Candlemass: House of Doom: Napalm Records
Candlemass, the undisputed kings of minor-key songwriting, returned with a new record on May 25, obviously called House of Doom. The band bring the frenzied riffing, melancholy sounds, and warm Hammond organ tapestries that form the pillars of every Candlemass classic. They are back in top form with this killer doom epic. Title track “House of Doom” comes with three bonus tracks, raw and in your face. The brooding monster of a track, “Flowers of Deception,” indulges in unadulterated doom heaviness, while the second half of the EP features the stripped-down ballad “Fortuneteller” and wraps up with the almost sludgy “Dolls on a Wall.” When their debut was released over 30 years ago, the image of the horned skull pierced by a cross quickly became representative of the band and has stayed with them throughout a long career. Now, the Swedish pioneers of timeless slowness manage once again to distill the essence of epic doom metal on House of Doom and, at the same time, make waiting for their next full-length, due out in fall, even harder. –Marika Zorzi
Fucked Up: High Rise: Tankcrimes
Toronto’s Fucked Up continue to punish record collectors for their obsession while delighting punk fans. On High Rise, they eschew their creative impulse to erect epic journeys—check their recent LPs and their Year of the… series—by returning to the under-three-minute format in which they shine so vividly. For 15 years, the band have blessed top indie labels like Deranged, Matador, Jade Tree, Havoc, Third Man, Deathwish, and more, but on June 15, Fucked Up team up with Tankcrimes to release their cover of The Trainspotters’ 1979 single, “High Rise.” Mixing pop and quirky punk is perfect fodder for Fucked Up. There is some slight country plucking amid the ’80s pop sensibility filtered through Fucked Up that would fit alongside early singles like “Circling the Drain” from their 2004 debut, Let Likes Be Cured By Likes, and “Baiting the Public” from 2006 follow-up Hidden World. Backed with “Tower on Time,” this 45 is limited to 500 copies on black vinyl. –Hutch
Harley “Cro-Mags” Flanagan: Hard-Core (Dr. Know EP): MVD
Rising on reputation and ready to riot, Harley Flanagan returns. Having recently opened for the reunited Misfits’ East Coast show with Suicidal Tendencies and Murphy’s Law, Flanagan gave his fans a continuation of the 2017 full-length Cro-Mags on April 6. Flanagan whipped up six tracks of his stripped-down, bass-driven NYHC for Hard-Core, donating all the earnings to cover the medical bills of Bad Brains guitarist and Flanagan’s mentor, Dr. Know.
Crushing, heavy riffs and streetwise lyrics have always been Flanagan’s formula. That remains as true as Flanagan’s heart here, with titles such as “Life Has No Mercy,” “Sometimes You’re the Hammer (Sometimes You’re the Nail),” and others. There is not just a Neanderthal perspective but also a matured lens, such as on “Discipline Equals Freedom” and “I Love My Life”—which has a different, twangy, bluesy intro and burrows into the song for three minutes. Otherwise, we get under-two-minute, tough-as-nails tracks from the OG. Familiar upbeat tempos with a full bass and drum dimension combine with gang choruses, bulldog-growl vocals from Flanagan, and some searing leads that exhibit Flanagan’s continued adoration of Bad Brains. That influence is injected into metallic punk in homage and reverence to Dr. Know. –Hutch
Satan: The Doomsday Clock: Metal Blade
It’s rather bold to name a band Satan. Among all of the satanic bands, one places themself on the top of the list by simply utilizing the horned one’s moniker. Fortunately, it’s the NWOBHM legends’ sweat, talent, and fortitude that has earned them a top seat in the seven circles. Satan swear their name is about “injustice” and not the Morningstar, but whichever story you believe, their legacy and talent remain revered. They are canonized with their 1983 debut epic, Court in the Act, and again by 1987’s Suspended Sentence. Satan’s stunning vocals, layered harmonies, NWOBHM gallop, and empowered riffs have been a persistent thread through the decades, alongside peers like Raven, Angel Witch, and Saxon.
