New This Week: School of Seven Bells, Trust & More

J. Edward Keyes

By J. Edward Keyes

on 02.28.12 in Spotlights

Man. There are just so many new records today. Also, I think about halfway through this, I developed carpal tunnel syndrome.

Trust, TRST: Behind the year’s worst album cover is one of the year’s best records. Super goth, in all the right ways. Where my Apoptygma Berzerk fans at? Home crying? Cool. See you there. This one is HIGHLY RECOMMENDED Barry Walters goes:

Trust is danceable even if you’re not stuck in a K-hole. Its tempos vary from mournful ballads like “Candy Walls,” which, minus the synth murk, suggests something Rick Rubin might’ve foisted on Johnny Cash, to hi-NRG thumpers like “Dressed For Space.” Their mannered delivery may be a deal-breaker for some, but like the brightest goths decades before them, Alfons and Postepski write songs strong enough to entice listeners who wouldn’t ordinarily touch a Ouija board, much less bring it to the disco.

Anais Mitchell, Young Man in America: New record from Anais Mitchell is immediately arresting, Mitchell’s tiny voice buttressed by passionate backing harmonies and taut electric guitars. eMusic’s Mike Wolf has more on this RECOMMENDED release:

11 confident, moonlit folk songs that form a loose narrative concerning the dire state of the world, especially for those younger people who might have been more optimistic in another time. “Nothing’s gonna stop me now,” Mitchell sings repeatedly in “Coming Down,” with hope replaced by weariness.

Christian Mistress, Possession: So this one just missed the cut to be included in this week’s Crib Sheet. (Speaking of which: are you receiving the Crib Sheet? Our handpicked Five Records You Need To Know This Week, delivered every week? Because you should be). I am a world-famous Jefferson Airplane despiser — I’ve spoken on panels on the subject, most notably one at SXSW in 2007 called “No, I Don’t Want Somebody to Love.” I bring that up because there’s a little bit of Grace Slick in Christian Mistress vocalist Christine Davis’s voice, but it works here. You can hear 50 years of the blues in every note she belts out. That she’s backed by some badass Judas Priest style riffing doesn’t hurt. So guess what? This one gets a HIGHLY RECOMMENDED. Here’s Jon Wiederhorn with more:

The full-length debut by Olympia,Washington, quintet Christian Mistress is more than a savage, irony-free ’70s metal flashback. It’s an honest and lovingly composed epic that combines the sludge of Black Sabbath, the guitar harmonies of Judas Priest and the amphetamine bursts of Motörhead.

Bang on a Can, Big Beautiful Dark & Scary: Famed New York group returns with a record that lives up to its title. I love what I’m hearing here: anxious horror-movie strings, strange, pirouetting melodic figures, skin-crawling piano and a song titled “Matt Damon.” This one is HIGHLY RECOMMENDED.

Hunx, Hairdresser Blues: HUNX.HUNX. HUNX. Man, do I love Hunx. He breaks up with the Punx — both literally and sonically — for what is being billed as a more introspective record. There’s still a lot of busted, right-outta-the-garage shambling tunecraft here, it’s just a bit slower and less frantic than the other records. This is like if Girls were just a wee bit more fucked up sonically. Austin L. Ray says:

While some of Hairdresser Blues’ songs – “Private Room,” “Do You Remember Being a Roller” – echo the naughty retro rock of Hunx and His Punx’s Gay Singles compilation, Bogart shows off his gentler side and exorcises his demons on tracks like “Your Love is Here to Stay” and “I’m Not the One You are Looking For.”

WZRD, WZRD: Kid Cudi makes a weird alt record that could not possibly be more all over the map. Some songs have that rigid Interpol guitar, some are spooky and synthy, some are like The Police. I don’t know about this one, you guys.

Mr. Dream, Fatherland: Full disclosure that I know the drummer of this band, but that doesn’t change the fact that it fucking rules. Surly slabs of sound, guitars that lash like a rattler’s tongue and a song that I thought for sure was a cover of the Fall’s “Rebellious Jukebox” but, in fact, is not. This is HIGHLY RECOMMENDED. Austin L. Ray has more:

This punkish trio is a wet dream for rock writers, not only because two-thirds of its members were music critics, but also because its main reference point – the heavier side of ’90s indie – is held by many of those same writers on an untouchable critical pedestal.Fatherland doesn’t stray far from that template, but you know what they say about things that ain’t broke.

Pink Floyd, The Wall: You know what it is. Dystopic dreamcore art rock that’s just as creepy as it is bombastic.

Jay Farrar, Yim Yames and Wil Johnson, New Multitudes: Frontmen of Son Volt, Centr-O-Matic and My Morning Jacket team up to cover a bunch of Woody Guthrie songs on the account of his 100th Birthday — which is a pretty good reason, if you ask me. Guthrie was pretty punk rock, but this runs a kind of polite roots-rock middle ground with the trio harmonizing and hooting and hollering. This style of music is not so much my jam, but I can’t really fault what’s happening here, and if it’s getting people back into Woody Guthrie, that’s fine by me.

Carolina Chocolate Drops, Leaving Eden: Raucous, outback country music with some square dance fiddle, skeletal acoustic guitars and deep-fried, gospel-style vocals. This could have turned into some kind of coffee shop disaster pack, but they produced this smartly — it sounds like a party going down in an old barn, as heard from a distance. So drink your cappucino walking, guy. Tad Hendrickson has more:

Rhiannon Giddens is one of the best vocalists working today, with the range of a gospel diva and the phrasing of a blues singer, particularly on the high and lonesome “Ruby, Are You Mad at Your Man?” Co-founder Dom Flemons’s ability to express his intense love of this kind of music through voice, banjo and other instruments makes him a galvanizing storyteller – never is this more apparent on traditionals like the hard stomping “Riro’s House” and the rave-up “Po Black Sheep.”

Vaura, Selenelion: The great Wierd label is known mostly to this point for its mega-chilly minimal synth stuff, but this record is a lot bigger and more anthemic and expansive. Still real synthy tho.

Whitecar, Everyday Grace: Speaking of minimal synth — more icy, unsettling synth-goth (sorta) to keep you up at night. This is pretty stark and pretty strange, and I’m liking what I’m hearing. Plus, it’s on the fantastic Hippos in Tanks label. RECOMMENDED

Estelle, All of Me: Estelle had a hit with the giddy single “American Girl” a few years ago, which was fun at first and then seemed like it was designed to be played every time you walked into a Forever 21. You could always tell she had a bit more to her than that, though, and some of that bubbles to the surface here. I want to compare this — in structure, if not in content — to The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill, but that might just be because there are spoken interludes and I am a very simple-minded man. I’ll leave the describing to Dan MacIntosh:

With a vocal approach that falls somewhere between Sade’s quiet storm and Beyonce’s full-throated pop rapture, Estelle applies toughness and tenderness in equal measure. She goes toe-to-toe with bad boy Rick Ross on “Break My Heart,” then plays the innocent schoolgirl on “Cold Crush” for a sweet slice of girl group pop. Better still, Estelle becomes queen of the latter-day rhythm nation on the Janelle Monàe-esque workout “Speak Ya Mind,” which kicks off with a marching drum cadence, followed by Estelle rattling off words like a school girl throwing down jump rope rhymes.

School of Seven Bells, Ghostory: It may be inspired by ghost stories, but there’s nothing filmy or gauzy about Ghostory. Tense gothy synths, breathy vocals and persistent drum tracks make this the kind of thing that I used to dance to back when I was wearing capes and black lipstick, which is a thing that definitely happened, I am sad/proud to say. I leave you in the capable hand of Ryan Reed who says:

With 2010′s Disconnect from Desire, School of Seven Bells conjured up a dreamy blend of shoegaze and ’80s electro-pop. Ghostory continues along that same stylistic trajectory, but the immediacy has been dialed down – instruments and voices swirl beneath reverb, and melodies are spit-shined with blinding studio gloss.

