EPs:

156/Silence: Karma: Self-released

156/Silence have a few releases with a few different sounds. Prior, the band had a more constrained emo sound. Well, if they stay with the sound on Karma, I’ll be staying in touch. After severe lineup—and direction—changes, they dropped a 2016 single, “Turmoil.” If you were a fan of ‘90s Pennsylvania band, Turmoil, it makes sense. Karma is similarly heavy and angry, with a thicker, more urgent sound extracted by Andy Nelson (Weekend Nachos, Like Rats) at Bricktop Recording. The vocals are bigger and gruffer. The guitars are as slicing as they are thunderous. The piercing feedback leading into monster breakdowns will produce climactic eruptions for any mosher. RIYL: Turmoil, All Else Failed, Starkweather, One King Down, Deadguy. –Hutch

Ann Beretta: Self-Titled 7”: Say-10 Records

Ann Beretta create emotional yet harsh pop punk in the tradition of their Richmond, Virginia, home: a little coarse, but always infectious. They released six LPs and five EPs between 1997 and 2003, and a rarities LP in 2012. Here’s two new joints—the first in 14 years—to excite the old heads and invigorate new ones. “Kill the Lights” fires rough riffs and all the drops, breakdowns, and catchy gang choruses a punk could want. The bridge bursts with a solo sweating a sweet streetpunk rock ‘n’ roll feel. “Forever Family” is a louder, faster jam with rambunctious drums. The same inclusive, sweaty qualities make this a surefire crowd favorite. Find this on Say-10 Records: 500 units on metallic gold and 250 on metallic silver. RIYL: Sixer, Ducky Boys, Whiskey Rebels, Avail, Park Sparrows. –Hutch

Death Eyes: Si La Revancha Fuera Una Opcion: Three One G Records

The energy Death Eyes emit is both penetrating and intemperate. Their Si La Revancha Fuera Una Opcion EP has lyrics that alternate between Spanish and English fluidly and with fierce confidence. This is done by the skilled vocalist Alberto Jurado with a massive presence. Furious and chaotic energy is spit through percussion breakdowns and dissonant guitars. Si La Revancha Fuera Una Opcion comes out on July 28 with a temper, ready to show the world the flailing bombastic entity that is Death Eyes. –Sean Gonzalez

Face To Face: “Say What You Want” b/w “I. Me. Mine.”: Fat Wreck Chords

For their ninth studio album, Protection, Face To Face returned to Fat and were met with strong support from fans both old and new. After a subsequent tour, one might think that these guys might be pumping the breaks on output—but one would be incorrect. While most bands put out singles to drum up excitement for an upcoming album, Face To Face did just the opposite: grabbed a song that nearly met the cutting room floor, paired it with a track from Protection—“Say What You Want”—and released it several months later om May 7. They also went back to their roots, hitting small clubs across the nation—and beyond—on the Econo-Live Tour. –Kayla Greet

The Homeless Gospel Choir: Normal 7”: A-F Records

The Homeless Gospel Choir—aka Derek Zanetti—released Normal, a new 7”, on June 9 in advance of a new LP set to surface this fall. “Normal is a conversation that I continue to have with myself and with others as I grow older in regard to the idea of what normal is: am I it? Is anyone it?” Zanetti asks. “I wish when I was a teenager someone would’ve told me that I’m never going to be normal, that I’m never gonna look like them or talk like them or act like them or have friends like them. That the beauty is that some of us are weirdos. And we’re not alone.” –John B. Moore

The Time Sellers: Down Here 7”: Outro Records

With a foundation of a Mod/garage rock feel, The Time Sellers quickly envelop their songs in a Manchester Sound canvas. They do not hesitate to use traits of shoegaze to illustrate their creativity in sculpting this downer. “Down Here” celebrates a spacey but bouncy vibe that is quite seductive, as a plucky, atmospheric guitar line sweeps around the speakers. A sturdy backbeat and Ian Curtis meets Robert Smith vocals capture mood and attitude. Great jam! “Hat and the Crown” is a more straightforward banger, bouncing and employing a funkier bassline. Spacey elements still add to the aura of dreary aggression, just little rougher, and noisier guitar work adds some snotty punk class to this track. RIYL: Interpol, Editors, Ceremony, and the like. –Hutch

