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Albums of the Week – October 10, 2012

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Running on no sleep, just caffeine and iron will supplemented by heavy metal thunder and a burning deadline that I’m gonna miss anyway: this is your weekly installment of our makeshift buyers guide, as presented by a stretched-too-thin lunatic. Let’s cut the pleasantries and listen to some shit.

— Aaron Lariviere

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Converge never flag in quality. They never stumble. Confidence, taste, and sheer talent keep every release up to the standards of excellence we’ve come to expect over the past two decades. They simply slay, record after record, song after song, year after year. Where Axe to Fall spread out and burrowed into the stranger corners of the band’s sound, their latest reels it back in–-we get the core sound of ripping hardcore mixed with angular psychedelic sludge. These tunes kill, and the alternating short bursts in between longer, slower songs makes for a 17-song record that doesn’t feel long, or boring, or anything other than awesome. More leads and oddly traditional solos are welcome new additions, though the album succeeds almost entirely on the strength of its songs and its ferocity of execution. This is absolutely fucking essential.

Converge – All We Love We Leave Behind [Buy CD / MP3] / [Deluxe Edition MP3] (contains 3 extra songs)

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Converge – “A Glacial Pace”

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Cauldron sound kinda shitty on first listen, like a torn-spandex throwaway from a forgotten age of NWOBHM. Those vocals . . . are a tough sell. That said, if you give yourself into the songs and loosen your mental screws (beer helps), it slowly starts to make sense. The riffs start to rule and you feel your ass start to shake. The solos grab your balls and squeeze, and suddenly those vocals aren’t so bad. Oddly they don’t sound much like the retro-trad-throwback that they actually are, which is a good thing. Like Dawnbringer, they own the aesthetic to the point that it feels honest, if not actually old.

People seem to like Daylight Dies, and I can see why. This is my first time hearing them. For a melodic, progressive/depressive doom band, I hear nods to the Peaceville 3, some Akerfeldtian clean manly-singing, and something intangible that holds it all together and makes it sound rad (my guess is confidence). If I were rowing to the center of a lake to drown myself, I’d throw this on to steady my resolve.

I haven’t spent much time with the new Enslaved yet, though if you’re even interested in their twelfth album, I assume you have. How is it? The single (“Veilburner”) feels like yet another incremental step towards prog-mania, complete with a nifty arrangement and some sweet guitars, but I’m starting to think I’ll never get used to the awkward shifts between growls and clean vocals. Such is life.

Talk about a flashback to a forgotten age of not-that-long-ago: Sylosis dig up the millenial death/thrash that the rest of the world shrugged off and casually ignored years ago. Add in lots of acoustic intros and progressive melodies on top of the A-grade death/thrash riffs, and you’ve got a serious little ripper. This is what I wish The Haunted sounded like.

Cauldron – Tomorrow’s Lost [Buy MP3] / [Preorder CD] / [Preorder LP]
Daylight Dies – A Frail Becoming [Buy CD]
Enslaved – Riitiir [Buy CD / MP3 / LP]
Sylosis – Monolith [Buy CD / MP3]

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Cauldron – “Burning Fortune”

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Daylight Dies – “Infidel”

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This is it, kids. The final Hydra Head release. Ever. I missed covering it last week-–it was released on 10/2-–so I’m calling attention to it now. Aaron Turner, James Plotkin, and Tim Wyskida reunite as Jodis for their second album: a fascinating meditation in ringing chords, clean vocals, quiet electronics, and sparse (occasionally pounding) drums. It’s not metal, but who even cares at this point. It’s a gorgeous, glittering denouement for one of the best labels of our generation.

Jodis – Black Curtain [Buy CD / MP3 / LP]

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Jodis – “Broken Ground”

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