I’m both gladdened and saddened that bands use March to release so much music. On one hand, it gives me enough time to get over my hangover from January (believe me), get in the groove of the new year and nail down my schedule for listening/writing. But on the other hand, I get absolutely crushed by the amount of music that I missed from the start of the year to now, so I have to exercise some very harsh discretion with listening/writing. Either way, March is a great time of year; start of Autumn (screw you north of the hemisphere) and by association, the start of that time of year where you walk around outside listening to music as the wind whips angrily at the trees and the clouds roil overhead almost indefinitely. Here some stuff you can listen to while doing that.
Ancst – Ghosts of the Timeless Void
Released: 2nd March 2018
Ancst are one of those bands that I really love for their immediacy. There’s no fucking around – when their albums start you’ll sure as shit know it. A self stylised blackened crust band, Ancst fuse the two best things about the genres; namely the old style black metal melody, reaching even into melodeath territory, with the emotional rawness and breakneck speed of crust. Speaking of melody, there is a lot going in that department. Underneath the throat shredding vocals and the bone splintering drums, the strings are all doing something quite beautiful. Unless it’s ‘Revelation of Deformity’, then they’re just ripping a hole in space time.
Everything about Ghosts of the Timeless Void is quite remarkable, from the way the songs progress through the album, to the production of the drums, and even reaching to the artwork. ‘Of Gallows and Pyres’ is one of the catchiest songs on the entire album and it’s purely because the drums are mixed so high. The sheer ferocity of the drummer is astounding and adds so much depth to the album that I can’t help equate it to Heart of a Coward mixed with the strings of At the Gates (going to cop flak for that comparison I know).
Eryn Non Dae – Abandon of the Self
Released: 9th March 2018
Did anyone ever listen to Hypno5e? Because Eryn Non Dae thematically reminds me of that band. They have such an eclectic mix of sounds crammed into not just an album, but every single song, that Abandon of the Self becomes a pilgrimage to listen to. First track ‘Astral’ includes unique, throaty screams with these almost Devin Townsend-esque cleans over the top of a bass so slow and thick you’d think it was bubbling out of a boiling cauldron of tar. And that’s just the first damn song, without mentioning what the other guys are doing.
Abandon of the Self is a vastly ambitious creation that needs a lot of attention and open mindedness to appreciate. Calling it just metal would be weird, and calling it just progressive would be an understatement. It loosely sounds like what The Contortionist may have sounded like if they weren’t so couched in metalcore and djent (and were actually good). So I implore you to give Abandon of the Self a listen all the way through once, then dwell on it, because I can’t rightly find the words to accurately describe it.
Slugdge – Esoteric Malacology
Released: 2nd March 2018
If death metal is more your thing then look no further (seriously, this band will satisfy all your needs) than Slugdge. Not a group to waste time, Esoteric Malacology begins with an explosion of classic sounding death metal that quickly veers into discordant Alkaloid territory before flipping into Anaal Nathrakh opera vocals and back to enigmatic levels of instrumentation. ‘Crop Killer’ has a similar schizophrenic personality, beginning with an acid (the drug, not the corrosive chemical) dripping tremolo section that continues to expand like a mind bending kaleidoscope of physical sound before ending in a disquieting wall of electronic quietus.
Slugdge have found some magical fucking way to fuse all these decidedly non cohesive parts into an addictive, slimy whole. Trying to wrap your mind around the technicality and skill of the album would be like attempting to dig your fingers into a wall of obsidian. Their ability to fuse Ulcerate like discordance Necrophagist levels of instrumental proficiency is quixotic to say the least. I have a strong feeling this will burrow its way into my top ten, if not top five for this year.