Albums of the Week – August 14, 2012

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Summer is hell, this one more than most. The sun conspires to kill us any way it can—cancer, dehydration, discomfort, and a marked increase in violent crime. The heat finally hit Los Angeles this past week, and all I can think about is escape—escape from Los Angeles, escape from the sun, escape from life. Unfortunately, metal is my only escape. Fortunately, this week’s pile of new metal releases should do the trick and then some. After a slow start last week, August has finally arrived in force.

— Aaron Lariviere

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ALBUM OF THE WEEK (SHOULD RULE HARD)

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I generally try to avoid stealing descriptions from PR copy, but the word “vortextural” is just too perfect not to use again here. Filipino trio Deiphago (who now reside in Costa Rica) toe the line of acceptably chaotic noise—if these guys played Dungeons and Dragons (unlikely) their character alignment would be Chaotic Evil, no question. But it’s a fascinating cacophony, the kind of assault we’ve come to expect from Hells Headbangers time after time. It’s Portal guitars transplanted onto a war metal chassis—drums that barely keep up, distorted bestial snarl on top, and a whirlwind of riffs you can’t hope to make out. The leads come out of nowhere to spit and swirl and claw their way out of hell. A lot of bestial black/death is sloppy to the point where it feels grounded by its flaws, all too human—Deiphago exert control even as the songs constantly spiral outward, scraping the rim of the void and shooting right past.

Deiphago – Satan Alpha Omega [Buy CD] / [Buy MP3]

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MIGHT RULE HARD

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There’s really no “might” about it, these are all killer records this week, but now that we’re in an album of the week format: there can be only one. Arcata, California black metal crew Ash Borer step up the production a hair for their Profound Lore debut. If you heard last year’s self-titled cassette (essential and just about perfect), you’ve got an idea of the kind of long-form black metal these guys excel at—the new album is a logical extension. Cold of Ages is just that—an icy synth-troduction leads to an hour-long blast of arctic wind. It’s more meditative than crushing, but the frost makes for a perfect antidote to summer.

You know what you’re gonna get coming into any new Master album, and The New Elite delivers the greasy, grimy goods. Raw old-school death from one of the originators of the sound—it’s meat and potatoes for people who like meat and potatoes. Necrovation take death metal somewhere further, somewhere strange—they play outré death metal that never quite loses its essential shape. Riffs rarely go where you expect, and there’s a layer of filth that fits the songs and the vibe of the artwork perfectly. Though Swedish, the application of grime feels more indebted to Americans like Incantation and Autopsy. It’s an unholy stew, and it’s tasty as hell.

Southern Lord continue to prove they’re the best hardcore label on earth with their discovery of Xibalba, right as the band gets really fucking good (this is not the Mexican black metal Xibalba, in case you were wondering). It’s lumbering, vicious hardcore that owes a massive debt to death metal and doom. The album jumps around a bit in terms of tone—hardcore here, apocalyptic doom there—but the riffs don’t care, content to bash you around every which way. Great Dan Seagrave cover to boot.

Ash Borer – Cold of Ages [Buy CD]
Master – The New Elite [Buy CD] / [Buy MP3]
Necrovation – Necrovation [Buy CD ] / [Buy MP3]
Xibalba – Hasta La Muerte [Buy LP/CD] / [Buy MP3]

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Necrovation – “Resurrectionist”

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Xibalba – “Sentenced”

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