Zakk Sabbath: Live in Detroit EP: Southern Lord

Covering Black Sabbath is a cursed path for most, and few have pulled it off to sincere accolades—though the Faith No More Hydra Head 7” series did. Zakk Wylde, having spent years playing with Ozzy, sure has his dues paid. His scorching renditions are captured here, live in Detroit. Sanctioned by the riff propagators at Southern Lord, this three-track EP unleashes blazing and brutal covers of “War Pigs”—at 13:25!—“Supernaut,” and “Fairies Wear Boots.” Wylde enlists bassist Rob “Blasko” Nicholson, who has played with Ozzy Osbourne and Rob Zombie, and drummer Joey Castillo, who has worked with Danzig, Queens Of The Stone Age, Bl’ast!, Kyuss, and Bloodclot. This is a one-time pressing, limited edition, on multiple-color 12” LPs, available on June 16. –Hutch

SPLITS:

Jesu / Sun Kil Moon: 30 Seconds to the Decline of Planet Earth: Caldo Verde Records

Jesu / Sun Kil Moon released their second collaborative full-length, 30 Seconds to the Decline of Planet Earth via Caldo Verde Records on May 5. Touching on personally emotional stories, the duo of Jesu and Sun Kil Moon continue to combine the worlds of experimental and indie folk. The music was constructed by Jesu—aka Justin Broadrick—and the vocals were done by controversial singer-songwriter Mark Kozelek as Sun Kil Moon. The sophomore release was recorded in Wales, Holland, and the U.S. throughout 2016, and the open-ended narrative makes the nine-track record a conversation piece. –Sean Gonzalez

Jesus Piece / Malice At The Palace: Split: Bridge Nine Records

Jesus Piece bring utter savagery. Their performances onstage and on record are blind feral rage. Their five-track EP turned heads. Their Summer ‘16 three-track tape shook the earth. Chaotic noise and devastating breakdowns highlight this sludgy hardcore fest. I only wish we got more than two songs. Taylor Young and Brad Boatright turn knobs to elicit the best of metallic hatred. Malice At The Palace bring the same style of ‘90s beatdown metalcore, a little crisper, a little sharper. Jesus Piece are uglier; MATP have more solos. Both sides kill. Bridge Nine reppin’ again. Vinyl available on clear with bronze splatter, 150; bronze, 350; grey, 700. RIYL: Ringworm, Indecision, Stout, God’s Hate, The Departed, Morning Again, Shattered Realm. –Hutch

LLNN / WOVOKA: Marks/Traces: Pelagic Records

Grandiose aspirations here. The galactic doom contributed by WOVOKA’s 18-minute track is reminiscent of mid ISIS, mixing violent declarations and cosmic trepidation. The guitars, echoing in dissonance, build the listener’s anxiety while ushering in waves of acceptance. The sonic tsunami is challenging. LLNN appeared last year with a release on Pelagic entitled Loss. They return here to consider their side of the vinyl, “Marks.” One second, they play loosely, then crush dimensions with glacial dominance. These dudes from Copenhagen provide material written before the six tracks of Loss, but the vitality and vitriol are certainly current. This June 16 release is captured on a five-color screen print and available on black and black with brass splatter vinyl. RIYL: YOB, Neurosis, Ufomammet, Inter Arma, ISIS, Norska, North, Rising. –Hutch

SunSpell / Saudade: From the Mist… We Are but Dust Split LP: Iron Bonehead

This June 9 split from Iron Bonehead joins two apocalyptic black metal bands, bent on destruction. They’ll take your speakers and your soul. SunSpell—the one-man band from Atlanta—offers two tracks, each roughly 11 minutes long. SunSpell uses these exhausting periods to pummel and drain, with staccato riffing and rapid drumming calling on classic black metal tropes: refined yet grand. The enveloping mist of feedback and frenzied chords paint sullen and cynical aural portraits. Saudade spew black metal, crustier, punkier, and more raw. Their ode to later Darkthrone and Hellhammer comes in two to three-minute bursts. This side of the split is more immediate and visceral. The production is more lo-fi, ugly, and gnashing, pushing the big swaying riffs. –Hutch

REISSUES:

Bad Karma: Death Has No Calling Card CD: Shadow Kingdom

This June 23 rerelease captures an unfortunate case of bad timing. From Boston, Bad Karma were still in love with speed and thrash metal. They made the best demo you never heard. Death Has No Calling Card is only three tracks, yet it is fierce in attitude and possesses stellar songwriting—but the world was done with metal on a large level. The record embellishes with uncanny Hetfield-esque vocals and thrilling speedy thrash. This repress’ boost in production helps reveal the masterful musicianship behind this record. A good mix of Metallica’s Master of Puppets and Ride the Lightning and Megadeth’s Peace Sells… and So Far, So Good… So What? will get you started, but Bad Karma stand tall on their own. Some lost gems here. –Hutch

