Ever since I saw them play twice at Roadburn 2013, I’ve been spouting a lot of praise about power trio Satan’s Satyrs, whose idiosyncratic blend of proto-metal and Nuggets-era garage rock scratches an indescribable itch for yours truly. Equal parts boogie, psychedelia, and cheeseball horror, it’s ferocious, catchy, and enormously fun. Sure, it’s all reminiscent of when The Mooney Suzuki and The Warlocks were attracting a lot of press more than a dozen years ago for their own garage rock revival shtick, but Satan’s Satyrs bring swagger, darkness, and heaviness, and combined with Clayton Burgess’s affected whiny vocals, it gives the music a little more depth, not to mention mystery. The Virginia band’s second full-length comes out this week, and while it can easily be said it’s More Of The Same of what folks heard on Wild Beyond Belief!, Die Screaming (Trash King) feels a lot more confident and refined, benefiting greatly by some significantly improved production. Songs veer from straightforward rock ‘n’ roll that lean heavily on Farfisa organ and wah-wah pedals to more robust sounds, but it’s the latter style that starts to dominate late in the record, as riffs reminiscent of Motörhead, Tank, and Jaguar propel “Lucifer Lives” into a decidedly more British heavy metal direction, while the sprawling title track explores doom in such a haunting and vivid way it’s easy to see why Burgess has been recruited as Electric Wizard’s new bass player. It’s here, during this concluding 20-minute section that you start to sense this band’s potential starting to turn into something concrete, where the word “gimmick” starts to fade from view.
It’s an extraordinarily light crop of new releases this week, but here’s what else is out:
Andromeda, Shock (Southern Brigade): Mid-‘90s alternative metal with a progressive slant that sometimes dabbles in trance music, sung obnoxiously in Italian. If that’s your sort of thing, go nuts. Personally, I’m just going to slowly back away from this, and turn tail and run in the opposite direction.
Black Tar Prophet, Deafen (Domestic Genocide): This is exactly how you’d expect an instrumental industrial bass-and-drums duo to sound. Massively heavy, fuzzed-out basslines emitting thick, vibrating tones atop martial beats. Frankly, this album gets better when more of a classic doom swing is utilized, as on the groovy “Ring of Buzzards” and “Hypomania”, but that just doesn’t happen often enough.
Creinium, Project Utopia (Inverse): Pure kitchen sink metal, an ungodly mess of subgenres that is so bent on dipping its brush in every style as possible it loses focus mere minutes in. Adding to it all is that typical brickwalled sound that plagues mainstream metal, rendering it grating and unlistenable.
Ghoul, Hang 10 (Tankcrimes): A Record Store Day release, this is a fun little excursion by the Oakland joke thrashers into surf music that pulls it off well enough to make people take this band seriously instead of see it as a novelty.
Gunpowder Gray, Gunpowder Gray (Boris): This side project featuring a pair of members of Atlanta death band Disfigurement heads in a totally different direction, coming across as a mix of The Four Horsemen and Circus of Power. Which, personally, I am all for. There’s a total 1990 sleaze thing going on here.
Harakiri For The Sky, Aokigahara (Art of Propaganda): One of those situations where the music effectively mimics the melancholy melodies of Katatonia, Agalloch, and Woods of Ypres, but then the comical screaming kicks in, and there’s no way you can take this seriously anymore.
Skelethal, Deathmanicvs Revelation (Iron Bonehead): I wish I liked this latest Iron Bonehead release more, but sadly the French duo does little to distinguish itself from every other death metal band out there. If your music doesn’t leave a permanent impression on the listener, you’ve failed. It’s as simple as that.
Skinfather, None Will Mourn (Streetcleaner): This is a band that’s bound to click with Decibel readers. After all, they play a very distinct blend of robust Swedish death metal and Trap Them style crust, plus they’re protégés of perennial favorites Nails. What these kids lack in charismatic vocals is more than made up by the sheer ferocity of the music. It’s a good start.
Wrong, Pessimistic Outcomes (Xtreem): Slick black metal that thinks it can call itself “avant-garde” and get away with directionless songwriting.