Embracing the Descent: April 7 – 13, 2019

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Welcome back to another edition of Embracing the Descent and another opportunity to catch some molten nuggets from this week’s incoming metal. If it’s your first visit, we briefly discuss a handful of the current week’s new releases that stood out for whatever reason and maybe, from time to time, a week behind but who’s counting. We won’t be hitting everything because no one wants to read a 40 – 60 entry piece and who’s got that kind of time anyway. Don’t forget to check out the full listing from Monday’s Initial Descent. Before you go, leave us a comment if you have thoughts or gripes or something we should be listening to. 

Neolithic - Neolithic

Maybe it’s the state of affairs in general or just the fact that most people make it easy for the rest of us to harbor hatred and contempt but whatever it is, this strengthening phenomenon of crusty, d-beat, death-filled hardcore makes a sweet soundtrack to the days of our lives. And MA’s Neolithic make hateful music for hateful minded folks (score one for the home team). Coming off the heels of an incendiary split with Martyröd and the likeminded Cult of Ignorance EP, Neolithic keep the same approach intact but tighten the edges and crank up a heightened sense of seething rage. For example, “War Discordance” might be the slowest thing they’ve done but it also drives a point home that the band is more brooding than ever and able to sit in the pocket longer. Otherwise, it’s punishing business as usual but with all around better performances and songwriting which allows the music a chance to breathe in lieu of hitting it, quitting it, and us subsequently forgetting it. Not that I ever did previously but this one is Just. That. Much. Better.

Theories - Vessel

On sophomore effort Vessel, Theories had this to say: “Everything is fucked” and “This isn’t some dystopian story plot, this is where the world is at. We wrote a record, that’s not what it’s about. But it’s pissed and so are we.” Basically going back to the ‘hateful tunes for hateful times’ theme we covered for Neolithic. Theories is on the same wavelength but pummel with deathgrind that is, for the most part, at warp speed. With the exception of a one plus minute break square in the middle, this album is all about finding one’s limits and pushing beyond. But as much of a beat down as this thing is, the band creatively tackle dystopian doom on “Ill Will,” evoke sickening atmosphere on “Slow Poison,” and show their prog chops in the final moments of “Taking Up Space.” Which is all to say that Vessel is, at its core, a physically wrecking album with enough memorable moments to make it stand out from an increasingly crowded niche of metal. Make no mistake though, this niche is a great one but, the more crowded it gets the more we will need bands like Theories that aren’t afraid to toy around inside their hateful sounds.

latitudes

Backing up a week, as we might do from time to time, Latitudes Part Island is not the same heavy post-metal that made Old Sunlight such a brilliant album. Where Old Sunlight was intense, active, and angry, Part Island is morosely depressing. Vocals take the forefront here, lending an overwhelming sadness to the otherwise stellar music. At times it sounds more like Katatonia than their previous efforts and if that’s the kind of thing you dig, there’s nothing wrong with this album at all. 

Hath - Of Rot and Ruin

In the best way imaginable, on their debut full length Of Rot and Ruin, New Jersey’s Hath sound like the almighty Slugdge’s grimier relative anointed with the slime-blessed kiss of Mollusca (in fact, Slugdge have recently tweeted twice in promotion of their labelmates’ excellence, and for good reason), possessing similar mastery of massive riffs, majestic melody and muscular momentum with tracks often going past the six-minute mark yet still sounding equal parts compact and adventurous without a wasted second, thanks to sharp songwriting. Despite the shared DNA composed of blackened progressive death metal, Hath bulldoze their own idiosyncratic path of destruction with crunchy, roaring guitars and thundering drumming further augmented by the album’s dense production work. Hath unleash their might like a cleansing firestorm that separates flesh from bone, but with the vision and deft hand of a particularly creative master surgeon, be it in the form of tactically deployed acoustic guitars, infectious groove or anthemic layered clean vocals and riveting climaxes in the midst of total destruction. In essence, Of Rot and Ruin is utterly compelling in its catchiness, inventiveness and technical prowess and essential listening for open-minded death metal aficionados.

Waldgefluster - Mondscheinsonaten

Much like the Nusquama album covered previously in our Friday column, Mondscheinsonaten is black metal that takes on a much more romantic feel and becomes almost picturesquely serene at times, even through the blast beats and screams.  Perhaps it is precisely this push back, intentional or not, against the machismo soaked black metal scene that endears this album to me, or perhaps it’s the elegantly crafted nature of songs like “Gipfelstürmer.” More than likely it’s a combination of both, if we’re being totally honest.  Either way, Mondscheinsonaten is another fine entry into Waldgeflüster‘s already lauded discography.

As always, we ask: what will YOU be listening to this week?

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