Neurosis – Fires Within Fires (Neurot Recordings, 23 September 2016)
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.
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!
I remember one year in elementary school — it might have been fourth or fifth grade — when our teacher would occasionally come in and draw a ketchup bottle on the chalkboard. This was an indication that it would be a “ketchup day” or “catch-up day”: where we wouldn’t have any new lessons that day, but could use the time to get current on homework assignments or whatever else we needed to do.
Looking back as an adult, that sounds an awful lot like a scene from the movie Bad Teacher when Cameron Diaz’ character would show her class videos all day because came to school hungover. But in any case, today’s going to be a ketchup day for some recent news items that have come across the VOS editor’s desk …
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 …
Obituary – Ten Thousand Ways to Die (Relapse Records, 14 October 2016)
Obituary – Obituary (Relapse Records, 17 March 2017)
One of the originators of the foundational Tampa, Florida death metal scene, formed well over 30 years ago (and using their current name since back in 1988) with three of the original members — brothers John Tardy (vocals) and Don Tardy (drums) and guitarist Trevor Peres — continuously part of the line-up ever since, surely you — visitor to a website devoted to metal music — know Obituary, right? And if I told you they had a new single available with two songs (one of which can’t be found anywhere else) that also includes basically a whole live album worth of bonus tracks, AND that they followed that with a brand-new full-length album that easily stands up among the band’s decades-long discography, what more do you need from me aside from links where you can go and buy these new releases? (See the bottom of this page, below the videos and above the Bandcamp players. Also check below that, for information on the band’s tour dates over the next few days, including a stop in Pittsburgh TONIGHT!)
But I know not everyone out there is a lifelong death metal enthusiast. I’ll readily admit that I myself listen to the genre far less than many other styles of metal, and a main reason for that is that so many of the bands all sound alike and the sound of the music often seems stagnant and stale. But every so often something comes along where the band clearly is doing everything the right way — and with the rare stability and consistency Obituary has enjoyed over all these years, they certainly exemplify that. So I’ll assume that if you’re still with me, you aren’t already a huge fan of the band BUT perhaps curious enough to keep reading this far. Great, so here we go …
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.