ENDTYMER is the inevitable weekly “music blog” series I’ve been working to avoid for some time. It hits at the end of every week with the intent of covering notable new releases, sharing news of new releases, and musing over various personal listening habits. It is a largely informal blog, has opinions, etc. so chill out a bit. — I do my best to cover as much of everything I receive in some form regardless of genre or representation, so, don’t hesitate to send anything and everything my way: email@example.com
ESSENTIAL THIS WEEK
As July kicks through its first true weekly cycle the Album of the Week for my own taste is ALTAR‘s ‘Ascetic Reflections‘ a long-awaited return which speaks well enough for itself as a marriage of ancient death metal standards and its most profound modern designs, an unexpectedly sharp elaboration of their previous sound. Of course I am waiting on Canadian project GRENADIER‘s debut ‘Trumpets Blare in Blazing Glory‘ as the preview songs have been utterly amazing in their recreation of a rare style of heavy/speed metal influenced melodic death metal.
- PROTECTOR ‘Excessive Outburst of Depravity‘ (July 1st, High Roller Records)
- BEGRIME EXEMIOUS ‘Rotting in the Aftermath‘ (July 8th, Dark Descent Records)
- HULDER ‘The Eternal Fanfare‘ (July 1st, 20 Buck Spin)
- ORGANECTOMY ‘Nail Below Nail‘ (July 8th, Unique Leader Records)
- OMENFILTH ‘Possessed by the Pentacle Spell‘ (July 8th, Eternal Death)
Thank you, ahead of time, for reading. I am eternally grateful for the support of readers and appreciate friendly and positive interactions. Think my opinions are trash and that I suck? Want to totally tell me off, bro? Click away and let’s all live more sensible lives full of meaningful interactions. — If you’re interested in some short reviews and music news, you’ll have to wade through a few dumb quips first, scroll down ’til you see a Bandcamp embed.
DO YOU EVEN
LIFT READ, BRUH?
Earlier this week I’d read an interesting, sub-journalistic review of the new Serpent Ascending record (which is fantastic) that’d suggested quoting Norwegian Nobel laureate author Knut Hamsun’s Growth of the Soil for the album’s opener (and same-titled song) could be a problematic dog whistle for appreciation of Hamsun’s later in life fascist socio-political commentary. This is carelessly inflammatory at worst, and in any case writing to an artist directly is the best way to suss these kind of questions out. As someone who is selling this book in my webstore and a fellowe who has long insisted on recommending the author’s writing if you have interest in stream of consciousness writing, outsider character studies in fiction, and anything else that’ll expand your taste for Catcher in the Rye adjacent existentialism I think it is important to first know what you are talking about in terms of what Growth of the Soil actually is (alongside Hunger, his real breakthrough piece) and the timeline of his writing the book, which’d been well before the fellow had become a vocal and very active supporter of Germany’s darkest hour(s).
Much discourse has been had on the wide, wide ravine between the (at the time) postmodernist style of the author’s best novels and the rise of his political views in this sense the average metal reviewer likely doesn’t have the patience and time to research said discourse, read the book and make an informed decision. This isn’t a question of separating “art from the artist” but rather recognizing that artists change over time and that this one changed for the worse later on. The truth is that Hamsun was only -internally- an unscientific mind and traitor to the human race, it did not show in his writing. Don’t miss out on the heralded Growth of the Soil, his earliest point of genius Hunger or his arguably most resonant, life-affirming work The Ring is Closed out of panicked erasure of all things even remotely associated with hateful totalitarian sympathizers. You will erase the history of human beings in the process of disowning and re-re-re-contextualizing their great works, but hey honestly if is your prerogative to “burn it all down and start over” (an idea Hamsun’s characters explored more than once) I won’t totally argue against that either. Just don’t start burning books alongside anyone else who’d ever touched them.
Hamsun’s method of placing the reader in the heads of very human characters and allowing self-examination on an existential level, as if a bird in a cage all too conscious of the bars, is inarguably classic and substantive writing technique I’d recommend to all writers, none which you’ll need fear has any far-leaning political underpinnings. In terms of Serpent Ascending, maestro Nurni has made his own statements on the matter clarifying the intent of portraying an anti-colonialist voice in the music which cannot be mistaken for fascism even at a glance, and surely “an ignorant glance” is all the situation had been afforded in the first place.
