Earth, Angels of Darkness, Demons of Light 1 (Southern Lord)
U.S. Release Date: February 22nd

It’s hard to say anything bad about Earth as they are the pioneers of the drone/doom genre of music. That’s not to say everything they make has to be or is fantastic but even the weaker efforts have been better than most of the music from their peers. Thankfully, it’s not even a consideration here.

Over the years Dylan Carlson has taken his band from harsh doom, to dark drone to now almost a melancholy state. Angels of Darkness, Demons of Light 1 isn’t terribly far from the sound put forth on their 2008 album, The Bees Made Honey in the Lion’s Skull. The music is stark, minimal and trancelike with lots of violins throughout and country twang in the opener, “Old Black.”

At a little over an hour in length, this is another one of those “darkness” albums that I love. You wouldn’t be out of place at all, to sit down in your living room, turn all the lights out and just meditate a bit to this one. From start to finish everything is very slow and very dark and while I know it sounds cliched at this point, it does actually give me the shivers when I listen to it because while I can picture the relaxing nature of the scenario above, I can also see myself in that dark room trying to remove myself from a very bad situation. And see, that’s what I love about the disc. It throws me in so many different directions all at once that each time I listen to it I feel something different. I hope that means years from now I’ll still be listening and wondering what place it’s going to put me in at that time.  It’s another wonderful album from an excellent band.

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Tankard, Vol(l)ume 14 (AFM)
U.S. Release Date: February 22nd

So at this point you’re probably going to see the same thing from any review of a Tankard record. It’s the old Motorhead theory of if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. 14 albums into their career Tankard still creates pretty standard old school thrash. Amazingly they didn’t even update their sound when the new wave of thrash rolled in a half decade ago to capitalize on the resurgence of the genre.

The simple reality is this, if you have liked Tankard in the past, then this will be just as good as anything else you’ve listened to from them. If you have no idea who Tankard is then simply pick up the one that you see in your local dollar bin and that will give you a perfect example of the beer metal they play.

On the other hand, Vol(l)ume 14 does actually have a slightly different feel to it, not really musically but because lyrically it ain’t all about drinking. In fact, the album is topical as there’s a song about BP called “Black Plague (BP)” and the girth of society in “Fat Snatchers.” The latter is kind of funny too; “My name is chunk and I’m a real fat ass / No diet plan could ever help me / My friends are laughing about my plump mass / Where is my dick? Long time no see” (I’m a portly dude myself, so I guess I can laugh at this, although I know where my dick is).

Vol(l)ume 14 is not great, but it’s not bad either. It’s very middle ground, which is kind of what Tankard has been for their entire career so it fits in well.

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Nekromantheon, Divinity of Death (Vendlus)
U.S. Release Date: February 15th

If you want old school but Tankard’s standard brand of thrash doesn’t suit you, then you might want to pick up a copy of Nekromantheon’s new album, Divinity of Death. This is also old-school thrash metal, but while Tankard bases its work on melody, Nekromantheon is all about brutality.

This is the Norwegian group’s first full length and they waste no time bringing the pain on this album. It’s kind of like early Sepultura meets Possessed. It’s very vintage sounding, with superfast riffs and an evil overall feel. After 11 tracks of brutality in a little over 30 minutes it’s a guarantee you’ll be worn out from all the smashin’ and thrashin’ you’ll have done. It’s simply impossible to sit still while listening to this fucker.

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Drugs of Faith, Corroded (Selfmadegod)
U.S. Release Date: February 22nd

“Aaaaahhhhhhhhhhhh!” (said in an angry tone)

That’s what comes out of my mouth when I listen to the debut from this trio from Virginia. This very well might be because that’s the sound coming out of singer Richard Johnson’s mouth throughout much of their debut album as well.

They played what’s called grind’n’roll — grindcore that has a bit of rock in it, making it just a little more accessible than most straight grindcore bands. Even faster than the Nekromantheon record above it blows by at 27 minutes for 14 tracks. I can’t help but think of early Unsane material when listening to Corroded. If you remember the Unsane video for “Scrape” with skateboarders mauling themselves on railings and pavements you could probably plug in at least half the tracks here over top of that video and you wouldn’t think twice about it. It’s music made for chaos, just like Unsane made at their peak. Drugs of Faith are probably a slight bit crazier, but it’s close call on that one.

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About the Author

Dave Steed

Dave Steed is all about music; 80's and metal to be exact. His iPod will shuffle from Culture Club to Slayer and he won't blink an eye. He's never heard Astral Weeks but thinks "Dazzey Duks" by Duice is the bomb. It's an odd little corner of the world he lives in.

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