Another monthly installment of More Guitar In The Monitor where we extol the virtues of some killer new metal releases…
Them Bulls – Them Bulls
There are rock purists that feel that stoner rock is too…well, rock…to be swallowed under the blackening umbrella of heavy metal. Those purists don’t understand the history of metal and the direct lineage a lot of these bands carry back to the great proto-metal masters who invented the whole damn thing in the first place. This is worth mentioning because Italy’s Them Bulls might be the most accessible band to find themselves on the metal version of this monthly exercise. But despite their radio-friendly, rock pedigree, Them Bulls has a sound that is as filthy with the desert sands of Southern California as acts like Kyuss, Nebula, and Fu Manchu. There will be obvious comparisons to early Queens of the Stone Age as Them Bulls bops and grooves their way through ten rock anthems. However, outside of a similar vocal delivery during the occasional chorus and a mirroring guitar tone, this album stands on its own very well, thank you. Fans of heavy rock that might be just a little too heavy to ever see the light of commercial radio here in the U.S. please step forward.
SubRosa – For This We Fought The Battle Of Ages
Let’s just cut to the chase here. When all is said and done, and another year has fallen off our life cycles, this album is going to be one of the metal darlings of the year-end-list circuit. It will especially be one of the few metal albums to crack the hipster blogs and magazines as they make their annual attempts at musical inclusiveness. Take your disdain for year-end lists and put it aside for a moment, because this album is deserving of all the accolades you’re going to read about in the coming months. All of them and more. Salt Lake City’s SubRosa are masters of the ethereal and the epic. Honestly, that’s been an understatement since their inception. But on newest album, For This We Fought The Battle Of Ages, they have taken their apocalyptic doom meets surreal post-metal/shoegaze to another plateau. Hell, another planet. When you employ more violins than guitars and consist of a three-headed vocal attack, it’s kind of a given that you are writing music that few heavy acts will match or align with. However, on this album SubRosa seem to pull out all the stops when it comes to driving dark, depressive sounds into a vortex where experimentation is a requirement and boundaries simply do not exist – yet somehow it all sounds so lush and beautiful in the end. A sonic blue ribbon from note one.
King – Reclaim The Darkness
Australia has a long and productive history when it comes to churning out great metal. A relatively new addition to the growing excellence is Melbourne’s King. According to King, on their new album they want to ‘reclaim the darkness’ and it’s safe to report that they are well on their way. Playing a frosty brand of blackened death metal that’s not unlike many of their Scandinavian compatriots, King have delivered an album of pure hatred wrapped in a melodic sheen. Equal parts sweeping and pummeling, Reclaim The Darkness is an album that does not go light on the brutality while forging something that’s equally catchy. Yet there’s an element of mystery here as well. There’s a silent fog that covers the forest floor just before the sun burns bright and the battle commences. Fans of acts such as Dissection, Naglfar, and Sacramentum will find a lot of reasons to strap on the bullet belts and battle vests for this one.