Greetings! Summer has finally arrived here in New York City but we are still awaiting the sweltering heat and oppressive humidity to fully descend upon us and smother us into a state of perpetual stickiness, urban delirium and genocidal misanthropy. In the meantime, have I got the goods for you this time. The Metal: Subetroth’s Agnozia. The Booze: Knee Deep Brewing’s Stoutella.
The Metal: Subetroth’s Agnozia
You shall be forgiven for thinking, upon hearing the deep sleazy grooves of the first notes of Subetroth’s latest release Agnozia, that the band hails from the clammiest swamps of New Orleans instead of Modesto, California. Subetroth’s self-described “hooker party doom from the West” tastes, smells and sounds like a warped version of the American Dream daydreamed by malaria-stricken Hunter S. Thompson who passed out drunk and high while reading Garth Ennis and Steve Dillon’s The Preacher. The production is absolutely massive, thick and viscous. If you have ever wondered how low you can tune your stringed instruments, look no further. Guitars roar and slide with slippery swagger and you can physically feel the downtuned bass plow the benthic zone of a tar pit and scrape off the top layer of asphalt softened by the sun. It takes special skill and cojones to employ banjo and harmonica (the latter right after an especially punishing blast beat section) and make it work without falling flat or resembling a tacked-on afterthought. There is heartfelt pathos too, like on “Preacher, Drunker Killer” which starts as a somber yet gnarled ballad for the age of decay and disintegration, complete with an angelic, ethereal vocal duet before sinking deeper and deeper into an increasingly crushing muddy vortex, until suddenly joinked back to the surface for lungs to be refilled with sweet oxygen. To quote the lyrics of the closer “Rubber Band Moan”, these fine gentlemen “mine, bore, gouge, gut, and maim”, painting a vivid, feverish and sweaty picture of the human condition in the process.
The Booze: Knee Deep Brewing’s Stoutella
Well, if you are going be eaten alive by a pack of alligators or mauled by the Tron-ox-bear portrayed on the cover of Subetroth’s 2016 debut Native Alien, you damn well need to enjoy your grisly demise with a suitably special beer. Gods of beer have heard our collective prayers and ordered Auburn, California’s Knee Deep Brewing to prepare an offering to friends of stout and Nutella. Yes, you read that right. Stoutella is one delicious beer, a stout with plenty of chocolate and hazelnut, brewed with cacao nibs. Quite surprisingly, and in a pleasant way, it is softly roasted and has a body that stays below imperial levels of thickness and avoid overblown sweetness. In fact, this is outright addicting and besides beer connoisseurs will inevitably attract and degenerate a generation of underage drinkers. Actually, make sure you hoard every can you manage to find in your trusty beer store before the nation-wide moral panic begins and the National Guard rolls into town. You can thank me later.
I wish you have a chance this weekend to kick back, grab a beer and blast metal, preferably outdoors with a bunch of mates. While you are at it, please raise your flagon to brother Vincent and for his speedy recovery from his battle wounds and his triumphant return to the helm.