Fashion Week – Prêt-à-Porter (2015)

Fashion WeekPrêt-à-Porter (Solar Flare Records, 23 February 2015)

 

New York Fashion Week, or — excuse me — New York-based band Fashion Week, have been around for some number of years, with some quantity of recordings released during that time. I’ve heard rumors about them forming sometime around 2009, and also that this album from early 2015 was their debut full-length, but I can’t really say for sure since their official biography (on Facebook and elsewhere) is more of a tongue-in-cheek retelling of the Nirvana story with only oblique references to any actual members of Fashion Week.

Be that as it may, I guess it doesn’t really matter how much background information you do or don’t know, as long as the music’s good, right? These guys are on the road with Unsane at the moment (the tour actually started last weekend, sorry about the late notice!) and it’s pretty likely that anyone heading out to see the headliner will go back home as a fan of the supporting act as well. Keep on reading to find out a bit more about Prêt-à-Porter (the album, not the movie), and check out the list of tour dates down in the comments.

 

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Begrime Exemious – Primeval Satellite (2014), The Enslavement Conquest (2016)

Begrime ExemiousPrimeval Satellite (Dark Descent Records, 31 August 2014)

 

Begrime ExemiousThe Enslavement Conquest (Dark Descent Records, 04 March 2016)

 

Good afternoon. About three years ago, Edmonton-based filthy death metal squad Begrime Exemious ventured south across the border into these United States, in celebration of which I had dug out their album from two years prior (Visions of the Scourge) to write about it at that time. Well, there have been reports of another stirring from the north — apparently the horde is on the move again — and so it seemed like an appropriate time to share with you a few things the band has done since the last time. Ironically, the first of these was actually released just a couple of months after the previous review was published. And the other came out early last year — so by historical standards I’m actually pretty far ahead of the game by sharing that one with you now! Anyway, please direct your eyes and ears to the following — and then see the comments section for a list of cities slated for begriming.

 

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Cantharone – Sons of the Crow (2015); Mine Collapse – S/T (2016); Livid – Beneath this Shroud… (2017)

CantharoneSons of the Crow (self-released, 06 June 2015)

 

Mine CollapseMine Collapse (Nefarious Industries, 22 July 2016)

 

LividBeneath this Shroud, the Earth Erodes (Prosthetic Records, 14 July 2017)

 

Today we’ve got not one, not two, not five… but three different bands to talk about, each of which has come across my radar screen within about the past year or so. Cantharone is a four-piece from Minneapolis who have been around since about 2009, and their most recent release was their second EP which came out in the summer of 2015 (and which I’ll be sharing with you today). But despite that relatively low rate of recorded output, the band has kept pretty busy, between putting together their yearly Canthrammer Music Festival featuring a blend of metal and outlaw country bands, as well as frequent touring around the region. Down below in the comments section I’ll include some info about this year’s festival (coming in late August) as well as a list of shows they’ll be playing over the next week or so.

The other two bands that will be included in this article will be sharing a stage with Cantharone at some point in their upcoming travels, and each is equally worth checking out. Mine Collapse (Chicago) dropped their debut EP almost exactly a year ago, while Livid (Minneapolis) saw their debut LP released just days ago — both of those will also be discussed here.

 

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Hail Spirit Noir – Mayhem in Blue; Aenaon – Hypnosophy (2016)

Hail Spirit NoirMayhem in Blue (Dark Essence Records, 28 October 2016)

 

AenaonHypnosophy (code666, 25 November 2016)

 

Longtime readers should already be familiar with Hail Spirit Noir and Aenaon: both of these Greek avant-black bands’ second albums were reviewed right here about three years ago, after they were both released in early 2014. And very longtime readers may even recall that the HSN debut album was covered here when it came out back in 2012. All three of those records (all via Code666, sublabel of Italy’s Aural Music) ended up on my respective lists of those years’ top releases.

One band has since shifted to Norwegian label Dark Essence, but otherwise you’ll find that not much has changed for the bands’ third releases (each of which came out in late 2016), especially not in terms of quality — as you may have noticed, both of these once again made an appearance on my Top 16 of 2016 list. So without further ado, here are Mayhem in Blue and Hypnosophy!

