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: ‘Back to Reality’ by Abstract Void
“At what point does the infernal trend of black metal hybridization end?” asks some guy wearing a Burzum shirt, probably living in Brooklyn, when he has finished challenging his first parking ticket. The answer, my friend, is whenever cats stop doing it successfully. Blackgaze, while hardly new, is still boggling purist minds, and now we’ve got black metal / new wave (blackwave?) to deal with. Sounds terrible if you flash to INXS when you hear “new wave,” but if you consider the John Carpenter soundtracks you’ve dug for decades now, adding some blackened vocals and blastbeats over them isn’t quite as appalling. Abstract Void—a one-unnamed-man project listed as from “Earth” (OK, the attempt at mystery is lame, but everything else about it is awesome). Gost has already made headway in the “blacksynth” or whatever category, but like…even at its most heavy, the instrumental nature of that act makes it tough to fully appreciate as metal, even with inverted crosses. Abstract Void fixes the issue.
BIRDIE: Superstition by Funeral Chic
“At what point does the infernal trend of black metal hybridization end?” asks the same guy, while he lines up the La Croix in the fridge the way his girlfriend likes it. Admittedly, the argument between punk and metal—much less black metal—has run much longer and deeper than with other genres. I have never not been tired of hearing dudes earnestly explain why Hatebreed is 100% not a metal band. I don’t know. Funeral Chic walks a finer, and simultaneously messier, line than that. If you were to take Power Trip and just cake them with mud until there was like an inch-thick layer of crust, then you’d have something in the neighborhood of what Chic does on opener “Rotten to The Core.” Granted, this group might prefer to lump itself in with the punk crowd—based on politicking—but for now it’s well at home within our reviews. They probably hate golf but…that’s an ongoing problem we have.
BIRDIE: The Lunatic Creature by Ayyur
Finally, our purist friend in Brooklyn can breathe a sigh of relief; true, pure (in the most impure sense, of course) black metal still exists in the form of Ayyur. Of course, his boy Varg Vikernes might disagree. Look, we don’t know anything about the only constant member of this group—Angra Mainyu—but we do know the group is from Tunisia. And we would love to assume that Mainyu is of Tunisian heritage…not the woebegone child of Christian missionaries. Arab Spring was cool to see. It obviously wasn’t a religious rebellion (see: Egypt) but it was a popular uprising against tyrannical bullshit. Granted, the most prominent country region not to have its monarchy overthrown was Saudi Arabia, whom we’ve always assumed to be the most “American” of Muslim states, thanks to its golf courses and such. But in the wake of that state literally dismembering an American citizen and our willingness to overlook it for some nice prices at the pump, I’ve gotta look back at Arab Spring in disappointment. Only one state managed to not fall into the same predicament it started in…Tunisia. Religious states are fine…when they aren’t crushing nonbelievers. It’s nice to know that an Ayyur can do what it does and not be killed for it. We rant and rave about the blasphemy charges against Behemoth in its native Poland, which prevent them from going home. But if an Ayyur were to emerge in Saudi Arabia? Ask Jamal Khashoggi what happens. I might not be right, but I might not be wrong. Sorry, that got a little off track, but as a guy with a background in journalism, that story eats at me. People who write about golf and metal don’t need to worry about being murdered on the job. Our former classmates aren’t always so lucky.
PAR: Zapruder by Zapruder
This is a group that’s going to resonate with so many people…and turn so many off. Remember when you were in middle school, and all your friends were just raging to Toxcicity? So you went backward and picked up System of A Down? And then like 85 percent of the band’s audience was just baffled and appalled by that album’s spastic jabber moments? We’re members of the 15 percent, and odds are so are you. But Zapruder is the group to split that 15 percent down the middle. Although self-labelling as hardcore, the group just refuses to stick to any given style for long enough to constitute a true “album.” At least Zeal and Ardor has two genres that they bounce awkwardly between. Zapruder has like seven. And often enough, when they switch it up within a single song, it’s a thing of beauty. But from track-to-track…it’s tough to stay in the band’s mood for an entire LP. If you’re a Clutch fan looking for a heavier fix, the wonkiness of frontman Issac Ruder’s vocal approach will be alluring. Dillinger fans will recognize some riffs.
BOGEY: Introvert by Slegest
We’re finally going throw our Brooklyn buddy a bone and agree that yes, at some point, black metal hybridization needs to end. Attaching Slegest to black metal is tougher than nailing it to rock ‘n’ roll, but “black ‘n’ roll” is the subgenre we’re running with when discussing this group. From the onset, the band’s groove indicates that this isn’t a heavy metal play…this is AC/DC territory. And, if you think about it, the jump between AC/DC and other, more metal-oriented acts isn’t that wild; Bon Scott/Brian Johnson’s vocals are hardly “clean.” So maybe our problem with Slegest’s Stig Ese is that he overcommits to the metal (he growls where Scott yowls). And, if we really wanted to listen to an AC/DC-style metal band, Six Feet Under has spent an unusual amount of effort doing that already. I’m a hater and I’m going to hate, but I think you’re money is better spent on Kvelertak’s Natteferd.