Various Artists, The Minimal Wave Tapes, Vol. 2: Classic ’80s chilly, uber minimal synth music that pairs with the Trust record above the way a good cheese pairs with a fine Bordeaux. I’ll leave it to you to decide which is the cheese and which is the wine, all I’ll say is that this is HIGHLY RECOMMENDED.

Nneka, Soul is Heavy: It is truly hard to pinpoint precisely what Nneka does. It’s a little bit R&B, a little bit folk music, a little bit jazz, but always compelling. This latest album was inspired by the unrest in Nigeria, and is as rich and rewarding as any she’s made. We have an interview with her on the way. In the meantime, Christina Lee say:

For eight years Nneka has rapped, sang and toured on behalf of Nigerian citizens like herself, who often live without health care and education. In Soul Is Heavy, she levies a few wry criticisms. The album’s catchiest chant has Nneka throatily spelling out what she thinks “V.I.P.” really means: “Vagabond in Power.” “God Knows Why,” featuring Black Thought of the Roots, may start with an organ melody fit for a carousel, but then a voice resembling Barack Obama’s announces, “We civilize freedom ’til no one is free/ no one except, by coincidence, me.”

Soft Swells, Soft Swells: Lots of keyboards surrounding a guy who kind of sounds like a young Brian Wilson at times.

Lenz, Under Neon: Some pouty power pop from the excellent Tic Tac Totally. Marauding sheets of guitar and a singer whose delivery falls somewhere between sob and sneer.

Memoryhouse, The Slideshow Effect: Laura and I just talked about this. Laura said she was surprised by how this sounded, because she was expecting chillwave. I told her the same for me, but then, I’m pretty much always expecting chillwave. So this isn’t chillwave. What is it? Bright springtime indie pop with pretty vocals and a few drowsy ballads. Take it away, David Greenwald:

After an EP that was enveloped in the soft fuzz of samples and melting guitars, Memoryhouse let the songs take center stage on The Slideshow Effect. Their crisp, mature debut full-length doesn’t completely shake off the dreaminess, but they’ve clearly been writing songs with the stage in mind: a militant drum fill drives “The Kids Were Wrong,” while the guitar and synth textures of “Walk With Me” spring suddenly into a syncopated chorus. Even its quieter moments, such as the acoustic departure “Punctum,” come with well-paced urgency.

Fanfarlo, Rooms Filled With Light: Yesterday’s blog buzz is today’s “Oh, yeah, those guys!” Fanfarlo (Oh yeah, those guys!) return with more steady-as-she-goes indie pop. Some surprising instrumentation here: xylophones and pirouetting pianos and some old-tyme movie-organ interspersed with the usual frantic strumming and pouty male vocals.

Carole King, Welcome Home, Simple Things, Pearls: Songs of Goffin & King, Touch the Sky: Whole bunch of Carole King reissues! Most of these are from the ’70s, and are a bit slick, but still have their moments.

Gabriel & the Hounds, Kiss Full of Teeth: This is some great, spooky, hushed music; lots of reverb on the guitars, slow pacing, forlorn vocals — the cover depicts a snowbank and the opening to a mysterious cave, and that weirdly fits the mood just right.

Geographer, Myth: Not an Animal Collective side project. Bright and booming indie rock, trading off programmed drums and gauzy synths with chugging rockers. If you’re losing your shit over Gotye, you might also be into this. Maybe that weird Canadian band can cover the single all this with all of them playing the same Sousaphone or something.