Also, I think in my review of the album I’d suggested I’d discovered Finnish death metal in 1996 but it was a bit earlier now that I’d stopped thinking about Sentenced (I think Nurni likes ‘North From Here‘ as much as I do, or more, though I consider it a contemporary of Dissection‘s ‘The Somberlain‘) and eventually remembered ‘The Karelian Isthmus‘ is pretty much -the- death metal foundation I was built atop beyond ‘Dawn of Possession‘ back in the day. Whatever I wrote might not be perfect canon, so don’t add it to the Grizzly Butts Official Wiki timeline of majestic underground death metal taste just yet.
PLS REFUND, SRY
After I’d recently canceled my blind pre-order for a vinyl copy of Hot Water Music‘s latest album ‘Feel the Void‘, having listened to it and decided I just didn’t need an archival collectors copy of such an average, overwrought… thing I went back in time trying to figure out why I’d liked the band in the first place, uh, back in the late 90’s as they incessantly toured and kinda built-up a melodic hardcore induced vision of clunky, shambling post-hardcore. ‘Caution‘ (2002) was the peak of this, they were over in my ears after that one, and this was clear enough in mind as a stopping point but I couldn’t remember how I’d gotten there until the sinister YouTube algorithm figured it out for me: Hüsker Dü‘s ‘New Day Rising‘ and specifically Side A where the punkish, broken hardcore howling and cooing melodic pieces still made sense in separate bursts. Fuck off with Side B, though.
Taking a serious walk up their discography around 3:00 AM I’d found I still couldn’t see beyond the half-cracked facade of the Dü‘s hardcore punk toughness at that point in their discography, go where you will with Bob Mould‘s stuff afterwards but the first half of that album is still a brick wall pushing me away from everything that came after it in terms of Hüsker Dü. Various preferences may very well soften over time, you might end up loving shit albums as your senses fail you but, at this point I see why I’d eventually hit a wall with post-hardcore and it all comes down to how much artsy pop-punk bullshit you can take before the earnest songwriters aging yet naïve legacy starts to sound like an pompous, self-important singer/songwriter with a $2000.00 acoustic guitar. I write this as a sort of reaction to getting a lot of popular post-hardcore releases but reminding folks that if it isn’t Noise Rock, actual noise punk/post-hardcore leaning or Fugazi-esque I probably won’t even bat an ear at it.
So, getting a quick e-mail from the folks in ultra-modern Danish post-hardcore group PUKE WOLF of course I wasn’t going to stand for it being stuck back in the stone ages and such. Their press release mentioned having played with a couple of bands whom are likewise modern as Hell but quite good, named LLNN (see: ‘Unmaker‘ is sonically enormous) and Halshug (I still completely love ‘Drøm‘) and this had eased the tightening proteins of my blood-brain barrier and let their noise in for a while. Their EP ‘Interstice‘ is an excruciating bloodletting of the self in reaction to the inhumane reality of the last two years, in fact it starts out almost unlistenably so on “Endless Nights” but the record opens up from there, going for dreamy skronk and fiddly dual shout fests which aren’t a mind-melting event but seem earnest enough. 5 Feet Under Records released ‘Interstice‘ on June 10th:
The atypical post-punk influenced noise rock/post-hardcore of Madison, Wisconsin-based crew SINKING SUNS is a bit more my style on their latest record ‘Dark Days‘, an particularly rocking Reptilian Records joint they’d released on July 4th this year. I didn’t want to put up with the private stream since it didn’t have a volume control, so I hadn’t picked it up ’til today. Roaring loud, brooding deep and creepin’ on ya kind of stuff with big ugly blues rock solos and a darker shade of Nick Cave-esque cadence alongside grungier, earlier Dillinger Four-esque shout n’ roll pieces. Love the guitar work, love the next level introspective and surreal lyrical bent, and the rustic production values feel appreciably real while still pushing major air around.
We’re not necessarily done getting weird, eh, as Portland-based good music enjoyers Hex Records dropped a surprise split on the public with songs from Baltimore skronk-freakers MULTICULT and Detroit’s buxom CHILD BITE slapped together with custom screen printed covers and all. I wasn’t aware just how good Multicult were until I’d heard this split so, I’ll have to juice that turnip soon enough. Otherwise Child Bite are literally the best and these songs aren’t an exception to that rule. I’m still hung up on their last record anyhow, and regret not kicking it higher on my end of the year list.
