Oct. 281. Anaal Nathrakh, “The Whole of the Law”Anáil nathrach, ortha bhas betha, do cheol déanta. Breath of the serpent, spell of life, the song for the maker. Their name is a hyper anglicized version of an old Celtic Charm of Making. Their sound contains elements contrary to making. Anaal Nathrakh make the sounds of the apocalypse. A bafflingly loud combination of black metal, death metal, industrial, opera and grindcore, they sound like nothing most mortal ears have ever heard. To those not well-versed in the extreme side of music, I warn you here to tread carefully around this band. They are exactly what your mom thinks metal music sounds like. But those of us who venture steadfast into the gaping maw of aural devastation, you will find something disgustingly beautiful in “The Whole of the Law.” Subtlety goes out the window with this two piece band. The singer calls himself VITRIOL. There is a song called “We Will [Effing] Kill You.” If you think this all sounds silly, you can probably skip this. If you have an interest in extreme music at all, I implore you to check this one out.
2. Brian Jonestown Massacre, “Third World Pyramid”Brian Jonestown Massacre is a strange band. The style of music that they play (mainly being psych rock and shoegaze) has steadily grown in popularity over the years, and has almost reached a new renaissance in the past few. But all the while, BJM remains just slightly out of the spotlight. Maybe it’s frontman Anton Newcombe’s penchant for drugs and yelling at people. Maybe it’s that a lot of their material can almost be called a pastiche of the ins and outs of the genre. Regardless, they have trudged on into making their 15th record, and it’s a doozy. There’s some psych rock, there’s some power electronics, there’s a Nina Simone cover. If you want to be confused and short of breath, take this ride.
3. Tove Lo, “Lady Wood”The Swedish princess of brazenness returns with her second full-length album of grease-slicked pop music. “Lady Wood” is about as subtle as it sounds, walking in the steps of Ke$ha as a modern contemporary, and the trailblazing path of Madonna before her. She does have a gorgeous voice, which made listening to the record more enjoyable than I thought it would be. The album is split into halves: Fairy Dust and Fire Fade. The Fairy Dust half fittingly is a bit more in the dream pop realm, but not quite crossing that ethereal line that defines most dream pops, being content to add some whispered vocals and spaced-out production. Fire Fade is the half most are probably after, bombastic performances and crazy lyrics abound.
4. Helmet, “Dead to the World”Helmet gets a bad rap. They can never win. They put out some classic albums with riffs for days, and some people complain about it being too loud. They release “Seeing Eye Dog” and people say they’ve gotten too mellow, always too loud for the grunge heads, and never loud enough for the metal heads. But still, Page Hamilton and Co. have stuck to it; this will be their first album since 2010 and it’s sure to be as divisive as ever. The first single, “Bad News,” lost a bit of the edge I was hoping to see, but those that like the mellower output of bands like Mastodon or the Melvins will find something to love in Hamilton’s vocal delivery and the ever-present riff machine that is his guitar.
5. Whores, “Gold”If the Helmet record is too mellow for you, maybe you’ll find catharsis in “Gold.” Whores first caught my attention with their “Ruiner EP,” some unabashed noise rock goodness in the vein of Pissed Jeans or Shellac. They come out of Atlanta, which is a bastion of fuzzed-out riffy bands, and they have slowly clawed their way to the top of that pile. If you miss Pissed Jeans, Daughters, and old Mastodon as much as I do, or wish the Melvins got a little weirder, or think Red Fang is too child-friendly, put this on in your car, drive down Main Street with your windows down and watch the kids playing pale imitations of Bob Dylan songs on their Walmart guitars run for cover.