John Frum – A Stirring in the Noos (Relapse Records, 12 May 2017)
Dying Fetus – Wrong One to Fuck With (Relapse Records, 23 June 2017)
Hey boys and girls. To start off the week right, I’m going to call your attention to a couple of recent Relapse releases. Presumably Dying Fetus (whose new album we previewed a little while back) will already be familiar to everyone reading this, but I’ll just take a moment to introduce John Frum.
Named for the messianic figure of a particular religious sect from the south Pacific nation of Vanuatu, John Frum combines guitarist Matt Hollenberg of Cleric (who has also played with John Zorn), bassist Liam Wilson of The Dillinger Escape Plan, Derek Rydquist from Bereft, (who was also with The Faceless for their first couple albums) on vocals, and Eli Litwin (the mastermind behind one-man band Intensus) on drums.
These two bands may have strikingly different takes on death metal, but both albums are definitely worth taking the time to check out!
Shroud Eater – Dead Ends (The Path Less Traveled Records, 09 July 2013)
Shroud Eater / Dead Hand – Split (Southern Druid Records, 25 November 2016)
Shroud Eater – Strike the Sun (STB Records, 07 July 2017)
Here’s some exciting news for you this afternoon: Miamian sludge-doom trio Shroud Eater are releasing their first full-length album in more than six years, tomorrow! I just heard it for the first time over the holiday break (so… Tuesday), and wanted to make sure you folks all got the chance to check it out as well. And that reminded me that there were two other items from this band gathering dust on my to-do list, so it seemed like an ideal time to share those with you too!
Melvins – Basses Loaded (Ipecac Records, 03 June 2016)
Around here, we’ve talked pretty extensively about the Melvins. Mostly because since forming in Montesano, Washington about thirty-five years ago, the band has been a highly influential part of so many of the genres we love, even having a hand in forming and shaping several of those. Also there’s the fact that, with their ever-revolving line-ups, there are approximately ninety-seven Melvins releases (on average) each year. Being so prolific, it’s likely that they’ll have some stuff kind of flying under the radar, and today we’ll be looking at an album from last year that you may have missed. And then down in the comments you can find information about all their tour dates for the rest of the summer and beyond (and if you have the opportunity to see these guys, I really could not recommend it highly enough!)
In a coincidence that ranks up there with both Baker’s chocolate and German’s chocolate cake, the bandoneon was named for the man who had invented it in the mid-nineteenth century, German music instrument dealer Heinrich Band. The concertina-style instrument was used to accompany religious and popular music of that time, spreading into eastern Europe where some had adopted it into their traditional folk styles — but the bandoneon’s popularity really took off when it reached Argentina, where it quickly became an integral part of tango music.
The complex instrument, which like other concertinas (but unlike its cousin the accordion) is designed to play different tones depending on whether the bellows are being squeezed inward or pulled outward in conjunction with various combinations of the thirty-three left-hand and thirty-eight right-hand buttons, became rather scarce after production had ceased near the end of World War II. But with a recent return to manufacturing in Germany — and especially in the past few years when domestic models are now being made for the first time ever in Argentina — it appears that the bandoneon and the tango music with which it is most closely associated may both be experiencing something of a resurgence in popularity.
