2015 has been a damn fine year for death metal so far, and it appears that Profound Lore is looking to up the ante with their most recent salvo of releases. Indeed, the label has in its hot little hands a pair of debut full-lengths from two up-and-coming bands who’s respective takes on death metal couldn’t be more different if they tried, yet both strive for excellence in their own way.
Regular IG readers and especially those that know me outside of music blog land are well aware of my affection for John Carpenter, and a sizable chunk of that affection is based on his soundtrack work. Films such as Halloween and Escape from New York simply wouldn’t be as effective without Carpenter’s sinister, tension-filled electronic soundscapes as accompaniment.
1. I hope to be able to cover more ground. Let’s face it, a metric fuck-ton of metal albums get released each year, and my lazy ass covers only a small handful of them, meaning that year after year there are tons of albums I’d like to cover that slip through the cracks. Round-up style pieces seem like a pretty good option for spreading the love and giving more worthy albums some digital ink.
2. The more I listen to metal and write this blog, the more I’m starting to realize that not every album needs a five hundred word review. It’s entirely possible that I’m running out of shit to say about metal, but I honestly think a lengthy, in-depth review is a bit of a time-waster when you can just go listen to the damn album yourselves with a few mouse clicks and form your own opinion.
3. I discover and re-discover old shit just as often as I listen to new shit. I often want to write about the older music I’m listening to, but not every used CD score or re-discovery of an old album is worthy of a Top 100 Albums post. I’m hoping that this will give me the opportunity to talk about older albums, be they universally recognized classics or hidden gems on a regular basis.
Sacramento gets a ton of great shows, but we’ve been more than a bit lacking in the black metal department of late. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve enjoyed the shit out of seeing the likes of Melt Banana, Ufomammut and -(16)-, but I’ve also been absolutely dying for the visceral experience that only a straight-up black metal show can bring. So, I was extremely grateful to Wretched Earth Productions for treating us to this killer lineup of Cali-bred BM at Starlite Lounge, which is quickly turning into my go-to spot for kick-ass metal shows.
When darkwave legends Lycia returned from the musical wilderness with Quiet Moments in 2013, it was widely hailed as a stellar comeback for the band. While I certainly enjoyed the album, I couldn’t help but feel that they were just warming up. Quiet Moments is unquestionably a good record, a great record even, but it also struck me as the work of an artist attempting to fully regain their footing after some fairly lengthy gaps between releases (seven years between Empty Space and the Fifth Sun EP, three years between Fifth Sun and QM).
Are you guys getting tired of me gushing about Caligari Records yet? Well if you are, too bad! The Florida-based label continues to put out some of the finest underground metal you’re likely to come across while leaving no genre stone un-turned. The label’s latest batch of releases speaks to the impressive diversity of the roster.
After years of listening to mainstream metal, Cradle of Filth were one of the first “extreme” bands I latched onto as a wee lad. As such, it has pained me to watch them slowly but surely become a shadow of their former selves. I’m not entirely sure what went wrong after Nymphetamine (some fans would argue that CoF went to pot well before that) but it seemed that Dani and the boys were damned to linger in the limbo of mediocrity forevermore following that last gasp of greatness, as evidenced by a lengthy string of tepid albums such as Thornography and The Manticore and Other Horrors. The music was uninspired and Herr Filth’s voice sounded shot, leading me to largely turn my back on this once well-regarded symphonic/gothic/black metal institution.
Those of you that read IG on the regular or follow me on social media know that I’m always up for some good noise rock. As such, White Spot’s Father Songs proved to be one of 2015’s most pleasant surprises so far, a noise rock album that showcased mainman/madman Marcus Lemoine’s knack for concise yet devastating songwriting and an attention to craftsmanship not often seen within the genre.
Of the handful of cassette-centric labels I’ve developed relationships with over the past few years, Sol y Nieve is surely one of the most exciting. While they aren’t the most prolific, they stress quality over quantity, and their passion is evident in every aspect of every release, from the music itself on down to the often elaborate packaging. The label was recently gracious enough to send me a parcel overflowing with releases including the debut demos from Kafirun and Essene.
My first exposure to Sacramento’s Church came back in September of last year, when I witnessed them nearly level the Starlite Lounge while opening for the mighty Dispirit. Like a complete idiot, I didn’t write about them at the time in spite of being thoroughly impressed with their set, largely due to the fact that they didn’t have much of a web presence or any recordings to point IG readers in the direction of (I did however post some footage to my YouTube channel). But much has changed since that early show; Church have finally released their debut album in the form of Unanswered Hymns and rest assured friends, this three track, forty-five minute long beast is every bit worth the wait.