Heathen Beast – Rise of the Saffron Empire (Transcending Obscurity Distribution, 25 April 2016)
MAKE – Pilgrimage of Loathing (Accident Prone Records, 15 July 2016)
It’s pretty much a universal truth that there are terrible people and terrible situations everywhere in the world, often when it comes to people who have power and influence over other people and the ability to make decisions about the laws and how the public is governed. This has been a societal problem for as long as society has existed, and people have always tried to find ways to protest or fight back. Back in olden times, folks like Woody Guthrie or Peter, Paul and Mary would sit around, holding hands, and singing about how the times were a-changin’. But since then, the times have a-changed; from MC5 to Public Enemy to Rage Against the Machine protest songs have increasingly shifted from blowin’ in the wind to fighting the powers that be.
To illustrate that concept, today we’re going to take a look at new or recent releases by two bands from different sides of the world, which nevertheless seem to share a similar ideology.
Derkéta – In Death We Meet (originally self-released 2012; remixed/remastered CD and vinyl edition Ibex Moon Records, April/December 2015)
Named for a goddess of death in the mythology of the fictional kingdom of Stygia (analogous to Egypt in the Hyborian era setting of Robert E. Howard’s Conan stories), the band Derkéta are widely regarded as Pittsburgh’s own goddesses of death/doom metal. You remember Derkéta, don’t you? Formed almost three decades ago, active on and off throughout those years with many of the same core members rotating in and out of the line-up; released a number of demos and EPs but then finally put out their debut album in 2012?
For a quick refresher, you could get a more complete history by checking out this interview that I did with founding guitarist/vocalist Sharon Bascovsky about three and a half years ago, when the band was about to perform at the Winter’s Wake festival in Pittsburgh.
Since that time, In Death We Meet was remastered for a vinyl release via Ibex Moon, and during that process they went ahead and polished up the recordings for a new CD version as well — which (in my opinion) was a vast improvement to the overall mix (generally sounding louder and heavier, wider and more spacious, with a more even blend of all the instruments rather than having the cymbal crashes dominating everything else) and warranted an “Honorable Mention” on my Top 15 of 2015 list.
And now — tonight, in fact — the band will be appearing in Pittsburgh once again, this time alongside the legendary Deströyer 666 at the Smiling Moose. You can find the relevant details about that right here if you happen to be in the area, but first, whether you’re planning on going to the show tonight or not, this seemed like a perfect opportunity for us to discuss In Death We Meet …
Battle Path – Ambedo (digital+vinyl Inherent Records / Crimson Eye Records, 09 November 2015; cassette Wood and Stone Productions, 24 June 2016)
Hollow Leg – Crown (Argonauta Records, 04 March 2016 EU / 24 June 2016 NA)
Well good morning, readers, and a happy Tuesday to you all. I’m finally back after taking an extra week off from writing — partly to recover from the Independence Day holiday weekend (and that Primitive Man show last Monday night!) and partly because of me being so overloaded at my day job. But as always, there’s tons of stuff to tell you about — both old and new — so here we go again. Today we’ll be taking a look at albums by two different bands from the southeastern United States, Battle Path from Murfreesboro and Hollow Leg from Jacksonville. Each of these albums originally came out a little while ago (Ambedo back in November and Crown in March), but they both just got reissued near the end of last month (the former has now come out on cassette, while following a European release the latter is now also available domestically).
Northless – World Keeps Sinking (Halo of Flies / Gilead Media, 23 August 2013)
Primitive Man/Northless – Split (Halo of Flies, 04 March 2016)
As the end of the week draws near — if you didn’t have enough of Primitive Man after Tuesday’s post, maybe this will do it. Like Fister, whom we discussed on Monday, these Denverites tend to keep themselves pretty busy. Actually, it’s not that surprising to learn, those two bands did a split record together once upon a time! But that’s not what we’re here for right now — rather, I wanted to let you know about a much more recent release: a split that Primitive Man did earlier this year with Milwaukeean band Northless. And that reminded me that a full-length of theirs has been on my to-do list for quite a while (as it happens, 2013’s World Keeps Sinking was that band’s last release until this newer split record). Buckle up, this might be a bumpy ride …
Primitive Man/Hexis – Split 10″ (Halo of Flies, 13 May 2014)
Primitive Man – Home is Where the Hatred Is (Relapse Records, 17 February 2015)
Hey, everyone. Today I’ve got two items to discuss with you, involving Denver-based vitriolic sludge-spewers Primitive Man. It seemed like a good time to share these, because I’m excited that they’ll be coming here to Pittsburgh next week. For those of you who live around here, don’t forget you can win a pair of tickets to that show, but today’s post is for everyone no matter where you live.
First will be a split record that Halo of Flies put out two years ago, which pairs the band with Copenhagen natives Hexis. That will be followed by last year’s Home is Where the Hatred Is EP, which ended up with a slot on my Top 15 list. Yesterday I promised a week full of angriness and ugliness. Don’t say I didn’t warn you.
It’s Monday and I’m tired and crabby and I don’t really want to be here and I just want to punch everything and everyone right in the damn face. It probably wouldn’t be advisable to do so, because there’s a good chance I’d end up losing my job — and despite what you might think based on how much bitching and complaining I do, that would probably not be a good thing. So as per usual, I’m stuck keeping all that annoyance and rage bottled up inside, with no real outlet through which to channel it. The best I can do is try to calm my nerves by grabbing a pair of headphones and blocking the whole world out with something loud and angry and particularly ugly. In fact, looking ahead at the schedule for the rest of this week, #SpoilerAlert, there’s going to be a lot of angry and ugly going on. So stay tuned for that.
To start off the week, we’re going to visit with St. Louis ultra-doom trio Fister. It’s been nearly three years since I wrote about their Gemini album on the day they were coming here to Pittsburgh with their friends and neighbors The Lion’s Daughter. At that time I had mentioned that there was quite a bit of stuff in the Fister discography, including a split record with The Lion’s Daughter, and that I had chosen to listen to Gemini (and share it with you folks) simply because it had been their most recent release at the time. Well those guys have continued to be pretty active since then, both touring and recording, and I figured it’s about time we checked back with them.
In particular, I thought we could take some time to check out a couple more records that have come out over the past two months. (There’s much more out there on Bandcamp, if you’re curious, but for practical reasons I had to limit myself to two releases to discuss today.) The first will be a split 7″ with Teeth from California, and the other is a split with Dopethrone from Montréal.