I’ve spoken many times as to why I love split releases, because they can serve so many purposes. One of those is to put together two or more bands that really deserve extra attention than they have at the moment and give each group a little more momentum.
The always reliable Grimoire Records has one for you that exposes two of the better up-and-coming bands that aren’t household names quite yet but very well could be in the future. Both Myopic and Torrid Husk have a number of tremendous releases on their resumes already at this point, but they come together on “Crawling Mountain Apogee” to hammer out about 40 minutes of music combined that should give those unfamiliar a nice taste of what each has to offer. The bands make sense presented together, though they definitely have traits that separate them sonically, but those into death, doom, sludge, and black metal, especially that of the underground variety, should find a ton to like on this release. It’s a tremendous package.
We’ll start with Myopic, the Maryland-based band that has a handful of releases to their name, including their January EP “Beyond the Mirror’s Edge.” On this record, the band delivers two pounders that are epic in length and always spellbinding. They open their portion with 10:44 “Unction in Passing” that begins grimy but then lets some acoustics into the room. The song has a nice dose of atmosphere, though guitar work bristles and keeps things a little ugly, too, while the vocals are vicious and bloodthirsty. There is great energy and tumult to the song, and while it settles down a little in the track’s back end, it ignites before the finish with the band launching into emotional chaos that bleeds right into “Remembrance.” That song opens with doomy, sludgy fire, as they pound with a deliberate pace and the vocals delve into infernal death terrain. There is drubbing chugging that keeps this bruising, vocals that match the intensity of everything going on here, and plenty of blazing color throughout its 8:56, proving Myopic a band that deserves your attention and a tidal wave of adulation.
For more on the band, go here: https://www.facebook.com/MyopicBand
Now, we’ve visited with Torrid Husk in the past, and their atmospheric brand of black metal is pretty much right up my alley. This West Virginia band has a full-length and EP to their credit, and they also have two submissions on this split that shows a band evolving and getting more cataclysmic. “And Ballasted the Elk” is their opener, and it starts with strange cosmic blips that mix in with the sounds of nature. Maybe it’s the vision of an alien forest? Anyhow, the song eventually opens up, displaying their spacious style perfectly, with the vocals from guitarist Tyler sounding gurgly and ugly. The band switches up the pace throughout the track, mostly devastating with their playing, but also finding time to pull things back and inject some quiet. The final minutes feel like a raging, humid summer storm, with proggy weirdness popping up, and a killer finish to the cut. “So Howled Out for the World to Give Him a Name” starts with intense black metal and an old-school feel that reminds of the Nordic warriors of the Second Wave. The melodies are hammering, the vocals twisted and deranged, and there is a sense of cascading drama that snakes throughout this 8:12 song. The end is interesting as out of the mouth of madness, the band returns to those sounds of nature, with birds chirping and everything returning to the woods again. Great band. Pay attention now, damn you.
For more on the band, go here: https://www.facebook.com/torridhusk
To buy the album, go here: http://grimoirerecords.bandcamp.com/merch
For more on the label, go here: https://www.facebook.com/GrimoireRecords
As any of my fellow scribes can attest, there is almost too much vital music out there right now and an even larger tidal wave of it to come in the next six weeks. We wanted to give some capsule looks at some important releases from the past few weeks in which you may be interested and to which we wanted to give time.
PUNCH, “They Don’t Have to Believe” (Deathwish Inc.) – What a great, passionate collection of songs from socially conscious San Francisco thrashcore band Punch. This album is punishing, blinding, melodic, and bursting with passion, with vocalist Meghan O’Neil driving the band forward with her emotional, pay-heed-or-else voice. It’s impossible not to get caught up in this band’s intensity, unless you have no heart, and there is so much to like on this album from raging opener “Worth More Than Your Opinion,” where O’Neil howls, “Our looks, our bodies, are none of your fucking business!” that has to make you pump your fist hard; the chugging and powerful “Denial”; “Making Room” that has traces of doom, thick and intimidating bass, and O’Neil shouting, “I can only bite my tongue for so long!”; the powerviolence of “Anxiety”; and splattering closer “Unconditional.” It’s great to hear a band stand for something and deliver their word with such conviction. Awesome, awesome band.
For more on the band, go here: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Punch/165122930174113
To buy the album, go here: http://store.deathwishinc.com/category/new.html
For more on the label, go here: http://www.deathwishinc.com/
BLACK MOTH, “Condemned to Hope” (New Heavy Sounds) – Metal doesn’t have enough credible bands that rise past the underground, but England’s Black Moth could break through with their sophomore record “Condemned to Hope.” They retain their doomy, sludgy base, but their songwriting has improved dramatically, and they sound confident and swaggering on this new album. Vocalist Harriet Bevan sounds awesome as always, and the band proves it has what it takes to be a bigger act capable of filling larger rooms. Just give a listen to thunderous opener “Tumbleweave” that has a bundle of energy and biting words about celebrity obsession; “Looner” and its tongue-in-cheek suggestive lyrics, with Bevan teasing, “Crack an egg on my breasts, love,” knowing full well she’ll knock your ass out if you do; darker “The Last Maze”; “Red Ink,” a slow-into-crunch ballad that could be a breakout for them; and bluesy, guttery “Slumber With the Worm” that drips with attitude. This is catchy as hell and deserves to light this group on fire, especially here in the States.
For more on the band, go here: http://www.themothpit.co.uk/
To buy the album, go here: http://newheavysounds.bigcartel.com/
For more on the label, go here: http://www.newheavysounds.com/New%20Heavy%20Sounds/HOME/HOME.html
OBERON, “Dream Awakening” (Prophecy) – It’s been a while since we’ve heard from Bard Oberon (13 years to be exact, as “Anthem” was released in 2001), so it’s nice to have “Dream Awakening” in our hands. As usual, the music is a mix of dreamy Neofolk, art rock, prog, and pure heavy metal, with the music absolutely soaring into the atmosphere at times. If you’re into what Alcest has been up to lately and aren’t familiar with Oberon, this could be a good gateway record for you. There is a ton of back and forth sonically. For example, the album opens with the relatively gentle “Empty and Marvelous,” where Oberon notes, “Night slips from you,” as he heads into ’70s folk territory. But “Escape” follows as a dose of melodic, surging metal that’s catchy and just a bit bruising. That’s how this whole record flows, and it makes it such a joy to behold. You can get lost in the quieter tracks “In Dreams We Never Are” that plays with space noise; “Flight of Aeons” that follows the same compelling path; and “Phoenix,” where he calls, “I am reborn, I shed this old skin.” And the burlier ones—“I Can Touch the Sun With My Heart” and closer “Age of the Moon”—give you the grit you might need. This is an awesome, infectious collection that should spark your dreams and make you want to launch into the stars.
For more on the band, go here: https://www.facebook.com/ageofthemoon
To buy the album, go here: http://en.prophecy.de/shop/
For more on the label, go here: http://www.prophecy.de/