Also, hey, speaking of post-hardcore/noise rock one of Austin, Texas best bands EASY PREY recently announced (via Instagram) their latest record ‘Unrest‘ will release via Hellminded Records on August 19th. You’ll recall I’d loved ‘Relentless Struggle‘ a while back and will be on the edge of my seat for this one ’til it hits.
Give me a proper twofer, a Kok-job and a Zig, and I’ll be primed to enjoy whatever results… Eh, I mean in terms of brutal death metal Robbe Kok (Disavowed, Arsebreed) has always been a class act and only good things have come from his joining South Holland brutal death metal crew CARCERI whom have rushed up on the population with their second full-length in two years ‘From Source to End‘ which hits the ever bustling Indonesian brutal death label Brutal Mind‘s line-up. They’ve released something like twenty albums since I’d last picked up one of their records so, cheers on them releasing some of the nastiest, over-the-top truly frightening shit around so consistently. Of course I was into this one because it hearkens back to a more classic brutal death sound, old school death metal riffs which thrash, burst and groove in an incredible reminder that Dutch death metal has always had its own brand of blast-happy riff obsession. Houwitzer and Supreme Pain come to mind, these guys are a bit more dynamic and not so stuck on the double-bass tank-rolling approach to rhythm but you get the idea. It came out the first week of June, and is due a reminder:
A POTION FOR BONES
Head-buzzing amplifier worship and upward-shot psychedelic stadium sized guitar solos and… well, what else do you need to start getting on board from there? Thee brilliantly named BONE POTION caught my ear with this May-released but recently submitted EP/Digital single by way of crunchy psychedelic rock uplift, some hard-ass growls and a uniquely ascending atmospheric lilt but Maryland-based musician Dave Kezer‘s gig is all about slinging fuzz n’ fire. A fine place to champ-up the lead guitar skills and make something I’m actually very much into. I’d like to see where he is going with this, a full album etc. and the kind of thing I think Grimoire Records fans might be into.
SMOKE WEED, DROP BOMBS
A quick three song EP, or, a set of them leading up to a full-length comprised of those parts is a reasonable way to juice up interest in an LP but as a fellowe who’d just as well wait for the full thing and enjoy it all at once it is a nightmare of bite-sized listening. Marketing to short attention spans just misses me so hard. In the case of quick and heavy fidget-head muzak a sub-genre like stoner rock/sludge metal in accessible concoction tends to do quite well and Antwerp, Belgium-based group YOUR HIGHNESS are too damned slick on this first volume of a two part EP set aiming for a later-on LP compiled release. You might get a whiff of High on Fire-esque pop-metal from their hustle but there is a hoarsed up stoner rock soul to these songs which is rousing enough for my taste, recalling the heavier side of early 2000’s Alabama Thunderpussy at some points.
UNKNOWN // DREAD // AMBIANCE
“I mean, who doesn’t love an album full of drone ambient by two unknown Dutch artists!” — Although I don’t have any pieces I can preview here for folks just yet I’d appreciated the self-aware remark from extreme metal influenced Dutch drone/ambient artists AUTAAR / 404 whom have a split full-length coming up on August 26th in the form of a self-released CD titled ‘In De Kiem Gesmoord‘. Follow Autaar on social media or Bandcamp for now, and check out Autaar‘s YouTube where they post ‘Dungeon Sessions’ of improvisation and development, ‘Volume 15‘ was transfixing, as is the album itself:
“NEWS” TO YOU
Seattle, Washington-based quartet TURIAN have it all figured out on their fourth full-length album, their own brand of “New Future Noise Metal” which I’d describe as… grindrock? Groovy punkish sludge-core guitar grunts with a boppin’ modern noise rock tilt and kinda venomous thrasher sass vocals, all of it filling ~two minutes of lead single “Snakehead” with a pretty ace first impression. Definitely would encourage the band to get Brandon Keener to record some voice work for their next thing, for the sake of real-ass Garrus side-quest metal. ‘No Longer Human‘ releases via Wise Blood Records this coming August 5th.
Hyper-evolving as we speak Denver, Colorado-based progressive metal act DREADNOUGHT have announced a follow-up to their celebrated 2019 record ‘Emergence‘, once again featuring in partnership with Profound Lore Records for ‘The Endless‘ which releases this coming August 26th. Of course I struggle with this band’s sound and emotive qualities the same way I do groups like Kayo Dot in the sense that I love all of the things I hear, the fascination is real in that sense, yet there is such sensory overload and idea rich angled meaning that it all becomes a mush when it comes time to write about it. Succinct generalizations aren’t meaningful at some point but these folks have really taken leaps and bounds into their own form of progressive post-metal as we step into the listless yet coyly phrased “Midnight Moon”.
