AURAL DEVASTATION is a regular column about heavy rock music. This month, Cloudkicker streams his ninth record, Subsume, Jesu returns with a new track, plus songs from Doomriders and the supergroups Mutoid Man (members of Cave In and Converge) and Black God (members of Coliseum and Young Widows).
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Cloudkicker - "Subsume"

Ben Sharp, who creates under the moniker Cloudkicker, has been blasting the instrumental music scene to pieces since he started releasing music back in 2007. Everything is written, recorded, mixed and mastered at his home in Columbus, Ohio, and like the true lover of music Sharp is, all of his releases are streamed for free online. Physical copies exist, and if you love Cloudkicker’s jams enough. you can always pay Sharp for his efforts as well -- and money should definitely be thrown his way for his prog-metal influenced take on instrumental music. His ninth (!!!) release since 2007, Subsume is streaming on his Bandcamp page, with a limited vinyl run scheduled for sometime in the early Fall. Do yourself a favor and hop on this wagon. It is well worth the ride.  

Jesu - "Homesick"

Jesu, the brainchild of metal God Justin Broadrick, is back out with a new album soon, and it seems like it has been quite some time since his last. Every Day I Get Closer to the Light From Which I Came has the appropriate long-ass title befitting of any post-metal album, and as the first track "Homesick" shows, Broadrick has gone with a more guitar-oriented approach this time. Granted, is about as thrilling as watching paint drip off a wall and slowly dry into chips, but don’t let that deter you. Any Jesu release is well worth the effort to soak in, and as fall approaches, the soundtrack for the season has arrived with it.
AURAL DEVASTATION is a regular column about heavy music. This month, Circle Takes the Square awaken from an eight-year slumber and Sweden's gothic masters Ghost return from their spectral hideout, plus tracks from KEN Mode, Kvelertak, and Shai Hulud.
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Circle Takes the Square - Decompositions

 

 

Eight years ago, the Savannah, Georgia screamo/thrash/post-hardcore outfit Circle Takes the Square dropped As the Roots Undo on this mortal world , andpopulations of head-banging enthusiasts went nuts accordingly. The dual shrieks of vocalists Drew Speziale and Kathy Coppola over guitars centered in thrash and drums focused on grind elements were enough to make CTTS the new saviours of hardcore, bringing new relevance to the ill-titled 'screamo' genre and really just delivering a critically flawless ass-kicking to the ear drums of anyone who wanted to take part. And then it turned out that Circle Takes the Square were merely human beings, since it'd been close to eight years since the band put out any new material. They sure as hell toured in-between, but their "reported" second full-length was starting to sound more and more like Chinese Screamocracy, an oft-mentioned holy lore of music more suitable as a reference in the newest Indiana Jones film than in reality. But weary no more, treasure seekers -- because Circle Takes the Square is finally back. They started a very successful Kickstarter campaign, and the final product, Decompositions, has finally seen the light. The entire album is up on the band's Bandcamp page at a name-your-own-price steal, and the vinyl is expected to be pressed and available in early 2013. Lets hope that doesn't turn into early 2021...

 

Aural Devastation is a regular column about heavy music. Here are some favorites from 2012, beginning with relatively structured songs and descending into the chaotic.   Baroness - "EULA" from Yellow & Green + ENTIRE RECORD STREAM As the last song on the Yellow Album, "EULA" had an interesting job, as it...

AURAL DEVASTATION is a regular column about heavy music. Today, Converge reasserts their importance, and Pig Destroyer get covertly political, arguably. +++ FULL POST + AURAL DEVASTATION COLUMNS + ALL MUSIC COLUMNS

Converge

Few bands have remained as relevant and impossible to duplicate as the Massachusetts based metalcore kings Converge. Ignoring the insane impact that each member of the band has had in all aspects of the music industry -- from record label owning and producing to cover designing and playing in every band possible -- it isn't a very far stretch to call Converge one of the more important heavy bands to exist in the past 20 years. All We Love We Leave is the perfect example of Converge's ability to develop something new while still maintaining the familiarity of the whole assault of sound. See full post for tour dates.

