Yeah, That’s Heavy: Anciients, Cough, Ghostface Killah and more on this week’s playlist
Howdy, Central Floridians! This week features three ball-busting heavy records, a satanic pop opus and a legendary MC’s co-op with an astounding upcoming multi-instrumental music producer I’ve mentioned earlier this year. Onward, to great tunes!
Cough & Windhand – Reflection of the Negative Split EP (Relapse Records)
This weekend’s anthem has been neatly clipped, pressed and wrapped for everyone brilliant enough to have purchased, or pre-ordered, this glorious cylindrical wax. Richmond’s internationally revered ritualistic doom metal outfit Cough have joined forces with their wrathful neighbors Windhand to produce a juxtaposed stoner metal mine full of emerald encrusted riffs. For those unfamiliar with Saint Vitus classic track Born Too Late, the song recounts the life of a man (Wino) who claims to have been born too late into a world that shuns him for his looks and taste. Reflection of the Negative embodies this concept for the sheer reality that this could easily have sound-tracked a mid- to late ’70s short horror film. Motifs of ritual suicide give rhetoric to the deafening laggard crawling that Cough has become known for, and Windhand takes charge of the halfway point mid-tempo upswing. Elements of modern doom and sludge are prevalently crafted to capture the beauty of colossal, carefully (guitar) toned patience and iconic, incendiary intents that Eyehategod, Dopethrone and the like had founded, now expanded into a massive swirl of the two favorite flavors behind stoner metal sweetness. Well-constructed describes this split in a hyphenated word, since most splits don’t pay mind to flow but just smush two singles together between bands that are chums. Reflection of the Negative does exactly the opposite by eloquently implementing sonic and thematic collaboration.
Ghost B.C. – Infestissumam (Sonet Records)
Disclaimer: If you’re Christian, this band will probably offend you, so just keep scrolling to the hip-hop record below unless you can handle the overabundant Satanic allusions on an artistic level.
It’s funny that one frequented stereotype for recently re-titled Pseudonym-ous Satan supplicants, Ghost B.C. (formerly just Ghost), is that the majority of discussion remains at a sensory first-reaction standard. IE: Love it er hate it! If nothing else, this band should win at least five awards for starting the most IMN (internet metal nerd) arguments between their founding year, 2008, and now. Fans will draw enamored, and obvious, comparisons to King Diamond and/or Mercyful Fate while haters will sling pies across the cafeteria denouncing Ghost as a burnt, bland Blue Oyster Cult photocopy. Personally, I feel both over-generalize Ghost’s hellish hooks and redoubtable refrains. There’s definitely a lot of classic metal nuggets to be found here, but Ghost takes a few sharp right turns into unclassifiable (for genre dorks anyway) stilling segues that violate the calming instrumentation with cultish tales of a squalid, supernatural Zombie Queen, for example. And if you’re looking for a mantra to get stuck in your head for days, don’t skip the track entitled Year Zero. You’ll end up like me, merrily prancing through your home singing either the actual chorus “Asmodius. Satanas. Lucifer,” or some bastardized parody like mine: “Metallica. Megadeath. Mephisto.”
Ghostface Killah & Adrian Younge – Twelve Reasons to Die (Soul Temple Records)
Adrian Younge knows how to immediately demand my attention. This newest collaboration begins with the following verse: “He spares no one. He was forgotten, but he was someone. So, beware of the stare of the Ghostface Killah,” sang as a refrain throughout track one by a collective soulful company of women. This album carries a story of a comic book by the same name, and is consequently also narrated by RZA (who also filled executive producer duties). The vernacular doesn’t compromise narrative cohesion while slicing most competing contemporary MCs to shreds with his succinct syllabic strike work. With records like this one, and Wolf by Tyler the Creator, I hope a new standard for beats raises the bar for what the average person identifies as “hip-hop” in 2013.
Anciients – Heart of Oak (Season of Mist)
Everyone knows there’s no I in team and two heads are better than one. That said, Vancouver’s Anciients verifies now that two I’s (eyes?) are better than one. Their LP, Heart of Oak, was rather anticipated by me since their debut, the Snakebeard 7”, was merely a cheese block on a whole wheat crisp to HoO’s two-course spread of progressively minded psyche-metal. That’s makes them my honorary Rookie of the Week. Oak Heart’s jams will demand a lengthy attention, but what memorable journeys don’t? Obvious allusions drawn to early(ish) era Mastodon are great for tapping on the outer shell, but an intent ear will discover a progression in the blackened vocal mix-ups, trudging desert(ed) vocals, and spontaneous thrashin’ double times. Their report card reads “A+” for riff synergy since layering harmonies with hallways leading to solos or a smooth segue accurately indicates prog(ression) rather than hot steamy djent log. If you’ve been hesitant to try a “sludge” band due to the orthodox pacing of an upside down turtle, then Anciients poses perfect experimentation for any speed-conscious metal fan.
Todtgelichter – Apnoe (Code 666 Records)
Words like suicidal and depressive find their way into what most describe as Black Metal in ways not expected. Even for me I always think “oh, like Lifelover or Shining right?” first off, but that’s not always the case. Motif does not require a specific grating tone, and Todtgelichter keeps their corrosive cuts emphasizing invigorating lyrical introspection rather than the embodied agony that defined their three previous releases. Let me just make this clear, this record would barely qualify as black metal to most, in the same way Alcest is called Black Metal, but the elements of balancing the tidy-toned tremolos and evocative singing remain no simple task. Apnoe will spark allusions to atmosphere-oriented metal (see also Falloch and Old Silver Key) but takes their unique stake in how songs cull elegantly emptying arrangements and lurid feminine trill. Traditional black metal ears will scoff at Apnoe most likely, but those who give notice to mellowing sound-scaping, and the occasional “tortured part,” could become quite cozy.