Darkthrone – The Underground Resistance (2013), Germ – Escape (2016)

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DarkthroneThe Underground Resistance (Peaceville Records, 25 February 2013)

 

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GermEscape (Prophecy Productions, 29 April 2016)

 

Good afternoon, or good evening, or good whatever-it-is-right-now. I can hardly even tell anymore, because I don’t think there was any point today at which I even reached a state of being half-awake. These late-night hockey playoff games are really killing me. Last night’s went into overtime, which ended up only lasting about two and a half minutes, but still, it was already difficult enough for me to stay awake through the end of the first three periods.

Anyway, I’ll quit whining and get on with the music I have to share with you today. One of these was on my top 13 of 2013 list — yes, I’m still working on getting something written about each of those, and we’re down to just a handful remaining! — while the other was released just last week, but both of these albums are highly recommended listening (even though on the surface they seem completely different) …

 

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Barren Heir – Tired Turns, Stone Machine Electric – Sollicitus es Veritatem (2016)

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Barren HeirTired Turns (self-released, 03 May 2016)

 

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Stone Machine ElectricSollicitus es Veritatem (self-released, 17 May 2016)

 

Hey people! Happy Cuatro de Mayo! I’ve got another pair of albums to share with you today, and I won’t waste any of your time getting to the part where we talk about them. Both are brand new (the first one came out yesterday, the second can be pre-ordered now and will be released in two weeks), both are self-released and self-promoted, and both are absolutely deserving of your attention. Oh, and each of them happens to be just five tracks long, but by serving up songs that average between nine and twelve minutes, both of these bands have quite considerately ensured that you get your money’s worth!

 

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Stangala – Klañv, Blaak Heat – Shifting Mirrors (2016)

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StangalaKlañv (Finisterian Dead End, 24 March 2016)

 

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Blaak HeatShifting Mirrors (EU: Svart Records, 15 April 2016 | US/world: Tee Pee Records, 13 May 2016)

 

Hello out there, readers! Welcome to a new month, with more new music to send your way. Today I’d like to share a pair of recent albums (one of which is still about ten days away from its release in America and the rest of the world, but both have been out in Europe for a few weeks now) which are both filled with uniquely avant-garde variations on psychedelic-doom-rock. Good stuff, I think you’ll enjoy these.

But first I just wanted to share a thought I had, while walking down the hill to the bus stop at way-too-damn-early-o-clock this morning, still half-dazed from another late-night playoff hockey game last night. As a word of warning, this is Game of Thrones-related, so if you aren’t one of the millions currently watching that HBO phenomenon, this won’t interest you, so feel free to skip ahead, just below the next photo will be the music-relevant stuff.

For the rest of you: this isn’t anything earth-shattering or anything (and there won’t be any spoilers — no new information directly related to the latest episode or current season), just something that happened to pop into my head that I wanted to write somewhere before I forgot it. I don’t have a tv show website, so I had to put it here.

Anyway, so many events with potentially huge implications transpired in this week’s episode, it’ll take a while to sort it all out. And some of the storylines, even major ones, might even have fallen between the cracks because there was just so much to pay attention to! One of the main plots right now is the Bolton family’s rather tenuous hold on the North — a huge area of stubbornly traditional folks, many of whom probably retain loyalty to the House of Stark.

A large part of the current Bolton story, over the past couple of seasons, has revolved around the lineage of heirs to family head Lord Roose, who had declared himself Warden of the North, taking over the estate at Winterfell after the slaying of King Robb Stark. Specifically, Roose’s only living son has been the bastard-born Ramsay Snow, until it was discovered that the Warden’s new wife was expecting a baby. Of course this would be cause for concern for Ramsay: even author George R. R. Martin himself has stated that the legitimization of a bastard child happens so rarely, there really aren’t explicit legal precedents for determining how one would fit within the hierarchy of ascendancy — particularly if there should be a younger, natural-born son. Would a naturalized bastard simply be inserted among other offspring based on birth order? Or would all legitimate children come first regardless of age, then the bastard-born, before the line of succession would move on to uncles or more distant relatives? No one really knows, until such a thing would actually take place.

In this case, the questions run even deeper. Even absent the possible threat from a younger (but born in wedlock) half-sibling, and notwithstanding any promises or assurances Roose might make to his son, the fact remains that a bastard can only be legitimized by an official royal decree. The documentation that officially made him Ramsay Bolton, you’ll recall, was signed by the current occupant of the Iron Throne: King Tommon Baratheon by name, but as viewers (and practically everyone in the show as well) are aware, like his siblings, this “king” is only related to the late King Robert Baratheon because their mother had been married to him; since his parentage is exclusively of the Lannister family, Tommon is in actuality just as much a bastard as Ramsay Snow had ever been.

With the Northerners’ allegiance probably torn between the Boltons and Starks, one thing they all share is a mistrust and lack of respect for the Lannisters, particularly one who is falsely wearing a crown, calling himself the ruler of the Seven Kingdoms. So my theory is that very soon, Ramsay’s legitimization documentation will be called into question by his fellow countrymen, throwing the leadership of the North into an even more chaotic state than it is already. As they say, “The North Remembers” …

Well, that’s it for now; we’ll returning to our regularly scheduled programming. Anyone who has anything to add to the discussion can hit the comments section below. Or if you think I should just shut the hell up and stick with writing about music, feel free to say so.

