Graves, Release Your Dead (Svart Records) is the latest album from Finland’s vampire-admiring (maybe “obsessed” is the word) The Coffinshakers. According to the band’s online blurb, they’ve been making horror comedy since 1995. Now if that feels like rather a long time to be riding this fairly simple gimmick, well it’s just a fleeting moment for a night walker, eh?
It was while spinning my wheels at the mercy of a delayed flight from London to Berlin, on about the fifth listen to As Gomorrah Burns, the forthcoming record by Montreal, Canada’s Cryptopsy on Nuclear Blast Records that the album finally opened up, like a poisoned flower, and revealed its full merit.
In 1991 Alice in Chains landed themselves a place on the Clash of the Titans tour, opening for Anthrax, Megadeth, and Slayer. Unsurprisingly, a band now synonymous with Grunge wasn’t fully embraced by the largely Thrash-devoted audiences. The irony of time is not just that Alice in Chains went on to commercially outshine the other bands that shared the stage with them on that tour, the years have seen their tentacles creep their way into many a metal band and sub-genre.
Anyone can make a concept album (which is not to say that it’s easy, but that it doesn’t depend on a particular musical style). That said, when it comes to the rock-opera-style concept album, the tendencies towards elaborate instrumental explorations and grand, dramatic spectacle often found in progressive rock and metal, provide particularly fertile ground. Pink Floyd, Queensryche, The Who, and many others have followed this path (coloured by their own particular musical approaches).
When the David Lynch-directed movie The Straight Story was released in 1999 it was a surprising departure for anyone familiar with the creator of Twin Peaks and Blue Velvet. The surprise wasn’t floating aliens, ladies in radiators or ears in paper bags. Quite the opposite. Lynch had already exposed audiences to the dark and bizarre in many forms; it was the absence of surrealistic shock that made the poignancy of one man’s single-minded road trip to reconnect with his ill brother so strange. This was not what was expected. This was not the formula that audiences were starting to think they’d figured out.
Ghost Cult’s Tom Osman caught up for a wide-ranging chat with all of Oxbow! The long-running avant-garde band was formed in the Bay Area in 1988 and has made a career making of stellar, genre-shaping albums. Their new album Love’s Holiday, releases on Ipecac Recordings on July 21st and is on our highly-anticipated list for 2023, so get the back story on the new album, and their entire history.
Thirty-one years after the release of their sophomore Godflesh album Pure, Justin K Broadrick and Ben Green (and Machines) allude to this one aspect of the band’s crushing history with new album Purge, releasing on June 9th on Avalanche Recordings.
On Troll (By Norse Music) Drott draws from Scandinavian folklore to create a soundtrack for the listener to inhabit a dank, murky forest, with the eponymous troll close enough that you can smell it, delivered via dark, slightly campy electronic rock soundscapes that would feel totally in place in a (not too scary) fantasy/ horror movie. Continue reading →
Seemingly coming out of the blue — like the sudden emergence of a horrible memory buried for years — drone doom supergroup Khanate returns with To Be Cruel (released digitally on May 19th and on physical formats on June 30th via Sacred Bones Records) the group’s first album since 2009’s Clean Hands Go Foul. Shrouded in secrecy prior to its release, To Be Cruel delivers three tracks and 62 mins of harsh, cold, sparse, experimental sounds fit to ruin any good day.
On Devil Music (out now on Run For Cover Records) Austin, Texas three-piece Portrayal of Guilt up the ante with a thirty-minute barrage of inventively malevolent extreme metal, firmly achieving what they’ve hinted at on recent releases: greatness.