Heavy metal will never die, which makes sifting through new metal records feel like everlasting torment. Luckily, Andy O’Connor will guide your lost souls to the best metal every month. When the punishers call, you’ll know how to answer.
Terminal Nation / Kruelty, The Ruination Of Imperialism
Mixing hardcore and death metal can be a touchy subject, with compelling arguments for the marriage (breakdowns are hard as hell, energetic crowds are cool) and against it (you can only rip off Mortician so much, varsity lettering sucks). Two shining examples “for” are Little Rock’s Terminal Nation and Tokyo’s Kruelty. They come together on The Ruination of Imperialism, a surprise split earlier this month from 20 Buck Spin Records. Terminal Nation can ride a goddamn groove, which is as much an homage to World Demise-era Obituary as it is recognition that Louisiana is just one state over. Kruelty’s approach is more death-doom; dragging out their beatdowns gives them the edge for harder breakdowns. They both slam, so they both win. Each band’s vocalist also appears on a track of the other’s as well, with Terminal Nation’s Stan Liszewski contributing to “Under Your Pressure,” and Kruelty’s Tatami guesting on “Sacrificial Capital.”
Tomb Mold, Aperture of Body
Toronto death metal sensation Tomb Mold caught us with our guard down, dropping their new demo Aperture of Body a couple weeks ago. They’re especially rejuvenated, sounding both tighter and more expressive. The title track attacks with gravity’s penchant comeuppance, heavy guitar soloing flowing like free liquid untethered to the order of rainfalls or streams. In particular, the last solo is an alien transmission, garbled if you tried to pick it apart but whole and vibrant as is. “Prestige of Rebirth” skews mid-paced riffing towards cosmic roads and even hints at guitarist Derrick Vella’s gorgeous death-doom duo Dream Unending towards its end. If this is what’s to come, we’ve got to prepare while we can.
TRIAC, Pure Joy - Numb Grief-Stricken Animals
June also brings a trio of exceptionally ripping grind records. Right on the first of the month, Baltimore’s Triac unleashed Pure Joy-Numb Grief-stricken Animals through long-running German grind/powerviolence label RSR. With grind this straightforward, it all comes down to performances, and drummer Jake Cregger’s blasting is ultra-tight hyperspeed. No frills, tons of energy, laden with feedback. The phrase “pure joy” is rarely a trusted co-sign for grind, but it is here.
Knoll—Tennessee triple six bangers currently split between Memphis and Nashville—make sure your pretty faces go to hell (and you are ALL beautiful!) on their second album, Metempiric. They morph throughout this record, indulging in noisy detours, gnashing up fretboard slides, and putting up doomy blockades, and yet, they always come back to the blast. Though they gained some attention for selling a shirt with Dolly Parton brandishing a rifle, this record proves that there’s more to them than novel merch design.
Mothman, Cancer Withdrawal
Rounding out June’s grind crop is Cancer Withdrawal from Austin trio Mothman. Here’s a group that makes disparity sound like unity. There’s loads of jarring start-stop guitar fuckery, double bass triplets, blown-to-hell swingy rock parts that sound like Mastodon at gunpoint—it shouldn’t work together, but it just does. If you yearn for the days when your Jane Doe shirt was just one size too small instead of several, you’ll regain your fading youth with this one.
Daedric Chamber, Reverence of the Gods
Since it’s the summer, the best activity is holing up in your domicile and cranking the AC, diverting some of your test press/bootleg shirt money to your local power company. For you isolationists out there, Daedric Chamber’s Reverence of the Gods, from weirdo black metal keepers Grime Stone Records, will get you grim and cold. The band is helmed by an Elder Scrolls obsessive from Kingsport, Tennessee only known as Snitz, and even if you never got into Skyrim, they’ll trance you through riffing equally depressive and majestic. Wanting to burn the world and too depressed to do so—isn’t that a familiar feeling? The dungeon synth segues strike a wonderful balance between simple piano melodies, lo-fi lushness, and old video game enchantment.
Moribund Dawn, Dark Mysteries of Time & Eternity
Elsewhere on the black metal front, Moribund Dawn are bringing back the Swedish melodic black metal sound despite hailing from the very un-Nordic location of Phoenix, Arizona. Dark Mysteries of Time & Eternity, released through Carbonized Records, will make you ponder a grand mystery: Is this a bizarre alternate universe where everyone decided to ape Dawn and Vinterland in 2005 instead of At the Gates and In Flames? But listen, man, that’s just the icy tremolo-picked melodies against your face, cooling you into asking such odd questions.
Sunrise Patriot Motion, Black Fellflower Stream
Remember 12 years ago when black metal dudes couldn’t wait to tell you how they were really into post-punk? You never wanted to hear a buzzy Peter Hook rip-off again. Thankfully, Sunrise Patriot Motion has way more depth than that, no doubt, because they’re headed by Yellow Eyes’ brothers, guitarists Will and Sam Skarstad. On their debut, the Skarstads are the melodic wunderkinds they’ve always been, they’ve just moved from icy black metal to bouncy gothic rock. It’s obviously excellent. “I Search For Gasoline” is pure hooky anger, like if the Cure’s “Doubt” was in Pornography’s psychedelic hell. “My Father's Christian Humidor” is as grim and frostbitten as it is 4AD Records worship. Sounds bleed onto each other and crystalize into romantic despair, where the specter of demise is the ultimate matchmaker.
Hail and kill—see y’all next month.