There’s a lot of pretty great metal – and variations on that particular theme – around at the minute. Albums from Pallbearer, Ufomammut, High On Fire and Black Breath are already locks for my 2012 end-of-year list; here are four more recent releases that are sure to join them. First up Brooklyn’s Mutilation Rites, whose debut full-length Empyrean (Prosthetic Records) incorporates elements of down-and-dirty hardcore punk and particularly brutal black metal and – in contrast to the stark, beautiful cover art (above) – sounds absolutely evil. Here’s “Realms Of Dementia”:
PHILM (caps lock intentional) is the new project of Slayer drummer Dave Lombardo, along with Gerry Nestler of Civil Defiance and War’s Pancho Tomaselli; erring on the side of old-school thrash, Harmonic (Ipecac) is an unsurprisingly rhythmic assault on the senses, as “Vitriolize” suggests.
Album number three from Jenks Miller’s Horseback project sees a further evolution of their unique avant garde-meets- Americana-meets-USBM sound. Half Blood‘s (Relapse) combination of droning space rock and thunderous blackened noise recalls a Cookie Monster-fronted Hawkwind at times, and a more toxic Swans at others, and is never less than mesmerising. “Ahriman” is below.
Split Cranium is Isis’ Aaron Turner with members of Finnish prog-rockers Circle and Steel Mammoth, and their Kurt Ballou- produced, 8-track, 25 minute eponymous Hydra Head debut is as insane as you might expect. Pummeling hardcore? Check. ZZ Top riffage? Check. Motorik Krautrock rhythms, white noise and Gregorian chanting? Tick, tick, tick. Possibly the most fun you can have in under half an hour, and you can hear it here: