“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 28th — November 3rd.
Sunday, October 28th
Coven – Witchcraft Destroys Minds And Reaps Souls (1969)
Ok, so Coven is not heavy metal. However, it would be impossible to deny the Chicago psychedelic rock group at the very least a nod for their influence on the genre, doom in particular. Having more in common musically with Jefferson Airplane than with Black Sabbath, Coven chose a darker approach to the mysticism of the hippie movement on Witchcraft (Destroys Minds And Reaps Souls), exploring the themes of witchcraft and the occult. Their theatrical live performances included a black mass (for which the audio can be found at the end of the album). Songs like “Coven In Charing Cross” tell of a baby blood-drinking cult performing rituals in the woods, complete with chanted interludes throughout the song that help bring it to life. The boogie vibe on “For Unlawful Carnal Knowledge” sounds like a Grateful Dead number, though the chorus of “everything she touches dies” adds a touch of the macabre that juxtaposes the feel of the music. The blues roots element is strong, particularly on tracks such as “Wicked Woman,” and the conviction in lead vocalist Jinx’s cries of “you go to hell!” drive their darker undercurrents home. While the group is obviously not a heavy metal band, Coven still laid some essential groundwork in the aesthetic that would be brought to full fruition in heavy metal, and one that pairs like a fine wine in the season of Halloween. [Ryan Tysinger]
Monday, October 29th
Summum – Benedictus Qui Venit In Nomine Domine – Redeamus Ad Mort Domine (2014)
While not necessarily a Halloween-themed release, the atmosphere on this one is sheer evil. Sweden’s Summum, one of the many projects the prolific Swartadauþuz has released under his Mysticism Productions banner, falls somewhere between the realms of avant-garde, black/doom, and black/death. Benedictus Qui Venit In Nomine Domine – Redeamus Ad Mort Domine is itself a single, 43-minute track that sounds like a jam session of sorts, pieced together with some masterful recording techniques. Relying heavily on atmosphere, there is no discernible pattern or song for the first eight minutes. It essentially sounds like a band going through a sound check or warm up, but there is something in the unpredictability of it that builds suspense, feeling like the song is about to kick in before dying back down. And when it finally does, it hits. The guitar sound is heavy as all hell, the repeated, down-tuned, primitive riff feels sluggish, as if weighted down by guilt and sin. The drums are deep and steady with plenty of flourish and color and the vocal screams cry out in anguish from a place much worse than hell. The entire release hinges on these moments, of descending back to the atmospheric chaos before coming back together and again deconstructing. It makes for a strange but irresistible listening experience for those on the lookout for the creepy-to-truly disturbing gems on the fringes of extreme metal.
Would recommend playing on the porch if you want to scare the ever-loving shit out of some trick-or-treaters. [Ryan Tysinger]
Tuesday, October 30th
Fates Warning – Theories Of Flight (2016)
Even the worst Fates Warning album (which is probably either FWX or Disconnected) is a good album. Long the reigning kings of progressive metal, after the turn of the millennium, Fates Warning had settled into a comfortable mid-level groove. Darkness In A Different Light righted the ship a bit, and Theories Of Flight knocked them back up a notch, proving the band still had quite a lot of spark left. It’s in much the same moody prog-rock vein as all the Alder era discs, but it’s stronger, more dynamic, just simply better than all but the best of those albums. Tracks like “Seven Stars,” “The Light And Shade Of Things,” and “SOS” are rife with Fates’ signature complex-and-yet-catchy arrangements, killer Matheos guitar work, and Alder’s soaring vocals. Fates Warning never fails, but it’s good to hear them succeed like this again. [Andrew Edmunds]
Wednesday, October 31st
Abysmal Grief – Misfortune (2009)
Italy is well-known for its approach to horror, often infusing gothic stylings into both film and music. Combining this with the prerequisite gothic undertones of doom metal, Abysmal Grief deliver the sounds of cult horror films as an art. The crux of their atmosphere lies on the organs that invoke tones that just emanate spookiness. Misfortune is pure eeriness—the eeriness of a creaking in the floorboards or a swift movement in the shadows, of a moonlit walk through the cemetery or of a coffin lid creaking open ever so slowly. Sure, it could be written off as cheesy but Abysmal Grief pull it off. The groan of the vocals is a perfect match for the style: the sounds of a tortured soul regaling his audience with the horrors of a ghostly existence, forever shackled to the world of the living. Repetition is key: Abysmal Grief put atmosphere above all else and allow it to soak in with the patience of true craftsman of the slow and heavy. This is pure, all minor key doom that was created to be played in celebration of All Hallow’s Eve. [Ryan Tysinger]
Thursday, November 1st
Chepang – Dadhelo – A Tale Of Wildfire (2017)
Everyone’s favorite Nepalese grindcore quintet dropped this scorcher of a record at the end of last year, their first full-length after the similarly devastating Lathi Charge the year prior. Driven by dueling drummers and voiced by dueling vocalists, Chepang’s ferocious grinding takes the blastbeating fury of the style and twists the form subtly, adding enough slightly disparate elements to keep their self-proclaimed “immigrindcore” just a few steps away from the norm. From the catchy punky riffs of “Auda” to the hardcore bounce of “Sojho Lato Pasu” to the blistering “Choila” with its brief guitar-god solo and closing bulldozer trudge, Dadhelo is filled with fiery rage, and by the time the five-minute “Zerstoerung” closes the album with a d-beat drive and lurching chords (and a brief acoustic ballad), the ears are bloodied, the brain is beaten, the blood is pumping… and that’s exactly how grindcore should be. The price is right, too, so head on over to Bandcamp and throw ’em a bone. [Andrew Edmunds]
Friday, November 2nd
Ludichrist – Powertrip (1988)
Before there was the groovy crossover thrash of Power Trip the band, there was the groovy crossover thrash of Powertrip the album, the second from Long Island thrash-punks Ludichrist. Though they weren’t quite on the level of your Suicidal Tendencies’ or your DRI’s, in their five-year run, Ludichrist nevertheless spit forth two strong platters of hardcore-leaning thrash, of which Powertrip is the second. Sure, a few moments on hand fall prey to crossover’s unfortunate tendency towards tongue-in-cheek party humor—most notably (and obviously) “This Party Sucks,” which isn’t a bad track, just a ridiculous one—and a few riffs diverge into the funky silliness of post-Ludichrist outfit Scatterbrain (see: “The Tip Of My Mind”), for the most part, Powertrip is a solid slab of crossover fun, all palm-muted riff and shout-along chorus and perfectly constructed moshworthy groove. Though it’s sadly not likely to convert the unconverted to the wonders of crossover, Powertrip (the album) remains an oft-unheralded gem for the dedicated thrasher, and one worthy of a listen if the likes of the Crumbsuckers, Excel, or Attitude Adjustment get your interest piqued. [Andrew Edmunds]
Saturday, November 3rd
Edge of Sanity – Crimson (1996)
Once upon a time, melodic death metal was actually heavy, and the ‘progressive’ tag wasn’t shorthand for jazz beats, fretless bass and vocoders. For proof, give this underrated classic a spin. Crimson isn’t terribly approachable—it’s a single, 40-minute composition. But accessible or not, it’s a thrilling, enthralling listen. For all the curveballs Edge of Sanity throws, they never forget that they’re a burly-as-fuck Swedish death metal group. Crimson should be required listening for anyone who thinks Obscura and Decrepit Birth are the be-all and end-all of proggy DM.
See you next week.