April 2019 Release Roundup
First and foremost, Job For a Cowboy vocalist Jonny Davy is back. Davy -- alongside Job For a Cowboy guitarists Alan Glassman and Tony Sannicandro, The Black Dahlia Murder bassist Max Lavelle, and Deeds of Flesh drummer Darren Cesca -- has formed a new band called Serpent of Gnosis, and the debut single "The Colorless Capsules" rules. The song clocks under two minutes, thrashing, grinding, and slamming its way right into your heart. It should appeal to people who maybe weren't so on board with Job For a Cowboy. Those very same people also need to reconsider that opinion, especially considering the band’s later output, but let's wait for a Job For a Cowboy reunion and then discuss that further.
In more tragic comebacks, Cave In announced Final Transmission to be out this June. The record is their final album with bassist Caleb Scofield, who passed away in a motor vehicle accident in March 2018, and whose voice opens the album with “a voice memo of a song idea he sent to his bandmates the last time they saw each other.” Final Transmission is going to be a difficult listen, but I’m really glad Cave In is celebrating Scofield’s life and contributions to the world of music with this record.
One more release I’m really looking forward to is Cynic frontman and guitarist Paul Masvidal’s debut solo EP Mythical. The EP is the first of three EPs Masvidal intends to release this year as a part of his Mythical Human Vessel series, and the debut single “The Spaces” bodes well. It reminds me a little bit of Cynic’s chilled out 2010 Retraced EP, though with a little more bite and conviction. As for Cynic, a new record is expected this or next year, which will be their first with Trioscapes drummer Matt Lynch.
Last month I talked a little about an upcoming Black Sabbath tribute album, and this time I've got one that you can actually hear right now: Bow to Your Masters Volume 1: Thin Lizzy. The covers album comes from Glory or Death Records and features artists such as High on Fire, Mos Generator, Slow Season, Goya, Wizzerd, Gygax, Wo Fat, and Egypt. Given the source material and bands involved, you can safely assume it's worth a listen and purchase.
Finally, Bandcamp launched an on-demand vinyl service in April. The site is currently running a test with a handful of artists across the platform (including the new Mesarthim record Ghost Condensate) where fans can fund a vinyl pressing of any album they want. The way it works is fans have a set number of days to raise a set amount of money. If that's met, everyone gets whatever they ordered and their digital download, the appropriate parties get their cut, and then it all resets. Personally, I think it's a great idea, but I do have a few questions. Namely, how they source the audio, and how they're handling layout. Plus it'll be interesting to see how much artists get of the ultimate cut, since they're not investing anything in these pressings. Again, cool idea, but its execution remains to be seen.
Anyway, on to records that you need to hear (and maybe buy on Bandcamp vinyl eventually)!
-- Greg Kennelty
After The Burial
April 19, 2019
Evergreen is a true testament to the will of After the Burial. While Dig Deep had contributions by guitarist Justin Lowe who passed away in 2015, Evergreen is the first release entirely helmed by guitarist Trent Hafdahl. Hafdahl strips back After the Burial's technicality and slows down here and there, concentrating more on the construction of melodies and harmonies than djent-heavy rhythms that would make Tomas Haake grin. Evergreen is a far cry from the band's Sumerian-core days, though don’t expect Hafdahl and crew to cease making you feel like a sub-par musician – they’re still doing that exceedingly well.
The Illusory Self
April 19, 2019
The Illusory Self sounds like Tomas Lindberg threw some growling into his usual delivery and joined a death metal band that won’t stop blasting Vein, Knocked Loose, and Lotus Eater in the car on the way to practice. With Dead Gods, they are clearly influenced by death metal and some experimental hardcore, but they wrap all those influences up nicely into 17 minutes that fly by as you try to wrap your head around them. The album is a release from a band who clearly don't want a label slapped on them and shoved along their way. The Illusory Self is progressive, genuinely dark, pretty weird, and I'm excited to see where this band goes in the future.
April 12, 2019
Inter Arma marches without rest toward the sunset, throwing boulders at any and all who dare cross their path. On Sulphur English, Inter Arma’s focused trudge pummels the Earth into hardened soil-turned-concrete, while still employing acoustic elements to paint the waning light and breezes that accent these behemoths as they stride. Unlike previous efforts, Inter Arma seems physically closer than ever on Sulphur English. There’s no hiding behind reverb. There is no darkness to veil the relentless instrumentation. There is only Inter Arma, stomping toward you like time and tide, who will crush you under foot like a stray ant from the colony and never notice.
Bonus: check out our full review of Sulphur English.
Periphery IV: Hail Stan
April 5, 2019
Periphery accurately summarizes what they’ve been attempting for the past three records, and edits it all down to an impeccable hour’s worth of music. The songwriting on Periphery IV: Hail Stan flows so well that you’ll hardly notice nearly 17 minutes went by on the opener “Reptile,” or that Periphery just relentlessly punched your skull in between “Blood Eagle” or “CHVRCH BVRNER." Or that you just listened to “It’s Only Smiles” on repeat for the past hour and I’m not crying, you’re crying. The album was intensively written over the course of one tourless year and it shows. This is the band’s most balanced and natural-sounding representation of themselves thus far.
Waste of Space Orchestra
April 5, 2019
Waste of Space Orchestra, the band featuring Oranssi Pazuzu and Dark Buddha Rising, were originally commissioned to play Roadburn 2018. Presumably someone heard this psych-heavy, trance-inducing black metal trip through the nauseating hellscapes of alternate dimensions prior to the event and told them they needed to commit the project to tape. Waste of Space Orchestra follows the unsettling journeys of the Shaman, the Possessor, and the Seeker in their quest for power, truth, and corruption through eternally shifting landscapes until their grotesque demise. Syntheosis is a kaleidoscope of horrors that spirals ever-downward toward a horrendous end, though the falling never stops and the visions only become more unbearable.
Bonus: check out our full review of Syntheosis.