Friday, March 19, 2021

Durf's Weekly Workout # 9: March 19th 2021

Well, the streak had to end sometime.  After eight consecutive weeks, I'm sure you were all so, so sad to open your computers or phones and see that there was no Durf's Weekly Workout last week.  I feel terrible for letting you all down, but on the other hand, after getting a vasectomy because two Durflings is plenty, I really wasn't in any shape to workout anyway.  Which is fascinating to me; I've never once thought about my balls while doing a bench press or deadlifting, but it turns out that exerting yourself can put some stress on your scrotum (if you're a dude), and so after getting the ol' Satan Worsnipping Doom, you gotta lay low for a bit.  And while I could have spent my time laying around with swollen balls listening to music and then writing about it, I instead landed on a steady diet of THC/CBD gummies and alternating college basketball with episodes of It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia.  I have no regrets.  But this week, I'm feeling good enough to (cautiously) resume my workouts, and get back to jamming tunes in the garage.



Wode - Burn in Many Mirrors

A few weeks ago, when talking about the absolute black metal insanity of Spire, I said that I would take that insanity over the more Tribulation-esque style of the genre that has been gaining in popularity.  Now, while I stand by that, I also want to make sure that people know I do enjoy that Tribulation-esque style, which leads us to Wode.  I guess Wode's previous album, Servants of the Countercosmos was pretty well-received upon its release, so of course it makes complete sense that I totally missed it.  Oh well.  Burn in Many Mirrors is a terrific way to get introduced to the band.  Wode brings the riffs of all types here: black metal riffs, death metal riffs, thrash metal riffs, blackened death thrash riffs, thrashy black riffs... you get the idea.  The amalgamation of styles has become pretty widespread in metal these days, with a lot of bands eschewing one particular genre or sound in order to play in as many sandboxes as possible, and with Burn in Many Mirrors, Wode has built a gargantuan sand castle.

... or something; I'm still really, really tired guys.  Burn in Many Mirrors is out via 20 Buck Spin on April 2.


Blindfolded and Led to the Woods - Nightmare Withdrawals

I am a simple man, and so I live my life by simple rules.  One of these rules is to never judge a book by its cover.  Good lesson there.  I will, however, judge a book by its title, and Blindfolded and Led to the Woods is a ludicrously good title for a band.  I don't need to know or hear anything about the band, and I'm going to check them out.  So Nightmare Withdrawals (also a perfect title) already had that going for it.  And it's pretty telling that the band not only lives up to the lofty expectations (I) set for them because of their knack for naming, but surpasses them by far.  Nightmare Withdrawals is BaLttW's third full-length album, and the band delivers a superb example of what I will unhelpfully and lazily call "down under death metal," which I think gives you a complete picture of what you'll be hearing here.  And if it doesn't, who cares; we've already established that you should be listening to this band based on their name alone.  Nightmare Withdrawals is out independently March 26th.


Kanonenfieber - Menschenmüle

Hoooooooly shit you guys.  This album is in your face, intense death metal "intended to commemorate the countless victims of World War I."  Menschenmüle definitely nails the bands' intended sonic landscape; I've definitely heard machine gun fire transition into blast beats and blistering riffs, but something about the way Kanonenfieber does it is just better somehow.  This album is a pure adrenaline rush from start to finish, and even when the band slows down a bit, like in the middle of "Die schlacht bei Tannenberg," they surprise with a pristine, sinuous guitar tone that I haven't been able to get out of my head for a week.  Also, the album artwork is seriously cool, in a "man, humanity really sucks" sort of way.  Menschenmüle is out now, and yeah, you should probably listen to it.


Deafheaven - Roads to Judah

With all the adjustments happening in my life recently, when I woke up this morning to workout, I had a strong desire to listen to something familiar.  As much as I love discovering new music, sometimes you just gotta go back to a classic.  As I scrolled through my music, Roads to Judah was the first thing that jumped out at me, and as it's never a bad choice, I jumped on it.  Deafheaven has definitely evolved and honed their sound in the ten years since their debut, and I maintain they've still yet to release a bad album, but man, there's just something about Roads to Judah that hits that sweet spot perfectly.  There's a really good chance that "Language Games" is my favorite metal song ever, so that helps.  Roads to Judah turns ten on April 26th; if for some reason you're new to metal and haven't heard it (or the rest of the band's albums), get on it.  Just don't read the comments.


Stone Healer - Conquistador

One of my biggest pet peeves of blogging and the whole PR machine is the three simple letters "FFO."  "FFO" stands for "For Fans Of," and it's a shorthand way for PR folk to let people know what the band they're repping sounds like, which is innocuous enough.  The problem is that the bands they use are always legends, bands whose albums and sounds have endured for years or decades, and are lauded as being some of the best to ever do what they've done.  It feels like every post-metal promo we get comes with "FFO: ISIS, Neurosis, Cult of Luna," and you know what, no!  I'm sorry, I know I've established that I'm terrible at this whole blogging thing, but if your band is putting out their fifth album, and is being compared to those three bands, I'd have heard of it before.  I totally understand that it's the PR people's job to build buzz around a band, but just once I'd love to see "FFO: '90s Metallica, Shelter-era Alcest, and lazy prog rock Opeth."  

I bring this up, because the promo for Stone Healer brought one of the most bonkers FFOs I've ever seen: "Krallice, Ulcerate, Helheim, Dodheimsgard, Paradise Lost, Kvelertak, and Alice in Chains."  That's... that's an eclectic mix.  I literally decided to listen to Conquistador just because there was no possible way this band could sound like all those bands.  And you know what? I was so, so fucking wrong.  Stone Healer makes music that takes elements of all those bands mentioned and blends them into a medley of sounds and genres that under absolutely no circumstances should work, but somehow comes together cohesively.  Coquistador is an amazing album of incredibly-written songs that veer from doomy prog to alt-rock to blackened metal to crazy, inhuman death metal to back again.  It's like nothing I've ever heard because it's the combination of everything I've ever heard.  Moral of the story is I guess I gotta stop being angry at FFO, because even if it's only accurate once in a blue moon, if it can get me to listen to something like Stone Healer that I might have passed on originally, it really can't be bad at all.  Conquistador is out April 30th, which is somehow only 42 days away, and you should absolutely check it out.


And that's the week.  We'll keep trying next week; obviously there are some infant-induced kinks to be worked out, but this endeavor is about nothing if not perseverance and trying.

- Durf

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