Your best source for what’s new, undiscovered and unholy in metal.
Battle Jacket – \?ba-t?l\ \?ja-k?t\
1. A denim or leather jacket or vest, usually covered with sewn patches embroidered with the names/logos of killer metal bands.
2. Unwinnable Monthly’s metal column, your best source for what’s new, undiscovered and unholy in metal.
What’s old is new again this month, with familiar faces in new bands (Dead Cross, Fireburn) and new material from some of the most enduring names in metal (Converge, Prong, Marty Friedman).
Speaking of enduring, Brian Slagel is celebrating the 35th Anniversary of his Metal Blade Records this year and BMG is releasing The Sake of Heaviness: the History of Metal Blade Records to celebrate the occasion. Here’s to Brian, one of the true metal pioneers and the discoverer of Metallica, Slayer and so many more!
Enjoy this month’s selection of choice metal, and as always, tell me what you think on Twitter, I’m @Lynchtacular.
METAL ALBUM OF THE MONTH
Dead Cross – Dead Cross
HARDCORE AVANTE AGGRO
Drawing from their deep hardcore roots, Retox/The Locust bassist Michael Crain and Retox guitarist Justin Pearson join ex-Slayer drummer Dave Lombardo and Faith No More/Fantomas singer Mike Patton to unleash explosive, punked out metal at speeds that would make Kerry King blush. Ferocious, political and savage, Dead Cross absolutely kill and sound refreshingly live and dangerous in an era of sanitized and overproduced heavy music.
UNWINNABLE BEST METAL OF AUGUST 2017
The Midnight Ghost Train – Cypress Ave
DOOM BLUES ROCK
This Topeka, Kansas, 3-piece reimagines doomy rock with strong blues sensibilities and Tom Waits-esque vocals. Though TMGT explore some stonier spaces, they never go for the obvious outs, giving them a fresh sound for the genre.
Converge – I Can Tell You About Pain (EP)
Boston crossover lifers Converge return with their first release since 2012’s excellent All We Love We Leave Behind. The title track is two minutes of scream-your-brains-out Convergecore, while the seven-minute B-side “Eve” offers a dronier boom, with signature roars from frontman Jacob Bannon and crackling God City production from guitarist/producer/engineer savant, Kurt Ballou. The quartet is planning a full-length release later this year, making I Can Tell You About Pain’s two songs more of a taste of things to come, but oh what a taste it is.
Sannhet – So Numb
INSTUMENTAL NEO DOOM GAZE
Sannhet’s patient slow gaze reaches for catharsis over the abyss, giving their plaintive sound a nostalgic accessibility, setting them further left of center on the ever-shifting doom continuum.
Cormorant – Diaspora
BLACKENED HEAVY PROG
Diaspora finds the SF Bay Area quartet charting denser and catchier territory on its first release since 2014’s Earth Diver, mixing gravel-throated snarls with clean vocal harmonies and riffs aplenty. This four song album clocks in over a whopping 60 minutes of labyrinthine awesome. Yes please.
Howling Giant – Black Hole Space Wizard: Part 2
DESERT FUZZ STONER
It’s been one year since we last covered Howling Giant here in Battle Jacket and they’re finally back with the second of three concept EPs. And much like Part 1, it’s equal parts heavy and catchy.
Grant the Sun – Grant the Sun
INSTRUMENTAL HEAVY PROG
This Norwegian trio recorded this self-titled six song EP live in just three days. It’s chock-full of riffs, winding time changes, and intentionality, all heavily inspired by the likes of Meshuggah and The Ocean.
LISTEN: “fru blodøks”
Marty Freidman – Wall of Sound
VIRTUOSO SOLOIST SHRED
Friedman’s killer chops and signature perm return with a vengeance, complete with a more modern approach (yes, Marty djents).
Fireburn – Don’t Stop the Youth
Members of Nails, Bad Brains, Danzig and more join forces to create a 4 song crossover EP that’s somewhere between None More Black, Descendants and Municipal Waste (with a Regaton-synth detour, in “Jah Jah Children” and its remix).
Prong – Zero Days
INDUSTRIAL CROSSOVER THRASH
Tommy Victor’s Prong has consistently subverted the metal norms and traditions across 30 years of shifting metal trends, and the band’s aggressive 12th record, Zero Days, is no exception.
LISTEN: “HOWEVER IT MAY END”
Casey Lynch is editorial director of Square Enix where he works on Tomb Raider, Deus Ex, Hitman and more. His first metal show was Anthrax, Testament and Metal Church in 1987. Djent with him on Twitter @Lynchtacular