German progressive post-black metal… wait, hold on! Ah, well, now that 90% of folks reading this have tuned out… TRÄUMEN VON AURORA have been hard at work on not one but two new full-length albums ‘Luna‘ and ‘Aurora‘ that appear simultaneously as complimentary yet separate records which Trollzorn Records have picked up for an August 19th digipak CD release. A fairly young post-black metal band who’d cropped up at the artsy peak of the sub-genre in the early 2010’s but hadn’t released much of anything for the last ten years, I don’t know how many people will remember this band so much as the root of their sound which should at the very least fill the gap between Amesours and Dornenreich to some degree. Not my thing but the first song “Sturmgeweiht” still caught my attention:
Here we’ve got something a bit more my style: Spread Evil Productions have announced Finnish black metal quartet MIMORIUM‘s hotly anticipated third longplayer ‘The Route of Haeresis‘, out on CD and vinyl this coming August 12th. These guys have shifted even more toward the dark, illusory bleakness of melodic black metal on this one as they cite elite Swedish groups from the mid-90’s and present the intense grandeur of the album’s first single “Invocation of the Nameless One”:
Four decades later and German thrash metal party dudes TANKARD are now thirteen full-lengths in and haven’t really missed a beat. They’d more or less gotten a record out every 2-3 years since 1986. Number eighteen will be titled ‘Pavlov’s Dawgs‘ and release via Reaper Entertainment this coming September 30th. I greatly appreciate that they’ve gotten Patrick Strogulski to continue the work of Tankard‘s longtime album artist Sebastian Krüger since this is avital component of their classic aesthetic and humorous, good natured musical personality. The first single “Beerbarians” suggests that their beer-centric philosophical movement will spread like promethean fire and I guess the only problem I have getting on board is a general dislike for beer. I like Tankard, though, good fun and still putting out quality catchy heavy metal music. Maybe I’m hearing jaunty Running Wild melodies everywhere these days as German thrashers slow down a bit but it isn’t a bad thing:
Done with beer? How about weed? Well, hash specifically as Turin, Italy-based stoner grinding sludge-punks TONS finally have a record for us beyond their split with Bongzilla. Lots of energy on this one, weird goblin vocals and six songs are about friggin’ weed. ‘Hashension‘ will release October 1st via Heavy Psych Sounds Records but for now you can get up on the Melvins influenced first single “A Hash Day’s Night”:
Gotta hand it to Blues Funeral Recordings for resurrecting not one (Lowrider) but two of Sweden’s most ridiculously unsung stoner rock/metal legends in the space of just a few years. Grunge-toned progressive stoner rock Swedes MAMMOTH VOLUME are up next and its been twenty one years. The first song has me tangled up in half-buzz fuzz of ‘The Cursed Who Perform The Larvagod Rites‘ already as “A Lullaby of Doom” pokes and prods my brain to mush with its jangling “Limo Wreck” kinda chord progression and bluesy visualization provided by the lyrics. Hate to be that guy but this one is an instant buy for me:
- Odium Records have announced they’ve signed Polish black/death metal band DEVILPRIEST for release of the bands long awaited sophomore album ‘In Repugnant Adoration‘. No preview etc., but you can go to their Facebook to see the album art.
- Rotted Life Records announced they will release the second full-length from VRENTH this coming September 5th. ‘Succumb to Chaos‘ will hit CD and cassette tape formats first and vinyl later on.
- Hammerheart Records will release Bay Area thrash/speed metal legends BLIND ILLUSION‘s (!!!) latest record ‘Wrath Of The Gods‘ this October 7th on CD and vinyl. You might’ve already heard one of the songs: “Straight as the Crowbar Flies“.