They reunited in 2012 and galloped into the studio, releasing LPs in 2013, Life Sentence, and 2015, Atom By Atom, and now promise an impending album in late 2018. Here to tease the legions is “The Doomsday Clock” backed with “Catacombs,” exclusive to this 7” on July 6. The vinyl appears in several mesmerizing colors: 400 on black; 200 on transparent red; 100 on white as an EMP exclusive; 150 on blue as an exclusive to Hell’s Headbangers; and 150 on clear as an exclusive to High Rollers. –Hutch
Surmiser: Hold the Static: Self-released
Woodstock, New York, is a tranquil farm town, but over the last six years, local Jay Andersen has reaped charging, unsettling punk-grunge rock. Surmiser’s three prior records feature Jenn Russell on drums, but this will be the first released with newcomer Lukas Lerner. Together, he and bassist Tom Matthews create simmering rhythms to underlay Andersen’s cluttered, chilling riffs. Hold the Static, out June 8, balances bounce and tension with structured brevity.
Andersen touts Surmiser’s sound as being influenced by “Tad, Mission Of Burma, Nirvana, Tar, [and] Killing Joke.” While that is an accurate summation, evidence of metallic attributes manifests as well. Matthews’ bass sound on “Mindreader” is seismic, a perfect pairing with Andersen’s screams. Surmiser display a stellar ability to ebb and flow between taut frustration and unfettered release of anger and spite. Hold the Static was recorded by Andersen at his own Bohemesphere Studio in Saugerties and mastered by Oliver Ackermann at Death By Audio in Brooklyn. –Hutch
Worshipper: Mirage Daze: Tee Pee Records
After crushing expectations in 2016 with their Tee Pee Records debut, Shadow Hymns, Boston’s Worshipper return with a cool EP of four covers. Worshipper aim high with the ballsy goal of matching forefathers and foremothers of the riff: The Oath, Uriah Heep, The Who, and Pink Floyd. Early 2018 saw the band tour with The Skull, and they have at least three mini-tours planned and one West Coast voyage to spread their riff-soaked gospel. Out June 1, Mirage Daze is a witty nod to their beginnings and a fun outing for fans. Recorded live at Mad Oak Studios in Boston and produced by Benny Grotto, this EP serves as a bridge to their second LP, which is set to be recorded at GodCity Studio. –Hutch
Christ On Parade: A Mind Is a Terrible Thing: Neurot Recordings
San Francisco’s Christ On Parade birthed a treasonous classic in 1987. The band were in existence from 1985 to 1989, giving the world four EPs and a few live records but only one true full-length—but what a full-length. While members went on to join Neurosis, Econochrist, and Hellbillys, their years together are cemented in punk history thanks to A Mind Is a Terrible Thing.
Christ On Parade: they fused sounds of MDC, D.R.I., Dead Kennedys, Poison Idea, Jerry’s Kids, Dr. Know, and Wasted Youth. Christ On Parade had a specific target with “Kill Your Landlord,” the landlord of the New Method Warehouse where three of the members squatted. This song is joined by more generally sardonic and scathing objections on “Teach Your Children Well,” “Pressured To Succeed,” “TV Media Mass Murder Celebrity,” “Nothing To Live For,” “Dead Meat,” “Life Sucker,” and “Old Mac Donald’s Farm.” The remastered vinyl is out May 25 on classic black. –Hutch
Count Raven: High On Infinity and Messiah of Confusion: Metal Blade
Metal Blade continues to celebrate legendary bands, this time in the form of a second round of reissues for doom titans Count Raven. Early in 2018, Metal Blade reissued 1990’s Storm Warning and 1992’s Destruction of the Void. Now, the time is nigh for the second half of Count Raven’s early discography: High On Infinity was originally released in 1993, Messiah of Confusion in 1996. The albums will be available on vinyl for the first time ever on June 15, and it’s enough to make any metal maniac drool.
Remastered by Patrick W. Engel, the riffs and melancholic crooning are heralded to an echelon so deserved. To accompany their low-end masterpieces, Count Raven didn’t simply harvest lyrics of wizards and fantasy. Their masterful manipulation of the macabre distills chilling subject matter onto these albums. On High On Infinity, Count Raven conjure tales of real-life terror in songs such as “The Madman from Waco,” “Children’s Holocaust,” “Traitor,” and others. Messiah of Confusion tackles morose isolation with “Loneliest One,” “Lie of Life,” and “Divided World.” Dan Fondelius’ vocals emulate Ozzy to perfection, haunting bellows that pierce directly to the wounded heart. Tommy Eriksson’s bass pulverizes in commanding stature, backed by Christer Pettersson’s plodding drums.
