Picks: VUKOVI, Black Map, Obituary

Just like last week, we’ve got a bonus shout for you in this week’s Picks. And, just like last week, it’s a belting thrash metal album. Panikk’s Discarded Existence – like Havok’s new album before it – might not be groundbreaking, but it is just really bloody great. If thrash is your subgenre of choice, don’t miss out.

VUKOVI
VUKOVI
LAB Records, Ltd.
[Spotify]

Hello. Chris here. I’m identifying myself in order to avoid implicating Dave in what follows. Because I don’t know a lot about VUKOVI. I don’t know how they’re seen by the world outside the four walls around me at this moment. I don’t know if it’s supposed to be embarrassing to like them. And I don’t care, because I’m in love. In love with this angular, oddball power-pop. In love with a debut album packed to the gills with kooky originality and wall-to-wall bangers. From singles ‘La Di Da’ and ‘Boy George’ to the more circumspect sound of ‘Colour Me In’ via the superb ‘I’m Wired’ and ‘Target Practice’, VUKOVI is gorgeous.

Black Map
In Droves
Long Branch Records
[Spotify]

In Droves is the new album from San Francisco alternative outfit Black Map. It skirts the borders of prog metal but it’s easily penetrable, offering punchy and occasionally aggressive music wrapped up in deftly crafted little packages like ‘Run Rabbit Run’ and ‘Foxglove’. We like an awful lot of heavy music round these parts but it’s nice to know there’s still a place for clever, clear, abstract and audible lyrics. That’s what this masterful record has in its arsenal and it uses its weaponry to the fullest. The playing is fantastic and the hooks, not least in ‘Dead Ringer’, are undeniable. They get a good old chug going in ‘Octavia’ too, and it’s in that song that Black Map’s ability to turn a short song into an expansive composition is at its finest.

Obituary
Obituary
Relapse Records
[Spotify]

Some bands need no introduction. Having been around in one form or another since 1984, the mere mention of Obituary inspires thoughts of death metal’s pioneering sound. This self-titled album is their tenth, and the first since we’ve been reviewing albums for This Decay. There’s not a lot that’s new here, but with thrashy riffs, poisonous vocals and guitar solos as rippin’ as the one in ‘Sentence Day’, there’s also not a lot that can go wrong on Obituary’s turf. ‘A Lesson In Vengeance’ introduces a lovely, satisfying stomp, and Obituary never really lets up. We’ve seen this described as a “meat and potatoes” death metal record, and, to an extent, it is. But with riffs like these, we’d swim in mash without being asked twice.

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