Unsacred – False Light

The Richmond, VA-based trio Unsacred have just released their debut LP on Forcefield Records, and you can stream it in full above.

While the band channel a few different styles of heavy music throughout the album, they don’t really blend them together as much as transition back and forth between them. Although the music is at once identifiable as black metal, moments of crust-punk and hardcore flit in and out of each track. This stylistic variation is mostly achieved via the drumming, often trading astonishingly rapid blast-beats for more mid-tempo punk cadences, with the occasional D-beat gallop thrown in. Staying consistent throughout are the tortured, throat-full-of-nails vocals and the menacing, sepulchral guitar riffs (which sometimes feel straight out of the Watain playbook). The record as a whole can sometimes feel a bit repetitive, but it’s fun to get a Trash Talk vibe one moment, and hear echoes of Dark Funeral the next.

You can purchase the LP from Forcefield Records here.

-Tom Fullmer

 

Torche – “Minions”

Every time I listen to Torche, I catch myself thinking how much cooler they would sound if they dropped a bit of screamo to match the bassy, grinding, sludge metal-influenced guitar lines that have become their signature sound. However, I must remind myself that not every sludge metal band wants to sound like EyeHateGod. In fact, Torche have built up such a unique sound that it would be a bit unfair to compare them to any other band or genre.  Guitarist and vocalist Steve Brooks said himself how he didn’t consider Torche a metal band, and although that’s debatable, their peculiar sound and aesthetic has some difficulty being labelled.

It’s been two years since the release of their last album, Harmonicraft, and with a new album on the horizon, Restarter, the time has come to sample the new single, “Minions.” The track is a direct reference to their sludge roots, with a heavy, dragging bass line held back by some Sabbath-style hat/snare percussion. Each verse ends with a slurred “come my minions,” which I can just imagine being powerfully shouted in unison with the crowd in concerts to come. The song isn’t particularly progressive, a bit of a throwback really, but that doesn’t mean the next album will be just another Torche album.

- Fin Worrall

Dope Body – “Hired Gun”

Baltimore noise rock band Dope Body drops a track from their forthcoming album, Lifer. It’s looking at a release this October on Drag City Records, just like their last album, and this new track of theirs is a heavy, wild piece of rock ‘n’ roll. While it’s not as kooky or groove-oriented as the cuts on Natural History, the band still brings forth some visceral riffs and a dynamic guitar interlude as well. Enjoy!

Take Over and Destroy – “Deep End” (Premiere)

Previously enjoyed Take Over And Destroy, a.k.a. TOAD, have a new album on the way titled Vacant Face. Considering I love loud, rowdy, melodic sludge metal, I am looking forward to the release of this new record.

The band has seen fit to allow yours truly to premiere one of the tracks on this new album, and I even got to pick it. “Deep End” was my choice. The track’s heavy floor toms and harmonized guitar melodies really caught my ear. The band even manages to work in some cleanly sung vocals toward the middle of the track. Yeah, they’re a little campy, but they get the job done.

An altogether solid track from TOAD, and a reason to look forward to Vacant Face. From what I understand, there’s no solid release date on this new album yet, but I’ll get it to you as soon as the band tells me. Enjoy!

Slugdge – Gastronomicon

A f-fun death metal album? Sure, they exist – the new Slugdge record Gastronomicon is one of them. If you’re unfamiliar with the UK duo consisting of guitarist Kev Pearson and lyricist/vocalist Matt Moss, then allow me to explain: they make music about interstellar slugs and are on a mission to “cover the world of man in a viscous goo.” But I’ve gotta say as ridiculous as the twosome’s concept comes across on paper, it amounts to a staggeringly captivating alternate reality for the run-time of this sophomore LP of theirs. The lyrics of Gastronomicon come off not as parody, but as a surprisingly imaginative mythology. Moreover, the compositions are rather progressive and the production is stellar - this is a properly heavy listen. Hopefully you can get past (or better yet, embrace) the campy concept, because otherwise you’ll be missing out on one of the year’s most enjoyable death metal releases so far.

Gastronomicon is out now with the blessing of Mollusca the Greatfather.

Mastodon – Once More ‘Round the Sun

Metal outfit Mastodon drops the significantly more likable sequel to 2011′s The Hunter.

Code Orange – “I Am King”

After changing its name earlier this month, Code Orange (formerly Code Orange Kids) announced it will be releasing its sophomore album in a couple of months. It’s called I Am King, and above you can watch the video of its savage title track. Backed by a caustic hardcore soundtrack, the visuals depict some poor guy getting the letters “TOTH” carved into his back. I don’t know what that’s all about, but it’s clear Code Orange  isn’t fucking around. This being the intro to the album, it is looking as though I Am King will be every bit as heavy and ferocious as its predecessor, if not more. Glad to see Converge’s Kurt Ballou reprising his role as producer.

I Am King is due out September 2 via Deathwish. Here’s our take on the band’s last one.

The Austerity Program – Beyond Calculation

The Austerity Program’s blend of old school indie, post-hardcore, sludge metal, and noise rock is refreshingly seamless. They’re not quite heavy enough to be metal per se, but this album’s boot-to-face attitude is can go toe-to-toe with any number of aggressive rock groups out there. The mostly spoken word vocals are pretty enjoyable as well, and show an element of weakness and humanity in the midst of these fiery guitar tones and pummeling drums. Enjoy!

Mastodon – “Chimes at Midnight”

Back in April, Anthony talked some about “High Road,” the lead single of seminal sludge and prog-metal outfit Mastodon’s forthcoming record Once More ‘Round the Sun. The song had a sweet soaring chorus, managing to maintain the likable catchy quality of the band’s previous effort The Hunter, but thankfully the band had also amped the heaviness back up. As a single, it worked; as a song, it was decent and left us largely optimistic about the new project.

“Chimes at Midnight,” the second glimpse we’ve been given of the album, has us even more positive. It’s still somewhat straightforward, albeit to a lesser extent than “High Road” or anything on The Hunter; but it’s also considerably darker and more progressive, particularly illustrated by the tromping,  synth-laced intro and coda. The art direction for this album appears to be spot-on: fantastical environments both lush and stygian. Let’s hope the whole LP can handle that balance.

Once More ‘Round the Sun is due our June 24 via Reprise.

Mastodon – “High Road”

Mastodon comes through with a new single that pleases and pummels. I’m definitely digging it more than most of what I heard on the Hunter a few years ago.