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: ‘Панихида’ by Krzystof Drabikowski
Two things to know right offhand: The alphabet is Cyrillic, and I’m not totally sure on the language. Drabikowski himself is from Poland (not only that, he’s from Podlaskie Voivodeship…”Voivod” is literally built into the name). What we do know is that the title translates to either “funeral” or “dirge.” What we also know is that despite the thrash origins (again, Voivod) and the doomy title, Drabikowski is utter blackness. Using the rules of sacred music to create perverse inversions of religious ideas is borderline traditional in Black Metal, but Drabikowski’s take is beautiful. The clean vocals come in the form of sinister chant, hypnotizing like the clouds of incense that pour forth from any Eastern Orthodox service (used to neighbor a Romanian Orthodox church…went a few times). These clouds exist only to be broken by the outraged shrieks. When all the pieces come together, power chords pushing the chant to the vaulted ceiling and the blastbeats running with Drabikowski’s dirtier vocals, it’s peak “ambient” Black Metal.
BIRDIE: ‘Steeping Corporeal Mess’ by Fetid
The best way I have of explaining the difference between Black Metal and Death Metal to noobs is by comparing what happens to a dead body left out in the regions where both genres respectively formed. In Norway, home of Black Metal, the body gets all frosty and basically becomes a White Walker. In Florida, homeland of death metal, it gets all gross like a more traditional zombie. You can hear this “wet” idea in the production for traditional death metal, versus the treble-based sound of Black Metal. These rules have started to shift big time as both genres evolve, but it’s only appropriate that an act named “Fetid” should sound as such on an album titled Steeping Corporeal Mess. Fetid doesn’t steep in Florida, however, but rather the equally-wet Pacific Northwest. The group takes the swampiness of its Death to the next level, especially Clyle Lindstrom’s vile vocals. The muck would be thick enough to swallow him whole if his rhythm section wasn’t so solid. And maybe it’s the recent release of the new Stranger Things season, but the John Carpenter into to “Steeping In What Was” goes down smooth.
BIRDIE: ‘Offerings of Flesh and Gold’ by Bull of Apis Bull of Bronze
Based on our descriptions of Drabikowski’s work above, you could reasonably expect some lengthy epics, as well as some screed on the meaningless of religion and humanity itself. Instead, the performer kept the songs relatively short, and his commentary upon them even shorter. Bull of Apis Bull of Bronze is on a totally different spectrum in terms of presentation, if not in sound itself. The self-titled track carries for more than 22 minutes, punctuating the lo-fi, ambient shrieks and blasting, with raspy interludes and chords carrying distortion into the night. The band’s intentions are defined: “aggressively antifascist, antihierarchy, and anticapitalist. They are for the downtrodden and the disenfranchised.” It would be easy then to define the band’s title—a reference to the Egyptian bull god—as a clichéd symbol of man’s worship of false idols (especially those made of precious metals). But we’d like to interpret this, based on the ambient nature of the band’s output, the band itself representing the titular god, who in Egyptian lore served as mankind’s communication outlet to the divine. Bull of Apis Bull of Bronze obviously has a human side, but it also bridges well into the ether of the nether.
BIRDIE: ‘Cages’ by Redbait
Looking for something of similar political leanings as Apis on a much less dense musical platform? Well, here’s Redbait. We’re not going to lie…a considerable amount of the band’s output—both on this EP or otherwise—is so definably hardcore punk that we would typically refrain from featuring on this, our stuck-up-pure-metal-blog. But of all the tracks on Cages, the one that bears the release’s title is far-and-away the most metal, and that’s got to mean something. Although the band sells its Crustiness all the way, the title track takes that sound and vomits forth true Grindcore for a sound that can only be referred to as “Grindcrust.” In the grand scheme of things, it sounds like something Napalm Death has done for 30 years, with similar lyrical content. We wouldn’t go as far as to say Redbait is a true Grindcore group, but we would be shocked if the typical hardcore show attendee in a college campus basement wasn’t shocked to hear this sort of brutality. We’re willing to back this theory up if Redbait wants to play a show at one of Ohio State’s many underground concert spaces.
BIRDIE: ‘Gold & Grey’ by Baroness
Sometimes it feels good to not take the Pitchfork line on releases, and that has typically been our experience with Baroness. Yellow & Green just didn’t add up to Red in our eyes, and Purple didn’t add up to much of anything. OK, that’s taking it a little far, but Purple was weak. We fully expected Gold & Grey to continue down the same weak path, and so did J.T. We were pleasantly surprised, however, but J.T. insisted that Gold & Grey sucked. Both J.T. and I hold Red as our favorite Baroness album, so you can get an idea for what we’re dealing with here. Some people are just never going to be happy until Baroness releases another album that heavy (which is never going to happen). These people are J.T. Some people think that there’s a middle ground where John Baizley can mess around and paint naked women cavorting with animals while NOT being as heavy as Red, and still come out OK. Those people are us. Interestingly, we’ve heard very few complaints against the distinct bass mix on Gold & Grey, which almost sounds like the band was aiming to replicate St. Anger. This is actually cool by a phantom few (including us) who enjoy the raw volume of St. Anger, but as that is also the most hated album of the 21st Century—possibly in any genre—many will disagree. Anyway, at the end of the day, J.T. is not writing for BPBM anymore as of the end of this Baroness argument. You won’t notice, because he never wrote for BPBM anyway, because he sucks. BOOM!