Evoken: Embrace the Emptiness: Season Of Mist

1998’s Embrace the Emptiness is a death-doom-black metal masterpiece of purely terrifying material. Seven tracks ooze over 70 minutes. Originally only on CD via Elegy Records, then on vinyl in 2012 via Kreation Records, Season Of Mist now properly exhume this tragic collection of haunting material. Raspy vocals act as harbingers of fate over elongated riffs and ethereal keyboards. The plodding drums sap any joy from the listener, but the mesmerizing guitar solos and acoustic tapestries excite the brain. It’s a desolate experience. Limited pressing of 666 hand-numbered copies on 180-gram black double-vinyl, out July 7. –Hutch

Ghoul: Hang Ten 10” and Wall of Death 7”: Tankcrimes

Those lovable burlap-sacked executioners from Creepsylvania open the vault for Tankcrimes. Hang Ten is mostly instrumental, though “Kreeg” features vocals from Tony Foresta of Municipal Waste and Iron Reagan. This 2014 EP spewed biker metal with a kind of surf guitar inspiration. The horror-loving, gory bastards give the world a limited pressing of 300 on pink splatter wax and 1000 on electric blue. The six tracks were mastered by Dan Randall at Mammoth Sound Mastering and sport cover art by Sean Aaberg of Pork Magazine.

Ghoul’s Wall of Death EP was revealed on June 9. “Wall of Death” was a supplement to Ghoul’s Dungeon Bastards LP. Now, the track is backed with “Humans Till Deth.” Tankcrimes explains, “It’s taken from the ongoing soundtrack to ‘The Humans’ comic. Created by Keenan Marshall Keller and Tom Neely, the comic is set in the ‘70s and follows a motorcycle gang’s exploits, but with a twist; in this world, the gangs are all apes and actual humans are primitive beasts kept around for sport.” Available on black, 150; white, 350; half black, half red, 500; and blood red, 1500. –Hutch

Iggy Pop: The Idiot, Lust for Life, and TV Eye Live: UMe

Know what’s better than an Iggy Pop rerelease? Three Iggy Pop rereleases. The folks at UMe sent an intern deep into the vaults with instructions not to come out until they found something good. In this case, it was Iggy Pop’s first three solo albums. On June 2, the label released The Idiot, Lust For Life, and TV Eye Live on colored vinyl. They’ll be bundled together in a limited-to-500 custom tote bag featuring cover art of The Idiot on one side and Lust for Life on the reverse. –John B. Moore

Morbid Angel: Blessed Are the Sick: Earache Records

Morbid Angel defined an era, as they were quickly in the top echelon of Tampa’s Morrisound legends. Earache now release a remastered version—from the original master tapes—of Blessed Are the Sick in their Full Dynamic Range series, presented in a gatefold LP. This was Morbid Angel’s third album. It was 1991, and the band threw in some chunkier mid-tempo parts, but mostly, the blazing speed and frenzied guitar work stand out as a pure classic. Unapologetic and unambiguous Satanic lyrics still conjure fright. The vinyl is available on green, 300; blue, 400; red, 500; and black. –Hutch

Nightbringer: Ego Dominus Tuus: Season Of Mist
Even as the insidious, esoteric black hymns of their April release, Terra Damnata, were still seeping deep into the consciousness of black metal fans, Nightbringer were poised to respawn their 2014 opus, Ego Dominus Tuus. The band’s fourth full-length album, Ego Dominus Tuus was repressed on limited-edition vinyl as a gatefold double-LP and rereleased on May 26. It comes in clear vinyl and, of course, black vinyl. Presumably, the limited-edition record is as black as your soul after gorging on the warm sounds of this black metal ritual on vinyl! –Mike Gaworecki

Strife: In This Defiance: War Records

In the mid to late ‘90s, Strife—along with Earth Crisis, Snapcase, and the Victory roster—ruled the hardcore world. Strife continued, maintaining their fury and straight edge ethos, and intentionally fused a more metal sound into their second LP, In This Defiance. Transcending a genre, two decades ago, we revisit Strife embracing the metal world’s top tier by including Chino Moreno from Deftones, Iggor Cavalera of Sepultura, and Dino Cazares of Fear Factory. Strife toured with Sepultura for their iconic Roots album in 1996, obviously impacting their writing. The sound was a refined yet flourishing. The speed inherent in their first album still motivated the music and the message. The California straight edge hardcore spirit still thrives in these dudes, and here, we can feel their largest footprint in a cool package.

