“Album Of The Day” is a Last Rites Facebook feature we started whose purpose is quite straight-forward: highlight one album per day and say a few words about it. Understanding that not everyone chooses to participate in the booking of faces, we thought it might be nice to toss in a new feature that gathers the albums in a single piece on a weekly basis.
Here are the seven albums we picked for the week of June 3rd — June 9th.
Sunday, June 3rd
Marțolea – Noaptea Dihăniilor (2010)
Following his performance of kaval and pan flute on Negură Bunget’s monumental Om, Alin Drimuș decided to try his hand at the one-man-black-metal project. After a quality demo, his project Marțolea released the hypnotic, soothing bit of black metal goodness named Noaptea Dihăniilor. Largely a mid-paced affair, the album is loaded with occasionally playful flute melodies, gorgeous leads, harsh and sung vocals, and raw, simplistic-but-infectious riffs (plus some mouth harp and alphorn for good measure). Whether it’s a tad bouncy, hits the doom a little harder, or dives into a sharper, tremolo-focused attack, the album shows a knack for touch and dynamics. But more than that, it’s really the cold-mist-between-the-trees grayness that Marțolea was able to inject into every minute that makes it special. Imagine the smoke from your dying campfire mixing with that emerging from your intricately-carved pipe and then slowly becoming one with the mountain fog. That’s Noaptea Dihăniilor. [Zach Duvall]
Monday, June 4th
Released on this day 35 years ago!
Motörhead – Another Perfect Day (1983)
Let’s be honest: “another perfect day” is any day you get to listen to Motörhead.
The odd duck in theMotörhead catalog, Another Perfect Day falls between the end of the classic line-up of the band, and the beginning of… the other classic line-up of the band. The soleMotörhead album to feature ex-Thin Lizzy guitarist Brian Robertson, Another Perfect Day isn’t as rollicking as the albums that surround it, more mid-tempo and more melodic, but it’s still Lemmy and Philthy bashing through rough-and-ready rock ‘n’ roll with their signature middle-finger-in-the-air attitude. “Dancing On Your Grave” and “Shine” are the two best known tracks, but there’s fun in “Back On The Funny Farm,” and in the title track, and in “I Got Mine.” Given a chilly reception upon its initial release—and often cited as a low-point by Lemmy himself—Another Perfect Day deserves a second chance: It’s not Motörhead’s finest album, but it’s absolutely a hidden gem in a discography full of stand-outs. [Andrew Edmunds]
Tuesday, June 5th
Starkweather – Croatoan (2005)
If you formed a Venn diagram with one side showing the most influential and singular bands of all time, and the other showing the least appreciated, Starkweather would likely show up in the overlap. Croatoan is their grooving, punishing, unrelenting 2005 masterpiece, an album that saw them up the death metal element of their metalcore/noise/sludge/death hybrid. All 54 minutes and 11 seconds of this monster are designed to punish, pummel, maim, bludgeon, and crush, and not always physically. The vocals of Rennie Resmini—which range from throaty rasps and near growls to snide wails and haunting singing—add a cerebral element to the band that can catch you off guard when all you want to do is get down with the sick, irresistible grooves. And periods of harsh dissonance will put you into stasis just in time for a bonkers breakdown to move mountains (just listen to the attached track). Without even the faintest shadow of the smallest doubt one of the heaviest albums ever put to tape, in every possible facet of the word. [Zach Duvall]
Wednesday, June 6th
Megadeth – Killing Is My Business… And Business Is Good (1985)
When most people talk about the Best Megadeth Album, opinion seems to bounce between Peace Sells… But Who’s Buying? and Rust In Peace—but no slight intended to either of those Very Fine Records, but my vote has always gone to this debut. Fresh off his ousting from Metallica, Mustaine is even more pissed-off than usual on Killing Is My Business, and his band is rough and raw and ripping. From the uncharacteristic piano opening of “Last Rites / Loved To Death,” Killing Is My Business lays waste to everything in its path, faster and crazier than anything in the burgeoning American thrash scene at the time. It’s a level of ferocity that Megadeth would never again achieve, trading their youthful exuberance for a more polished and technical approach on their way to the top. Between the likes of “Rattlehead,” “Skull Beneath The Skin,” the title track, and “Mechanix,” there’s much feral madness within—in fact, toss off the tossed-off cover of Nancy Sinatra’s “These Boots,” and you’ve got one of the finest thrash albums of the day. [Andrew Edmunds]
