Nature has been on my mind a lot these past few weeks. Blame it on a stressful year, but these days the idea of a solitary autumn morning amongst the trees sounds a thousand times better than another morning commute cross-city, and yet… and yet.
A few weeks back I had the chance to explore Red Rock Canyon just outside of Las Vegas–there were ravines and shattered chunks of rock bearing scars of ancient glacial trauma and water-worn grooves in the canyon wall that spoke to the slow but steady destructive power of time. It’s the simplest and most familiar of themes driven home by a billion tons of rock that you can mindlessly climb. A few hours scrabbling across boulders, leaping gaps, feeling the sun and wind and stone underfoot, occasionally leaning too far over the edge of a cliff and getting the faintest taste of death at the back of my throat—it went a long way.
In a similar vein, occasional contributor and friend of IO Stefan Raduta recently passed along a gorgeous, sprawling report of his time spent at the Stella Natura festival up in the Desolation Wilderness area of the Tahoe National Forest. Flipping through his pictures of bands and attendees gathered amongst trees and natural granite makes me immediately sad to have missed this opportunity, and instantly thrilled that something like this even exists. It’s well worth a look.
Not all of the releases this week strike me as music for reflection–but if the world is what we make of it, they’ll do just fine for my current purpose. This week, grab your iPod and head outside.
— Aaron Lariviere
ALBUM OF THE WEEK (SHOULD RULE HARD)
This week’s top honor goes to Pig Destroyer. We’ve given this thing pretty extensive coverage already, in the form of an album review and an interview with J.R. Hayes , so I’ll spare you the rehash and simply remind you that the album is finally available for purchase.
Pig Destroyer – “The Baltimore Strangler”
MIGHT RULE HARD
Let’s run through ‘em right quick: Bedemon finally, finally put out their debut album, after years of trying and after the death of the main songwriter. This is old-sounding doom from actual old men with ties to Pentagram; riffs galore! Behold the Arctopus continue to make progressive epileptic noise that hardly makes sense, though it’s still entertaining as hell. (Check out our recent track premiere for a taste.) I need to hear more of The Secret‘s latest; it’s vicious Italian hardcore by way of Southern Lord with an anti-Catholic bent. And Witch Cross, lovely, Witch Cross. Hells Headbangers dug up this obscure nugget of early ’80s Danish heavy metal to rescue it from out-of-print obscurity. I’ve had a burned copy for years, and I can’t wait to snag this one on vinyl. Killer party record.
Bedemon – “Son of Darkness”
Witch Cross – “Rocking the Night Away”