve Stanczyk, drummer Mark Oates—unveils an adventure that might make one think more of Nick Cave than anything particularly metallic, but if you don’t think you’re in for heaviness musically and emotionally, you won’t be prepared for the gust that awaits you. This record is dark, dramatic, and explosive, a journey you’ll take over and over, punishment and scars be damned.

“In the Heart of the Sea” is ominous as it dawns, feeling troubled as Storms’ moody singing pushes in as the playing plods, and then the emotions open. “Just you and me on the razor blade, we lay down, down, down,” Storms calls as the playing spirals, and the end bleeds out in a scratchy Hail Mary. “Broken Into Three” lets the drums drive as the guitars jerk, and the vocals yelp. Aggressive tension swells as Storms repeatedly wails, “Get off the streets,” leading to an energy burst that gets faster and louder as it melts away. “Sunday Morning Ceremony” settles in, fog increasing as the spirits set in motion, the pace feeling catchy and meaty. “I feel the cold hand reach inside me,” Storms calls as the playing slinks and burns, the bass plods, and the tempo trickles away. “Drag” gives off a steely western vibe as Storms cries, “Drag me down to the ground.” The playing keeps hypnotizing and liquifying, the situation threatens and grows more volatile, and everything eventually bleeds into the dirt.

“Who Took Our Drugs” lands hard punches as the vocals wail, and dreaminess meets raucous fury, threatening to devour you. Emotions attack as the guitars agitate and scorch, igniting fires and disappearing into echoes. “The Silver Snake Unfolds and Swallows the Black Night Whole” jolts with energy, the guitars swelling and group shouts sending jolts through your body. Foggy undertones obscure your sight, but you can feel the tension strengthening as you battle for safety, letting oceans of blood crust over as Storms emits his final shouts of, “Shake! Break! Shake! Break!” “Concrete Covers Dead Lovers” slowly crawls through the surface, and a gothic storm hovers overhead, promising darkness. “I hear your voice calling,” Storms barks, taking on an Ian Astbury vibe, and then the smoke increases and chokes, dark colors splashing and obscuring your vision. Closer “Carolina Moon” is a fever dream, a dark ghoul that merges into our universe, the playing spreading and glowing. “Sleep by the foot of your bed, even though you’re dead,” Storms calls, feeling dread and longing collect, the guitars bringing massive heat. The final moments pick up and soak in the moonlight, howls generate passion, and the track bleeds into mystery and destruction.

“The Silver Snake Unfolds” touches on something dark and volatile, a seed planted deep within the psyche where things are most likely to end in blood and fire. Wailin Storms have created a new chapter of their sun-scorched, psychologically scarred adventures that reminds that underneath all of the everyday horrors we encounter, there are things buried inside people that are forced into the shadows until they explode. This album encompasses all of that, and hopefully it acts more as a dance partner in misery than a spark that brings the final meltdown.

For more on the band, go here: https://www.facebook.com/wailinstorms

‘To buy the album, go here: https://gileadmedia.net/collections/pre-orders

For more on the label, go here: https://gileadmedia.net/