Welcome to Crack’s monthly round-up of extreme music
Make no mistake, the fringes of music are closing in on you. A world preoccupied by weighty, formless experiments, corpse painted theatrics and palm-muted misery is now but a click away. Those record sleeves decked with unreadable logos – the ones formerly only available in specialist shops in grimy small town malls – are now yours for the taking.
In the last few years the heaviest, most difficult artists committing their work to tape have been able to find an audience with relative ease. Sure, the audiences might not be huge but they’re always fiercely devoted. It’s a beautiful mystery. What seems totally absurd to one listener completely absorbs another. Those who are absorbed? They’re in it for life.
Grindcore, black metal, death metal, power electronics – call it what you like – each month we’re rounding up the best extreme music we can find on the internet and feeding it back to you.
3((0)),((0))((0))((0)) M((O))NKIES – WATCH THE DR((O))NETartarus Records
The prize for best Kanye-themed pun in a metal album this month goes to 30,000 Monkies for their new tape on Tartarus WATCH THE DR((O))NE. Not only does it riff (geddit?) on that Kanye and Jay-Z tape it also incorporates the brackety things so beloved of ol’ Steve and Greg.
The tape was originally released as an April Fools joke by Tartarus who very firmly stated that it would never be online and refused to reveal who it was by until two weeks had passed. Eventually WATCH THE DR((O))NE appeared on Soundcloud and boy was it ever worth the wait.
The Belgian four-piece have outdone themselves with some seriously sludgy, belligerent doom that occasionally borders on the sadistic in its tension. The chugs and pelts that ring throughout are complimented by scratching strings and atmospheric scrapes.
I literally can’t wait for them to drop 8((0))8s and Heartbreak. Sorry not sorry.
Nails - Savage IntoleranceNuclear Blast Records
Despite their best attempts to keep a low profile California’s Nails have managed to make a big impact on the underground music world since forming back in 2009. The band, now whittled down to a three-piece, are just about to release their next album You Will Never Be One of Us on Nuclear Blast and Savage Intolerance is the first taste of what to expect.
The grainy video reflects the song’s intensity as images of maggots, suicide and general gruesome fuckery flicker away to the sound of chainsawing grindcore. The last minute is littered with pinch harmonics and blastbeats that wipe away any doubt about Nails being one of the most extreme bands to emerge from the US grind scene in years.
Howls of Ebb - Cursus Impasse: The Pendlomic VowsNuclear War Now Recordings
Having already released two albums under his Howls of Ebb moniker on the respected I, Voidhanger label Patrick Brown aka Zee-Luuuvft-Huund is building a swell of anticipation with his avant-garde take on doom metal.
As a former guitarist and chief-songwriter for various Kansas City, MO bands including Ligeia and Nepenthe Brown has been known to be party to some of the most out there experiments in metal and the ridiculously named Cursus Impasse: The Pendlomic Vows is no exception.
The record is part jazz beast, part sludge monster and part black metal mammoth. The whole thing verges on becoming completely ludicrous at some points but all in all it’s a charmingly idiosyncratic record that’s been touched by true chaos.
Imperial Triumphant - Inceste EPRedefining Darkness Records
Imperial Triumphant are a disorientating and difficult band. That’s not an insult, it’s just the truth. They sit alongside fellow New Yorkers Liturgy as one of a handful of bands currently doing everything they can to rework the black metal template into new realms of experimentalism.
Inceste sees the band pushing their atonal framework even further and triumphs in its all-out weirdness. They seem to have a canny knack of make the wrongs notes work and the right ones sound downright strange. Inceste is as uncomfortable and demanding as anything IT have released before and it’s also probably the best record they’ve put out to date.
Skullshitter – Feral LawsSelf-Released
Brooklyn’s Skullshitter may have just knocked Pissgrave off the top of the most vom-inducing band name of the decade list.
Their debut EP Feral Laws is a lo-fi grindcore affair that comes across like a slightly doomier Napalm Death.
To be completely honest I’m not even sure if it’s good or not.
Fuck it, what am I saying? They’ve called themselves Skullshitter! That is literally enough for me.
Nostrum – PainstakerNo One’s Ark Records
From the obscene to the sublime with Canadian death metallers Nostrum. The Victoria, BC crew are back with a new EP this month and in my humble opinion it’s edging on perfection. Painstaker runs across three songs of epic, clawing doom-drenched death metal.
Opener Compelled is both cavernous and claustrophobic in turns and sees the band’s vocalist Alana pushing towards the extremes of human possibility as ferocious blastbeats, downtuned riffs and piercing taps crash around her.
The only thing Nostrum are lacking at this point is a loyal cult following but I’ve got a feeling that’s all about to change.
Head Wound City - A New Wave of ViolenceVice Records
Of course everyone’s still hoping that 2016 will be the year that long-awaited Blood Brothers comeback album finally surfaces. But, let’s face it, that’s probably not going to happen.
Head Wound City has, however, reunited the band’s guitarist Cody Votalato and vocalist Jordan Blillie and put them up alongside Justin Pearson of noisegrind pioneers The Locust, Nick Zinner from New York indie band Yeah, Yeah, Yeahs and Gabe Serbian of extreme metal legends Cattle Decapitation.
Despite having been a band since 2005 A New Wave of Violence is the band’s first album and it’s full of the kind of head-swirling, experimental metal we’ve come to expect from every member of the band’s line-up. Here’s to hoping they keep the ball rolling.