If there is one thing that separates Cult Leader from most other bands out there, it’s how much of an inspiration they are; not only as a sonic force, but as an example of triumphant reinvention. Following the infamous dissolution of Gaza in 2013, three-quarters of the band opted to start from scratch and regroup as Cult Leader. Michael Mason, Casey Hansen and Anthony Lucero recruited bassist Sam Richards and they hit the ground running – signing with Deathwish, releasing stellar aggressive music and touring extensively. Their story is well-known by now, but what’s important to note is that it’s a transition that not many bands survive, let alone while gaining the amount of support that Cult Leader have managed to attain so quickly. Their success is impressive and rightfully earned, to say the least.
France has become (or maybe it always has been) a breeding ground for some of the most forward-thinking and devastating heavy music out there today. Bands like Death Engine, Cowards, Warsawwasraw and Nesseria have all released tremendous albums in the past few years. The country continues its onslaught of solid releases with See God; the debut full-length from Parisian hardcore outfit Lodges. See God follows the band’s 2013 EP, Walking On Hands and Knees, and while it may not differ drastically stylistically from its predecessor, it is without a doubt more aggressive
Imagine that the prehensile appendage of some unseen, Lovecraftian creature wraps around your ankles and pulls you through an interdimensional portal into a realm far worse than Hell. You are dragged, writhing in terror, through corridors of darkness where malformed beings grasp at and pick away at your flesh. This is a realm where your worse fears and anxieties are manifested and heightened. A place that acts as an intense fever dream of which there is no waking. A place where death is the only release from relentless psychological torture. This is where you are transported to while listening to Imperial Triumphant‘s Abyssal Gods. Through the use of mangled instrumentation, haunting atmospheres and a modern black metal foundation, this New York musical act creates one of the more unsettling and simultaneously awe-inspiring metal releases of the year. It’s an intensely claustrophobic record that only the most masochistic metal fans will enjoy.
One look at the grim, barren landscape that graces the cover of Lament Cityscape‘s debut full-length, The Torn, brings the thought of the Earth’s inevitable dissolution to mind. Rapid industrialization and environmental and societal collapse will be the catalysts to our self-induced apocalypse. That empty, infertile patch of land that stretches for miles on the album’s cover will eventually be all that’s left to see on the planet. Man’s interaction with the environment and the negative effects that result, may or may not be the focal point of this Californian duo. Regardless of their intention, The Torn inadvertently serves as a soundtrack to life after the fall of civilization. Lament Cityscape‘s massive compositions paint a bleak picture of a planet ravaged by years of neglect and spotlights the struggles of those left behind.
Mankind’s inevitable extinction is not a foreign concept to heavy music artists. The mere idea of the human race ceasing to exist resonates profoundly within the metal and hardcore world. There are those who warn of the end of days and critique humanity, and there are those whose dissatisfaction with human beings instills a desire to accelerate the rate of the coming extinction. Either way, the concept is not a new one no matter how it is addressed. So what makes Locrian‘s Infinite Dissolution any different, other than the fact that is not strictly a “metal” album? The Chicago/Baltimore-based experimental trio’s approach to music attempts to revitalize an almost archaic concept and examine it with fresh eyes and ears. Locrian do not wish to preach to humankind about their self-destructive actions, nor do they wish to damn all of us on Earth either. Through multi-faceted compositions and non-linear narration, Infinite Dissolution urges the listener to reflect on the inevitability of the end; a bleak concept the band makes somber and beautiful simultaneously.
Greg Puciato of The Dillinger Escape Plan, John LaMacchia of Candiria, Julie Christmas of Made Out of Babies and Jeff Caxide of Isis. Just the mere prospect of these musicians coming together would excite any fan of forward-thinking heavy music. In November of 2008, it happened with the first self-titled Spylacopa EP. The six-track release was commendable for deviating from the formulas of each of its members respective musical outlets in favor of something more accessible but no less heavy and catchy. A follow-up release was scheduled for 2011 but never came due to the passing of drummer Troy Young. Isis and Made Out of Babies broke up and Julie Christmas’ musical output stopped after her 2010 solo record, The Bad Wife, and her Coextinction Recordings release. Spylacopa was beginning to feel like a distant memory. But, not far into 2015, LaMacchia announces that the group’s long-delayed debut full-length will be released. Sure enough, March saw the unveiling of Parallels, a 40-minute tour de force of metallic eccentricity. Continue reading