Beth Jeans Houghton, Yours Truly Cellphone Nose: It seems like every time a female artist releases a record that’s even the slightest bit ethereal, the same descriptors — mainly, Kate Bush — are invoked. I won’t even get into how problematic that is. This doesn’t sound anything like Kate Bush. Instead, it’s got some rococo art-rock flourishes, some feathery, Florence & the Machiney vocals and a few oddball arrangements and instruments buried beneath the surface. Here’s Ryan Reed with more:

Houghton is a versatile, technically proficient singer – she jumps octaves like a track star would hurdles, scurrying around wearing halos of angelic vibrato. She’s also unflinchingly precious, so her best songs utilize perky, layered arrangements to keep her from drifting too far into her own head.

Copywrite, God Save the King: A sequel to The Decemberists’ record? Kidding aside: On this, Copywrite opens up about the loss of friends and family members over the last two years, threading his blunt rhymes over booming production.

Dead Fingers, Dead Fingers: Low-down boy/girl country pop. Her voice is clean and pretty, his is strangled and froggy. Plays out like the soundtrack to the Spoon River Anthology.

Opio, Vulture’s Wisdom, Vol. 2: I really, really liked the original Vulture’s Wisdom and was bummed we didn’t do more around it on eMusic. This one sounds just as good, so maybe I’m getting a second change. Opio has a laid-back rhyme style, but the way it ducks and dodges between his percolation productions is just one of the things that makes his music so compelling. There’s a bit of a Tribe-type vibe happening here, but it’s more expansive than that. This one gets a HIGHLY RECOMMENDED

Ja Rule, PIL 2: Where to begin? First of all, this record is called PIL 2, so I’m going to go ahead and claim this is Ja Rule’s post-punk record. Secondly, the first song is called “Fuck Fame,” so at least Ja Rule’s expectations are properly managed. Third, there’s a new DMX album coming out in a few weeks, so of course Ja Rule has a new record out. Fourth, this definitely sounds like Ja Rule. It’s a lot darker than the clubby chart-toppers of yore, which might actually end up being a good look for him. Of course, all that means is that it sounds even more like DMX.

Gensu Dean, Lo-Fi Fingaz: From Dead Fingers to Lo-Fi Fingaz. If only there was a new Crooked Fingers record today, too. We could have half a hand. Anyway. This is tough underground hip-hop on the excellent Mello Music label. Earthy production and take-no-prisoners rhymes. Nate Patrin has more:

Texas-based Gensu Dean is a traditionalist about crate-digging and beat-building. He prefers pure vinyl source material, fed through a SP-1200 – just like back in the peak era of sampling, but fortunately manages to avoid the obvious selections. Lo-Fi Fingahz builds a savvy lineup of past collaborators (Brand Nubian, David Banner) and compatible vets (Large Professor, Roc Marciano), then sets them on a stockpile of beats that dig way down deep into the stacks.

Helado Negro, Island Universe Story One: This group has seriously grown on me. The first in a planned series of ‘Island Universe’ releases, this one fuses light samba and tropical balladry with crackling electronics, tripping tempos and stuttering synths. A good find for fans of the avant.

Plants & Animals, The End of That: One time indie-jammers tighten their focus and concentrate on compact songwriting. The result is another batch of rootsy indie rock. Selena Fragassi has more:

Debut Parc Avenue and cult favorite La La Land took shape during improv sessions, but vocalist Warren Spicer, drummer Matthew Woodley, and multi-instrumentalist Nathan Basque opted instead to blueprint the material on The End of That, resulting in a more sound structure that curtails the band’s winded sagas in favor of neatly-wrapped packages.

Lyle Lovett, Release Me: Lovett’s latest, the kind of whirligig country you’ve come to know and love. Or if not love, respect. Dan MacIntosh has more:

The k.d. lang and Lovett duet on the honky-tonking title track perfectly pairs lang’s pretty with Lovett’s pained, almost as though lang – in full Patsy Cline persona – was actually singing with Willie Nelson. The Lovett original “The Girl with the Holiday Smile,” which finds him befriending a prostitute at the market, is nicely accompanied by Matt Rollings’s jazzy piano. The stripped-down, acoustic-guitar-backed “Understand You” proves Lovett can inhabit the straight, Steve Earl-sque folk songwriter vibe whenever necessary.

