I thought Soma was a brilliant album. It was also my first exposure to Windhand. But after going back to enjoy their debut, and hearing sing Dorthia Cottrell’s solo acoustic album released earlier this year, I really wanted Grief’s Infernal Flower to let her shine a little more. The heaviness delivered on Soma was often at the expense of Cottrell’s prominence. The new album delivered. Combined with tighter songwriting and a sleeker production, this album is Windhand setting a new bar for themselves and their peers. “Two Urns” hooked me immediately.
2) Napalm Death, Apex Predator – Easy Meat
How often do bands just get better with age? Especially in extreme music, it would appear that as musicians mature, their capacity for delivering brutal music wavers in lockstep with the wane of whatever emotion drove them to scream into a microphone in the first place. Given the rising intensity of their last few releases, it seems Napalm Death will be goddamned before they let time dull their edge. Apex Predator – Easy Meat is a lean collection of tracks that exemplify the best of the direction the band started with The Code Is Red… Long Live The Code. “Smash a Single Digit” is as frantic as anything from their early grind days, while “Cesspits” sees them reach the peak of the mid-paced, driving rage anthems they first toyed with on Fear. Emptiness. Despair. “Hierarchies” even throws in a rare glimpse of melody that, in spite of how it may appear, fits flawlessly into the rest of the record’s aesthetic. Get this album, start it from the top, and let it fuck you up.
This is the best record this band has ever released. The Black Dahlia Murder are the best thing American melo-death has going for it, at least in terms of bands with clout and visibility. And when someone does eventually rise up to challenge this band’s place at the top of the heap, Abysmal will be the album BDM is judged by. Listen to “Receipt” immediately.
Vision of Disorder, Razed To The Ground
I’m really digging this record so far. I’ve been a fan of VOD for a really long time, and I thought their last album, The Cursed Remain Cursed, was maybe the best thing they’d ever done. Razed To The Ground travels the same route. I don’t have anything but praise for it so far, but I need a little more time with it.