Article by: Brian Halsey ‡ Edited by: Leanne Ridgeway
Calendars are for chumps. They are Hallmark’s way of trying to civilize the savage nature out of human beings. I don’t need an overpriced, glossy finished, a stock photo of some assjack in a scarf to tell me when it’s Fall.
I know when seasons change because I’m an American. The nights get longer, the beer gets stronger, and the metal gets heavier. Here are a few bands you should have ready in your earbuds for when Susan, from the cubicle next door, starts raving about pumpkin spice lattes to Chad, who is in total agreement while rocking a new pair of $200 sky blue man-Uggs.
Band: Son Ov Leviathan – ‘Vi Veri Vniversum Vivus Vici’
Ever since Mark Zuckerberg drank water as awkward as humanly fucking possible in front of the Supreme Court, people have been worried that he’s a robot and Facebook is a secret government operative designed to spy on us. Let me be the first to say, thank God. I need my hand held.
About a month ago my computer “recommended” I check out Son Ov Leviathan based on things I like. Since I’m a sucker for burning stave churches and illegible black metal font, I gave it a shot. HANDS DOWN one of the best NYP (name your price) albums I have ever fallen into on Bandcamp. As a whole, I’d say they are one of the better up and coming symphonic black metal bands around.
There are moments when you can tell this band is at the beginning of their journey, but at the same time far from the end. Son Ov Leviathan blasts you with everything they have in their arsenal on the first track, “Benevolence for the Antichrists Benedictions”. Give it a listen and I guarantee 50 minutes later you’ll be pondering how much money you should donate. THANKS, MARK!
Band: Druid – ‘The Seven Scrolls’
After their 2016 experimental doom rock masterpiece, ‘Odysseus’, I have been patiently waiting for a new full length from Druid. ‘The Seven Scrolls‘ is yet another epic journey that traverses across the fruitful landscape of heavy music. Rock, metal, doom, blues, adorned with a coating of dreamy vocals.
Chapters 7 and 3 are standouts to me, but I heavily endorse the full experience. Additionally, there is one interlude amongst the 7 chapters. “The Saint Patrick’s Dance” instrumental, which can and should be used to celebrate Conor McGregor’s upcoming knockout over the 26-0 ankle grabber Khabib Nurmagomedov.[**] Yeah, I said it. YOU’LL DO FOOKIN’ NUTTIN!!
[**Editor’s Note: Halsey submitted this prior to the UFC match where Conor lost to Khabib, regardless of whatever ruckus occurred after or what the UFC shall do in final decisions. Khabib won. Conor lost. Halsey’s wildly bad prediction was left in, it’s my fault it’s not published until now, but he was still wrong. Halsey can eat his wrongness with a heaping pile of extra hot wrong. ~ Leanne]
Band: Purple Hill Witch – ‘Celestial Cemetery’
When the crisp winds of October raise the hair on your arms, you start to contemplate why you cut the sleeves off of all your black concert t-shirts. Smothered by overwhelming regret, the mood is suddenly redeemed by the prospect of a filthy denim jacket somewhere under a futon. You’ll never admit that it’s basically a shirt you never wash. It has sewn-on patches for fuck’s sake! Definitely not a shirt! If you identify with this specific and mildly disgusting scenario, then Purple Hill Witch is for you.
This is straightforward old school doom rock. If you love the riffs of Sabbath, but Ozzy’s voice gets on your nerves a little bit (it’s okay to admit it, this is a safe space), ‘Celestial Cemetery‘ is a must-have. There is an extraordinary quality to the way the riffs and grooves are executed on this album. Maybe it’s the scenic beauty that inspires these Norwegian bands, or maybe it’s just the fact that beer is so goddamn expensive in Oslo that they have no choice but to learn their instruments properly.
I wouldn’t think about it too hard. Just listen to Purple Hill Witch and you’ll get it.
Band: Witching – Self-titled
For a $5 tutorial on how to crush your debut EP, check Philly’s Witching. You’re treated to a heavy brand of blackened sludge, but there’s more to it than that. There are nice little setups of classic doom riffs mixed with a very ‘Courtney Love in her prime’ style of singing before another avalanche of depressive metal takes charge of the song.
The best part about this album is that it’s a bunch of stuff I love, but at the same time, it doesn’t sound like any other band. There’s a lot to digest, but it doesn’t come off in an ADHD way. Witching is custom made for dark rainy nights and candlelight.
Band: Jesus Piece – ‘Only Self’
Speaking of Philly bands, how about JESUS PIECE!? FUCK! This is as vicious and creative as it gets. There are a good number of hardcore bands like Harm’s Way, Knocked Loose, and Code Orange injecting some much-needed splashes of color into the scene. Jesus Piece already has a solid EP and a nice split with Malice at the Palace (shout out to Ron Artest) under their belt, but this is too much.
A wildly heavy offering of beat down hardcore and 90’s noise rock. Jesus Piece throws their hat into the mix of bands vying for best heavy album of the year. This isn’t one of those ‘check em out if you get a chance’ albums. Their Southern Lord, full-length début is the perfect concoction of art and violence.
This thing is a fucking beast, purebred for destruction and if you don’t own it, you’re less of a person than the people who were smart enough to manage their money properly. Big facts. No other way I can put it.
Band: Cypress Hill – ‘Elephants on Acid’
From Lollapalooza to collaborating with the Deftones, Cypress Hill has always had a unique relationship with alternative rock culture. They’ve done a lot of good stuff since their heyday, but ‘Elephants on Acid’ brings it back to that “insane in the membrane” feeling.
I think rap as a whole pretty much sucks today; Percocet-induced mumbling and shitty face tattoos dominate the landscape, but Cypress Hill booms hard with that old school noise that will make you take a step back and wonder, “isn’t B-Real living proof that weed isn’t bad for you? Like wouldn’t he definitely be dead by now?” No riffs, but so relevant.
Please take a moment to enjoy the diverse offering of awesome bands I have suggested because after Fall I’m gonna talk about black metal for two or three months straight and I don’t really care how anyone feels about it.