Welcome to this week's edition of Napalm Flesh! We have exclusive reviews of new albums from The Agonist, Outcast, Psuedogod, Six Feet Under, West of Hell and Witchtrap, reissues from Church of Misery and Wormed, and a live CD/DVD from Terror. And, as always, we have your rundown of this week's metal events in Salt Lake and beyond.
compiled by Bryer Wharton
Friday, May 25 check out A Balance of Power at 5 Monkeys (21+) with Riksha and Stillborn. $5 gets you in music around 8 p.m.
Also on Friday, Southern Lord's crusty hardcore upstarts Heartless return to Salt Lake with labelmates Dead in The Dirt at Raunch Records. Locals INVDRS and Oxcross open up the show, which kicks off at 7 PM and is free, but donations for the touring acts are strongly encouraged.
Sunday, May 27, check out thrashers Toxic Holocaust at Kilby Court with Midnight. Advance tickets are $12, $14 day of the show, music starts around 7 p.m.
The Agonist = In This Moment + Arch Enemy
I was initially surprised by how much I enjoyed the sound of The Agonist. Alissa White-Gluz has an impressive range, moreso than many of her competing contemporaries, with both clean and screaming vocals. Musically, Prisoners is a striking sound the first few run-throughs, but loses a bit of its power on replays due to its standard songwriting techniques. There’s nothing necessarily lacking on the album, but likewise there is not much that is terribly memorable. The band is talented at using their instruments, but every aspect—tone, fretwork, drum patterns—is generic, though I do love the melodies they write, which do a lot to complement the vocals. If the rest of the band could step up and match the range and creativity of the vocalist, we’d really have something to write home about. –Megan Kennedy
Church of Misery
Master of Brutality (Reissue)
Rise Above Records
Church of Misery = Electric Wizard + Sleep
This reissue of 2001’s Master of Brutality is a comprehensive study in dirty, heavy blues riffing. Yoshiaki Negishi’s vocals sound like he gargles gravel and razor blades in the morning and washes it down with a bottle of 100-proof whiskey, while both Tatsu Mikami and Tomohiro Nishimura play their instruments through the oldest, dustiest blown-out amplifiers this side of Pentagram. This re-release includes two bonus tracks from their 2002 EP, The Boston Strangler, and a live recording of “Lucifer Rising” taken from Blood Curdling Nightmare. These songs greatly complement the tracks on Master of Brutality, continuing the slow, ominous march through scenes of psychotic killers with doom riffs and screeching vocals. Church of Misery are far more than a mere Black Sabbath wannabe band; they carry along that lost tradition of grimy, basement-born rock and roll. –Henry Glasheen
Church of Misery
The Second Coming (Reissue)
Rise Above Records
Church of Misery = Orange Goblin + Black Sabbath
Representing a giant leap forward in both songwriting and recording quality from Master of Brutality, 2004’s Second Coming gets heads banging right away with one of the grooviest riffs ever to issue forth from the almighty guitar. This album revels in its rock and roll swagger from start to finish, and though their serial killer subject matter is hardly what you’d consider light-hearted, there’s a remarkably free-spirited sound to their music on this record. Yet, the lugubrious pace of Master of Brutality echoes on in tracks like “Red Ripper Blues” and “Candy Man.” This re-release on Rise Above Records also includes “For Mad Men Only,” a May Blitz cover lifted from their second 2006 split with Sourvein, and it’s one hell of a song. Hearing this nigh-forgotten single from 1971 alongside the other tracks on The Second Coming demonstrates this band’s dedication to the ‘70s proto-metal sound, and solidifies their place in the pantheon of modern stoner doom godhood. –Henry Glasheen