Thursday, June 5, 2014

Bandcamp Picks: Godflesh, Misery Index, Agalloch, Emptiness

The first Godflesh release in over a decade, Decline and Fall could easily be out-takes from their classic period: Menacing opener "Ringer" and the title track are straight out of the Merciless/Pure playbook, while the hip hop-inflected "Dogbite" and bass-driven "Playing With Fire" could have been from Songs of Love and Hate. Throughout it all, B.C. Greene treats his bass like the bitch has been holding out on him and Justin Broadrick alternates between a forlorn moan and a bark that we haven't heard from him in years. This new Godflesh is old Godflesh through and through, up to and including the two dub remixes included at the end. As an appetizer for the upcoming full-length, this can do no wrong... but consider me ready for the main course. [$7]

In bad news for motorists throughout my neighbourhood, the mighty Misery Index are back to fuel my nightly runs with The Killing Gods. This is the sound of an elite deathgrind squad firing on all cylinders; lest we forget, half their line-up spent years in Dying Fetus before the first Misery Index EP was issued a over decade ago. Swaggering and bloodthirsty, this isn't just one of the best albums of the band's career, but a shoo-in for end of year lists everywhere. My jogging shoes should be filled with blood by then. [$9.99]

After the massive amount of NPR love in 2011 threatened to associate them more with tote bags than patch jackets, it would appear Agalloch were aiming to hit the reset button with their latest album, The Serpent & The Sphere. Toning down the more Pitchfork-friendly elements and settling into mid-paced blackened doom, the songs herein all have a certain classic (if safe) sound. If hearing the band return to the style of The Mantle comes as a relief to long time fans, there will be a few (myself included) who miss the spacey brilliance of their recent Spirit. [$8.99]

Like the bands who splintered off of the Norwegian scene in the late 90's (Arcturus, Dodheimsgard, and Beyond Dawn among them), Belgians Emptiness are using black metal as a jumping off point to pursue their own strange digressions. With a line up that includes members of Enthroned (who've been standard bearers for take-no-prisoners black metal since the dawn of the second wave), Nothing But The Whole abandons the solid if unremarkable blackened death of Emptiness' earlier albums for a unique take on the genre that includes proggy weirdness and bleak industrial atmospheres. [$7]