“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 feature that gathers the albums in a single piece on a weekly basis.
Here are the seven albums we picked for the week of October 14th — October 20th.
Sunday, October 14th
Nekromantheon – Rise, Vulcan Spectre (2012)
Flip the switch on your time machine and head down to an arcade circa 1988 to interrogate any and all degenerates who spend afternoons pumping quarters into Super Contra about what it is with regard to thrash metal that they love so much, 10/10 would give answers similar to: “I love it when the riffing carves my face off,” “I love it when the rack toms batter my skull into a snortable powder,” “I love it when the vocals snarl like busted-ass ’72 Enticer on its last skis,” or “I love it when it goes so damned fast my brains liquify and blow out of my ears.” Death, basically. They like to be literally killed by their thrash metal. Well, you filthy animals, you don’t have to dial back the years to get that same effect, thanks to records like Nekromantheon’s supreme Rise, Vulcan Spectre. This sucker packs all the killing technology of early Voivod and every ounce of the black thrash attack of ancient Aura Noir and fires it directly into your face with both barrels. [Captain]
Monday, October 15th
Prophecy Of Doom – Acknowledge the Confusion Master (1990)
England’s Prophecy Of Doom probably didn’t do themselves much favor by releasing a debut that was every bit as nutcased as it was scatterbrained. Grindcrust death/doom? Sure, why not—Acknowledge The Confusion Master sounded like a collision between Subconscious Terror-era Benediction and early Napalm Death after being dragged through a vat of psychiatric ward tapioca pudding. The whole thing sounds like an incredibly slow-moving train about to derail, and vocalist Shrew was providing sanatorium shrieks long before Nattramn ever got fitted for his first straightjacket. Progression through insanity! [Captain]
Tuesday, October 16th
Metal Church – The Dark (1986)
Something we all enjoy discussing around the water cooler relates to those albums from yesteryear that succeeded in sounding unique enough that nothing else over the years ever managed to make a true counterfeit. The Dark was one of those records, if you’re willing to forget the fact that David Wayne’s subsequent Reverend project tried to pick up where this left off, but in a decidedly less successful manner. Everything Metal Church delivered here screams “mid-80s’ headbanger”—that immediately recognizable blend of traditional heavy metal and a more sober form of thrash, the sort of makeshift “straight-to-VHS horror movie” album cover, and particularly that tinny / machine-driven production style that was left behind by the end of the decade. But combine all that with Wayne’s decidedly singular rasp and the band’s rare talent for thrash ballads and you’ve got one of the more “One And Only” records in metal’s long history. [Captain]
Wednesday, October 17th
Praxis – Transmutation (1992)
Put that big fat pibble up the dibble and zip the lip that can’t sip on this trip, baby. Not metal! How dare you! How dare we! A little. Chicken of the sea, bawble. It’s a funky dunky spunky stribble that’s fired ’n’ forged in Galactus’ Kiln into an unyielding armor that’s ready to protect and serve in the defense of all y’all’s stank-ass iron citadels. Not iron enough for you, worrior? WEEP IN THE HALL. Because what IF Funkadelic lead the fight?? Bend the damned knee before thine King, strap that Bootsie basstard sword to your back, don that tungsten buckethelm, and prepare for glorious battle. Smellin’ funky long before nu knew what to doo, pooh. [Captain]
Thursday, October 18th
Armored Saint – Raising Fear (1987)
Symbol of Salvation may be their best known effort, but for me it’s got a lock on the fourth spot. The top three? Well that’s a toss-up. As awesome as Symbol is, the first three records are just a little stronger. These days, Raising Fear is my most played. It’s the heaviest record the Saint has ever made, due in part to a downright unhinged vocal performance from John Bush. Ignore that silly record company directed cover track, and you, my friends, have a perfect heavy metal record. [Matthew Cooper]
Friday, October 19th
Ahab – The Call of the Wretched Sea (2006)
The Call of the Wretched Sea is a cumbrously heavy record. The kind of heavy that leaves one asking, “are the members of this band actually whales?” In terms of scope, it would be best compared to the latest Catacombs in that it does not rely on dooming the listener with sadness, per say, but opts to pummel slooooowly into ruinous misery.
Daniel Droste’s vocals are deep enough to crack the enamel on your teeth, and they sound more likely to have been belched forth from Old Thunder himself, as opposed to a mere human. Nestled directly alongside his guttural growls are loads of bloody, jiggling, blubbered, fat RIFFS chopped directly off the haunch of ol’ Nessie herself, plus a killing blow delivered via the hands of the thundering rhythm of session drummer Carny Althammer, whose presence on The Call of the Wretched Sea is MASSIVE.
Ahab also show they’re unafraid to mingle styles by tossing in generous doses of quieter elements to help offset the heavier passages, giving the whole of the record a beautiful ebb and flow, very much like standing directly on the bow of The Pequod with the rest of her doomed crew. Songs such as “Below the Sun,” “The Pacific” and “Old Thunder” all rely on pepperings of melodic, often beautiful lead guitar work, with the latter opening with a particularly slow, mournful lick. The band also uses plenty of clean, often chanted vocals to break up Droste’s glottal bellows, particularly within “The Sermon,” which spotlights a quiet “Rime of the Ancient Mariner”-esque breakdown that incorporates a long sample from one of the film adaptations of this classic tale. [Captain]
Saturday, October 20th
Crowpath – Son of Sulphur (2005)
Crowpath hails from Sweden but has shrugged off the melodic tendencies of many of their compatriots. Looking for a catchy intro? No time. A nice melodic chorus? Fuck you. This band has little use for melody at all, and although this time out they find a little more room for it, we’re still talking jagged shards of dissonance–not exactly anything to hum along with. Drew Ailes was exactly right when in his review of Red on Chrome he said that the album was the first thing to reach for when you want to terrorize your non-metal friends, and that it sounded like the band were playing for their lives. Son of Sulphur, just like its predecessor Red on Chrome, is quite simply a pipe bomb of an album. The way the band’s bizarre, jagged technicality and hammering brutality lurch and collide, you’d think they grabbed the devil by the tail and just held on for dear life. Drummer Eric Hall’s beastly, scattered, and flat out amazing drum work just barely harnesses chaos, as the guitars dive and slice wildly and front man Henrik Ivarsson howls like a tortured/torturing maniac. But for a band that deals in chaos, Crowpath isn’t what’s usually diplomatically referred to as “a difficult listen”. Most will find it doesn’t take a handful of listens to become acclimated to their material. It’s tough to follow but quite easy to enjoy, and without sacrificing a shred of mind-bending technical battery, Son of Sulphur gets the blood pumping from the get go. [Matthew Cooper]
See you next week.