EPs:

Skeletonwitch: The Apothic Gloom
Prosthetic Records

Skeletonwitch have been chomping at the skull to unleash their new vocalist. Coming from the powerhouses, Wolvhammer, Adam Clemans screamed for fans in early spring, as Skeletonwitch decimated stages with Tribulation, High On Fire, and Abbath on the Decibel Tour. The EP’s lead single, “Well of Despair,” showcases the band embracing their signature blackened thrash bite and a driving Motörhead bassline. This new track was released as a limited edition, hand-screened 7” vinyl picture disc, now sold out. Joined by a video—exhibiting that Lemmy-loving Rickenbacker bass—the single charges through new material reflective of the other three tracks on The Apothic Gloom, which is due on Aug. 19. A month long tour of the States is slated for October.

Walter Schreifels: “Overjoyed” b/w “Lover’s Theme” / An Open Letter to the Scene
Run For Cover Records

Most remember Walter Schreifels as a youth crew renaissance man, post-hardcore pioneer, and indie rock challenger, but now, his solo acoustic work is being celebrated and propagated by Run For Cover Records. First, they released a 7” of two brand new songs. The single, “Overjoyed,” echoes the lush and sardonic work of Joe Pernice. The B side, “Lover’s Theme,” is an instrumental strummed over a drum machine. With dreamlike atmosphere, the song channels AIR and Webb Brothers. This single—with stark and striking artwork channeling 1920s design—is a serene and jarring addition to the re-pressing of Schreifel’s first solo LP, An Open Letter to the Scene. The title track, an ode to NYHC legend, Raybeez, is a tough song to get through, but the catharsis is welcome. The 10 tracks—first seen on seven colors (first pressing), two more colors (second pressing), and a 10th color (third pressing)—will now be available again. The album is a personally engaging whisper in the ear, but is also extremely fun when Schreifels acoustically covers Sick Of It All’s “Pushed Us Too Far / Friends Like You,” Judge’s “The Storm,” Agnostic Front’s “Society Sucker,” and CIV’s “Don’t Gotta Prove It.” The covers are fun, but prove Schreifels is not some aged novelty act. He reinterprets those anthems. His original tracks ensnare the audience with tonal invasions of limited volume, but also feature pertinent lyrics and drifting harmonies.

D.R.I.: But Wait… There’s More
Beer City Records

Hardcore punks, crossover innovators, and downright cool dudes, D.R.I., came back this year. To say this is unexpected, despite a fair amount of touring in the last decade, is an understatement. D.R.I.’s last output was 20 years ago in 1995. This five track EP, appropriately titled But Wait… There’s More, is now available as a 7”, CD, and 12” picture disc. As much as the band are credited with fusing thrash and hardcore, this time around, vocalist Kurt Brecht told the Phoenix New Times, “It’s more old school hardcore, without the metal guitar sound.” Brecht and original guitarist Spike Cassidy recently added drummer Walter “Monsta” Ryan of Machine Head, Possessed, Attitude Adjustment, Powerhouse, Subzero, and Merauder, adding skill and fury to their tight, crisp form of punk rock. D.R.I.’s sound is as tight and fierce as ever. New music from these Dirty Rotten Legends are welcome. Cheers to another 35 years!

Reissues:

Converge: You Fail Me Redux
Epitaph / Deathwish Inc.

In 2001, Converge—already known for conjuring chaotic alchemy—shook the underground with Jane Doe. More surprisingly, they created a second masterpiece, You Fail Me, in 2004. Despite the album’s success and acclaim, guitarist and producer Kurt Ballou was never quite content with the final mix. Now, Ballou has remixed You Fail Me. The album was remastered by Alan Douches. Epitaph handled the digital and CD releases, while Deathwish released the vinyl on June 17. New artwork and packaging by vocalist and artist Jacob Bannon revitalizes this recent Decibel Hall of Fame inductee. Special packages feature black with white splatter or black/red swirl vinyl, limited t-shirts, and even enamel pins of the iconic You Fail Me hand. Converge hit Europe with Harm’s Way to celebrate.

Unleashed: Where No Life Dwells
Century Media

Unleashed were a monumental band in the establishment and development of Swedish death metal. They mixed the extreme technical prowess of Death with the vigor and spirit of Discharge and Hellhammer. When Nihilist disbanded, most of their members formed Entombed, but vocalist and bassist Johnny Hedlund formed Unleashed. Alongside Swedish peers like Grave, Tiamat, and Dismember, Unleashed created a scene and a genre, defining and iconoclastic. Their first LP, Where No Life Dwells—remastered here by Patrick W. Engel (Possessed, Iced Earth, Paradise Lost)—exorcised old conventions with its gloom and atmosphere. This album contributed to a new genre that helped place the world’s focus on this new twist on extreme metal. Available in black, silver, dark green, gold, and light blue, the vinyl dropped on June 3 via Century Media.

Boris: Pink
Sargent House

Some music is the pure exorcising of emotion. On some occasions, music is art. Boris like to blend the conventions. Since 1996, the Japanese trio have manipulated sounds and ideas to form riff-focused tracks. Pink, celebrating its 10th anniversary, was something different for Boris. This remastered triple LP edition gathers the album, extended versions of shortened songs, and nine bonus tracks, collected as Forbidden Songs. Boris mastered the ability—with tracks ranging from two minutes to 20—to capture atmospheric soundscapes, feral romps, and all the combinations in between. Signifying the connection between extensive, slow doom songs and raucous noise rock spurts, the trio harness taut abilities to write captivating songs of any length or intensity. Eclectic noise mongers and riff masseuses, Boris embark on a five week tour of the U.S., playing Pink in its entirety and joined by Earth, beginning on July 22.