 
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Idre – Unforgiving Landscapes (2017)

IdreUnforgiving Landscapes (Wolves and Vibrancy Records / Breathe Plastic Records, 19 May 2017)

 

Not to be confused with the municipality in Sweden, Idre (who insist, in a Young Frankensteinian way, that the name is pronounced to rhyme with “Hydra”) is a three-piece band from Oklahoma City, consisting of guitarist/vocalist Ryan Davis, bassist Austin Wylie, and drummer Nicholas Wojcik. My first exposure to the group was when they recently wrote to me about their second album Unforgiving Landscapes — which impressed me so much just from a compositional standpoint from the moment I hit “play” on Bandcamp, that by halfway through the first song I had already added the album to my list of things to write about, and before the whole thing was over I was pencilling it into my list of the year’s best releases so far.

Keep on reading, then check out the album for yourself, and see if you don’t feel the same way. If you do, be sure to use the social media links down at the bottom of the page to keep track of the band, since they’re currently working on setting up tour dates for later in the year …

 

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Argus – Beyond the Martyrs (2013), From Fields of Fire (2017); Arduini/Balich – Dawn of Ages (2017)

ArgusBeyond the Martyrs (Cruz del Sur Music, 01 October 2013)

 

Arduini / BalichDawn of Ages (Cruz del Sur Music, 24 February 2017)

 

ArgusFrom Fields of Fire (Cruz del Sur Music, 08 September 2017)

 

I can still remember the first time I heard Argus — in the burgeoning days of the early 2010s, the song was “The Damnation of John Faustus” from their self-titled album. I can’t say for certain, but it was probably on Foundry of Doom radio, since that’s what I spent most of my time listening to back then. And here, among epic tracks by the likes of Solstice, Atlantean Kodex, Solitude Aeturnus, etc., this song’s dark themes and powerful vocals really caught my ear.

This was still months, maybe even up to a year, before the genesis of my career as a writer, but I’ve always been inquisitive and wanted to research and learn more about everything I heard. In this instance, I was struck by how new the band was (their first demo dates back ten years, now, but at the time of this story the debut full-length was about a year or two old), but even more surprised to see that these guys were local (originating in Franklin, PA, just about an hour and a half north of Pittsburgh)!

I also discovered that the vocalist, Brian “Butch” Balich (formerly of Penance), is also a member of Molasses Barge, another local doom band that would greatly impress me when I saw them for the first time just months later. Eventually I’d manage to catch Argus live, as well, and they definitely managed to live up to the high expectations set by their incredible recorded output. I believe this was just before the 2013 release of their third album Beyond the Martyrs — one that immediately made its way onto my writing “to do list” but inexplicably has stayed there for these past years.

But now there’s a ferment of activity surrounding the band once more: they recently announced that their fourth album will be coming later this year — and I’ll be discussing both of those today, with an added bonus that was released a few months back by a side project involving Balich. And to top it all off, Argus will also be performing in Pittsburgh THIS FRIDAY (14 July) at an event that doubles as a preview of September’s Brewtal Beer Fest as well as featuring the world premiere of the new beer produced through a collaborative effort between the band and Big Rail Brewing! So after you’re done reading about the music, pop on down to the comments section for more information about that.

 

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Today is the Day – Animal Mother (2014)

Today is the DayAnimal Mother (Southern Lord Records, 14 October 2014)

 

Quite a while ago — way back at the beginning of 2014 — we shared some news about a new Today is the Day album, but then somehow totally dropped the ball on actually writing about the album itself once it came out later that year. But now seems like a good time to rectify that: this week the band has kicked off a North American tour to celebrate the twentieth anniversary of the landmark album Temple of the Morning Star (and a whole slew of dates have been added for this fall as well), plus there’s a brand-new documentary called The Man Who Loves to Hurt Himself which recently had its world premiere and should soon be made available aux masses.

So you can find information about all that stuff if you scroll down into the comments section. But first, a look at that 2014 album, Animal Mother.

 

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