WHAT TO HEAR: First up are local legends-to-be Tombs and The Grand Annihilation (Metal Blade), their first full-length morgue slab since 2014’s acclaimed Savage Gold. Picking up where last year’s All Empires Fall EP left off, The Grand Annihilation finds Mike Hill and co. launching headlong into the brawny black metal mire, conjuring one tremolo-picked monster after the next. Tombs’ ever-evolving sonic approach might alienate a few of the previous sludge apostles, but as with everything Hill does, the attention to detail is exacting and the conviction nothing less than 125%. Check it out via Noisey.

After that, turn your attention Down Under (no, not that far!), where Australian avant-death metal maniacs Impetuous Ritual have their latest auditory assault, Blight Upon Martyred Sentience (Profound Lore), revved up and ready for launch. Labelmates like Auroch and nearby neighbors like Ulcerate serve as pretty good touchstones here—as do their parent band, Portal—but if you’re still green to these crazy Aussies, just turn up the full stream on Profound Lore’s bandcamp and hold on for dear fucking life.

Meanwhile, in Splitsville U.S.A., Colorado classic doom titans Khemmis have teamed up with Spirit Adrift—a similarly inclined trad doom outfit, in case you’re not familiar—for a fun little 7″ of fucked up folk covers, dubbed Fraught With Peril (Fraught With Peril). Khemmis tackle the mournful Appalachian ballad “A Conversation With Death” while Spirit Adrift take on “Man of Constant Sorrow”, best known as the thread that holds the Cohen Bros’ spasmodic Southern Gothic Ulysses, O’ Brother Where Art Thou, together. If this sounds like your kind of thing—and growing up on a dirt road in New Hampshire, it’s definitely mine—then check it out here.

If you’re looking for an exercise in contrasts, however, then I suggest you spend the week flipping back and forth between Dephosphorus‘s latest satellite-destroying blast of “astrogrind”, Impossible Orbits (Selfmadegod), and Cavernlight‘s As We Cup Our Hands and Drink From the Stream of Our Ache (Gilead Media). The former is very much the Buzz Aldrin to metal’s current cosmic explosion while the latter is glacial self-flagellation in the purest distilled form since last year’s Funeral Moth procession, so pick your grail and take a sip. Unlike the Last Crusade, your face will melt no matter what cup you drink from, so don’t stress too hard.

Finally, check out World Inferno (Metal Blade) and Dance and Laugh Amongst the Rotten (Season of Mist), the latest full lengths from Entrails and Carach Angren, respectively. These bands’ moments have long since come and gone, but these are still totally solid genre works—Swedish death metal and symphonic black metal—so if either of those are your speed, then make sure to give ’em a listen.

WHAT TO SEE: The week in metal shows kicks off as it always does—at least according to this space—tonight with Black Mass at Blackthorn 51, Child Abuse at Saint Vitus, Fates Warning at Gramercy Theatre, All Out War at Gold Sounds, Vader at Webster Hall, and a Black Death Resurrected/Eternal Champion-headlined late show back at Vitus. The real draw of the night, however, is Defenders of the Old IV, which kicks off at Music Hall of Williamsburg with Bitch, Nasty Savage, and more, before spilling over into Saturday with a rare bill featuring Cirith Ungol and Frigid Bitch‘s first North American appearance in 30 years. If that’s not enough, Saturday also welcomes Adrenaline Mob to Webster Hall, G.A.T.E.S to Vitus, and Anaka to Gramercy Theatre.

Needless to say, it’s a crazy couple of days, including Punk Island fest, The Rods at Saint Vitus, and In Death at Lucky 13 Saloon on Sunday, before Monday comes careening by with Dog Sheppard at Gold Sounds and The Birthday Massacre in Webster Hall’s Marlin Room in tow. After that, Tuesday plays host to Miss May I at Webster Hall and Sebastian Bach at B.B. King’s neighborhood bar and grill, while Wednesday offers a much-needed evening of respite (and water, lots and lots of water). Finally, wrap things up on Thursday with Mark Slaughter at Gramercy Theatre, Sunrot at The Meatlocker, Mentors at Lucky 13 Saloon, and Infinity Shred at Saint Vitus.

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