Black Tomb ‘Black Tomb’


Los grillos isn’t always down for guttural, Cookie Monster howls or anguished, gravel-throated yowls when cranking up the metal, but given the general state of the post-election union, a little guttural howling and anguished yowling seems more than a bit appropriate, so we’re happy to say that Black Tomb is here to soundtrack the coming Trump-ocalypse.  As sinister as the cover suggests and driven by raging vocals and mammoth-stomping, face-melting riffs, Black Tomb’s self-titled debut wails into the abyss with the best of metal’s dark lords. Fans of Cough and Windhand and the almighty Electric Wizard would do well to set their ears to bleeding and their souls to searing with this one.

Black Tomb is out now and available digitally via the Black Tomb Bandcamp site.

Cassette fans should hit up the good folks at Graven Earth Records— who released the cassette version of the latest from los grillos’s favorite new haunted headbangers, Possessor. While you’re there, check out Songs and Dances of Death, the new slab of blackened thrash madness from Sarcoptes, and Unfading Incorporeal Vacuum, a soaring symphony of black metal bliss from Chile’s Sol Sistere.

This ain’t music for healing. This is the sound of resistance. Turn it way the fuck up.

Wovenhand ‘Star Treatment’


Holy shit, the new Wovenhand album, Star Treatment, is a fucking crusher. Maybe it’s just that it plays to my particular tastes, but I’m full on digging this thing’s epic mix of gothic boom and country preaching awash in sonic portents of the apocalypse that give it a heavy metal vibe. Call it Goth-Americana. Call it A-metal-cana (all right, don’t call it that– that’s pretty stupid, even for the cricket). Just call it badass, ’cause this thing moves with purpose. David Eugene Edwards, the creative force behind Wovenhand, and 16 Horsepower before that, has no small number of damn good albums in his catalog, but this one feels like a grand statement, a culmination of his creativity up to this point, one that announces itself with authority and takes the listener on a journey of dust, darkness, and deliverance. (Fans of Mark Lanegan and Peter Murphy alike, do yourself a favor and get this straight away.)

Star Treatment is out now and available via the Wovenhand Bandcamp site. Check it out here.

Possessor ‘Dead By Dawn’


Motor boogie thrash bangin’ badasses Possessor are back with another slab of full throttle horror-metal horn-raisers. Mixing myriad influences into a thick and heady brew of rock-the-fuck-out, these dudes bring to mind loads of potential comparisons, but turn the dial to eleven on debut lp Electric Hell, last year’s Stay Dead ep and onward to latest lp Dead By Dawn, and it’s clear that the sound that rattles your bones is pure Possessor– fuzzed out, beautifully fucked, and catchier than heat stroke in hell (where los grillos presumes the band crashed a burned out garage to record these nine brain-melters).

Dead By Dawn is out now and available via the Possessor Bandcamp site. Check it out here.

Heyrocco ‘Waiting on Cool’

waiting on cool

On their latest, Waiting on Cool, Charleston, South Carolina’s Heyrocco announce their 90’s influences loudly and proudly, launching straight out of the gate with the hard-driving, hyper-melodic “Yeah” before easing into the slack-rockin’ “It’s Always Something New”. Over the rest of the 6-track ep, they strike a balance between the two on guitar-driven, hook-filled songs that hit all the indie/alt-rock touchstones (that the parents of these young dudes’ likely had rockin’ on the cd player while they were still rockin’ in their cribs). However the fuzzed-out, earnest angst of the nineties came to the members of Heyrocco, it clearly had a lasting impact that they bring to their music, from the off-kilter edge of Built to Spill to Weezer’s ear-worm anthems to the radio ready pop/punk of Jimmy Eat World. Just the thing for a little burst of head-bobbin’ energy to get you through the sun-scorched doldrums of summer.

Waiting on Cool is out now via Dine Alone Records. Check it out here.

Boyfrndz ‘Impulse’


Impulse, the latest from Austin’s Boyfrndz, starts with a hyper-melodic riff and vocal punch that immediately pulled me in for a wholly absorbing psych-tinged, prog-metal ride, which surprises the fuck out of me because I don’t usually go in for prog (and I pretty much can’t fucking stand The Mars Volta, a likely critical touchstone for folks talking about this album).

But then, I am a huge fucking Queensryche fan, and though members of Boyfrndz might tell me to piss off for making the comparison, I honestly don’t think you have to travel too far down the prog-metal road to get from here to here. Or here. (And don’t get me wrong, I mean this as a compliment. And I’m not talking about stadium-sized, “Silent Lucidity”-era soft-Ryche, I’m talking about Warning and Rage for Order Ryche ‘n’ Roll.)

Anyway, the Ryche is a bit more metal and bit less, say, Radiohead, in its prog leanings, but I’m guessing members of Queensryche and Boyfrndz have worn out the same Pink Floyd albums. And both bands have a knack for melody and not getting so lost in the technical side of things that they forget to keep shit catchy. Between that and having successfully brought together myriad influences, beyond prog, to create a unique sound– and an epic, emotional album– Boyfrndz perhaps transcend the limits of a Queensryche comparison. But even if they didn’t, that’d be okay, ’cause I don’t give a fuck what you say– the Ryche rules.

Impulse is out now via Brutal Panda Records. Check it out here. Or grab a copy from the Boyfrndz Bandcamp site here.