Thursday, June 7th
The Chasm – Deathcult For Eternity: The Triumph (1998)
Generally speaking, seasoned metal fans have a pretty good idea of what to expect when someone hands them a death metal record to check out—bands such as Morbid Angel, Autopsy, Incantation, Entombed, et al. have all clearly made an indefatigable mark on our genre. The Chasm, however, has spent the better part of the last 25 years kicking through death metal conventions, and one need look no further than 1998’s remarkable Deathcult For Eternity: The Triumph for evidence of a band that truly understands how to bend tradition to their will. The music still clearly falls inside death metal’s general confines, but there’s really not much that sounds typically Swedish, Floridian or Finnish here, which makes sense, considering one of its principle architects, Daniel Corchado, cut his teeth in the Mexican scene way back when via the nearly as unconventional Cenotaph. (The Gloomy Reflections of Our Hidden Sorrows, anyone?)
One thing for certain, these guys have a genuine love for heavy metal, as most every record has a tendency to blend death metal with bits of trad, thrash, black metal and nearly everything in-between, and that obviously includes Deathcult. One listen to “I’m the Hateful Raven” should be enough for the hard sell: Fast, slightly off-kilter speed eventually scoots into a wonderfully grim slow stretch that gets peppered with creepy acoustic plucking before all hell breaks loose around 3:38. Twists and turns such as this are scattered throughout Deathcult, and the record’s production does a wonderful job of reflecting the band’s penchant for keeping things raw without ever fulling careening off the rails.
Celebrate The Chasm more often, please, because this band represents true melodic, progressive and atmospheric death metal without all the trendy bullshit that has a tendency to get attached to such descriptors in the modern age. Also, please get them on the bill for MDF 2019. [Captain]
Friday, June 8th
Nasheim – Solens Vemod (2014)
A full ten years separated Nasheim’s excellent demo compilation Evighet/Undergang and the full-length Solens Vemod. As befits that long gestation, the one-man Swedish band’s proper debut is richly textured, carefully crafted, and exceedingly deliberate. Erik Grahn’s melodies slink across chiming arpeggios, and although every instrument feels thickly taut, the intensity of the album mostly comes from its sustained mood of aggrieved melancholy. In the past few years, Northern Silence’s roster of releases has tilted a little too heavily in favor of “poor and overly happy imitations of Summoning” black metal, but Solens Vemod remains a darkly glittering gem of grim beauty. [Dan Obstkrieg]
Saturday, June 9th
Testament – Low (1994)
The declines in quality on both Souls of Black and The Ritual were signs that the classic lineup of Testament was losing steam. While Alex Skolnick is generally seen as THE Testament lead guitarist, his departure before 1994’s Low—along with that of drummer Louie Clemente—may have helped to galvanize the band into a resurgence. With James Murphy and John Tempesta in the ranks, Testament released their heaviest album to date; Low added some 90s groove without feeling knuckle-dragging and constantly flirted with death metal. Songs such as “Dog Faced Gods” and the title track dropped the heft hammer, while “Hail Mary” showed an ability to get heavier AND hookier at the same time. But despite the album’s forays into extremity, its highlight is likely “metal ballad” “Trail of Tears,” an obvious tribute to vocalist Chuck Billy’s Native American heritage. A dynamic swell in the style of Testament’s own “The Legacy” or Metallica’s “Fade to Black,” it culminates in a stunning solo by Murphy. When juxtaposed against the beefier material, it helps to make Low Testament’s most sprawling album in terms of style. [Zach Duvall]
See you next week.