Both albums receive a monumental double-LP gatefold presentation on decadent vinyl varieties with bonus tracks and posters:
High On Infinity: 180g black vinyl; 500 on red orange; 300 on yellow ochre marbled; 200 on marigold marbled; and 200 on amber marbled.
Messiah of Confusion: 180g black vinyl; 500 on pale violet red marbled; 300 on soft lilac; 200 on pastel apricot marbled; and 200 on wine-red marbled. –Hutch
Neurosis: Pain of Mind: Neurot Recordings
Today, Neurosis are known as a collective guided by introspection. The band’s cataclysmic riffing exposes reflections not all audiences are equipped to handle. Tectonic riffs and layered sonic nuances and visuals are orchestrated to psychologically eviscerate listeners. But when they began in 1985, Neurosis used a simpler formula. Following some grand reissues—especially 2017’s treatment of Word As Law—Neurosis turned to their debut, 1988’s Pain of Mind, reissued on May 25.
In 1987, when recording Pain of Mind, Neurosis were nestled in the fertile East Bay. The band weaponized their indignation and politics. Pain of Mind helped hone the teenagers’ desperation—only guitarist Chad Salter was 21 years old, while bassist Dave Edwardson was 18, vocalist and guitarist Scott Kelly was 19, and drummer Jason Roeder was 16. Neurosis forged a poignant, caustic anger into 14 two- to three-minute gems, taking cues from Discharge, Amebix, Anti Cimex, Crass, and Voivod—and Black Sabbath—for their sonic framing and lyrical content. The artwork for Pain of Mind has been updated by Josh Graham of A Storm Of Light, and this classic was remastered by Bob Weston at Chicago Mastering Service. Vinyl comes in black, grey, white, and blood red. –Hutch
Pink Lincolns: Suck and Bloat: Rad Girlfriend Records
Those craving the snotty, funny punk rock stylings of Chris Barrows are in luck: Rad Girlfriend Records is rereleasing a classic from his past, as well as two new records from his other projects. The label will reissue the 1994 Pink Lincolns album Suck and Bloat, complete with artwork by Iggy Pop. At the same time, they are putting out a new LP from the Barrows-led supergroup The Spears, who also include members of Down By Law, D.R.I., Hated Youth, and Grave Return. The new Spears album, Ghosts, boasts a slew of additional guests including members of Black Flag, The Queers, Screeching Weasel, and Adolescents. Finally, Rad Girlfriend is putting out a new EP from The Chris Barrows Band. All are set for release on June 29. –John B. Moore
U.K. Subs: The Albums Volume 1 and Volume 2 Box Sets: Edsel Records / Demon Music
Punk kings U.K. Subs get the royal treatment with a supreme box set repackaging of their albums on Aug. 3. Equal parts confrontational and catchy, U.K. Subs began after vocalist Charlie Harper watched bands like The Clash, Sex Pistols, and The Damned and left behind his prior effort of making bluesy pub rock. Finding punk to be the perfect release, the band aptly title their first LP Another Kind of Blues in 1979. That record was followed by other classics like 1980’s Brand New Age and 1982’s Endangered Species. U.K. Subs have released over 26 studio albums, and the first letter of each form the alphabet, from A to Z.
Volume 1 is a 15-disc, 279-track CD box set, while Volume 2 includes 15 discs and 261 tracks. Both span 13 albums, plus two discs of bonus singles, B-sides, and rare compilation tracks, and a print signed by Charlie Harper. Demon Music previously reissued U.K. Subs’ remastered debut on blue wax and nailed it. Their efforts here are just as extensive and impressive. –Hutch
DevilDriver: Outlaws ‘til the End: Vol. 1: Napalm Records
No band’s discography is complete without a cover or two, but DevilDriver do us one better with an entire record of outlaw country covers. Seemingly, this is not the only full album of this style that they will do, since it is titled Vol. 1. “I feel we’ve done something different, something that’s never been attempted, and came out the other end extremely satisfied,” vocalist Dez Fafara explains. “Every moment of this record was a guessing game: ‘How should we transcribe the songs?’ ‘How do we best keep the flavor of the song but still put our stamp on it?’ I’m most proud of the guests who came forward to jam and give their all—not for money but for the sheer fact they loved the idea and wanted to jam.”
