Shallow Grave — S/T

Shallow Grave – S/T New Zealand has a twisted heart filled with endless wrath and frustration. That’s ably reflected in the country’s most ill-omened metal, and the self-titled debut from Shallow Grave captures that anger and unease flawlessly. The Auckland-based four-piece amplifies the malevolence that skulks beneath the façade of society in an unsettling, premonitory form—and does so with a substantial amount of spiteful exuberance. All... Read More

Titan—Burn

Titan—Burn Acrophobia is the fear of heights, and Burn, the debut full-length from sludgy hardcore behemoths Titan, fills me with just such dread. Colossal walls of riffs are to be found on Burn. Built on a foundation of hardcore, they’re monoliths of sound, piercing doom-laden skies and towering into a blazing aether. From up on top, the transition between movements can feel like a lurching drop. As lofty heights are ascended, you become transfixed... Read More

Old Loaves—Bad Rides 7″/Drowser LP.

Old Loaves—Bad Rides 7″/Drowser LP. June 2012 has to go down as a damn near perfect month for Old Loaves. The band released their debut full-length, Drowser, on Bandcamp on the 21st, and watched it shoot to the top of the bestseller list. Available in varying formats, Drowser is a formidable debut (I secured a copy of the Bad Rides 7″/Drowser combo deal, and I’ll be reviewing both). The band may well be tagged on Bandcamp as “alternative... Read More

High on Fire—De Vermis Mysteriis

High on Fire—De Vermis Mysteriis (eonemusic, 2012) High on Fire’s sixth album, De Vermis Mysteriis, is the Oakland, California trio’s best work yet. A spectacularly convoluted conceptual gambol, it draws from the esoteric works of H.P. Lovecraft, and marries those references to frontman and famed guitarist Matt Pike’s ponderings about Jesus having an unborn time-traveling twin. It all makes for a complicated narrative arc.... Read More

Stone Angels—Within the Witch

Stone Angels—Within the Witch We all lean on music in troubled times. And I think we can all agree that heavy metal provides the perfect forum to vent life’s frustrations. But it’s one thing to listen to music as a means of escape; it’s a whole other scenario to create music as a means to understand the legacy of unforeseen tragedy. Stone Angels are from Christchurch, New Zealand, a city that was left devastated by two huge earthquakes—with... Read More

Wizard Rifle—Speak Loud Say Nothing

Wizard Rifle–Speak Loud Say Nothing Wizard Rifle are an extraordinary, two-piece, ruckus-making outfit from Portland, Oregon. The band is signed to infallible label Seventh Rule, and their debut, Speak Loud Say Nothing, is a rollercoaster ride of non-stop riotous shred-fests. Equal parts Amp-Rep pandemonium, quarrelsome tech-metal, and grinding noise tumults, Wizard Rifle’s genus might be vaguely familiar, but they have all the attributes... Read More

Whores—Ruiner

Whores—Ruiner I guess the band’s name speaks for itself, right? Derogatory, distasteful and confrontational. No surprise then to discover that that is exactly what you get on Ruiner, the debut EP from the Atlanta, Georgia-based trio. Produced by Kyle Spence of Harvey Milk fame, and slathered in a very apt buzzing dissonance, Ruiner sets out an opening gambit of five inflamed carbuncles of noise, smothered with molasses-thick sludge. Neo-monolithic... Read More

Atriarch—Forever the End

Crawling out of Portland with their debut album Forever the End, Atriarch envelope you in a claustrophobic mix of über-grinding doom, bewitching atmospheres and icy black metal remoteness. Drawing rave reviews from all quarters, and even a nod from the Melvins’ Buzz Osborne, Atriarch’s debut is a first-rate slab of ill-tempered noise and a fine lesson in what can be achieved when the dismal totality of ritualistic and esoterically inclined... Read More

Meth Drinker—S/T

There are two kinds of sludge metal. There’s the one that evokes a certain Southern charm with its whiskey sippin,’ thunderclouds-a-gathering, sweaty clubs and down-home big fat riffs. And then there’s the other type—the obnoxious one. The one that conjures up images of broken glass, rubbish-strewn wastelands, dirty needles, infected leg sores, rotting teeth and very unhealthy co-dependent relationships. Meth Drinker plays the latter kind.... Read More

Tombs—Path of Totality

Waves of corpulent riffs, understated gothic splendor and a fair amount of post-metal escapism greets you on Path of Totality, the sophomore album from New York trio Tombs. It’s a sagacious, intricate release—Tombs have taken those disparate elements and influences that defined their debut, Winter Hours, honed their already imposing songwriting prowess, and released an album that is intensely corrosive, yet has a tantalizingly delicate heart. Tombs... Read More

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