Many moons ago Relapse Records introduced me to noise. That’s probably a bit hard to imagine for younger folks that only know the label as the beard metal stronghold it is today, but trust me, way back when Relapse was releasing some seriously bonkers shit. You see, Relapse used to have a sub-label called Release Entertainment and it was to noise, dark ambient and experimental music what Relapse once was to death metal, grindcore and the like.
Of all the legendary bands making comebacks in the last few years, Mortuary Drape is surely among the most welcome around here at THKD. It’s been ten long years since the Italians last released a full length, and given the fact that there’s not another black metal band on Earth (or beyond) that sounds quite like them, that’s far, far too long. Of course, some misgivings are understandable considering the band that now surrounds drummer/vocalist/mainman Wildness Perversion consists of more recent initiates into the Mortuary Drape uh, fold, but rest assured fiends, Herr Perversion’s still got it on Spiritual Independence; in fact he’s still got it to the point that the album stacks up damn impressively next to stone classics such as All the Witches Dance and Tolling 13 Knell.
No matter what you think of Machine Head vocalist/guitarist/mastermind Robb Flynn, it can’t be denied that he’s one ambitious motherfucker. Following his band’s unfortunate descent into the deepest, darkest gutters of the nu metal ghetto, Flynn has re-molded Machine Head back into a post-thrash/groove metal juggernaut, known for penning epic-length tunes that cram more riffs and moods into eight to ten minutes of music than most bands of similar ilk bring to the table over the course of entire albums. For those familiar with Flynn’s tendency to throw everything and the kitchen sink into his records, it should come as no surprise then that Bloodstone & Diamonds, Machine Head’s eighth full length release, is their most sprawling and wildly varied work to date.
Few bands have captured my attention in 2014 quite like Full of Hell. I had the pleasure of witnessing the quartet’s devastating, show-stealing live set back in August and was blown away by their combination of relentless intensity and determination to push the envelope of grind/hardcore deep into the realms of harsh noise. It was like someone had thrown Jane Doe-era Converge in a blender with Release Records-era Merzbow and set that motherfucker to liquefy; easily one of the most simultaneously challenging and exhilarating live experiences ever. Needless to say, when I caught wind of the announcement that they had signed a deal with Profound Lore and their debut for the venerable label would be a collaboration with the aforementioned Japanese God of Noise himself, anticipation was through the roof and then some.
While Josh is away on a boring business trip, I have decided to hack into his account and give his readers something from his better half, me.
Confession time: I had no idea who Scott Walker was prior to the announcement of Soused. As those of you who read this here blog on the regular might have guessed, I’m not particularly hip to the avant-garde scene. Furthermore, I was a tad apprehensive about another Sunn O))) collab being released this year after experiencing Terrestrials, their underwhelming team-up with Norway’s terminally overrated Ulver. If you’re in the same boat as I, fear not; one doesn’t have to be familiar with Herr Walker’s work to enjoy Soused, and it blows Terrestrials out of the goddamn water.
Just when I think I have Gore House Productions all figured out, they start throwing wicked curve balls late in the year. First came the oddly progressive debut full length from Swine Overlord, then the “party slam” of Party Cannon; now we’ve got Canada’s Cuff, who’ve unleashed what might be the be-all-end-all of goregrind whatthefuckery in the form of Transient Suffering Through the Ergosphere. I don’t typically expect a goregrind album to make me stop and ask myself what the hell I just listened to when its run-time is up, but that’s exactly what’s happened with my first exposure to Cuff.