So Neurosis are heading out on tour RIGHT NOW. That news by itself will immediately be a huge deal to most people who read this sentence. They’re only hitting a handful of cities across the northeastern U.S. (and southeastern Canada) over the next week and a half, but this is a band that infreuquently performs live in the first place, and very rarely visits the east coast outside the context of a larger music festival (such as Baltimore’s Days of Darkness which they’ll be headlining in October). So, yeah.
But sometimes when it comes to bands that have been around seemingly forever (well over thirty years, in this case) and have achieved a near-universal legendary status (at least, for these guys, among the majority of fans of post-hardcore/sludge metal), it’s easy to forget that there are some folks out there who may not already be intimately familiar with them. Easy to just assume that everyone knows them, disregarding the fact that there’s always somebody who has yet to make that big discovery.
After all, though, that’s the whole point of writing about music: to help someone learn about something that could potentially be life-changing. The About page of this website describes exactly that — while also referencing a particular time period of exploration for myself, which in that narrative was described as “The Napster Years,” but frankly a huge part of my own rebirth as a metal music fan directly resulted from finding Relapse Records CD samplers (like this one and this one) at a local record store (more info here and here for the younger readers). Interestingly, three of the artists that had really jumped out at younger me and grabbed my attention are ones I have written about here, just this month: Today is the Day, Dying Fetus, and now, Neurosis.
Specifically, there were a couple of songs from the band’s then-new album A Sun that Never Sets which I bought not long afterwards, and which was — front-to-back — one of the most amazing things I’d ever experienced. So in light of all that, I’m pleased to present — to any of you who may not have heard this yet — their latest release, 2016’s Fires Within Fires.
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!
Happy Monday, folks! Not sure how many of you out there are hockey fans — and specifically, fans of North America’s NHL. Maybe some people reading this were in bed by a perfectly reasonable hour last night and got an adequate amount of sleep. Not me; I was far too busy reveling in watching my hometown team capture the league championship for the second consecutive year, and all of the trophy presentation ceremonies and the other assorted festivities that go along with that, until way WAY past my regular bedtime. So it might be fair to say I’ll be slowly easing my way into this week, and mostly using today to get caught up on some stuff. In that spirit, I’ll skip doing any reviews today, but I’ll take the opportunity to pass along some recent news items that just might pique your interest …
Ever since the band was formed (which was at the end of 2011), and especially since they started playing live shows (the following spring), there’s been a significant amount of buzz surrounding Wrought Iron within Pittsburgh’s underground music scene. People who’ve caught their live shows (often appearing with some pretty big names, like Abigail Williams, Absu, Alcest, Dying Fetus, False, and Nachtmystium, just to name a few) have reported being spellbound by the ferocity as well as the raw talent on display.
Well, that — and one other thing too. It seems like whenever this band is being discussed, the performance of vocalist Kenny Snyder often gets brought up; several times I’ve witnessed certain people (without mentioning anyone specifically, but I will say it’s almost always been members of other local bands) trying to imitate the combined snarl-shriek-squawk that these folks affectionately refer to as “like a dying pterodactyl.”
Anyway. I personally may have been a little bit late to the party, but after hearing them recommended so highly for so long, I finally got the chance to see Wrought Iron last summer (and a couple more times since then). I was very impressed by what I saw and heard — they definitely lived up to the hype, no question about that. Fast-forward another year, and we find the band recording an album with Maryland’s Grimoire Records, which is being released digitally (as well as on CD or cassette) today.
So my next Person or Persons Unknown interview subject is someone I did not know very well before I decided to ask him for an interview, but I suppose that was the point of these: to shed some light on people not very many people knew much about. This one definitely qualifies. I first officially met Tree when his band Lycosa was having their Innervenus dual-release show with Grisly Amputation. Over the course of meeting all these new people, I would say that I am constantly surprised at how warm and friendly they are — which is a vast contrast to the mood and feel of the music that they play. No one surprised me quite as much as Tree — he’s sweet and kind and, just like my husband, you sometimes have a hard time hearing him because he really doesn’t talk all that loud (when he talks at all!). I have since gotten to know him slightly more speaking to him via Facebook messages and seeing him out at shows, and I am happy to now call him a friend. I hope you guys will find him as interesting as I do, and that you’ll check out Lycosa — maybe even venture out to Kent, Ohio, this weekend for a mini road trip to check them out. The band is great on CD, but even better live! Take it from me, it would be worth the drive from Pittsburgh.
Well. The last time we talked about those darlings of progressive death from California, The Faceless, it was way back in January when they had announced — and then dropped out of — a co-headlining tour with Dying Fetus. Around that time, and ever since then, there have been whispers about the band working on a new album. Now, thanks to Hold Tight! PR, I’m happy to announce that some details (including the official release date and a video trailer) have emerged…