Thursday, November 1, 2012

Bandcamp Picks: Troglodyte, Sea Bastard, Embers, Deathwish

When Troglodyte released their debut Welcome to Boggy Creek a year ago, I dismissed it, finding their strange Bigfoot fixation a turn off; but they sure made a monkey out of me, because their new album Don't Go in the Woods is amazing. The huge muddy footprints of Origin are all over Troglodyte, who ape their heroes to a remarkable degree (apparently, the appreciation is mutual). Maybe this is the missing link between Origin's bludgeoning debut and their hookier recent work. A dark horse contender for death metal album of the year (sorry, couldn't think of a primate metaphor). With the sparse number of quality Sasquatch movies out there, I have high hopes that Troglodyte will next do a Harry and the Hendersons concept album. Okay, got all that monkey business out of my system.

... Dr. Zaius.

Readers of this blog know how much I love apocalyptic droners Sabazius, who I wrote a fawning and tangent-riddled blog post about. Sea Bastard, featuring Sabazius' Steve Patton on bass, have just released their first self-titled album, and it's a beast. Here are five slabs of the best leaden doom that Britain has to offer, with the caustic screams of a man who sounds like he's drowning. Running over an hour, yet never feeling like an endurance test, this might be the best doom album I've heard this year. Available as a "pay what you want" download, there's no excuse to not give this Bastard some love.

On a recent trip to Bangkok, I found I couldn't go very long without listening to the Shadows album by the Bay Area's blackened Embers. Formed after the splintering of Lesser of Two (contemporaries and tour mates of His Hero is Gone), their crust punk roots are all but invisible; with both a keyboardist and a viola player, you could be fooled into thinking they were part of the recent rash of British folk-influenced black metal (Winterfylleth, Wodensthrone). Add to that the shoegaze inflected blast of Deafheaven, and you've got a smart, emotive black metal album - one that will have you returning for multiple listens. Their Bandcamp page offers all their releases as "pay what you want" downloads, as well as a cool interview with His Hero is Gone from 1998.

Dreams of Fortune, the second EP from Rhode Island's Deathwish, is great catchy death metal a la Abysmal Dawn, with shades of Nihility-era Decapitated, and, it has to be said, heaps of Lamb of God at their audience-baiting best. Their populist approach will probably turn off tech-heads and djent haters alike, but this is the kind of thing I love to work out to. Something for the circle pit tough guy in all of us.

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