Gigs are finally back on the way for us, but we’re still blasting tunes at home in between, so here are some of our picks for the month along with some words on why we like them so much.
Joe – Vocals
The Black Dahlia Murder – On Stirring Seas Of Salted Blood
Shocked and saddened by the passing of Trevor Strand who seemed an affable and down to earth chap writing songs about monsters. It only seems right to pay tribute with my favourite TBDM track. Rest in power.
Benediction – Scriptures In Scarlet
This is bouncy old school death metal perfection with sublime vocals from everyone’s favourite time lord Mr David Ingram. It’s been a regular on my mp3 player for the last few weeks.
Heriot – Coalescence
This band appears to have a rocket attached to them right now and it’s easy to see why. Atmosphere mixed with claustrophobic dissonant chonk makes for a well layered and tasty cake.
Cult of Luna – The Watchtower
The first track I ever heard from Cult of Luna and I found it genuinely terrifying in its slow, mechanical preamble into the blistering chorus. A big influence.
The Great Old Ones – When The Stars Align
HP Lovecraft and black metal? Who would have thought that would work, eh?
Richard – Bass
Oranssi Pazuzu – Tyhjä Temppeli
Have you ever experienced the thing where you go to see a band you love, they’re great, and you come home with a song of theirs in your head, but it’s one that they didn’t even play? Weirdly, it happens to me a lot, and it’s what’s happening here. Oranssi Pazuzu were fantastic when I saw them in Manchester recently, playing stuff just from their most recent two albums, but probably thanks to my listening homework ahead of the gig I’ve had the winding bass riff and swirling guitars of this track from their 2013 album Valonielu (which might actually be my favourite of theirs) in my head a lot.
Meshuggah – Broken Cog
It is frankly shocking that a bunch of guys who are mostly in their 50s are still able to sound this crushingly heavy, dizzyingly complex and just downright alien on their 10th album, losing absolutely none of their vitality or extremity with time. I think this unseats ‘Stengah’ as my favourite Meshuggah album opener, and was a stunning beginning to their live show recently that quite literally made people jump with its sudden start. I just love how you have no idea where the beat is for the first few rotations of the riff, and then when the snare drum finally does come in, you realise they’ve picked the most satisfying possible option.
Charli XCX – 1999
Rounding out a trio of songs from great gigs I’ve been to in the last month, this track is my biggest current earworm and most repeated listen, despite me having never knowingly heard it until the gig, as my Charli knowledge only extended to the last two albums at that point. Nick got COVID at the Charli XCX show, though, as did his partner and also mine. However, I staved it off for a full week and even then only tested positive for one day with no symptoms, so what I’m saying is that I think I have superpowers and I’m shoehorning that in here so that everyone knows it.
Tuskar – Matriarch
Tuskar have really leveled up with their debut album, honing everything that made their riff-heavy sludge compelling in the first place whilst also morphing into a properly dynamic, impactful post metal band. Massive sound, humungous tone and sledgehammer riffs galore – what’s not to love?
DevilDriver – End of the Line
This is a pure nostalgia hit for me. I recently revisited the first two DD albums for no particular reason, finding the self-titled debut to stand up very poorly to the test of time, but being pleasantly surprised at how much The Fury of Our Maker’s Hand still slaps. I dropped off from following the band probably less than halfway through their career to date, and never seek out this kind of stuff now, but this is just a groove metal banger.
Chris – Guitar
Rotting Christ – Holy Mountain
I always enjoy listening to Rotting Christ – they have just the right balance of melody and aggression. This appears to be a track from a forthcoming new album; it’s skewing a bit more towards a kind of anthemic rock than their previous stuff, but it still slaps.
Kirk Hammett – High Plains Drifter
Years of Metallica using ‘The Ecstasy of Gold’ by Ennio Morricone for their live sets has clearly influenced Kirk Hammett, as this track (from his new solo album/EP) really fits into that atmospheric Wild West/Morricone vibe. Very enjoyable, and not what I was necessarily expecting from a guy whose specific style has never been my favourite!
Desolate Shrine – The Dying World
This one was a recommendation from our erstwhile frontman Joe – big, sludgy, apocalyptic riffs with all-enveloping production were just what I needed occasionally last month. There’s nothing particularly new or revolutionary about this, it’s just BEEFY GOODNESS.
Sojourner – Winter’s Slumber
Sojourner sit at the same table as bands like Summoning for me – everything they release evokes mist-shrouded natural landscapes dotted with ancient castles, myth and magic. This, the opening track off 2018’s The Shadowed Road is still my favourite track of theirs, and immediately transports me away from the mundanity of everyday existence.
Chthonic – Supreme Pain For The Tyrant
I’ve been a huge Chthonic fan for years – I picked up Seediq Bale on CD back in 2006 when it came out and was immediately taken with it, and they’ve gone from strength to strength. May saw me struck with the desire to listen through their discography and while there are bangers on basically every release they’ve done, the chorus on this one is particularly ferocious. They’re at their best when they weave political sentiment into their music, given the… ‘unique’ situation that Taiwan is in (a subject beyond the scope of this blog), and vocalist/elected politician Freddy Lim doesn’t hold back!
Nick – Guitar
MiNOA – Glitter
COVID giveth, COVID taketh away. Sadly the gods of Corona recently grounded us 1 day prior to flying to Stockholm to see Myrkur, a most heartbreaking turn of events, especially having managed to avoid catching COVID for the past 3 years whilst working in a hospital. Thankfully the dreaded rona departed a week later, just in time for me to catch Hang Massive for the first time after following them for many years. Extremely pleasant vibes also came from the support for the evening, Swedish producer/singer MiNOA’s energetic mix of techno, new age and apparently everything in between was an excellent surprise, and needless to say her beats have been on rotation in Gosling Manor for the past week.
Aurora – Queendom
The only queendom I celebrated this bank holiday weekend is a continuation of the Nordic flavour of my monthly picks. I would have picked a track from her sublime new album but this track is a blinder and I couldn’t resist the opportunity to make a little dig at the fucking shambles that is the UK and the rampant jingoistic bollocks that our media constantly peddles about the royal family, an institution built on the back of slavery and genocide that has no place in a modern and….(fades into a blur of continued anti-royalist sentiment).
Ashen – Crying City
Recently watched the acclaimed new Taiwanese horror film called The Sadness not really knowing what to expect beyond a well-done zombie film. What it actually turned out to be was a striking social commentary-cum-vehicle for a practical effects studio to use the 50 metric tons of blood and gore they had lying about. This track features at the end and is a pretty accurate sonic summary of an insane movie.
Polaris – Pray For Rain
Recently acquired my first 7-string guitar and my modern metalcore intake has risen exponentially as a result.
Doves – Black and White Town
A song I’ve always associated with an earlier period of my life (because it was on FIFA). Despite not knowing what the song was about, it has always brought me into a state of melancholy and ennui, perhaps the time period it reminded me of was one marked by general indifference and awareness of how dull life can be sometimes, or maybe it’s simply very good at communicating the feeling of being bored and hoping that life has more to it than this. A couple of quick caveats: it’s a brilliant song and my childhood wasn’t actually as depressing as perhaps this paragraph suggested.