Picks: Watain, Shining, Traffic Death

Back once again with the renegade master. Here’s the first installment of Picks, our quick-fire recommendations for your earholes, get up! If none of these float your boat, here’s something a little different: the new album by Missouri punk rock duo Bad Investments.

Trident Wolf Eclipse
His Master’s Noise

Trident Wolf Eclipse is the sixth album by Swedish black metal legends Watain, and we’re into it in a big way. After hearing opening track ‘Nuclear Alchemy’ kick in, it was inevitable. This is black metal with an ear for a hook, intense and aggressive but easy to get a handle on. It’s an album full of hefty yet wiry riffs, subtle variations, and enough craft to shape genuinely anthemic songs from a notoriously bleak style. ‘Furor Diabolicus’ and ‘Ultra (Pandemoniac)’ could go toe-to-toe with anything this scene has to offer.

X – Varg Utan Flock
Season Of Mist

Niklas Kvarforth and Shining have been around for almost as long as we’ve been alive so this week’s second pick is from another Swedish black metal band we’re arriving at rather late. We’re glad we did, though, because their tenth album, X – Varg Utan Flock, is delightfully curious. Right from the off it’s so much more than its labels. Opener ‘Svart Ostoppbar Eld’ is thrashy and unhinged for a couple of minutes, then just unhinged, then thrashy again. It’s that kind of album: boundlessly creative, hugely varied, and yet dark and heavy throughout. Wonderful.

Traffic Death
Dead End

If it’s ugly you want then ugly you shall have. Des Moines crossover wrecking crew Traffic Death have unsheathed their bruising third album, Dead End, and it’s a breakneck riffstorm. You won’t find melody here but what you will get in abundance is crisp thrashcore laced with spite, and that’ll do for us. Hidden beneath the tightness of the guitar playing is a succession of bass grooves that anchor an otherwise frantic record, offering a foothold right where it’s needed. ‘Mandatory Sentence’, ‘Self Inclined’, ‘Gone Forever/Consumed By Fire’ and the title track are superb.

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