What One Becomes
The Deal was some rib-crackingly heavy shit, no? Well, guess what. Aaron Turner (Isis, Old Man Gloom, Mammifer), Brian Cook (These Arms Are Snakes), and Nick Yacyshyn return as a bigger, meaner machine, and with What One Becomes, they’re ready to close the deal.
So forget your ribs—you best protect your neck.
SUMAC is the brainchild of Turner, and on What One Becomes the hairy riffsmith is just as inspired by the the open spaces of the Pacific Northwest as he is by his anxiety issues.
Led by Turner’s raw-throat sermons, the five-track album ferociously plods along with stuttering riffs and grandiose architecture. But it isn’t all slow and roary. There’s flailing fits of noise (“Will to Reach”), bangin’ head-down rawk (“Rigid Man”), and lush melody reminiscent of Isis’ Panopticon (“Clutch of Oblivion”).
The album’s true melodic marvel, however, is the final act of “Blackout,” a mesmerizing post-rock jam that will give you wings. It’s mood swings like this that make each mountainous track of What One Becomes more pleasing than intimidating.
Label: Thrill Jockey
Released: June 10, 2016
Quid Pro Quo
Armed with distorto-toys, static-gadgets, and melody machines, Luwayne Glass melds harsh electronics with tender shoegaze elements to make what they call “nihilist queer revolt musik.”
Consider the market fucking cornered.
Confrontational, cathartic, and just plain weird, Quid Pro Quo is Glass’s 28th release as dreamcrusher. Despite its brash, surreal nature, the 22-minute EP is actually comprised of songs with beats, arrangements, and lyrics, all of which bring order to the chaos without diminishing it in the slightest.
A mod-synth breakdown splits through opener “Myrtle-Ave Broadway,” leading to a sample of a tense street melee that ends in sirens, while Glass’ distant wails spike the syrupy “Codeine Eyes” and the eerie, bell-laden “Syva Valo.”
What makes Quid Pro Quo such a gift is “A God Sewn Into Flesh,” a hypno-mindfuck that’s full of light, beauty, and nostalgia, proving that in the right hands, even the nastiest of noise can have a heart.
Label: Fire Talk
Released: March 18, 2016
Hell awaits for those who step to Ahna.
Since 2009, the violent blackened-death-crust trio from Vancouver, British Columbia, has had one collective combat boot rooted in the present, and one rooted in 1986. Guitarist Graham Christofferson unloads filthy riffs and squirming, convulsing solos that claw at you from the bottom of the mix, while Anju Singh’s huge drums pound and hiss away front and center.
As one-half of the vocalist tag-team of Ahna, Singh’s blood-thirsty screaming and grunting on “No One Survives,” “Pull the Trigger,” and “Cadaver” are really what make Perpetual Warfare so good. Hers are easily some of the best, most energetic, and sincerest vocals in extreme metal today.
Unfortunately, because Singh is silent on “Devastation” and the title track—Christofferson takes over here with his raspy subterranean growls—the two tracks just kind of sit there, leaving the EP feeling lopsided.
Yes, Perpetual Warfare came out last June, but I’m hoping that these words will magically speed up the impending release of Crimson Dawn, which, fingers crossed and horns up, will attract new troops to the Ahna army.
Label: Neanderthal.Stench (Belgium), Choking Hazard Records (Montreal)
Released: June 9, 2015