“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 April 14th — April 20th.
Sunday, April 14th
Sorcerer – The Crowning Of The Fire King (2017)
Everything that made In the Shadow of the Inverted Cross such and exceptional record can be found on Fire King, most notably the world-class vocals of Anders Endberg and the brilliant leads by the guitar team of Kristian Niemann and Peter Hallgren. If Fire King differs significantly from its predecessor, it is that it leans more toward the lushly melodic side of traditional doom. It’s a little more While Heaven Wept, a little less Candlemass.
If you were to take only one thing away from The Crowning of the Fire King it would be huge, soaring, majestic choruses. While nearly ever chorus on every track is notable, “Abandoned by the Gods” and the title track are the cream of the crop; these two tracks’ choruses are each great swells of beautiful sound that will lift your heart in spite of their dark subject matter. Endberg’s voice was made for this sort of thing: being powerful, high and clear, it is able to wring the most from each well-placed note, delivering pure melody unfettered by unnecessary vocal gymnastics. [Jeremy Morse]
Monday, April 15th
W.A.S.P. – The Headless Children (1989)
30th anniversary of a classic!
“The Headless Children found W.A.S.P. largely, but not entirely, forgoing the sleaze and debauchery that characterized its previous work, and addressing more serious matters, from drug addiction and societal decay to motorcycles and some crazy dude who likes to blow shit up. Okay, so not every song deals with weighty matters, but the album is as a whole a heavier beast, both musically and thematically, than its predecessors.” [Jeremy Morse]
Tuesday, April 16th
Steve Von Till – A Life Unto Itself (2015)
As a member of Oakland’s Neurosis since the late 1980s, Steve Von Till has been a part of some of the heaviest of all heavy records. That band’s sludgy hardcore-to-post-metal mixture is relentlessly crushing, cinematically beautiful in its epic scope. So it should be little surprise that Von Till’s solo work is equally dark and brooding, and equally evocative, even if it’s sonically a far cry from his primary outfit.
Like 2000’s As The Crow Flies, Life crawls by at a torturously slow trudge, sparse chords and simple riffs repeating until they’re drilled well into your brain. Stylistically, it follows the same path as before: Acoustic guitars provide the basis of most of the songs; Eyvind Kang’s viola and Jay Kardong’s pedal steel add color, while periodic swells of noisy droning electric guitar chords and synthesizers bring the dark dynamics that keep Life from falling down. Atop it all stands Von Till’s world-weary voice, a gravelly growling baritone that, like all of this, owes much to the brooding rootsy work of Mark Lanegan. Like his songcraft, Von Till’s voice has markedly improved in the decade and a half since his solo debut, becoming increasingly rougher but in a great way, now with more character and more grit.
Heaviness comes in many forms; loud or quiet, full or sparse, Steve Von Till knows heavy.
Wednesday, April 17th
Vorum – Current Mouth (2015)
Vorum‘s brand-new EP spends exactly zero time fucking around. Not a single wasted riff, beat, break, yell, or solo; zero-point-goddamned-zero seconds of fucking around. From the first moment of “Angels Death” to the last squalling gasp of “Hungry Wounds,” Current Mouth is eighteen minutes of essentially perfect death metal, and, friend, if you need much more convincing than that, then you and I are strangers sailing very different ships.
This is death metal played for the sheer joy of it, and thus while Vorum almost certainly take themselves Very Seriously, you can still hear the smiles shining through. The half-time stomp break in the middle of “In Grime In Lust” is only one example of the unabashed fun to be found, and while Current Mouth occasionally sounds like the unhinged spiritual twin to Deathspell Omega‘s Drought, at other times it spits out a gruesomely beautiful set of leads that sounds like someone took Dissection‘s The Somberlain and dredged it through 10,000 sewers. [Dan Obstkrieg]
Thursday, April 18th
Type O Negative – Dead Again (2007)
After releasing what was arguably their most lyrically disheartening and musically melancholic music to date in Life is Killing Me, Dead Again sees Type O Negative flip the coin over and take a slightly different approach, writing and recording their most optimistic and positive sounding album that screams of hope and anticipation of better days to come in this unpredictable life we all lead. Musically, it’s modern day Type O Negative, and that’s evident right from the get go. The keyboards still play a prominent role like always, the synthesized guitar tone is just as crunchy and hefty as expected, and most importantly Steele continues to unleash all of his life’s experiences through his words and voice—certainly one of the most unique in all of music. From his low end Lurch meets Herman Munster drone, to his aggressively emotional melodies and anger driven howls, to his chant-like humorous and tongue twisting lyrics…it’s all there and has never sounded better.
At the end of the day Type O Negative is a band that is peerless in the world of extreme music, as they sound exactly like themselves and no one band sounds exactly like them. That’s a very rare trait, but an impressive one at that. No, the band has not changed their sound or evolved it in any way, shape or form; when you press play you will know it is Type O Negative, and that’s enough for me. Top-notch production, first-class songwriting, and competent musicianship all play an integral part in making this one of 2007’s shining moments. [John Eardley]
Friday, April 19th
Scythian – Hubris In Excelsis (2015)
Put simply, this is one of the better black/thrash albums in recent memory, and deserves to be spoken alongside the only albums we have yet received from the likes of Craven Idol and Razor of Occam.
The usual sources are all present: Destroyer 666, Aura Noir, that Hell Awaits rippery. Beyond the obvious, however, is the ever-present Bathory influence, and not just one era, but as much Hammerheart as the expected Return. “Apocalyptic Visions” opens with Bathory’s classic electric/acoustic co-strumming, and gets heavy with the bombastic landings; “Three Stigmata” adopts that unmistakeable “A Fine Day to Die” vibe; hell, the whole thing is spiced with the types of chants and rhythms that should be familiar to any fan of the Viking era. [Zach Duvall]
Saturday, April 20th
Mongrel’s Cross – The Sins Of Aquarius (2012)
Judged solely on the merits of its black/thrash output, Australia must be a filthy, disgusting, and, well, pretty awesome place. With the likes of Deströyer 666, Assaulter, Bestial Warlust, Razor of Occam, Vomitor, Gospel of the Horns, and so on, one would think the country had wrung just about as much filth out of its bones as possible. The venerable Hell’s Headbangers has unearthed another gleaming gem of adrenaline-fueled cantankerous noise, however, in the form of Brisbane’s perfectly-named Mongrel’s Cross, whose debut full-length The Sins of Aquarius falls in line perfectly next to Desaster, Aura Noir, and Nekromantheon as part of 2012’s premier league of destruction.
Right from the first churning riff, The Sins of Aquarius means goddamn business. Guitarist Grand Mongrel’s vocals are a static, hostile racket, and every last song is absolutely stuffed with top-notch riffs and an unyielding pulse of feral aggression. The opening title track’s chorus stamps around in a barely-restrained thrashing gallop, while “Rabid Inception” teeters between reckless blast-furnace speed and deliberate hammer-striking stutter-stomp sections, all the while lurching forward like a severely distempered beast. As the album blooms further, I find myself occasionally wishing the guitars were a little sharper to allow the riffs to scythe more fully through the wardrums and hellbass and all that, but the sound as a whole works seamlessly to propagate an uneasily-controlled violence. [Dan Obstkrieg]
See you next week.