By Keidra Chaney
Extreme metal’s never been a genre known for its appreciation of gentle beauty. But when critics and fans alike consistently describe an album’s listening experience as “ugly” and “torturous”–and it’s meant as a compliment–you can assume you’re in for something special. “From All Purity,” the fourth full-length release from Chicago quartet Indian, has been lauded by many as the band’s most impressive release to date, while at the same time being described as one of the more unpleasant and difficult musical offerings in recent memory. Not a small feat from a band that’s already built a reputation for their particularly snarling sound.
The six tracks on “From All Purity” radiate loathing and paranoia through a wall of feedback and power electronics punctuated by vocalist/guitarist Dylan O’Toole’s rabid screams. The pummeling opening song, “Rape,” immediately gives you an idea of the type of album you’re in for from the title alone. The eardrum-splitting penultimate track “Clarify,” is a four-minute-long rising cacophony of feedback that becomes nearly unbearable. The album is a challenging listen even for extreme music fans, but at only forty minutes long, “From All Purity” is also a lean and well-crafted musical statement.
“Unpleasant is how I describe it [too],” says guitarist Will Lindsay (formerly of Wolves in The Throne Room and Nachtmystium). Lindsay moved from the Pacific Northwest to join O’Toole, drummer Bill Bumgardner, and bassist Ron DeFries during the band’s last album, “Guiltless” (2011) and now splits songwriting and vocalist duties with O’Toole. Read the rest of this entry »
While Portugal’s Moonspell has had the usual shifts in style that are characteristic of a band with a lengthy history, in a black-metal-dominated contemporary scene that clings to “no clean vocals” like a religion, the band’s gothic influences are an acquired taste for certain fans. That being said, “Alpha Noir,” part of the band’s most recent two-part release, is their thrashiest in years. Read the rest of this entry »
Amon Amarth has been churning out face-melting, Nordic-lore-inspired epic metal for the past twenty years. Much like the delicious casserole at your grandma’s house, you’ll never see much change in the recipe, but the experience will be consistent and satisfying. The band’s latest opus, “Deceiver of the Gods,” finds the group in their proven form, with vocalist Johan Hegg’s usual demonic growl matched with the majestic, dual guitar riffage from guitarists Johan Söderberg and Olavi Mikkonen that would be right at home on a Maiden release. Read the rest of this entry »
Photo: Joe Martinez
Was 2013 the year of Oozing Wound? The first 200 copies of the metal band’s Thrill Jockey debut LP arrived to record stores wrapped in a blood-red silk-screened print, flames shooting out of a cratered eyeball, music contained therein thrash enough to earn the name “Retrash,” every bit as glorious as it sounds. If tracks “Autopsy Turvy” or “Sustained By Hatred (Rambo 4)” sound familiar, 2012’s “Vape and Pillage” tape may have turned up in your collection, a welcome addition to any fan of smart speed metal with a sense of humor. Hence the type of gross fun one encounters when Googling their drummer’s record label “Rotted Tooth,” a local mainstay for the best punk-metal oddities around. Read the rest of this entry »
Chicago’s doom-metal titans Bongripper have been laying low over the past few months writing music for an upcoming full-length release. That’s not to say they’ve been completely MIA: this spring they sent forth into the world the molasses-thick, hellishly low-tuned opus “Zero Talent” on a split with Liverpool’s Conan, and then joined the fellow doom peddlers on tour in the United Kingdom. In addition, the group has recently released a newly minted vinyl pressing of their accurately billed 2010 full-length “Satan Worshipping Doom.” Fans eager to hear what Bongripper’s got brewing now should definitely check out their upcoming show at Township, as the band recently promised on their Facebook page a set of unheard material from the new release. Read the rest of this entry »
Much to the chagrin of Ozzy, the rest of the Osbournes have spent the last ten years making more appearances on E! News than his own name has managed to grace the Billboard charts. Perhaps this is the real source of his vocal venom on Black Sabbath’s appropriately titled “13,” the closest fans have come to hearing the original Sabbath lineup in decades. The sole missing component, drummer Bill Ward, has been replaced by Brad Wilk of Audioslave/Rage Against The Machine fame, who does an admirable job keeping afloat the deep grooves and ruthless riffs of guitarist Tony Iommi and bassist Geezer Butler. The pair intertwine amicably, as though they hadn’t spent the last four decades in and out of each other’s favor, and since Butler is also the principal lyricist on this record, Ozzy’s curdling croon is in perfect harmony with the group. Unfazed by years of substance abuse, up-and-down fame, and the disintegration of the record business, this, ladies and gentleman, is heavy metal. Read the rest of this entry »
There’ve gotta be as many detractors of Savannah’s Baroness as there are adoring fans. The metal-cum-proggy band’s undertaken such a dramatic shift in focus, there’s no way it holds the attention of a unified fan base, let alone draw and maintain new listeners. But Baroness’ penchant for incorporating a grocery list of musical influences is what makes it an intriguing act to follow, despite the almost pervasive shortcomings of its latest album, 2012’s “Yellow & Green.” Opening with a morose, slowly-paced guitar track makes an affiliation with metal a difficult relation to fathom. It’s still there, though. The introductory effort readies listeners for the few short interspersed tracks littering the double-disc—all of it sounding like music conceived by dudes at their parents’ homes during the late 1990s and executed a bit later. It is. What it all comes down to, even while considering the band’s sonic growth and advancing songcraft, is that the endeavor could be a new wave band doing nineties Metallica covers. Read the rest of this entry »
Photo: John Mourlas
By Dave Cantor
Black-clad freaks, gather. We’re here today eulogizing Oyarsa and its untimely demise. The metal duo still had so much to explore. But Noah Coleman has seen fit to take his guitar to the unknown wilds of northern Idaho, where the only thing outnumbering trees and mountains are militia men, dedicated to wresting freedom from some invisible tyrant—some secret Muslim.
The death rattle, its fits and shivers, has made seeking perspective on Oyarsa’s final Chicago performance from musicians sharing the bill a healing thing—one that can’t replace what Chicago’s losing, but can serve as a coda to the band’s truncated career. Read the rest of this entry »
So late in the year, the frequency of quality festivals tapers off. But setting off that autumnal awe is the tenth installment of Adventures in Modern Music, a joint venture between the Empty Bottle and The Wire, to bring together a sizable selection of out-sounds from different genres. One of the better-known acts to be fitted into this sprawling look at contemporary music is R. Stevie Moore, who’s been given credit for presaging the slew of home-recording projects clogging up the internet nowadays. His work’s something like Daniel Johnston’s in that there’re clearly some ghosts being worked out in each affectional composition. He performs Wednesday. To highlight Adventures’ desire to strip genre of meaning, Rob Mazurek’s São Paulo Underground takes a spot on stage during the same evening, raving up experiments that use jazzy frameworks birthed from south of the equator. Read the rest of this entry »
That people would be troubled enough by lyrics to restrict the speech of a cartoonish metal band is really what’s offensive. Cannibal Corpse has the dubious distinction of having its music banned in several countries. Of course, getting to appear in an Ace Ventura movie should mitigate any of those potential financial loses. That’s even cooler than Primus showing up in “Bill and Ted’s Bogus Journey.” With Chris Barnes helming the ensemble, Cannibal Corpse became one of the most visible metal acts in the country, a sort of more disturbed Slayer without any true commercial potential. Read the rest of this entry »