Black Cobra – Imperium Simulacra (2016)

black-cobra-imperium-simulacra

Author: Bloodshot Grub

Artist: Black Cobra

Album: Imperium Simulacra

Label: Season of Mist

Genre: Sludge/Doom Metal

 

Black Cobra is one of those bands with a consistent, distinct, and immediately identifiable vision for their music, and they deliver on it every single time, without fail. If you like your sludge fast, aggressive, and filled to the brim with outstanding riffs, you can select any one of the San Francisco duo’s five albums and find great satisfaction.  Continue reading

Advertisements

Agoraphobic Nosebleed – Arc (2016)

a0930996856_10

Author: Bloodshot Grub

Artist: Agoraphobic Nosebleed

Album: Arc

Label: Relapse Records

 

 

The first time I heard Salome’s landmark album Terminal, I was working a graveyard shift for a security company, driving around the city in the biting cold of January listening to metal on the company car’s shitty sound system. I was still fairly new to sludge and what I had heard focused a great deal on the thickness of the sound, guitars downtuned and multitracked and sent through fuzz and distortion pedals, delays and reverbs, and probably several simultaneous tube amps and cabinets. Terminal, in contrast, was bone dry. One guitar, minimal effects, no bass, drums, and Katherine Katz, whom I had heard before on Agoraphobic Nosebleed’s Agorapocalypse. The sparseness of the production combined with the relentlessly punishing and nihilistic music was unlike anything I had heard before, and over the years it became one of my favorite albums. Having only a few years prior come out of the bleakest period in my life, one characterized by addiction and severe mental illness, the album’s emotional tenor, however bleak, was very comforting. Continue reading

Dream Theater – The Astonishing (2016)

dreamtheatercoverjpg

Author: Bloodshot Grub

Artist: Dream Theater

Album: The Astonishing

Label: Roadrunner Records

 

 

It would be hard to overstate the influence that Dream Theater has had on my life. They were one of the first metal bands I discovered, one of my favorite bands through much of my teenage years, and inspired me to become a musician. Despite that, even early on I found them to be a somewhat hit-or-miss affair, and since 2002’s highlight Six Degrees of Inner Turbulence they seemed to be running entirely on autopilot. Their four album run from Train of Thought up through Black Clouds & Silver Linings was never entirely bad, and there’s at least one full album of really excellent prog metal songs between them, but they were nevertheless predictable and formulaic offerings. The infamous drummer shake up seemed to revive them, but only briefly. Continue reading

The Lion’s Daughter – Existence is Horror (2016)

a2531073016_10

Author: Bloodshot Grub

Artist: The Lion’s Daughter

Album: Existence Is Horror

Label: Season of Mist

 

 

And here it is, my first new release of 2016, the sophomore full-length from Missouri’s The Lion’s Daughter. I’m not superstitious, but some ancient part of my brain seems to worry that my selection might prove prophetic with regards to the year ahead. If that were the case, the title alone would indicate that this would make an especially ominous note on which to start the year. There are some significant similarities to one of the last releases I caught in 2015, and the subject of my last review, The Tomb of All Things by Un. It’s slow, it’s bleak, it’s violent and unwholesome, and it doesn’t quite hit the mark. Continue reading

Un – The Tomb of All Things (2015)

a2469954649_10

Author: Bloodshot Grub

Artist: Un

Album: The Tomb of All Things

Label: Black Bow Records

 

I’m glad that funeral doom hasn’t yet reached the same level of prolificity as, say, atmospheric black metal. Even more so than 2015’s most abundant genre, funeral doom requires the right moods, the right atmosphere, and plenty of time to listen to the lengthy songs and absorb the weight and despair. The year now gone has given us some enjoyable funeral doom releases: Bell Witch, Ahab (though they’re a little less purely funereal anymore), Shape of Despair, Tyranny. Plenty to enjoy, but there’s still room in the 2015 roster for more. Continue reading

Wilt – Moving Monoliths (2015)

a4034229628_10

Author: Bloodshot Grub

Artist: Wilt

Album: Moving Monoliths

Label: Bindrune Recordings

 

 

The 2015 torrent of atmospheric black metal continues with Moving Monoliths, the debut full-length by Winnipeg’s Wilt. My reaction to each new one that crosses my desk has become routine. I shake my head and mutter to myself, then press play and give a resigned nod as I try to figure out how a genre so hopelessly glutted can still continue to entertain me. Continue reading