Argentinian bandoneonist, teacher, and composer Amijai Ben Shalev had the idea to incorporate the instrument into the context of progressive metal, and so gathered together fellow porteñosMarcos de Cristobal (guitar), Matias Brandauer (bass), and Marcos Edwards (drums), forming Bandolirium in 2016. As a taste of how this unique style would fit within the structure of metal music, the band released their rendition of “Por Quien Doblan las Campanas” (or “For Whom the Bells Toll”) in an instrumental arrangement, where the bandoneon sometimes slips into the background playing chords along with the rhythm guitar parts, but elsewhere produces a tango-flavored melody in the place of the vocals from the original song. Feel free to check out this recording right here, then continue reading as we address the group’s self-titled debut record which they’ve put out about a month and a half ago …
Beelzebud – Self Titled (digital/tape self-released 23 October 2015; CD Cyclopean Eye Productions 13 February 2017)
Mudbath – Brine Pool (Saka Čost / Troffea Records / GPS Prod / Grains of Sand Records / Third-I-Rex, 02 May 2017)
Since we missed publishing anything new yesterday (sorry, but about half of the company I work for decided to take the day off, it seems, leaving the rest of us to pick up all of the slack…), today as an extra treat I’ve got two things to share with you. First will be the self-titled album by Singaporean noise-doom duo Beelzebud, which was released without much fanfare in 2015 but later discovered by the owner of India’s Cyclopean Eye who immediately decided the album needed to be re-released. And secondly, the latest release from avignonnais sludge-doom quartet Mudbath (their second album). Both of these are available to download for free from the respective bands’ Bandcamp pages, but physical copies can be purchased from the various labels associated with these two releases. Enjoy!
Body Count – Bloodlust (Century Media Records, 31 March 2017)
Some of our younger readers may recognize Ice-T as the curmudgeonly old guy in the “It’s Lemonade” commercials, or maybe they’ll recall his stints as a reality tv star (here and here). Perhaps he’ll even seem familiar from his portrayal of a police officer on Law & Order: SVU. But before he was gracing screens small and big (and by the way, his acting career has included roles as cops dating back more than a quarter-century), the man born as Tracy Marrow in New Jersey (and then raised in the Crenshaw district of Los Angeles) made quite a name for himself as a hugely influential part of the music industry.
Known primarily as one of the innovators who helped to shape the gangster rap genre, with songs like “6 ‘N the Morning,” he later formed the group Body Count with some high school friends who shared an affinity for hard rock music — introducing the band on a self-titled track on his 1991 album O.G. Original Gangster before they came out with a full-length self-titled album the following year.
They have been heavily influenced by fellow Californian contemporaries in the worlds of thrash (like Slayer) and especially crossover (like Suicidal Tendencies) — but for years I’ve seen a lot of negativity expressed towards these guys within the so-called “metal community,” from some of its more closed-minded individuals. Whether that’s a refusal to acknowledge rap or hip hop artists as genuine musicians, or a xenophobic reaction to a perceived “outsider” tresspassing into the “scene” — well, Ice-T‘s spoken-word intro to the original “Body Count” song can be applicable in both directions: “You know, as far as I’m concerned, music is music. I don’t look at it as rock or R&B, all that kind of stuff, I just look at it as music. […] But I do what I like, I happen to like rock ‘n roll. And I feel sorry for anybody who only listens to one form of music.”
Wildspeaker – Spreading Adder (Prosthetic Records, 23 June 2017)
“Spreading adder” is one of several nicknames for the eastern hognose snake; others include “hissing adder” or “hissing viper,” “blow snake” or “blow viper,” and “puff adder” — this last one despite the serpent being entirely unrelated to the similarly-named highly venomous species found in Africa. These derive from the reptile’s defensive behaviors which include a display of spreading its body like a cobra, hissing aggressively, and feigning attack.
Spreading Adder is the brand-new album by Dallas-based troupe Wildspeaker, just released this past Friday by Prosthetic Records after a handful of self-released efforts over the past three years. Self-produced by the band and recorded in bassist Garry Brents (also a member of Cara Neir)’s own studio, the album comes across with every bit of viciousness and ferocity as its namesake animal.
The quintet (the line-up also includes vocalist Natalie Kahan, drummer Ricky Rivera, and Nelson Favela and Zak Pitts on guitar) are currently in the middle of a tour across the U.S. — but unfortunately we’ve just learned that they’ve had a bit of a van mishap! Click here for more details on that story, including a link to a Gofundme page to help with needed repairs — or you might also consider buying a copy of their new album or other merch to help get them back on the road. (The remaining scheduled tourdates will be listed in the comments section below, but you probably ought to keep tabs on Facebook to see whether there is any new information.)