Slicers, Hookers, Cutters is a monthly rundown of the best and worst albums released during the previous month. Let’s be real…there’s only so much time we can dedicate to albums every month, so feel free to tweet @BethpageBM and let us know what we missed. Understand, of course, that we may have actually hated the garbage you recommend…so if you don’t see a social shout-out for that release, you’ll just have to sit there and wonder whether we missed your comment…or whether your taste is terrible. This crushing paranoia is all part of the doom metal experience.
EAGLE: ‘King of Cowards’ by Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs
We’re going to refer to this British band as “7P” from here on out, as I’m trying to limit my keyboard reps. Anyone who knows me was certainly expecting a Motorhead/Sabbath-worshipping sludge group to appear at the top of this month’s list…but no one expected it to be this one. Those who listened to the band’s previous album—Feed The Rats—might be surprised at King of Cowards; while the former plays more to a Sleep crowd (more foreshadowing) with 66.6 percent of its tracks coming it at more than 15 minutes, the latter “limits” itself to a near-nine-minute peak. Although the lumbering heaviness remains, the “tighter” tracks mean more focus as well, similar to how Zoroaster really broke through with Matador.
BIRDIE: ‘EUCLID C FINDER!’ by Euclid C Finder
This one’s going to be tough to Google, as apparently “Euclid C Finder” is a reference to the Fallout video game series. Unlike the Fallout video game series, which took me like 80 hours to beat the last time I played (2010), you can get through this emphatically self-titled album in less than than 13 minutes. Yeah, it’s grindcore, if you couldn’t guess from that length. Michael Mehl walks the fine line between mathematically-structured and utterly-insane in his one-man act, and he comes out ahead here. I’ve been considering getting a tape deck to go with the turntable, and Maryland has been prime for cassette-only metal acts in recent years. Euclid joins Insane Power, a brutal hardcore act that just released its second “LP.”
BIRDIE: ‘Electric Messiah’ by High on Fire
Yeah, obviously it’s good..but this band sets a high standard for this reviewer. High on Fire is always good—which makes Snakes for The Divine (a solid album) sound like a letdown after the masterful Death Is This Communion, and similarly makes Electric Messiah (a solid album) shiver in the shadows of 2015’s Luminiferous. The title track here is great…but it’s much better before I heard Matt Pike’s explanation that Lemmy came to him in a dream…and accused the shirtless frontman of trying to replace the Motorhead bassist? Okay, I guess? I don’t know. I think I’m just trying to defend not standing staunchly behind arguably my favorite metal band.
PAR: ‘I Loved You At Your Darkest’ by Behemoth
Another good album that might suffer a bit from the group’s previous critical successes. Those keeping up with the metal news probably predicted that the band’s recent popularity windfall—being chosen by Slayer as the opening act for two consecutive tours, including its farewell trek— probably introduced black metal for the first time to many thrash purists (dads love thrash). Behemoth does present a more accessible face on Darkest, but that door had already been opened (very effectively) on 2014’s The Satanist. Although satanism is not exactly a new theme in the black metal scene, Behemoth has extra experience: Frontman Nergal has been taken to court on various blasphemy charges in ultra-Catholic Poland, his homeland, and was formally banned from performing in the country as of 2014. Behemoth has seized upon this notoriety…occasionally blunting their songwriting (see first single “God = Dog”). Another band that has the same “problem”? Slayer. Darkest should pay off.
BOGEY: ‘The Silver Scream’ by Ice Nine Kills
I’ll be honest…I feel like Ice Nine Kills has potential. That’s not a distinction I give nowadays to many metalcore / deathcore acts. Most of it comes from Spencer Charnas’s approach to the microphone…where a healthy majority of his cohorts sound like a healthy majority of their cohorts, Charnas is—and I mean this in a not-bad way—honestly has a Panic! At The Disco flair about his clean vocals. I don’t enjoy Brendan Urie’s vocals, but there’s a reason why he’s playing arenas right now and the All-American Rejects are not. The lapses into borderline-rapping deathcore vocals are unfortunate, but arguably the biggest issue surrounding INK’s last few albums have been their laaaaaaaaaame concepts. Every track here is based, too literally, on classic horror films, and the frequent vocal introductions help not at all. In the current environment, where you have incredible, actually thematic horror soundtracks to check out—John Carpenter’s new Halloween score, Thom Yorke’s Suspiria, and Dixon & Stein’s Stranger Things entries—how can an album like The Silver Scream be anything more than a gimmick?