Guitarist Andrew Kline’s WAR Records details the record: “This one-time limited pressing of Strife’s In This Defiance is limited to only 100 copies on pink marble vinyl packaged in a hand-silkscreened and hand-numbered cover, and is joined by a limited-edition long-sleeve shirt.” –Hutch

Voivod: Rrröööaaarrr, Killing Technology, and Dimension Hatross: BMG

For the first time in 30 years, Voivod will press vinyl of three of their classic Noise Records albums, now remastered. Each of these classics are released on heavy weight vinyl or on double-CD or DVD. The DVDs each have five to six live performances from the respective tours of that year, plus behind the scenes and rare footage.

Rrröööaaarrr was first released via Noise in 1986. Voivod announced their sci-fi thrash prog-punk was gestating. Coming from skate punk hardcore in 1984, Piggy and the boys showed they were disturbed geniuses. Infusing electronic and industrial soundscapes into some gnarly Slayer and Possessed-type riffs, these Canadians were challenging all expectations. Included on the DVD is the Spectrum ‘86 Concert from Montreal, the complete demo of the Rrröööaaarrr album, band rehearsal tracks, and a never-before-heard sound-collage from the tapes of Piggy, Voivod’s lamented late guitarist.

The band continued with Killing Technology in 1987. Voivod confused hyphenated genre dictators further as the band introduced vaster concepts to their crushing proggy thrash attack. The crushing riffs and spastic drums cannot be denied.

1988’s Dimension Hatross shows the band shedding the thrash brutality to engage in more prog-metal, but I defy any thrash fan not to adore this. Bands like Atheist, Death, and Killing Joke were feeling antsy as well, and Voivod did it first with big, thick riffs. –Hutch

CASSETTES:

Desekryptor: Chasm of Rot: Blood Harvest

Hailing from Indiana, Desekryptor give us five songs totaling 18 minutes. The vocals are guttural, bellowing of past massacres. Violating taste and orthodox thoughts, this vile sewage seems scraped from Satan’s bowels. Chasm of Rot’s blackened death metal, captured in simple production, is boisterous noise and violent antagonism. Sludgy riffs with crisp time changes invoke some killer death metal—check out track two, “Blood Tipped Scythe.” I would like to see them beef up their production, but the nastiest of fans will soak this up like brain matter in a bar towel. The cassette release will bring anyone back to the ‘80s heyday. –Hutch

Summon: Aesthetics of Demise: Iron Bonehead

Aesthetics of Demise is the debut EP of Portugal’s Summon, out June 30. Going simply by N, J, and R, the trio have only been a band since late 2016. Months later, we find them losing their recording virginity on cassette. “Consummation” is simply droning, chaotic noise and stammering chords. This sounds more like vocals as mighty winds and taut fretwork over some torturous drums: a caustic approach to savage metal. Aesthetics of Demise even employs sound effects of volcanic rumblings, which will aid in the relentless hammering of your mind. –Hutch

AUDIO / VISUAL:

Melvins: A Walk with Love and Death: Ipecac Recordings

Melvins are following up 2016’s Basses Loaded—which featured every musician who has ever been part of the band—with yet another ambitious project. The trio of guitarist and vocalist Buzz Osborne, drummer Dale Crover, and bassist Steve McDonald will release the first-ever Melvins double album on July 7. A Walk with Love and Death isn’t just the new Melvins album, however: one disc, Death, is essentially their latest full-length, while the other, Love, is the soundtrack to a short film also titled “A Walk with Love and Death.” Drummer Dale Crover says, “A Walk with Love and Death is one giant dark, moody, psychotic head trip! Not for the faint of heart. You’ll sleep with the lights on after listening.” –Mike Gaworecki

Plasmatics: Live! Rod Swenson’s Lost Tapes 1978–81: MVD Visual

Despite being a wildly influential band—and highly entertaining—there is not a ton of early footage out there of Wendy O. Williams and her band, the Plasmatics. This rare live footage was recorded during the band’s early years—the late ‘70s—by her longtime partner Rod Swenson, who also recorded all of the band’s videos. This collection includes some of their first shows, when they took the stage at CBGBs. Some of the footage is grainy, but the sound is solid and the historical significance to the world of punk rock can’t be ignored. –John B. Moore

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