Outlaws ‘til the End comes from a concept that Fafara has hinted at for some time, and it’s one most fans weren’t sure would ever see the light of day. The album features a lot of special guests and covers everyone from Hank 3 and Johnny Cash to The Eagles and David Allan Coe.
While Fafara and the group will always remain true to their metal roots, they were keen to take on this project because it was something new and different. “DevilDriver has always been a band that’s pushed our sound. Every record is DevilDriver, but they all sound different from one another, and that’s important,” he says. “No one wants to hear a band make the same record over and over again.” The country goodness will be unleashed on July 6, and fans of the band’s more classic stuff can expect more recording and touring in the near the future. –Addison Herron-Wheeler
Pneuma Hagion: Trinity: Nuclear War Now! Productions
Shrouded in opaque savagery, San Antonio’s Pnuema Hagion—the musical manifestation of the maladjusted man known only as R.—create twisted brutality for their fans. The band’s brand of nihilistic blackened death metal has flowed through metal underground circles, and Nuclear War Now! helped disseminate the misanthropic maladies on three separate cassette demos in 2015, aptly titled Trinity I, Trinity II, and Trinity III. Pneuma Hagion forged forward with two splits and a 2017 EP, Rituals of Extinction. Despite the band’s obvious talent and prowess, their name lingers in obscurity. More of a travesty, Pnuema Hagion have only released their music digitally.
These wrongs will be corrected on May 31 when Nuclear War Now! and Pnuema Hagion present the band’s three demos and one EP on one record. Dubbed Trinity, this record collects the 12 tracks and renders an exhausting journey. The morose yet militaristic music saps the listener—relentless black metal blast beats merge with swinging death grooves and engaging time changes. Thick sludgy production relinquishes control to a syrupy atmosphere. Heavy does not simply describe the music but also the oppressive treachery summoned by its abrasive riffs. Omitting tinny production, Pnuema Hagion capitalize on the lo-fi attributes of black metal that thrust its raw, bestial qualities to the forefront. Contrasted with the choice to eschew the lesser bits, they choose a powerful death metal ethos.
Grinding belligerence is celebrated and equipped with ferocious tracks like “First Thought,” “Storms of Silence,” “Distant,” and “The Shedding of Flesh.” “Caverns” and “Nous” are killer tracks to commence the pessimistic adventure. “Antinatalist” and “Archon of Disease” are other bomb tracks. Roiling in hopeless despair, churned as soiled magma, Pnuema Hagion’s vision is a desolate tragedy—finally, on a splendid 12” platter. –Hutch
Duel: Live at The Electric Church: Heavy Psych Sounds
Back to back stellar albums in 2016 and 2017—Fears of the Dead and Witchbanger, respectively—set quite the precedent for Austin, Texas, stoner slingers Duel. Sticking with their killer label, Heavy Psych Sounds—itself on quite a roll in 2018 with Nebula reissues, Lords Of Altamont, and Monsternaut—Duel offer a sweaty, six-song scorcher. Setting the scene, The Electric Church is a Spanish church turned DIY venue in Austin. The heat and the arid atmosphere yield to Duel’s sonic saturation in four- to six-minute portions with an eight-minute closer. Capturing the riffs and the savage power of the quartet, Live at the Electric Church pushes and pushes the hazy fuzz and buzzing grooves. The ’70s are resurrected here as Duel project creepy psychedelic vibes to propel a listener down a desolate, dusty road. Released on May 18 with a variant green cover and on limited-edition green vinyl or yellow vinyl, as well as CD and digital. –Hutch
DEVO: “DEVO: THE BRAND” | “DEVO: UNMASKED”: Rocket 88
You didn’t actually think DEVO would put out just another traditional rock star bio, did you? On July 13, Rocket 88 will put out a two-in-one upside-down book by DEVO cofounders Gerald V. Casale and Mark Mothersbaugh. “DEVO: The Brand” is crammed with photos, artwork, and memories from the iconic Ohio band. Also nestled inside the soft, rubberized cover is “DEVO: Unmasked,” which contains discussions of their pre-DEVO bands, Kent State-era art happenings, proto-DEVO doings, and much more. Half of the book is printed upside down—naturally—so you have to flip it over to get the full story. You can preorder the book at devobook.net. –John B. Moore