Killgasm – A Stab in the Heart of Christ (Moribund, 2014)

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I’ve always believed that there’s something to be said for staunch traditionalism, especially when it comes to black metal.  I often tire of the progressive tendencies the genre has picked up in recent years, especially here in the US; sometimes I just want to scream “cut the shit and get to the ear-raping already!”  Fortunately, Sacramento, CA’s Killgasm exists, and their second album A Stab in the Heart of Christ is the ultra-corrosive antidote to the overly pretentious, meandering mess that much of the current crop of USBM has degenerated into.

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Sons of Famine – Alcohol and Razor Blades (self-released, 2013)

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Just as I’ve started to settle into life on the West Coast, along comes a band from the Midwest to remind me that my home region can kick serious ass when it wants to.  That band is Chicago’s Sons of Famine, who’s stock-in-trade is pummeling oldschool death metal with a blackened edge.  Their debut demo, Alcohol and Razor Blades, is a musical battering ram of ungodly filth and fury that beats and bludgeons the living hell out of just about every other demo I’ve heard of late.

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My first show in Sacramento.

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When my wife and I first started talking seriously about moving to Sacramento, one of the main draws for me was the opportunity to take in a lot of live music.  Sure, metal shows do happen back home in Des Moines, but they are few and far between, seemingly getting more and more scarce by the year, so in this respect moving to the West Coast was a total no-brainer.  I started looking for shows well in advance of coming out here, and the one that immediately caught my eye was the sole Northern California date on Finnish black metallers Sargeist’s current US tour, w/ support coming from Killgasm, Pandiscordian Necrogenesis and Valdur.

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Sleeping Peonies – Opal (self released, 2014)

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At thirty-five, I don’t often have epiphanic moments while listening to music anymore. It’s typically more along the lines of “been there, done that, no alarms, no surprises, etc, etc.”  But when I stumbled upon the UK’s Sleeping Peonies during one of my increasingly frequent trawls through the depths of Bandcamp, it happened.  This was music I had been waiting my whole life to hear.  I realize this is already sounding like hyperbole to the nth degree, but the band’s mix of black metal, shoegaze, synthpop and noise really is as close to perfect as these ears have heard in what seems like forever.

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Immaculate Poison: A Profound Lore roundup.

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Trying to keep up with Profound Lore Records is no easy task.  Every year it seems that the label bombards us with more and more quality releases, and being a one man show here at THKD, I often find myself stretched incredibly thin as far as my ability to listen to and write about as many new albums as possible is concerned; some stuff inevitably slips through the cracks.  In an effort to prevent that from happening, I’ve rounded up some of my favorite recent PL releases in one place.  What follows is a brief rundown of each one.

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THKD T-SHIRT SALE!

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Hey friends, now that we’re all moved it’s time to clean out the closet. I have a ton of band shirts that I never wear, sizes M, L and XL, most are in excellent condition (unless otherwise noted) and have barely been worn, some probably never worn at all. Below is the master list, all shirts are $8.00 each PPD unless otherwise noted and if you don’t like the price make me an offer! Feel free to spread the word and help a brother out. I will be happy to supply photos of any shirts you might be interested in. Message me here or e-mail me at jjhaun@gmail.com (serious inquiries only). US customers only please.

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Barghest – The Virtuous Purge (Gilead Media, 2014)

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Baton Rouge’s Barghest have been spreading their swampy, miasmic brand of black metal since 2006, but I didn’t come across them until their 2012 split LP with False.  It was definitely a case of better late than never, because the band managed to impress the heck out of me with a pair of songs that were as bulldozing as they were atmospheric, taking the doomy heft of classic death metal bands such as Autopsy and Incantation and applying it to a raw black metal framework.  We haven’t heard much from the band since that crushing release, but as it turns out they’ve had their hands full with secretly building a monster in the form of The Virtuous Purge, their second album for the mighty Gilead Media.

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Bog of the Infidel – To Corrupt Your Sons and Lust After Your Daughters (Eternal Death, 2013)

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I typically try to give priority to the bands and labels that still go to the trouble of sending me physical promos, but even with the CD sitting here on my desk, I somehow managed to sleep on Bog of the Infidel.  How does that happen?  What can I say, I totally fucked up and the EP got lost in the stacks of CDs and other ephemera that clutters my sorry excuse for a work space.  Fortunately, I recently managed to unearth To Corrupt Your Sons and Lust After Your Daughters, and I’m glad I did because it’s an entertaining slab of USBM that strikes a deft balance between grit and melody.

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Cassette Label Summit 2014

 

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I’ve spent a lot of time covering cassettes here at THKD, not just because I dig them, but because I truly believe that some of the best and most interesting heavy music today is being released by smaller labels who have embraced the format as an affordable way to bring the underground to the masses.  As such, my relationship with several of these labels has become far more personal than just receiving an e-mail blast from some faceless PR company; their owners have proven to be incredibly personable and genuinely appreciative of the coverage I’ve given them.  But, as deeply as I’ve delved into cassettes and as much as I’ve chatted with those who are in the business of releasing them, I still had many unanswered questions.  What motivates them?  What brought them to the format?  At the end of the day, does the format even matter?  In an attempt to answer these and many other questions, I gathered the gents behind the labels for a virtual round table discussion of all things tape-related.

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Alraune – s/t (Graceless Recordings, 2014)

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Featuring members of Yautja and Vesicus among their ranks, Nashville, Tennessee’s Alraune plays a noisy brand of black metal that’s as emotional and atmospheric as it is feral and violent.  The band are preparing to drop their debut full length next month via Profound Lore Records, but in the meantime they’ve unleashed this EP via Graceless Recordings as a harbinger of what’s to come.  It’s a two track descent into the depths of USBM’s grotesque underbelly.

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