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.
Today is the Day – Animal 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.
Gnaw – Horrible Chamber (Seventh Rule Recordings, 15 October 2013)
Hello again, readers. As I’ve mentioned numerous times lately, things are still crazy busy around here, and I’ve been having some trouble finding much time for writing. But, I suffered a pretty traumatic experience this past weekend — while attending a bachelor party for a friend of mine, I found myself squished into a van with a bunch of other guys, subjected to something called “redneck hip-hop” at very a high volume. Trust me, the less said about that, the better.
But as unpleasant as that experience was, an even worse thought came to mind: I imagined a scenario in which folks didn’t have access to any good music simply because they didn’t know where to find it. That sounds like a nightmare, for sure! Now, I’m not going to pretend like I’m anybody important, or that there aren’t plenty of other places out there to learn about new music, but if my writing this helps even one person discover something that they might otherwise have missed out on, and if it saves them from listening to some other sort of rubbish, then it’s worth the effort.
Having said that, I’m pleased to bring to your attention Horrible Chamber, last fall’s sophomore full-length from the experimental/industrial/noise ensemble Gnaw.
Indian – From All Purity (Relapse Records, 21 January 2014)
Hello out there, and happy Monday to you all. Back to work today, back to all the same old crap, back to the still-ridiculous workload. I’ve been meaning to get around to writing about a bunch of stuff lately, and it just hasn’t worked out that way. There was actually one day last week I could have had a little extra time to get something done (I think it was Thursday?), but coincidentally that was the same day there was an all-day seminar that involved many of the people who work near me (but not in the same department as me) — which included the lady whose desk is directly behind mine, the one who has really loud phone conversations all day long in a sickeningly cheerful voice, and who always seems to include way-too-personal information about her health or her family (regardless of whether it’s a business-related conversation or not). It was such a pleasant reprieve from the normal torturous conditions I endure every other day, I actually didn’t listen to any music at all that day. Just sat at my desk and basked in the near-silence. But now everything’s back to normal, and it’s in the best interests of my sanity to stick my headphones on and do whatever I can to block out the world around me.
Something loud and utterly miserable should fit nicely with the mood I’m in today, and the latest release from Chicago’s doom/noise band Indian will definitely do the trick. Released back in January through Relapse, From All Purity has found its way into my ears on numerous occasions throughout this year so far, and there’s no doubt it’ll also find its way onto my list of this year’s best releases.
The Swan King – Last So Long (War Crime Recordings, 03 June 2014)
Jar’d Loose – Turns 13 (CD/digital on The Path Less Traveled Records; vinyl on Threshold of Pain Records, 27 May 2014)
For those keeping track at home — yeah, this is the fifth article I’m publishing, as well as the seventh and eighth albums I’m reviewing, this week. That’s got to be some kind of a record. If I can keep up this level of productivity, it’ll only take me about two whole years to get caught up with all the stuff I want to write about. IF bands would just stop releasing new stuff during that time. Which is about as likely to happen as me being able to continue writing and publishing stuff at this current rate.
Oh well, here are two albums I’d like to share with you that were released within the past two weeks, by two different bands from Chicago, who have been travelling together on a mini-tour for about the past week or so, including a stop in Pittsburgh tonight (Saturday, 07 June – more info here) before heading back home to the windy city for a joint record release show tomorrow night (more info here)…
Eyehategod – Eyehategod (Housecore Records, 27 May 2014)
Enabler – La Fin Absolue du Monde (The Compound, 27 May 2014)
I will not be getting any sleep tonight. I’ve already accepted this as an unfortunate but unavoidable truth, and am now working on moving on. Maybe it’s just me, but I’ve discovered that since about age 30, it has become way more difficult to function on litte (or no) sleep, and now that I’m hitting the halfway point of that decade, getting enough rest has become a very precious commodity. It isn’t ever easy, especially when my two-hour (each way) commute necessitates that I leave home at 5:00 in the morning, meaning I have to wake up around 4-4:30. That wouldn’t be so bad, if I were able to fall asleep around 10:00 each night, but that’s a rare occurrence — and tonight in particular it will be completely impossible.
I’m going to the Eyehategod/Enabler/Ringworm show at The Rex Theater in Pittsburgh (part of the tour I wrote about last week). The show is scheduled to start at 7:00, but in addition to the three touring bands, there had been two local openers scheduled (Under Everything and Hericide), and then somewhere along the way the Dune sandworm-named band Shai Hulud got thrown into the mix (I guess they are currently on their way home from a tour and just happened to be passing through town today and so now apparently they’re playing at this show as well). Naturally, with six bands, even if things kick off exactly at seven, there’s no way it’ll end anywhere before midnight — and that’s the absolute best case scenerio. Add in an hour drive to get home (that two-hour commute I mentioned involves bus-riding and walking), and I probably won’t be able to be in bed any earlier than 2:00. Falling asleep that late and waking up at 4:00 would probably make me even more tired and miserable than if I didn’t sleep at all. So here we are.
But, shit, what am I going to do — NOT go see Eyehategod in their first appearance in this area since …… well, the Bandsintown archive goes back more than seven years and doesn’t have a single Pittsburgh date listed. Neither does Setlist.fm have any mention of them playing here. In fact, the only thing I could find after an extensive five minutes of web-searching was a couple YouTube videos from a show in the summer of 1998. Basically the point I’m trying to make is, this is a pretty monumental event, and if I don’t take advantage of this chance to see one of the most important bands in the history of sludge metal, I might never have another opportunity.