Cuff the Duke, Morning Comes: Rollicking! Mile-high CSNY harmonies, good-ol’ big-grinnin’ country-influenced arrangements — this is jamboree core: banjos, bass drums and starry-eyed singing. Like if Fleet Foxes started going to the gym.

The Lijadu Sisters, Mother Africa: Another warm, rich, bobbing Afropop reissue from Knitting Factory, who have been on a roll ever since they reissued the Fela catalog a few years back. This is a bit more lovely and melodic where Fela was driving and percussive. Let’s call these lovely, swaying songs with jubilant vocal harmonies.

Badly Drawn Boy, Being Flynn: Original Soundtrack: Damon Gough’s soundtrack to a movie about Jeff Bridges’ character from Tron. Seems like a weird subject for a movie, but what do I know? I was all set to be snarky about this, but then I listened to the first song and it’s lovely, so that should teach me a lesson. But probably it won’t.

Dreamend, And the Tears Washed Over Me, Wave After Cowardly Wave: These guys almost lost me at the album title, on account of it’s the same length as War & Peace. This is some smoky, ornate music from onetime Chicago shoegazers. Someone forgot to step on the distortion pedal before they rolled tape on this one, though: there’s as much woozy balladry here as walls of sound. Spiritualized is a word that’s fun to type out, so let’s call this somewhat like late-period Spiritualized.

Cheap Freaks, Bury Them All: This is the kind of shitcore reverb garage trash bucket stuff that appeals to, like, me and eMusic’s Austin L. Ray. Austin, if you’re reading this, check these guys out.

–> Jazz Picks By Dave Sumner
An amazing drop over the last week. Here’s the strongest of the strong, though I could easily compile an additional list of very good albums to recommend. Let’s begin…

Brad Shepik, Across the Way: Brad Shepik has a unique sound on jazz guitar, and like any musician who sounds like nobody else, his music is more difficult to categorize. World Jazz is probably the simplest place to file it. He has a bounce and swing on guitar that’s so nonchalant that it mesmerizes. On this 2011 release (just now dropped on eMusic), he adds vibes to a quartet for a magical album that deserved way more attention on Best of 2011 lists. Pick of the Week.

Harris Eisenstadt, Canada Day II: Harris Eisenstadt is one of the modern masters of playing inside-out. His albums typically have the strong whiff of the avant-garde, yet the blues is evident throughout, as is the swing of old school jazz. That ability to fuse old and new and to channel it through his modern voice is why he’s a darling of so many fans of different schools of jazz. On Canada II, he lays off the avant-garde sound a bit, which makes the album more accessible to straight-ahead fans. An all-star lineup of up-and-comers- Nate Wooley (trumpet); Matt Bauder (tenor sax); Chris Dingman (vibes); Eivind Opsvik (bass); Harris Eisenstadt (drums, compositions). Recommended.

Rebecca Trescher’s Hochzeit Null11, Sud: Multi-reedist Rebecca Trescher brings a quintet with her clarinet & bass clarinet, guitar, drums, bass, and alto sax, and has created an album that doesn’t engage the listener so much as stalk them. Ominous, yet beautiful in that way fear can be, it’s an album of brief constant spurts of notes with just the clarinet and bass clarinet weaving sounds in between the trees. Some small electronic effects here and there. Fans of Marty Ehrlich, Clean Feed label, and John Lurie/Lounge Lizards should check out this excellent album. Find of the Week.

