Naturally, 90% of my yardwork is done with headphones in, listening to either Tigers games or music. This year, I'm going to add yardwork to commuting and working out as "Time When I Can Listen to New Music," but I'm not as confident in that sticking as much as it has with the other two. For whatever reason, when I step out to mow the lawn or trim the hedges, there is a certain je nais se qua that I'm looking for in an album, and I have turned off the lawnmower to switch albums mid-mow, despite being certain that what I was listening to was what I wanted to hear. It's weird, man. And it's definitely albums, not bands; Khemmis' Hunted is probably my all-time favorite yardwork album, but none of their other albums have it. Sunbather and Ordinary Corrupt Human Love have it; Roads to Judah and New Bermuda don't. Metallica's first four albums have it in spades. Kanye's The College Dropout is an amazing yardwork album; My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy is a much better album but doesn't hold up as well to the grind of the grass. You get the idea. Anyway, as I start mowing the lawn again, and looking for new music, maybe I'll find some new classic yardwork tunes to add to my rotation and then talk about them here. Or maybe I won't, and I'll just listen to Ride the Lightning again and keep it to myself. Try not to let the suspense bother you. On to the workouts!
Like a lot of people, my introduction to Paysage d'Hiver came last year with the excellent double album Im Wald. So, again like a lot of people, imagine my surprise when I learned the Swiss one man black metal project was releasing a follow up, Geister, a mere year later. Then imagine my absolute SHOCK to discover that Paysage d'Hiver has been making music since 1997, and the bandcamp page is a massive discography of demos, full-lengths, EPs, and singles. My jaw is still on the floor, and my listening queue just got a massive influx of material. But that's for later; for now Geister is a follow up that should get any fans of Im Wald excited. There are massive, bludgeoning riffs here, buried under raw, production-less black metal distortion, and honestly? Not being two hours is a definite plus for this workin' dad of two. Geister is out next Friday, April 23rd, and be sure to check out Mick's thoughts on the album here.
Steel Bearing Hand - Slay in Hell
During my first listen of Phantom Indigo, I was in the zone. It was arm day, and I was really feeling my bicep curls and dips. I feel like I'm pretty focused for most of my workouts, but today I was killing it. So I had the new Seputus album on, and I'm in the zone, and sort of kind of noticing this black/death/something metal happening, and my workout ends and I write it down and move on. But something was nagging at me for the rest of the day, so the next morning on my way into work I put Phantom Indigo on in my car. Hooooooooooly shit, what seemed like loud music to lift to turns out to be an incredibly intricate, dizzyingly psychedelic trip through a wormhole that sucks your mind out of the here and now and deposits it on the other side of the universe, leaving you so scrambled that all you can say is "Whoa." There is dense, Krallice-like mania in the extreme metal concoction that Seputus has cooked up, and I can't stress highly enough that Phantom Indigo is best listened to with no distractions so you can truly appreciate the journey. Really, really glad that I went back to this one. Phantom Indigo is out June 4th via Willowtip.
The Lion's Daughter - Skin Show
Whoa, what a difference a couple albums makes. When I last heard a release from The Lion's Daughter, it was 2016's Existence is Horror, and it was a solid slab of blackened sludge. Fast-forward five years, and not only did I miss a release (2018's Future Cult), but the band has gone full synth-horror (horror-synth?) in the interim. And you know what? It's insanely cool. The band's sludge DNA is still intact, but it's buried under layers of John Carpenter-esque 80s synths, which in combination with the seriously creepy album artwork gives Skin Show an incredibly unsettling vibe. The resulting effect is heavy, without being overtly so. Skin Show is a great surprise, both because it's great to see The Lion's Daughter doing their own thing and thriving, and because I don't know that I would have appreciated an album like this before now. So good for them and yay for me! Skin Show came out April 9th.
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