“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 December 16th — December 22nd.
Sunday, December 16th
Wake – False (2013)
There’s no way to tell exactly what humankind did to piss these Calgary denizens off this much, but please, bipeds; keep it up. This is grind as grind should be: fast, ugly, venomous and meant to be enjoyed at maximum volume for the entire block to hear. There is not a single wasted opportunity on this album. Every track has a certain vitriol that justifies its existence, and not a single one is subtle. And though there are clearly a plethora of influences (think Nasum and Napalm Death having a picnic with Cephalic Carnage, and you’ll get an idea of what to expect), Wake do an incredible job of making something that sounds original; no easy feat in a genre as limited as grind. [Chris Redar]
Monday, December 17th
Wolfbrigade – Damned (2012)
Though it still operates within the paradigm in which the band has always existed, Damned is better than anything they’ve done in ages, easily since before their time off, and arguably since their name change. Sure, it’s not far removed from its predecessors—it’s still Motorhead—and Discharge-indebted d-beat crossed with death metal tones and periodically spiced with moments of surprisingly melodic guitar work. But it’s a more muscular affair than Comalive and Prey—its arrangements are stripped back, and yet beefed up with a distinctly Swedish tint to the guitars, and the entire thing is performed with the palpable fury that characterized Lycanthro Punk almost two decades ago. It’s still d-beat, but it’s more metallic than that record, in both composition and tone. And, of course, none of that would matter if the tunes weren’t well written, but as they always have in their best moments, Wolfbrigade has managed to make their anger memorable. [Andrew Edmunds]
Tuesday, December 18th
Graves At Sea – The Curse That Is (2016)
I don’t recall the last time I encountered heaviness this lumbering at the hands of just one guitar, one bass and one set of drums. Pop this rascal through a nice set of speakers or beefy cans and the opening of “Dead Eyes” will land on your head like an elephant parking its ponderous keister on a dandelion. And “Waco 177”—dutifully dedicated to the biker shootout that occurred in Waco, TX in 2015—wallops like the slowest, greasiest thunder you’ve heard in years. And let me just mention as a brief but fitting tangent, you’re probably doing sludge right when your bass player is named “Sketchy Jeff.” [Captain]
Wednesday, December 19th
Wormed – Krighsu (2016)
What makes this album any different from the countless oceans of over-produced BruTech ™ drech, you ask? Vision, motherfucker, that’s what. Wormed does this awesome thing where certain riffs in certain spots recall past or present riffs, which makes their songs relate to all of their other songs in some fashion. If a band like Tool or Radiohead does that, They get the cover of Rolling Stone. Why not Wormed, I ask? I already imagine Madrid shuts down at least once a day to have a parade for these guys, complete with a kid throwing a bottle of Coke at vocalist Phlegeton and him coming down off of his float to give him his Wormed jersey. [Chris Redar]
Thursday, December 20th
Atrocity – Hallucinations (1990)
Building on the hyperactive technicality of thrashers like Watchtower and Psychotic Waltz, Hallucinations’ arrangements predate the prog-death explorations of Atheist and Cynic by at least a year, although the former of those two also released the forward-thinking and thrash-y Piece Of Time in 1990, hinting at the jazz influence that would flourish on 1991’s Unquestionable Presence. Progressive in the lower-case-P sense of pushing boundaries, not so much in the capital-P sense of showcasing instrumental proficiency, Hallucinations is nevertheless the work of excellent musicians—it’s a stream of shifting tempos, twisting riffs, guitar leads that seldom end up where they appeared to be headed, odd-meter drum breaks, sliding basslines… Though it’s unquestionably early death metal in inception, it’s anything but straightforward—its music is as twisted as its lyrical concept, and as twisted as Giger’s Melting-On-The-TV monster on the cover. [Andrew Edmunds]
Friday, December 21st
The Gault – Even as All Before Us (2005)
The Gault’s pedigree was phenomenal—previous members of Amber Asylum, Weakling, Black Goat and Asunder by way of Sarah Weiner behind the drum kit, Lorraine Rath on bass, and John Gossard on guitar. The result was a strange collection of doomy, gothic noise that wasn’t really doom, goth or noise, and clearly unlike most anything hawked to the metal sphere that didn’t land from the outskirts of 4AD, Cleopatra or some obscure deathrock label.
The songs were long—painfully so at times—and Gossard laid down as many beautifully dismal, Asunder-related licks as he did (what felt like completely improvised) noisy turbulence. “Obliscence,” for example, slogged from the gate to Weiner’s funereal march, and the guitar work scraped and clambered to an uncomfortable clattering peak before finally crashing alongside Rath’s warped bass in its doomed conclusion. That noisiness and overall sense of improvisation prevailed, particularly inside “Hour Before Dawn,” and the record’s general inclination toward a raw looseness ultimately became much more understandable once Gossard eventually admitted in an interview that he was “really, really, REALLY drunk” during its creation. I suppose music has taught us time and again that the most glazed states often create the most perfect storms, so if a Chevy-Chased brain is necessary for the sort of fretwork to be heard around 2:20 into “Outer Dark,” so be it.
Even as All Before Us also managed to sneak in one particularly lethal, uncharted weapon with Ed Kunakemakorn behind the mic. The man had a very particular style of eerie, wounded caterwauling that still managed to sound seductive, so the record displayed all the off-kilter drama that a dude like Andrew Eldritch delivered via Sisters of Mercy, but with a rawer, punk edge similar to Eric Cope’s magnificent Glorious Din, or perhaps shades of Mighty Sphincter. Combine that with the rest of the band’s slow-boiling gloom and you’ve got yourself 74 minutes of the sort of dense, shadowy malaise that could trigger a dense cemetery fog in the middle of the bloody Sahara. Check out “Bright White Blind”—all the players deliver, but pay particular attention to Ed’s misery around the 2:40 mark to fully grasp the extent of his suffering. [Captain]
Saturday, December 22nd
The Prophecy – Into the Light (2009)
Into the Light’s exhibition of the ever present struggle between hope and despair, so familiar to us all, is nothing short of a journey. And in the end the listener is left with “Hope,” the album’s outstanding final track, a piece that humbly pays homage to fellow countrymen, Warning. This excruciatingly poignant song weaves sincerely plaintive vocals into vast expanses of epic doom in reminding us that it is often life’s most tragic moments that bring us back to that for which we can be grateful, that even in loss we can find strength, and that without darkness there can be no light. [Lone Watie]
See you next week.