FIVE SHORT “CASUAL REVIEWS”
MUNICIPAL WASTE ‘Electrified Brain‘
(Nuclear Blast, July 1st)
Don’t expect anything out of the ordinary from Richmond, Virginia-based party thrashers Municipal Waste on this seventh full-length. These folks have been on my radar since the first EP released, they put on a good show and I generally support everything thrash metal that bothers to tour the upper west coast but, I’d definitely stopped buying thier records after ‘Hazardous Mutation‘ for the sake of nothing much new happening on ’em. ‘Slime and Punishment‘ (2017) had a bit more life to it and so does ‘Electrified Brain‘. If you’re not familiar with their sound comparisons to D.R.I. and Nuclear Assault probably won’t register either but they’ve held onto that crossover b/w a full lean into thrash metal attack, now chilling out and letting the riffs hit a bit more. So, the reasoning for not doing a full review should be obvious enough as I’d just have written a too-long bio and had little to say beyond totally loving the album artwork from the image itself to the lettering on front/back.
LORD ELEPHANT ‘Cosmic Awakening‘
(Heavy Psych Sounds, July 8th)
Florence, Italy-based heavy psychedelic troupe Lord Elephant have their hand in a Ganesh-load of sub-genre jars, touching upon jammed psychedelic rock, stoner rock, space rock and even a bit of groove-heavy sludge on this meticulous yet free-spirited debut full-length. The two part “Cosmic Awakening” that kicks off the record gives an odd first impression, that of an instrumental jam band playing around with the heavier sort of classic stoner rock adjacency but “Hunters of the Moon” proves they can make something shapely of it, even if it is another instrumental jam. There is little chance an instrumental stoner record is going to stick around in my collection for long before it just eats space ’til the next thing, so I’m not blown away by this in terms of knowing how it’ll road test with me, but I do greatly appreciate the vibrancy of ‘Cosmic Awakening‘ and the places these folks take their sound over the course of ~45 minutes. Choice songs: “Raktabija”, “Secreternal”.
SEEP ‘Hymns to the Gore‘
(Gurgling Gore/Extremely Rotten, July 8th)
The sitewide anti-gore/poop ban is ungently subverted here since those Neanderthal body parts splattered all over a 70’s (?) style kitchen counter are sculpture and splatter from the crafty, special effects side of Nightmare Imagery, whom captures the meaty n’ chunky death metal clunk of Seep‘s debut long-player beautifully here in video game gore-sized proportions. Thick-ass chugs, cross-eyed growls, late 90’s Cannibal Corpse guitar tones and some weedly-weedly reer lead flourishes strike up on the more mid-paced songs but most of ‘Hymns to the Gore‘ entertains well enough for the sake of kinda resembling a modern version of what groups like Rigor Sardonicous were doing with their homebrewed death/doom sound, obviously a different generation and approach to rhythm but still sporting that ridiculously extreme tone and low budget sound most would associate with the -idea- of what Mortician sounded like. All of that is great, love the slug-ass amateur USDM feeling of it all, but I’d definitely felt the idea fatigue within the ~29 minute scrape of it all. Needs more snare ping too, obviously. Biggest hit here is either “Horrific Fetal Mutation” or “Swimming in Sewage”.
DEFECT DESIGNER ‘Neanderthal‘
(Transcending Obscurity Records, July 8th)
Russian-borne and now Norway-based progressive grinding modern death metal group Defect Designer have greatly benefitted from their association with Diskord in terms of gaining Eyvind Axelsen on bass and landing their unusual, somewhat unpredictable sound on the same label soon after. Think of their sound as a mix of thrashing melodeath played at avant-grindcore intensity with a prog-death rhythm section and well, something like !T.O.O.H.! if they were a bit more interested in early Cryptopsy‘s bursts of freak energy. This ~20 minute EP would feel synthetic, outrageous machine brain violence if not for the jammed, human touch to the performances which always sound like a thought is processing in the midst of their attack.
(Nuclear Blast, July 1st)
At this point I’ve never been impressed at a Massacre show and haven’t enjoyed any of the line-ups, bands or records Lee has put together beyond 1992, so I wasn’t expecting to enjoy this latest EP which appears to be run-off from the ‘Resurgence‘ sessions. I dunno, I got this record nearby the latest Inhuman Condition record (which features Terry Butler, even) and even at most mercilessly objective point of open-minded death metal lover state of mind I find this stuff so bland by comparison. With a crew of prolific musicians assembled to approximate the ‘From Beyond‘ sound you’d think they could crush the hell out of such a simple thing but the speed metal bones just aren’t right on ‘Mythos‘, just as they weren’t on the previous album. Not bad, not good, just ok death metal. Album art kinda looks like the cover art for an “H.P. Lovecraft for young adults” short story compilation, but I like it well enough.
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