The last and first couple of weeks every year are a bizarre wasteland for new releases, interrupted infrequently and only by those who want the discovery of their music to involve some work and determination on the part of prospective listeners. Perhaps it’s for that reason that it’s at the extremes of the year that we find ourselves listening to the extremes of metal.
Here’s our first set of recommendations of 2017. Black metal ahoy!
Crown and Throne Ltd.
We begin the year in the world of doom-laden sludge and the debut full-length from Body Void. This vicious three-piece hail from the heavy metal holy land of the Bay Area but there’s no thrash to be found on Ruins, which was in no way released in 2017 but begins with the satisfying plod of ‘Swan’ and the pacier but no less threatening rumble that tees up a wonderful little blackened riff in ‘Erased’. Maniacial shouts of ‘MONOLITH!’ represent a personal highlight but the artistic peak is ‘Ruins’, the title track and expansive 16-minute closer of this ugly, gorgeous record.
Death Rides West
Casino Trash Records
Seattle’s Celluloid have kicked off 2017 with a very fine slice of snarling post-punk. Their album Death Rides West cranks into action with the goth-inspired stomp and intermittent frantic explosiveness of ‘Roadside Prey’, and then just blasts its way through another six songs of angry yet artistic nuggets of fury. Although it operates within a defined post-punk space, this album boasts the spirit of experimentation you’d associate with the non-genre. ‘Love Of The Dead’ and ‘Beltrane’s Fire’ add an aggro-country vibe and, somehow, it works.
The Crown Of Doubt
Around here, we’ve got a bit of a thing for two-pieces who make a lot of noise, and even more of a thing for the duos who make noise in interesting ways. Auri are a black metal band from Brighton but their EP The Crown Of Doubt is a wide-ranging example of the craft. From the unsettling, droning opener ‘Slumber’ to the out-and-out nastiness of the title track, this EP flows from one idea to the next but hangs them all together within a consistent ability to create ice-cold ambience and an ever-present veil of evil.
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