I limit myself to new music once a month, because otherwise I’ll get new stuff every day, listen to it once and then totally forget about it. And that’s a bullshit effort to give a band, particularly metal bands that still put out full, cohesive records.
Here’s what I scooped up recently, and what I thought about it after a few spins:
1. High on Fire–Electric Messiah
The new High on Fire is remarkably good, and that feels to great to write after the complacency of the last two. There were cool songs on Luminiferous and De Vermis, but nothing that just grabbed your fucking attention like Rumors of War or Snakes for the Diving or Fire Flood and Plague and the like. But here, right out of the gate, 3 of the first 4 tracks are classics. Sanctioned Annihilation is the best mid-paced crusher they’ve done since Blessed Black Wings. Perhaps a little let down on Side B, but not by much.
An excellent return to form, making Matt Pike’s recent injury and tour cancellation all the more disappointing. Get well soon.
2. Anaal Nathrakh–A New Kind of Horror
I check in with these guys every so often, and it usually leaves me cold. I keep looking for that feeling the first time Eschaton clicked in for me. I don’t think that feeling is coming back. Stick to Between Shit and Piss we are Born.
3. Drive By Truckers–The Dirty South
I love this band. Out of place on this list, sure, but a great rock band that scratches that Lynyrd Skynyrd itch like just about no one else out there. I know Southern Rock Opera and Decoration Day really well, but seeing them recently inspired a revisit to the catalog. This was the consensus next best one, and I get it. As with the other Truckers albums I’ve heard, there are plenty of swings and misses, but the hits really connect. If it was just Where the Devil Don’t Stay and Lookout Mountain, the record would still be a worthy entry into their catalog. But just focusing on those two would do a disservice to Isbell’s tunes. Danko/Manuel, Never Gonna Change and Goddamn Lonely Love are beautiful tracks that Cooley and/or Hood would be proud to have written.
4. Revocation–The Outer Ones
Always mean to give these guys more of a chance, and always end up missing their show or just not picking up the new one because a few other records look a little more interesting. Don’t fall into that trap for The Outer Ones–it is excellent. Fills the void The Red Chord left behind.
Plus they covered Pull the Plug the one time I did sack up and see them. That’s worth supporting.
5. Uncle Acid and the Deadbeats–Wasteland
Not quite up to the level of the first record, but I put it above the second and on par with the last one. The highlight for me is Uncle Acid unveiling a few new moves, including some twin guitar attack on Blood Runner and some real doomy groove on No Return. These are welcome changes of pace alongside the tried and true Uncle Acid formula on tunes like Shockwave City. Their tour with Graveyard next year should be worth a look, even if Graveyard’s last couple records were pretty disposable.
This is an amazing record, a worthy successor in their string of home runs, and a contender for album of the year. The best comparison I can think of is post-Human-era Death. You know every record is going to be heavy, catchy, complex, inviting, familiar and innovative all at the same time. Horrendous may have unseated Enslaved as best active metal band for me (especially since the last Enslaved was kind of…boring…you didn’t hear me actually say that). They also put on a high-energy live show that isn’t too self-serious, a rarity in progressive death metal.
7. Behemoth–I Loved You at blah blah a fucking Children’s Choir? Really Nergal?
I don’t have much else to say beyond the above. There are two cool tracks in Ecclesia Diabolica Catholica and Sabbath Mater. The rest is kinda butt, though not insultingly so. Sometimes Behemoth is meh, like the Apostasy, and sometimes they are awesome, like on the Satanist. The Amon Amarth dynamic. Unfortunately, this one is on the down cycle.
All in all an excellent set of records, sans Behemoth and Anaal unfortunately showing their age. New shit from the Ocean and Bloodbath on deck!