Dismember and Skitsystem have been dead for a while now. American bands have been riffing on variations of both their sounds over the past few years, but there’s something in the water of Sweden that makes the Swedes get it more right and truer to the classics than anyone else. Which is especially exciting when the two are combined into face-pummeling heaviness like Crawl.
Suspended In Reflections plays out like an elongated dream. You’re floating in a sea of violet-blue light that reaches out into the expanses of forever one second, then you’re standing naked in the desert the next. Then you’re drowning. Then you’re back to the light. The cycle continues. Much like a dream, Ancestors weaves its aural tapestry of tangentially unrelated ideas into a beautiful, shimmering vision that couldn’t possibly make sense anywhere else but here.
Listening to Bummer‘s new album Holy Terror is like trying to mosh as hard you can in the pit for 24 minutes straight. Admirable, but you cannot keep up. You will either be destroyed completely or consumed and spit out into the safety of a potentially merciless crowd. Either way, you’ll be standing on the precipice of the ever-unfolding chaos with a shit-eating grin on your face excited about diving in again.
Primitive Man and Unearthly Trance‘s split is about noise and sludgy, skull-breaking riffs. It’s about atmospheric suffering and how to create hateful doom by only alluding to it half the time. It’s a split whose pitch-black heaviness is constantly lurking in the background, waiting. Watching. Occasionally striking but never killing. Teasing but never getting to the act itself.
Trappist unites bassist Chris Dodge of Spazz and guitarist Phil Vera of Despise You with co-owner of California’s Grill ‘Em All-slash-drummer Ryan Harkins for a craft beer-based hardcore band that’s an intoxicating amount of fun. Don’t let the name and theme fool you into thinking this is some kind of in-joke – Trappist combines powerful hardcore punk with well-written, intelligent lyrics to great effect over the course of 21 tracks and 33 minutes. The album also doubles as a solid soundtrack for getting drunk off excellent beer pairings.
Draghkar‘s new EP The Endless Howling Abyss is the one metal media outlets are going to be talking about in a few years. Not just because they missed it the first time around, but because everyone is going to be scrambling to catch up with the band when they’re a bigger deal. So maybe just stay at the forefront of modern death metal and get into the weirdness that is The Endless Howling Abyss now.
I’m slightly under qualified to review Haunt‘s new album Burst Into Flames in that I don’t own a jean jacket or a pair of aviators. I didn’t even listen to this album on cassette at full volume in a Chevy Camaro with the T-Tops off. Despite these crucial setbacks, I feel qualified enough to praise Trevor Church and his newly founded backing band on successfully channelling that classic NWOBHM sound into an album that’s worth blasting at top volume in 2018.