So I’ve nearly neglected updating this website entirely, but in lieu of apologizing or explaining, I am going to briefly share my favorite releases through the mid-year point (yes, I realize July is past that point, but something is better than nothing?). This goes without saying, but click on the Bandcamp links for the full album streams and purchasing the music directly from the artists.
In no particular order…
Secret Cutter – Secret Cutter (self-released)
This trio plays a raw, uncompromising fury of sludge, doom, and grind. It’s just plain big ol’ mean and ugly. Highlights: “17.5 Dead Air”, “Vow Of Poverty”, and “Shake The Malevolent”.
Yautja – Songs Of Descent (Forcefield)
This Nashville trio is a hodge-podge of hardcore, grind, death metal, crust, and sludge. They utilize their schizophrenic tendencies quite well, be it the blistering fast openers “Denihilist” and “Blinders” or the minute-long crusher “Concrete Tongue”.
Drawers – Drawers (Kaotoxin)
Super-downtuned French sludge band that aligns themselves with the high-energy heaviness of TORCHE. There’s plenty of infectious, hook-laden, heavy-chuggin’ grooves. Good times.
Wild Throne – Blood Maker (Brutal Panda)
This Pacific Northwest trio clearly demonstrates metal influences on this three-song EP, but all in all, they’re just a really fucking good rock band. I can’t wait for the full-length. So much promise here.
Constant Lovers – Experience Feelings (Good To Die)
More Pacific Northwest love here, as CL shows off their lovely, noisy mess. Not exactly hardcore or metal, but rather an awkward fuzz stomp filled with energetic, sexy riffs.
Stoneburner – Life Drawing (Neurot)
Another PNW band here, Stoneburner seriously expanded on their first brushed-off release, Sickness Will Pass, with all sorts of experimental sludge psychedelics. The song “Done” really sealed it for me.
Full album stream @ Decibel.
Nux Vomica – Nux Vomica (Relapse)
With only three songs, each surpassing the ten-minute mark, you would think Portland’s (yup) Nux Vomica is a drony doom band, but rather they mix up hardcore, crust, sludge, death metal, black metal, and probably ten other metal subgenres. Each song is expertly crafted and maintains an intense flow throughout.
Hark – Crystalline (Season Of Mist)
Unleashing heavy grooves and catchy riff-after-riff, this Welsh trio has simply put out one of the best rock records this year. Vocals, rhythm, soaring leads… it’s all there.
Ghoul – Hang Ten (Tankcrimes)
If you don’t like Ghoul, then you don’t like fun, or life. Stream the full EP of surf/thrash bliss in the YouTube window above.
Agalloch – The Serpent & The Sphere (Profound Lore)
Plenty has been written about the long-term, critically-acclaimed Agalloch, and while I always pressed “snooze” on them in the past, this latest release tones down the folk/ambient and ups the rock and metal, all without sacrificing their trademark sound. I was happy to have caught their excellent show at the High Noon Saloon last month.
Jar’d Loose – Turns 13 (The Path Less Traveled)
Chicago noise rock with plenty of muck and grunge to toss around. Vocals really set the band apart from its peers, especially when those screeches “croon” over acoustic ditty “Isthmus”.
Oxcross – Tree And Stone (self-released)
Salt Lake City band with bone-crunching sludge, well-arranged songs, and the high-intensity vocals and harmonies to top it all off. For those who were into the great BLACK SLEEP OF KALI (educate yourself!), your prayers have been answered.
The Great Sabatini – Dog Years (Solar Flare)
Schizophrenic hardcore but still plenty of downtuned riffs to keep anyone entertained for an intense half-hour. This one’s a little more focused than their previous release, but that’s not to say there’s still not a curveball or two lurking.
Young Widows – Easy Pain (Temporary Residence Ltd)
They have always been known for being a little off-the-wall, but latest release Easy Pain brings more of the indie rock/stomp back. And you get that no-wave SONIC YOUTH vibe on the creeptastic “Kerosene Girl”.
Moab – Billow (Scion AV)
This SoCal trio is back with their follow up to one of my 2011 year-end favorites, Ab Ovo, and I was on board from the first few notes of Billow. It continues the spiritual classic rock vibe, but really it comes down to the low-end guitar and high-pitched vocals, which have only gotten better with time. The melancholy “No Soul” just oozes SOUL METAL.
Free album stream & download from Scion AV.