 

AURAL DEVASTATION Because sometimes all we need is our ear drums shattered by the weight of music, the force of distortion, and the insanity of noise. +++ FULL POST + AURAL DEVASTATION COLUMNS + ALL MUSIC COLUMNS

Kabul Golf Club

Belgium's Kabul Golf Club sound like a less frenetic version of The Locust combined with a less sassy version of The Blood Brothers. This isn't meant in a bad way on either account. The band pulls in some grimy sludge that The Locust can't take the time to create and The Blood Brothers were too polished to want around. It is an oddly approachable jam that has a perfect low-cost music video to accompany their sound. They've recently released an EP called le bal du rat mort, and you can check them out further on Facebook and their website.

 

MusicfestNW does one of the better jobs in the festival circuit of scheduling the heavy bands. Reason being that MusicfestNW, unlike most festivals, doesn’t take place in one central location. Rather, it is scattered amongst the various venues throughout Portland, Oregon. And although normally walls might seem like a constricting measure in life, the walls of the venue provide a safe haven for the volume to hit extreme levels, the vocals to shriek instead of harmonize, the double bass to reach red-lining beats per minute and the guitar distortion to be devastatingly heavy. Aural Devastation is a recurring column about heavy music.

 

Swans

Seeing Swans is an emotional experience and a tough one to make it through, at that. Charging off the brilliance of Michael Gira and company's epic new release, The Seer, Portland was laid to waste by the heaviness that is Gira’s project. Gira is well-known throughout the live circuit for his intensity, and although he is no longer as confrontational as he was in the early days, his intensity on stage translates immediately and effortlessly to Swans live show. It is a slog that is based on repetitive, almost locomotive-like mashes of noise and distortion. Over it all, Gira can be seen yelling at his band, demanding more energy and channeling some sort of weird musical rage. With every heavy stomp and grimace, one felt Gira’s pain as if it were one's own. There were a few souls in the Hawthorne Theatre without earplugs. They must have ignored the decibel warning on the front door. Not a smart idea. The Seer is a 2-CD record that saw an August 28th release. It is the result of the band's getting back together in 2010, after a 14-year hiatus.

 

AURAL DEVASTATION Because sometimes all we need is our ear drums shattered by the weight of music, the force of distortion, and the insanity of noise.

Baroness

Savannah, Georgia is known for a lot of things - most of it related to its historic charm - but on the modern front, it is the city of metal in the United States. Amongst the bands being churned out of the city, arguably no one has made more of a critical impact than the quartet Baroness. On the band's latest, the immensely grand and bold double album Yellow & Green, Baroness find themselves becoming a prog-rock band with metal tendencies. As you follow their catalog, the progression makes sense, and a very insightful interview with NPR adds all the backstory required. This is one of the best albums of the year, and probably one of the more important metal albums to come out in a long time. Editor's Note: Amazing artwork, as always, from Baroness vocalist John Dyer Baizley. See HERE for our interview with him about his work with Gillian Welch on The Harrow & The Harvest, or click on the cover to see it in hi-res.
AURAL DEVASTATION Because sometimes all we need is our ear drums shattered by the weight of music, the force of distortion, and the insanity of noise.

 

WIND

Norway is known for a lot of things. Fjords, vikings, black metal. One thing it isn't known for is psych-rock. And that is where WIND comes into play. The trio has just released a new 10" vinyl EP named Sleep which isn't exactly the most polished thing out there. But when the band gets going, it starts to take all the good parts of bands like Thee Oh Sees and Black Mountain, showing a splendid amount of fuzz mixed in with just the right amount of restraint to keep it grounded -- because although the '70s died hard, it doesn't mean we can't meander a bit aimlessly every now and then.