Robert Glasper, Black Radio: Glasper garnered a lot of attention and cross-genre love for his album In My Element, which aside from being an outstanding jazz album, challenged boundaries by doing a mash-up of Radiohead and Herbie Hancock tunes, as well as a shout-out to J. Dilla. With subsequent albums, Glasper has moved further into soul and hip hop territory, which hasn’t always been greeted with resounding enthusiasm in jazz circles. Black Gold continues that journey, as it lays on the soul and hip hop influences even stronger. The thing of it is, Glasper is a strong pianist, and this is evidenced ever more clearly as he moves further from Jazz’s center; Glasper’s grasp of the heart of jazz is such that he doesn’t so much expand into new music territory as he forces that territory to gravitate to him. If Jazz is the Mountain, then Glasper makes that mountain come to his piano. Philosophizing aside, it’s an album with some pretty moments, easy vocals, cool percussion, and Glasper’s signature sound. Oh, yeah, and a groove version of Nirvana’s “Smells Like Teen Spirit” that is just too cool. Recommended.

Matthew Shipp, Elastic Aspects: Pianist Shipp is (deservedly) recognized as one of the most inventive composers on the scene. He also gets lumped in with avant-garde a bit too quickly. It’s not an unreasonable categorization, as his compositions rarely fall into conventional territory, but it does lead to expectations, which can result in overlooking some divergent moments. No more does this become evident than on third track “Psychic Counterpart,” which if dissected, would have the beating heart of a Thelonious Monk tune within. Yes, there’s plenty of deconstructed piano line, ferocious bowing by bassist Michael Bisio, and Whit Dickey’s drums scattering the ashes of the rhythm in all directions, but look away too soon and you’ll miss some moments of sublime ballad and infectious swing.

Johnathan Blake, The Eleventh Hour: Debut album from Mingus Big Band alumnus, and it’s a good one. Some nice modern straight-ahead playing with a solid line-up, including Mark Turner, Kevin Hays, Robert Glasper, Ben Street, and a guest appearance by Tom Harrell (with whom Blake played with). Nice driving tempo to keep the head engaged and heart rate up. Inclusion of harmonica on final song “Canvas” is outstanding. Very promising debut album.

John Ambrosini, Nine Stories: Nice little straight-ahead release by pianist Abrosini. Featuring a strong line-up of David Binney (Sax), Drew Gress (Bass), Ben Wittman (Drums), and Mike Moreno (Guitars), it’s a very likable recording. Nothing revolutionary about the recordings; just strong playing and straight jazz. Nice stuff.

Georg Breinschmid, Fire: Interesting release from Austrian double bassist Georg Breinschmid. Trained and performed as a classical musician, he also broke into the jazz world with artists like Archie Shepp and Kenny Drew Jr. Fire has Breinschmid playing in a variety of settings, some live, and a bonus disk of live and outtakes. Strong Hungarian folk music influences with some serious swing. Whimsical, flighty, and fun. Not World Jazz, per se, just Jazz from a different part of the world.

Pommelhorse, Pommelhorse: Very cool quintet of clarinet, sax, Fender Rhodes, bass, and drums. Healthy dose of electronic effects. It has hints of the austere introspection of the Swiss & Nordic Euro-jazz sound, but the ebullient groove like it’s trying to party until happier days arrive. Nice juxtaposition of the ethereal and the jam. Cool music. Recommended.

Erik Deutsch, Demonio Teclado: Interesting new release from keyboarding Erik Deutsch. Very much in the neo-soul jazz family, though Deutsch’s sound has always had a healthy infusion of pop, even as part of the very cool but under-the-radar Colorado country-jazz ensemble County Road X. On this album, Deutsch lets the electric keyboards sing with plenty of compositions just ready to groove with anyone who’ll listen. Inclusion of steel guitar is a very nice touch on “Ms. Pelican” and ends the album with resounding proof that Deutsch deserves plenty of attention.

Tore Johansen, Double Rainbow: Nice release from trumpeter Tore Johansen. Very much in the style of Nordic jazz; atmospheric, relaxed, rainy-day jazz. Nice balance to the production; instruments each have their equal say, much to the benefit of the listener. Drummer Jon Christensen, who has played on some of the ECM label’s seminal modern albums, absolutely shines here; even when his playing gets more pronounced, he never surrenders his innate elegance.