108: Threefold Misery
Six Feet Under

Aggressive. Heavy. Confrontational. Krishna. While Ray Cappo went poppy with his Krishna message in Shelter, Rob Fish of Resurrection and The Judas Factor and Vic DiCara of Beyond, Burn, and Inside Out released their views with scathing disdain and music to match. Assimilating ‘90s math metal and off-time rhythms, 108’s brand of hardcore was vicious and isolating. For those who loved it, this was an intense experience. With two abrasive and lauded albums behind them on Equal Vision, 1996 saw 108 release Threefold Misery on Germany’s dubious label, Lost & Found—known for bootlegging and ripping off artists. Long out of print on its own, Threefold Misery is now reincarnated thanks to Six Feet Under. This version is stunningly re-imagined with stark artwork and pressed on mesmerizing red/gold vinyl. This dark masterpiece of indignation is back. Though, 108 played several May shows in Brooklyn and Boston, we will see if that trend continues…

Death: Scream Bloody Gore
Relapse Records

It’s fitting that Relapse Records are ending their extensive Death reissue series by going back to the beginning. Death’s first album changed everything. This created death metal. All the seeds and sprouts can be heard here. Finally remastered, with punch and presence equal to any modern recording, tracks like “Zombie Ritual,” “Legion of Doom,” and “Baptized in Blood” get their glory. Alan Douches remastered these pioneering songs from the original tapes. Altogether, there are 43 tracks here, including the remastered 12 originals. You can choose, as with the prior reissues, from double CD or triple CD versions, single or double vinyl, as well as cassettes. The lyrics and guitar work of Chuck Schuldiner is phenomenal. Reverent praise from peers like Max Cavalera, original drummer and Autopsy founder Chris Reifert, and original producer Randy Burns are included in the new notes. The bass work, mixing severity and technicality, gets its prominent place in the mix. Infusing jazz timing and the conquering low-end monstrosity of metal, the bass and guitars here are commanding as they pave a new genre. There is a box set version with red and blue splatter on white vinyl. Other vinyl colors are blood red, bone white/purple merge, black, and an evil picture disc version. Also, check out the 1,000 hand-numbered Aggronautix “Throbbleheads” of Ed Repka’s iconic cover art.

Neurosis: A Sun that Never Sets / The Eye of Every Storm
Relapse Records

Neurosis have been on a run with their reissues. Again, here, Relapse Records spares no detail on these two out-of-print gems. Offered on 180 gram colored vinyl, the silver, black, oxblood, or swirled wax is delivered in a heavy gatefold sleeve. Starting as grimy anarcho punk in the late ‘80s, Neurosis expanded their minds and their sound throughout the years. These two LPs, from 2000 and 2004, exhibited the growing ability of the band to illustrate sounds and textured atmospheres, along with big riffs. The albums saw a new dawn of ideas and instrumentation in the band’s melancholic, cerebral metal. The new artwork and remastered sound here will engage listeners for at least another decade.

Celtic Frost: Monotheist
Century Media

After some mid-career shady releases, Celtic Frost reunited in 2006 to release a declarative statement that confirmed Tom G. Warrior’s place in metal history. Growing from Hellhammer, Celtic Frost defined a fetid, low-tuned sound that many would copy. Monotheist was a strong comeback for a band who weren’t dead yet. The album can stand side by side with Morbid Tales and To Mega Therion despite the band’s long absence. Tom G.’s distinctive guitar sound and songwriting are reborn here on double LP versions in black, green (200), silver (100), white (500), and a limited 500 copy release of a double picture disc. The sound here, looming and treacherous, clearly foreshadowed the coming of Triptykon. On its 10 year anniversary, the threatening and sinister tracks of Monotheist can be harvested on vinyl again.

Splits:

Integrity / Power Trip: Split 12”
Magic Bullet Records

The downside is that these tracks have all been released already… almost. The upside is that the new artwork—done by twisted visionary and Integrity shaman, Dwid Hellion—is striking and specific to each band. The gatefold opening joins the two bands visually. Another cool aspect of this release is that, while four of the five tracks have been available on a 7”, these remixed tracks are now laid on a 12” single, mastered for 45 rpm. The fifth track is Integrity’s surprising choice to cover a song from the 1989 film “Twister.” Available in red, black, and white on June 17.

Drudkh / Hades Almighty: One Who Talks with the Fog
Season Of Mist

Drudkh deliver the following punch after their full-length, A Furrow Cut Short, last year. They give us two songs on this split with Hades Almighty (ex-Immortal), who give us three tracks. This release of morose, atmospheric black metal with bloodcurdling blast beats will be released one time only. Season Of Mist is putting out 1,000 gatefold LPs, 1,000 CDs, and 150 cassettes. Drudkh’s two tracks are a continuation of their full-length. “Golden Horse” is a beast at a never-surrendering nine minutes. Combining black metal’s ferocity and an epic feel, Drudkh’s creative leader, Roman Sayenko, weaves the tale of fellow Ukranian, Volodymyr Svidzins’kyi (1885–1941). The poet and writer fought Russian censorship until they murdered him.

Live/DVDs:

Motörhead: Clean Your Clock
UDR Music

This is one of the band’s last live sets from a November 2015 performance in Munich, Germany. We get 16 tracks from crushing performances at two sold out shows. The lineup of Phil Campbell, Mikkey Dee, and Lemmy fuse into a powerhouse of rock ‘n’ roll destruction here. You know the music. You know the legend. Now, check out a solid goodbye—or “fuck you!”—from the boys. Available in CD, pop-up gatefold double vinyl, and DVD/Blu-ray on June 24.

Read more of The Shortlist here, and check out the full issue #26 below.

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