GET PREP’D: New Releases from Harms Way, Imperial Triumphant, Enslaved, Scarab
A new feature in which we break down upcoming releases from bands you should love. Get prep’d, nerd.
Rust – out March 8th on Deathwish. Preorder here.
This Chicago, IL crew has been throwing down sick pit moves since 2006. Fronted by the straightedge Incredible Hulk, James Pilegge, the band has evolved considerably since inception. For the first half of their existence, the band created sweet and straightforward, breakdown-based hardcore.
Formerly featuring Weekend Nachos frontman John Hoffman on bass. In this interview, Hoffman spoke about leaving the band and his take on the direction of Harms Way:
Eh, to be honest, I think there were two eras of Harms Way. There’s Harms Way with me and Hofacker (old guitarist that quit the same time as I did), and Harms Way now… The atmosphere was more chaotic and similar to that of a Weekend Nachos show, but much more violent. We were faster, more energetic, etc. So when Hofacker and I left, I think a lot of the fans of THAT era of the band left with us. Harms Way is basically in their second era now, which draws a lot more kids but the shows aren’t really as chaotic. They’re just more like a regular hardcore band now. I think that’s not a bad thing because I think that’s what they’re going for – better sound, real venues and no more basement shows. It’s just a lot more polished and less punk now.
All due respect to Hoffman (he seems like a good dude), but I strongly disagree with his take that Harms Way is “more like a regular hardcore band”. After Hoffman’s departure, the band seemed to internalize the best moments of Godflesh and dropped a 9-billion ton anvil of a record with 2011’s Isolation, their second full-length. Not content with creating the heaviest song on Earth, the band added a strong Swedish death metal influence on their followup EP Blinded. Though the changes brought mixed reviews from some critics, it remains a heavily spun record in my living room mosh sessions (seriously, Live to Loathe is so good). Next week the band will drop Rust and I’m positive it will be my most played gym record of 2015. — Joe Thrashnkill
Abyssal Gods – Out March 10 on Aural Music
The Toilet Hype Machine® has been trying to get your jimmies pumped about Abyssal Gods, the second full-length release from NY wizards Imperial Triumphant, and for good reason. If you’ve already taken a moment to listen to this black/death/dissonant nightmare of an album either on Spotify or Bandcamp, you’re likely aware of how challenging and confounding this record is. If, however, you’re like me and prefer to grip something hard in your greasy fist, here’s all you need to know before the physical release on March 10th. Prior to plunging you into the blackened murky depths of the tormented, churning waters of an oil spill somehow locked between the terrifying vortex riff-maw of Charybdis and the ravenous pronged rhythm assault of Scylla, IT beat you bloody with the angular battering ram assault of multiple demos and other releases. This band sports two members of the equally excellent and jarring Pyrrhon (rhythm section villains Alex Cohen and Erik Malave), and the band’s unsettling and cerebral approach to black metal lives up to its impressive pedigree. Although the band has a number of releases, the only thing you really need to track down before this album drops is the compilation record Shrine to the Trident Throne (Aural Music, 2014) which collects full-length Abominamentvm (2012) and Goliath (2013). Luckily for you, I’ve included streams of both Shrine to the Trident Throne and Abyssal Gods. Be sure to check out the tracks “Sodom” and “Gomorrah” on that compilation to get a feel for how sinister and calculating this band really is. — W.
In Times – out March 6th on Nuclear Blast
In Times will be Enslaved‘s 13th album. Their 13th album, guys. People still loudly bemoaning their departure from straightforward black metal are bjeffing up the wrong fucking treet. Their first two full-lengths (Vikingligr veldi and Frost) are largely considered to be black metal classics, and there’s a good reason for that. The reason is because they rule. Their marriage of 2nd-wave fury and folksy viking nuance was one of the first of its kind. I still spin their earlier shit (Eld is my personal favorite, but that’s probably because – and I’ve mentioned this before – fucking look at how majestic Grutle Kjellson looks on the cover). They were a great black metal band. But here’s the thing – they’re a great progressive black whatever band too and stop being such raving buttholes about it. They started introducing heavy progressive influence about halfway through their career/discography, and at this point they’re really piling it on. As the ratio of prog to black metal increases, so too does the ratio of hurt to butt. If you’re familiar with Enslaved’s run, In Times is gonna sound more or less how you think it will, as it’s a continuation of the trendline they’ve been hugging for over 10 years now. I say that’s a good thing. You’re free to disagree with me, but I totally don’t. You can actually stream the entire thing from Nuclear Blast’s official Youtube channel right now. Or right here. Nice. — Masterlord
Serpents of the Nile – out March 6th on Vicisolum Productions
While Egypt is renown for it’s majestic landmarks & tourism, it remains a turbulent place rife with volatile political matters and a hostile environment. So it makes sense that a death metal band from Cairo would be a product of all of these characteristics, Egypt’s Scarab fit that bill. Volatility, turbulence & hostility drenched the sounds of their first LP Blinding The Masses back in 2009 and on March 6th they will release their second full-length titled Serpents Of The Nile through Sweden’s Vicisolum Productions. If you enjoy your death metal structured with venomous riffs that give you that initial devastating bite but upon repeated listens unleash a poison which slowly hooks you from the inside, then this band is for you. On their previous release, Scarab has shown that they can weave arrangements with the complexity of their peers without getting too far into the tech aspect of death metal. This, by no means implies they are slouches. See for yourself on a track called ‘Valley Of The Sandwalkers’ taken from their last release. — Lacertillian
h/t Lacertillian for the feature suggestion.