 

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Lord Mantis – Death Mask (2014), NTW (2016)

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Lord MantisDeath Mask (Profound Lore Records, 29 April 2014)

 

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Lord MantisNTW (New Density Records, 29 April 2016)

 

In early 2015, the whole world was shocked and saddened to learn that Chicagoan misanthropic miscreants Indian were calling it quits. Maybe “the whole world” is a sight exaggeration, but for myself and everyone I know, it was difficult news — especially since it came just a year after the band had released what was unquestionably their best album to date.

But then that blow was softened a bit almost immediately after, when another huge announcement shook the metal world: that closely-related Chicago band Lord Mantis had parted ways with some of its members, leaving only founding drummer Bill Bumgardner and Andrew Markuszewski who had been the lead guitarist for nearly all of that band’s releases. Augmenting this newly depleted line-up would be most of the folks who had just left Indian — in addition to Bumgardner who had also been playing drums in that band for years, ex-Indian guitarist Will Lindsay (also a member of Anatomy of Habit) would be joining on bass, and former Indian guitarist/vocalist Dylan O’Toole (who has also appeared as part of the Wrekmeister Harmonies ensemble) would now be handling Lord Mantis vocal duties. And finally, rounding out the line-up by joining Markuszewski on guitar, Scott Shellhamer of yet another great Chicago band, American Heritage.

This shakeup didn’t come as a huge surprise to anyone who’d been paying attention to the goings-on surrounding Mantis; even in the press release for their last album, 2014’s Death Mask, it mentioned rumblings of turbulence among the band’s members at that time. And the new additions seemed like a perfectly logical choice, as not only had these guys all known each other and been friends for years, but Lindsay and O’Toole had each made contributions to the band previously, including guest appearances on Death Mask.

But now, finally, the result of all of these moving pieces has come to fruition, as the first recording by the new Lord Mantis is being released tomorrow — exactly two years (to the day) after Death Mask, the band’s own New Density will unleash the EP NTW. In this article we’ll take a look at the new EP as well as the album that preceded it. And for those who would like to learn more about how all these changes have affected the band from the perspective of its members, don’t miss this interview where they’ve answered some questions provided by members of Slaves BC!

 

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Lord Mantis Interviewed By Slaves BC!!

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Lord Mantis interviewed by Slaves BC

 

So tomorrow — Friday the 29th — the new Lord Mantis EP NTW will be released, the band’s first recorded material since their big line-up shakeup (and merger with Indian) last year. You can read all about those changes, and take a look at that new EP as well as their previous album, 2014’s Death Mask, all right here. But beyond just reading about my thoughts and reactions to this new and old material, perhaps you might be interested in learning more about what’s been going on with the band — in their own words?

 

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Grizzlor – Cycloptic (2015), Rhin – Passenger (2016)

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GrizzlorCycloptic (Hex Records, 28 October 2015)

 

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RhinPassenger (Grimoire Records, 06 May 2016)

 

Hey — remember a few weeks ago when I wrote about a split record by Barren Womb from Norway and New Haven’s Grizzlor? Maybe you missed it because it was only a couple short paragraphs, buried among reviews of two Bardus albums. Whatever the case, in that article (which you can find right here), I pointed out how the two songs contributed by the Connecticutian band were nasty and punky but also just catchy enough to make one want to check out more of their stuff. Well I didn’t realize it at the time, but there wouldn’t be a long wait to be able to do just that — in fact, technically it was a negative amount of time, since that article was published almost a year after the split with Barren Womb was released, and in the meantime — about seven months later, but still a few months before I wrote the article — Grizzlor had already put out another 7″ record.

Today I’m going to discuss that record with you, and I’ll also throw in some words about a brand-new album — due out next Friday from Grimoire Records — by Rhin from Shepherdstown (a small town at the easternmost tip of West Virginia, near the border with Maryland and Virginia). As an added bonus for those readers who live near Philly, Brooklyn, or New Haven, these two bands will be performing in your city this weekend! Further details on those shows will be found at the end of the article. But first, let’s talk about some music …

 

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Nekrogoblikon – Power (2013), Dethlehem – Destroyers of the Realm (2015)

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NekrogoblikonPower (self-released, 27 August 2013)

 

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DethlehemDestroyers of the Realm (self-released, 06 January 2015)

 

Hey, folks. Today’s theme is going to be fantasy-RPG-inspired metal. I know that sounds oddly specific, but there are a couple bands in that realm I’d like to discuss, and they both just happen to be playing a show together later this week. First, Californian horde Nekrogoblikon, as you may have guessed, write songs that are based on goblins — those devilish inhabitants of folklore, who in this instance resemble the nasty green creatures of Warhammer and later fantasy games, more so than the bumbling little muppets from Labyrinth, for example. The band has been around for a few years — the EP I’ll soon talk about was released nearly three years ago, in fact — but since they’re currently on a raid across the country, it seemed like as good of a time as any to share their music with you today. Nekrogoblikon‘s tour will be storming through Pittsburgh in just a few days (accompanied by Urizen from Fort Worth), and when it does, rest assured that a ragtag band of local heroes will be ready for them.

Regular readers of this website are already familiar with Pittsburgh’s own Dethlehem, perhaps from the time we did an interview with them, or from any number of other times the band has been mentioned here. For those who somehow managed to miss out on these guys previously, imagine a group of musicians who have gathered together in precisely the way a typical Dungeons & Dragons adventuring party would: someone who has good fighting skills, someone who knows magic, people who can specialize in lead guitar or rhythm guitar or bass guitar, someone who is good at sneaking around quietly and gathering information or stealing things, folks with vocal skills and drumming know-how, and so on. Basically, a group of people whose strengths and weaknesses can complement each other, and who can work together harmoniously.

 

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