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.
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.
As I sat at my laptop thinking about what to write about while unthawing THKD from its brief cryogenic slumber, it seemed only appropriate that my first post from California be used to shine the spotlight on a California-based label. I’ve already covered a few releases from Los Angeles’ Gore House Productions, but the label has been cranking out such an impressive slew of quality slam, brutal death metal and goregrind albums that I wanted to do something that would serve as a good overview of what this great label has to offer. What follows is a trio of GHP’s recent releases not already covered in previous posts, not for the the faint of heart, not for the easily offended and most definitely NSFW.
It’s weird to think there’s a whole generation of kids who only know Ice-T as “that dude from Law & Order” and have never even heard the man rap, let alone heard his metal band Body Count. In spite of being young at the time, I remember when the band released their self-titled debut and the controversy surrounding the song “Cop Killer,” which was eventually deleted from all subsequent pressings of the album. I was only twelve when the album came out and didn’t hear it until a few years later, but it was evident that lost amidst the controversy was the fact that Body Count was an incendiary album of hardcore punk-fueled heavy metal that should’ve garnered acclaim for making mainstream heavy metal dangerous again thanks to Ice’s willingness to express himself in whatever way he saw fit without giving a fuck about who he might offend, rather than being a target for uptight and out-of-touch folks who believe the average American isn’t intelligent enough to distinguish fantasy from reality.
As those of you that have the misfortune of following me on social media may know, Mrs. THKD and I have packed up the fortified bunker and are moving halfway across the country from the bowels of the Midwest to Sacramento, California. The truck is loaded, the house is sold and we’ll be leaving in less than a week. I’m still waiting for it to feel real. Right now it feels like a dream. I tried so hard to get the hell out of this state after college, and all I got in return were some nice rejection letters to show for it.
Southern California-based label Gore House Productions recently sent me several of their releases for review, and one of the immediate standouts was Ready for Gore, the debut album from Oxnard’s Colpolscopy. The band employs a unique dual-vocalist approach that when coupled with their leveling low-end-fueled brand of brutal death metal creates a singular, instantly-recognizable approach to the genre. A full review of the album is coming soon to THKD, but in the meantime I couldn’t resist the opportunity to interrogate the quintet in order to get the full skinny on their beginnings, their motivations, and their thoughts on brutal death metal’s imagery and subject matter.
In the most recent edition of my Oodles of Brutals series, I proclaimed that Stages of Decomposition’s Piles of Rotting Flesh just might be the slam album to beat in 2014 based on the two teaser tracks that were available at the time. I’ve now had the pleasure of hearing the entire album thanks to our friends at Gore House Productions, and as a result I can officially say that my prediction was correct (how often does that happen?); the Los Angeles-based power trio have one hell of a debut full length on their hands. This ain’t no hyperbole kidz, this is a genuine example of a young band kicking open the gates and setting the bar.
When it comes to metal shows in Des Moines, it’s either feast or famine. The month of April is proving to be quite the feast, boasting tour stops from genre luminaries such as Broken Hope, The Lurking Corpses and Embryonic Devourment. But the show I’ve probably been looking forward to the most was a three-headed beast; a headlining set from legendary German thrashers Destruction, supported by Brazilian brutal death metal trio Krisiun and SoCal up-and-comers Exmortus.
What’s in a name? I’ll tell you what’s in a name, or rather, what’s not in a name in the case of California doom mongers Weightlessness. After listening extensively to the band’s Of Lachrymose Grief, I’ve decided that their chosen moniker couldn’t possibly be any more of a misnomer. You see, “weightlessness” indicates an absence of weight, but this debut EP wields enough down-tuned heft to sink their entire home state into the sea and then some.
In recent months, I have come to know Los Angeles, California’s Lord Time as one of the most challenging and idiosyncratic artists in American black metal. Sole member Andorkappen has crafted a distinctive, enthralling vision that’s thoroughly black, yet at times is only tethered to black metal by the thinnest of threads, incorporating elements of drone, ambient and noise to create dense musical tapestries that are nightmarish, surreal and at times abstract to the point where music transforms into pure, free-form sound exploration. Lord Time’s second album, Black Hole at the End of the Tunnel (henceforth referred to as BHATEOTT) was originally issued on cassette back in 2011, but now sees a vinyl re-release via Andorkappen’s own Universal Consciousness label.