2018 is proving that each month has had plenty of cool metal and hardcore punk or extreme experimental music to peruse, thus making a choice of just 4 albums rather difficult. Heck, we got a Burn The Priest covers album featuring Melvins, Bad Brains and Cro-Mags covers this month, for pit’s sake. That is ridiculously rad. I decided to focus on original music releases though for my top choices for May. Remember that this is just what I was grooving along with the most. It doesn’t mean I think the new Dimmu sucks or whatever you want to project.
As I turned friggin’ 40 years old in April, I am more and more enticed to talk more about what music I like in my writing than what I don’t. Bands I am not crazy about get algorithm benefit from being discussed that helps them anyway, so I would rather try and put the word out and focus on what I think is actually good in metal rather than shred apart someone else’s gateway band. Unless a group has done something truly horrible and never changed, I am loathe to spend too much time on them when I could be plugging the new Baptists record, for instance.
I think a lot of the time we are so precious about having a better grasp of what music is “supposed to” be that we really wreck the potential for growth. The mainstream to me is like the Democratic party. I would rather participate and improve it with discourse than throw it out entirely and have a Trump style disaster (to use a metaphor) where all mainstream music is divorced from talent because no one stuck up for any real artists once they got famous. It is still a massive tragedy to me that Chester from Linkin Park had to deal with so much initial hate for making the poppier One More Light album that it maybe led to him choosing death. We really need to be more open minded, y’all. Everything has a place in the great wheel, yo.
That said, my list starts out with a lot of melody and ends up with a lot of Savagery, so you just gotta deal with it.
- Ok, my number one album this month was by far Midnattsol‘s The Aftermath. If you have been paying attention to less important things instead of the most glorious news in melodic symphonic epic folk metal, Midnattsol added a second vocalist, the incomparable Liv Kristine, for their fourth album The Aftermath. To hear a full and focused record from the always powerful songwriters that features both Liv and well-entrenched in the band/singer (and Liv’s sister) Carmen Elise is a dream come true for fans. It has also made for some of the most vivid and stirring music from the Europeans yet. I simply cannot get into the idea of Leaves’ Eyes without Liv in the band. It seems like she got hosed hard after putting that band on the metal map. I am super stoked to be able to support her in another full time group instead! “Vem kan segla” is the go to track for moving folk, while “The Purple Sky” may be the most anthemic song from the band to date. And all the dudes also do a fantastic job! Kudos to all.
2. Baptists – Beacon Of Faith is another cartoon eye popping wowzer of a hardcore album from the Vancouver based rockers and mighty Southern Lord. This band knocks everyone out of the way every time they put out something and are just unfuckwithable. Bushcraft, Bloodmines and now Beacon? Three near perfect bombastic blasts in a row. God damn. By far one of the most exciting bands the scene has as far as sheer energy and cool compositions paired to batshit good drumming and soul singed dissonant distorted chaos.
3. Wayfarer‘s World’s Blood is a record I have been breathless with anticipation for. The Denver band are carving their own niche with breathtaking vistas of extreme and beautiful sounds. As the press release notes, they are ,”Drawing influence as much from the dusty, dark Americana of the “Denver sound” and the scores of epic Westerns as they do the fury and melody of black metal.”
Listening to this album makes me think of a cowboy with shredded skin and a last drop of water tirelessly riding a skeletal horse through barely passable terrain. Granted, that is also kind of the cover art so maybe I am just a shitty writer after all. Regardless, this is the band’s best album to date and will tractor beam your attention away from whatever is chewing at you and pull you into a new world as surely as any episode of Westworld.
4. Skinless – Savagery is very good, emphasizing mood over sheer brawn but still totally clobbering. It is thus fitting the death metal band cover one of the best ever Crowbar songs “High Rate Extinction” on this bad boy, albeit with much more extreme vocals than the original. Recorded by Tom Case at Doomsday Bunker Studio in New York and by Dave Otero (Primitive Man, Cattle Decapitation, Cephalic Carnage) at Flatline Audio in Colorado, Savagery sounds dirty, thick and pulverizing. Those seeking a pure essence death metal lesson who get past the haunted intro of my favorite track “Skull Session” are in for majorly increased heart rates when the adrenaline of the clobbering mid tempo smoosh the human bugs stomp of the verses outdoes the recent Six feet Under in the girth riff department. This record delivers a lot of power and is a cool contrast to some of their more unrelenting faster efforts (though there is also plenty of thrashier faster death feast moments or it wouldn’t wholly be Skinless) .