Marc Bernstein, Good People Music: Intriguing release by multi-reedist Bernstein, and featuring drummer extraordinaire Billy Hart. A quintet rounded out with drums, piano, and bass. Compositions with an inquisitive nature that gets the musicians in a searching frame of mind. Cool, evocative music… the kind of jazz that, when played, can make the mundane seem special just by way of it being the soundtrack to that particular moment. Highly Recommended.

Label Sledgehammer had a drop this week. Lots of solid modern jazz from 1990-on. Let’s rec two:

David Binney, The Luxury of Guessing: A large ensemble recordings with Binney on alto, Donny McCaslin on tenor sax, Steve Armor on trombone, Uri Caine on piano, Ben Monder on guitar, Scott Colley on bass, Jeff Hirshfield on drums, and Daniel Sadownick with the percussion. Mostly just solid playing from strong musicians.

Larry Willis, Steal Away: A beautiful trio date of Willis on piano, Cecil McBee on bass, and Gary Bartz on sax. Mellow blues with tons of emotion. The song “Ethiopia” is worth the price of admission alone.

John Lindberg Ensemble, A Tree Frog Tonality: This came out a little while back, but it’s such a wonderful example of where avant-garde and chamber jazz intersects at its sweetest point that I had to mention it. Personnel, all modern jazz giants, are Wadada Leo Smith on trumpet, Larry Ochs on sopranino & tenor sax, John Lindberg on bass and Andrew Cyrille manning the drums. Outstanding music that displays music improvisation at its finest.

Jym Young, Strings, Keys & Thumbs: A quick mention of another release from the Black Lion Vault Remaster series, this one from little know pianist Jym Young, who probably is most recognized for his work with jazz great Dewey Redman. This is a collection of songs the 1201 label gathered up to put the spotlight on Young’s recorded output.

–> Singles & EPs
Aact Rraiser, “Sweet Heart Syounara”: Duo from Oslo make sleepytime electronic music – big beats, drowsy vocals and misty synths.

–> Metal Box
Autopsy, All Tomorrow’s Funerals: Record title of the day. More grimy, brutal, nasty thrash from the leaders in the form. This is some dense, layered stuff, guitars spiraling and corkscrewing beneath surface gunk. eMusic’s Jon Wiederhorn likes it, too:

All Tomorrow’s Funerals, the third release following a 15-year hiatus, features four new tunes and three old EPs: 1991′s acrid, sludgy Retribution For the Dead, 1992′s unhinged slaughterfest Fiend For Blood and 2010′s uninspired comeback effort The Tomb Within. Even for the previously uninitiated, the new songs are the standouts. The title track is a feast of jackhammer destruction enhanced with frenetic solos and evil monk chants, and a reinvention of the 1987 demo cut “Mauled to Death,” morphs between an angular proggy riff, teeth-gritting thrash and a funeral procession of harrowing, layered noise.

Drudkh, Eternal Turn of the Wheel: I am a believer in full disclosure, so I should disclose that there have been a few blog posts claiming these guys are in some way affiliated with the National Socialist Black Metal movement. I have not been able to find any concrete proof of this, mostly because the band does not do interviews and I have not completed my wizard training yet, which would allow me to read their thoughts. In the meantime, all we have is their music, which is as nasty and feral as black metal is supposed to be — some great, slashing guitars, turgid, creeping tempos and vicious vocals.

Napalm Death, Utilitarian: Scalding metal from absolute legends, the latest from Napalm Death has the machine-gun drums, hornet’s nest guitars and beaten-rottweiler vocals you’ve come to expect from these metal legends. Of course, this one is HIGHLY RECOMMENDED. Jon Wiederhorn says:

What do these old men still have to offer an extreme metal community driven by youthful rage? As it turns out, plenty. The band’s 14th studio album of originals, Utilitarian is a serious wake-up call for kids that think Emmure and Suicide Silence are, like, totally brutal. Not only do Napalm still play with ferocity and precision, they continue to find new ways to surprise listeners.