Since I’ve been busy as of late and haven’t had time to work on reviews as much as I would like to, I thought I would to a handful of quick blurbs about some of the albums I’ve been listening to the most as of late. Also, there will be more Simpsons content in the near future. I plan of suffering through all of the new episodes and reviewing them as the upcoming season airs (please don’t be horrendous). So, be on the lookout for that.
Twilight Fauna – Fire Of The Spirit
Focusing on fringe religious ideas, like snake handling, for example, Fire Of The Spirit is an intense listen. Paul Ravenwood is an anomaly in the world of black metal. No one else writes music like he does. Mixing in acoustic instruments with his usual sonic overload of guitars (I like to refer to Twilight Fauna as the black metal equivalent to Sunn O))), sonically), Fire Of The Spirit is fascinating, engaging, and often times overpowering. The sound clips of people speaking in tongues and snake handling sermons are strange and enlightening and add a nice touch of depth to the music.
Gatecreeper – Sonoran Depravation
Gatecreeper play death metal in the old school vein, and they’re really good at it. The riffs are groovy and not overly technical. They drums don’t rely on blast beats the whole time and have a really nice mid-paced death metal meets hardcore feel to them, sort of like Covenant era Morbid Angel. The nine songs on Sonoran Depravation are always engaging and harken back to the early days when death metal was fun. Also, the song ‘Desperation’ is the circle pit jam of the year.
Cara Neir/Wildspeaker – Guilt And His Reflection
This full length split follows one narrative storyline covering both bands sides and is possible the best split release I’ve ever heard. Cara Neir’s unique take on black metal is always refreshing and works well when paired with Wildspeaker’s blackened crust onslaught. Garry Brent’s bass playing is exceptional and keeps the Cara Neir side almost jazzy, while Natalie’s vocals and Ricky’s drums absolutely crush the Wildspeaker side. This is album of the year material. Buy it immediately.
Chepang – Lathi Charge
This is absolutely crushing! I have a huge soft spot for unrelenting grind that is reminiscent of early Napalm Death and Chepang brings the grind in a big, bad way. Featuring 8 songs in just under twelve minutes, Lathi Charge never outstays its welcome. Everything is fast, with just a handful of slower moments to keep things interesting. Lathi Charge is an impressive debut.
Green Elder/Pensive Ceremony Split
I’m mostly focusing on the Green Elder side of this split because it’s gorgeous. Green Elder is the neofolk project from Twilight Fauna’s Paul Ravenwood, and he offers up three of the saddest songs I’ve heard in a long time. ‘Scattering Ashes’ is so morose and beautiful and by the time the banjo starts, I’m in tears. The vocals on ‘Winter Spirits’, provided by Heather L. Galloway-Barker are full of sadness and work to highlight Ravenwood’s simple guitar playing. The wind instruments throughout the Green Elder side are a great touch, as well. The Pensive Ceremony side is just sounds like six different ambient intro songs and I’m dumbfounded as to why they were released like this.
Crowtein -King Ov The Rats EP
Crowtein is a powerviolence band inspired by the TV show It’s Always Sunny In Philadelphia, because why not? But unlike most gimmick bands, Crowtien is really, really good. The music is heavy and catchy and the lyrics are hilarious. You’ll find yourself singing along to the chorus of ‘The Dennis System’ (“You’re a fucking sociopath!”) while smashing everything in your house. And let’s be real, the world needed a song that starts off with someone screeching “Waitress, why won’t you love me? Come and see my play.” More of this, please. But first, what is your spaghetti policy here?
Cara Neir – Perpetual Despair Is The Human Condition
How Cara Neir aren’t more respected and well known in metal circles is beyond me? Their music almost makes me mad at how good it is. Garry Brents (all insturments) and Chris Francis (vocals and lyrics) are genius and have managed to stay vital and interesting even after 15 releases. Black metal can feel very stagnant a lot of times, but Cara Neir always brings something new to the table and Perpetual Despair Is The Human Condition is no different.
Sallow Moth – Moss Deceptiva EP
Garry Brents strikes again! Instead of the black metal he’s usually associated with in Cara Neir, Sallow Moth is death metal with lots of d-beat influence. The three songs offered up feature killer riffs, brutal vocals, and excellent drumming from one of the best musicians in metal today. Also, 90% of the sales Garry makes through Bandcamp go to a different animal shelter each month, so you get some new death metal and animals in need get some help. Win/win.
Nick Cave And The Bad Seeds – Skeleton Tree
Nick Cave released the saddest fucking album of the year. Skeleton Tree is full of weird, ambient noise with Nick Cave’s lyrics that are incredibly poignant after the death of his son. Nothing else you hear this year will prepare you for how truly depressing this album is. Yet, it’s still truly brilliant and wonderful. It’s like the title track to Push The Sky Away pushed into a weirder territory, spread out over nine songs. This is Nick Cave like you’ve never heard.
Mar – Trust In Nothing
Mar released one of my all time favorite demos in 2015. Trust In Nothing is their first full length of soul crushing doom. The two piece focus on slooooooooow and raw doom that has a nice punk feel to it. The lyrics are emotional and deal with heavy issues (“These lines aren’t cuts, they’re my map”). Honestly, my words can’t do justice at how good Mar is. I completely adore this band and their music. If you like doom that is slow and heavy, pick this up. I would also love to hear a split release between Mar and Vile Creature to happen sometime.
Vile Creature – A Pessimistic Doomsayer EP
Following up last years incredible album, A Steady Descent Into Soil, Vile Creature are back with a new slab of emotionally raw and intense doom metal. A Pessimistic Doomsayer is one 17 minute long song that is a natural progression of what Vile Creature was doing with A Steady Descent Into The Soil. I enjoy that Vic sings more on this and her interplay with KW is enormously fulfilling. I love Vile Creature because they wear their hearts on their sleeves and have no problem screaming about the issues they hold dear. Trans rights, gay rights, animal rights, and anti-oppression are their calling card and all things I fully back. The lyrics on A Pessimistic Doomsayer and raw and thought provoking and are relatable to anyone that has ever felt like an outcast (“We live like cicadas, burrowing for years, avoiding predators. When we emerge, our lives are short, time tenuous, days spent in fear. Craving escape but knowing it will lead to demise is our nature. We cannot see. refuse to believe. We do not submit to corporeality. Sleep knowing death will come.”). These 17 minutes are emotionally brutal and leave me a wreck every time I listen to them.