Thursday, April 4, 2024

Bandcamp Friday Picks [April 2024]

Bandcamp's new owners continue to roll out Bandcamp Fridays, waiving fees for the day - which means it's still a good way to support independent artists and labels. Here are some new and upcoming releases to inject into this unhinged April.

While many of their peers in the Bay Area scene have been getting more progressive and experimental with time, Necrot have stuck to their OSDM guns. Their third album Lifeless Birth is unapologetic in its love for early Nineties death metal, particularly the albums that came out of Florida and Stockholm.

As Witch Vomit grew from a duo to a quartet, their music has gone through a similar expansion. Funeral Sanctum eases back on the Bolt Thrower/Grave adulation of their earlier recordings, making good use of having two guitarists through increased harmonizing. I've been told any similarities to forgotten Swedish greats Eucharist are not coincidental.

The latest split EP from Boris Records is a heshfest featuring two up-and-coming bands. For Vancouver’s WORMWITCH, a fondness for blastbeats doesn't preclude a similar love for classic metal riffs. Not to be outdone, Atlanta's SADISTIC RITUAL create pure headbanging bliss with their strutting black/thrash.

With their sophomore album, Vancouver's Atræ Bilis are set to challenge perceptions of what can and can't be done in death metal. Aumicide features plenty of groove, Decapitated-esque start/stops, shoegazing sections, and ambient guitar amidst the blastbeats (of which there are still a fair amount).

If you've developed an allergic reaction to OSDM from the influx of punk kids who developed a sudden love for Autopsy and Hellhammer, the ADHD freneticism of Benighted may serve as therapy. Ekbom, the French band's tenth (!!!) album, is a bouillabaisse of modern death metal tropes: Pig squeals, technical riffs, slam parts, and ludicrous speed.

Expect nothing less than unfettered br00tality from Knoxville's Brodequin. Harbinger of Woe sets its tales of torture and cruelty to a soundtrack of blastbeats, ultra deep growls, and down-tuned riffs.

If (like me) you're mostly familiar with Hellenic black metal via the mid-paced grandiosity of Rotting Christ and Septic Flesh, one man band KVADRAT provides a dischordant counterpoint. The Horrible Dissonance of Oblivion is the project's full-length debut, and it channels the early work of Deathspell Omega and Anaal Nathrakh through feral, unvarnished speed.

Modern black metal meets technical death metal on the blast-centric first album by Italians Olamot. Path Of Divinity is a riff-fest that's as equally indebted to Emperor as it is to Morbid Angel, and the band's assuredness is palpable throughout.

KOSUKE HASHIDA may not be a household name, but he's been active in the Californian underground for over two decades (most notably as a touring member of Abysmal Dawn). Justifiable Homicide is the first album he's released under his own name, and it's an all-out deathgrind assault in the vein of Lock Up and Terrorizer.

Slug Gore are named for a slow animal, but play fast songs; presumably, that's the joke. Regardless, their full-length debut They Slime! They Ooze! They Kill! uses the Italian crew's hardcore-facing grind as a vehicle for their love of B-movies.

As amusing as their band name may be, ACxDC may one day regret handing music industry lawyers so many billable hours in a layup infringement case. Til that day comes, the muscular power violence on G.O.A.T. will continue to ignite pits with its mix of blastbeats and chugging riffs.

Resurrected in 2017 after nearly 20 years of inactivity, Iron Monkey wisely opt not to mess with the sound that made them sludge metal pioneers. Spleen & Goad is the second album by Iron Monkey V2.0, which sticks to the band's original vision of mixing the caustic, confrontational spirit of Black Flag with Black Sabbath's rumbling heft.

Lest Mastodon's Herman Melville adaptation be remembered as metal's last word on whaling mishaps, Hamferð have created their own sailor vs. whale concept album. With their fourth album Men Guðs hond er sterk, the band uses their melancholic funeral doom to tell the true story of a Faroese whaling expedition that met its demise in 1915.

As many subcategories as there are under the blanket term "doom metal", Detroit's Temple of the Fuzz Witch may have a hard time fitting in with the existing ones - their songs are too too upbeat to be sludge, while Noah Bruner's screams may be too grating for the heavy psych/true doom crowd. Still, each riff on their third album Apotheosis drops like boots of lead, making for an appreciably heavy and measured album.

Since their inception, the long running Greek act Acid Mammoth have remained as heavy and unhurried as the prehistoric beast they're named after. Tinged with Eastern melodies and topped with some Ozzy-ish vocals (strangely similar to Mitch Harris' singing on the Menace album), their fourth album Supersonic Megafauna Collision is the kind of doom that powered labels like Rise Above and Southern Lord in the early aughts.

A gathering of American stoner/doom metal vets (among them, Corrosion of Conformity's Karl Agee and Confessor's Graham Fry), LIE HEAVY is a throwback to the heavies of the Seventies. Expect plenty bluesy nods to Thin Lizzy, Rainbow, and (of course) Sabbath on the project's first outing, Burn To The Moon.

There's a lot for fans of heavy music to enjoy on South African composer Charles East's latest EP. Though the trilling vocals are an acquired taste, I Am Your Consequence features two piano-led dirges, each as downbeat and bleak as any Katatonia song.