The Axis of Perdition: Deleted Scenes from the Transition Hospital
This isn’t just music, this is an experience. A twisted, brainsick experience capable of warping minds and destroying central nervous systems. The Axis of Perdition, a deliciously sinister dark ambient/industrial black metal outfit with the propensity to produce the sonic equivalent of the Rapture in full reverse, has created the auditory parallel to a horror movie known as the Transition Hospital where tortured screams permeate the air while buzzing, hissing, slamming doors, and sometimes unidentifiable noises arise from the darkness. Confine yourself in a pitch black room, put on your headphones, crank up the volume and let your imagination do the rest. Horrific, haunting, and avant-garde, this is my favorite piece of art I have crossed paths with in many moons.
Opeth: Still Life
I saw these symphonic masters of death prog at the Troc recently and, as expected, I was blown away. Opeth mixes metal with acoustic harmonies, ambient euphonies and kinetic shifts, relying less on the blast beat assault mode typical of the genre. Vocals range from grunting death growls to harrowingly beautiful clean singing. Trying to explain Still Life in a single paragraph is a daunting task similar to reviewing Sun Tzu’s The Art of War or Kafka’s The Metamorphosis in a few simple sentences. In other words, it’s really good. So are My Arms, Your Hearse and Ghost Reveries. I popped in some Opeth to get myself stoked for the show a few weeks ago and the discs are still in the forefront of my rotation. Vocalist Mikael Akerfeldt also fronts Swedish death metal supergroup, Bloodbath, which is one of the most bewitchingly truculent and prodigious bands going today. Speaking of which, “Weak Aside” is actually cumming in my ear pussy as I write this. They are so good, they deserve their own write up, so I’m going to cease my gushing now and delay my praise until next time.
Dynamic, eclectic, and experimental, Yakuza blends doom-laden post-metal with progressive midnight jazz, Eastern influences, and elements of world fusion. Any time a saxophone is incorporated into metal, things can get interesting. Case in point: “Egocide.” If King Crimson and Mastodon begat a child, it would be christened Yakuza. And I would listen.
This Will Destroy You: Young Mountain
Sometimes I just can’t get enough of those post-rock instrumental bands. This Will Destroy You’s debut EP is an emotional juggernaut of beatitude that has perfected that whole soft-to-loud thing many of us have grown to love with a wee bit of electronica added to the mix for good measure.
Restavrant: Returns to the Tomb of Guiliano Medidici
I was recently impressed by this alternative country/electro bluegrass duo from the hometown of Stone Cold Steve Austin who are worth checking out if they come through your town. Don’t be alarmed if the drum kit appears to be erected from old Plymouth hubcaps and other people’s garbage held together by vice grips from your seventh grade shop class. That’s just how they roll. The cymbal made of expired license plates is the straw that stirs the drink. Suck on that, John Bonham.
Coffins: Buried Death
Japan isn’t exactly fertile soil where metal artists sprout and flourish (see: Loudness—nice try, guys; thanks for playing). This sludgy doom-death trio’s latest release, on the other hand, is the most imposing force to rise from Tokyo since Godzilla, and the sight of that big lizard smashing skyscrapers isn’t half as pernicious as the pounding rhythm of “Under the Stench.” More predictable than polished, Coffins isn’t reinventing the genre, but anyone who remotely yearns for plodding, grisly old school style metal that emits the fetor of decomposing flesh and 1987, welcome to the holy land. Perhaps my favorite band right…now. Sometimes simplicity begets excellence.