Bandcamp Picks of the Week 3/22/17

Bandcamp Picks of the Week: you know what it do

bandcamp picks of the week ash borer

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Genre: Atmospheric Black Metal

Tracks: “Lacerated Spirit,” “Lustration I,” “Rotten Firmament,”

Long gone are the days of black metal records recorded in dilapidated basements on the worst equipment imaginable. Modern black metal, particularly of the North American variety, is fastidiously well-produced, and honestly the genre’s better off for it, as showcased on THE IRREPASSABLE GATE. Only genre die hards still yearn for 45 minutes of pure, unrelenting blackness; the current renaissance black metal is experiencing is making the genre more varied, dramatic, and surprising than ever before. Ash Borer may not be the most technically gifted musicians (Krallice run circles around them, for instance) but they more than make up for it in creating atmosphere and mood. “Lustration I” provides an ambient break after the blistering storm of “Lacerated Spirit,” but it creates a sense of menace and doom that’s intimidating in its own right, without being as obvious. The group’s appreciation for melody, pacing, and sonic space makes them one of the more dynamic extreme metal acts from the last year or so; you can hear it for yourself right here. [Carter Moon]

bandcamp picks of the week the wicked

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The Wicked Mercy – SUNDOWN

Genre: Blues Rock

Favorite Tracks: “Tell Me Goodbye,” “Out in Your Head,” “You Got to Choose,” “Wait No More”

Continuing my trend of geographically displaced Bandcamp picks, The Wicked Mercy are an Ottawan band that wishes they were from the southern U.S., not southern Canada. SUNDOWN starts off a little slow with grating falsetto and a directionless instrumental as their second track, but it hits a fantastic stride from the driving “Out in Your Head” until the end of the record.The guitars are tight and lean, and the small infusions of keyboards and horns are tasteful and add a psychedelic texture to The Wicked Mercy’s aggressive, hook-centered approach to blues rock. While they spend most of the time delivering infectious grooves and impassioned, hoarse vocals like a great bar band should, there are more doomy moments like “Setting Sun,” with its heavy, crushing wall of grainy guitar. The guitar riffs are the highlights of the whole record; they are consistently colorful and divergent in their momentum, descending into the abyss, speeding down the highway, or ascending into the clouds. If you loved Thrice’s last album and were disappointed that nothing else they ever did sounded like it, you can fill the hole in your heart here. [Blake Michelle]

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