What’s Up, Lovelies?!
If you missed out on last month’s Breezer’s Top Ten Metal Digs, take a look. And if you have Spotify, check out my Top Metal Digs Playlist.
March storms in with a new list of fresh top tunes ringing in my ears. Remember, my list is more stream of consciousness than a quantifiable rating system. Let’s get to it!
1) Pissed Regardless ~ “Empty”
I’ll be perfectly honest. I have no idea who the fuck this band is. They are a baby, up and coming band from San Diego, CA with roots in thrash. Their album artwork collides with imagery one may see from Rob Zombie and Metalocalypse. The artwork for their latest EP, “Feed the Birds,” conjures the bloody, disturbing brutality found on Iron Maiden records juxtaposed with brighter color schemes, as if to say “Let’s maim everything, but don’t forget to have some fun.” If you’re a fan of thrash, show the new guys some love.
2) Harm’s Way ~ “Human Carrying Capacity”
3) Harm’s Way ~ “Dead Space”
Straight outta Chicago, Harm’s Way drops a new album Posthuman, their debut with Metal Blade Records. I picked the introductory and closing track. In the past, hardcore has done nothing for me, but perhaps in my old metal maiden age of pushing 30, my heart is softening. Or maybe it’s the grooves found in these two tracks not unlike what draws me to Code Orange. Either way, Harm’s Way gains a new fan in me. Hailing from my beloved city of Chicago gives them mega brownie points.
To set up background, Will Putney produced the album. He has worked with notable metal bands including Body Count, Miss May I, and Upon A Burning Body. I’d say he knows his way around producing mayhem to which metalheads love banging their heads.
“Human Carrying Capacity” introduces the listeners to a chugging dirge coupled with a winding groove. All of this set to lyrics painting an image of a crumbling earth by the hand of man make for a dismal portrait of our current state as a race. “Dead Space” follows suit with a cry out “save Us!” Metal Injection’s review on Posthuman lends accurate insight in that the album “is pure savagery and an early contender for one of the year’s heaviest albums.”
4) TesseracT ~ “Luminary”
Full disclosure: I’ve not delved deep into Tesseract, but what I’ve heard, I thoroughly enjoy. My heart holds a soft spot for prog metal bands. “Luminary” is one of the first singles off their latest album Sonder. Metalsucks comments on TesseracT’s new release that the song includes “deep grooves, hard-hitting guitar chugs, plush atmospherics, haunting lead guitars and a big, hooky chorus.” I appreciate the melodic heaviness of the track, bringing beauty to despondent lyrics suggesting depression through some major loss. If the rest of the album brings as much luminescence as the single, we’re all in for a treat.
5) Volumes ~ “Wormholes”
This is one of those instances when someone or some other medium presented me with newfound material not yet discovered. I found a new metalhead friend at the day job. He and I now exchange tunes to put on our “To-Listen” lists. I suppose this is the modern day exchanging cassette tapes with radio rips among friends. I love music so much for how it can bring people together via often intangible forces.
How Volumes has eluded my reach for so long, I could not tell you. I’ve been a fan of the djent (DURjentt? DUHHHH-gent? dJJJint? Hahahaha) style/sound since I discovered Meshuggah 6 years ago or so. This track has bouncy palm-muting all over the place. I absolutely dig it.
6) Rivers of Nihil ~ “The Silent Life”
Was that a fucking smooth jazz breakdown in the middle of the song?
Yes. Yes, it was.
I could end my review there, and feel vindicated about selling this song to readers, but this fantastic piece deserves some more words. Vocalist/Bassist Adam Biggs shares, “The story picks up several millennia after the events of ‘Monarchy’, where one person still remains alive, chosen by the planet to be the sole intelligent witness of its ultimate fate.” “The Silent Life” contains a melodic overture of blast beats and proggy grooves along with a chaotic section of instrumental meltdown fueled by squealing sax cacophony not unlike the warm-up din I recall from my youth in grade school band, though much more polished.
7) Tribulation ~ “The Lament”
Maybe it’s just me, but Tribulation’s “The Lament” evokes the haunting spirit of the 1960’s Dark Shadows with the gothic mise-en-scène pictured in the music video. The lyrics paint a dark vignette of death overcoming a body or more poetic, the innocence of a young woman. We see precisely this visually portrayed in the music video. Musically, the song opens with tender notes, cut through by the raspy vocals of Johannes Andersson narrating the transformation of Sophia. And like most Swedish Metal bands, Tribulation continues to ponder the many instances to death in life.
8) Breakdown of Sanity ~ “Dear Diary”
Holy Schnikes! A Metalcore band from mein heimatland of Bern, Switzerland! And I’m so sad they’ve hung up their drumsticks after 10 years of DIY style of creating and producing music after I only just discovered their music. These guys purposely never signed with a label so as to maintain creative control over the directions of the band.
This song instantly drives me to pit levels of rage. Djenty goodness. Angry grooves. Struggling with inner trials of the self. Screams to release the tension. It’s all there. And after you let out all the pent up passion, the track gently collapses just as you would at the end of a bout in the pit of your mind.
9) Dimmu Borgir ~ “Interdimensional Summit”
Symphonic Black sets the tone for this new track from our corpse paint friends, Dimmu Borgir. I can’t get over the range of musical element choices in just one epic song. Pounding beats. Choir vocals. Orchestral percussion. Someone on the Youtubes already made the joke comparing the imagery to the Sisters of Mercy “This Corrosion” video. Not what immediately came to my mind, but the more I think about it, the easier it is to see the parallels.
Fans waited over 7 years for new Dimmu Borgir material. This grandiose masterpiece of darkness proves well worth the anxious wait.
10) Wolvhammer ~ “Eternal Rotting Misery”
Another band introduction despite their being around for about 10 years, and boy, does Wolvhammer bring melodic, blackened heaviness. This track opens the mood of the entire upcoming 4th album The Monuments Of Ash & Bone. The Chicago/Minneapolis quartet premiered the sludgy dirge at Decibel Magazine where the band clarified, “[w]e try not to plan every little detail…Keeping things fairly spontaneous in the writing/recording process is way more artistic.” I’ll need to follow-up after the album release. While Black Metal rarely entices me, sludgy grooves draw me in like the pit.