Deaf Forever andDigital/Divideare metal and electronic music columns by Andy O’Conn0r and Gary Suarez. We’re having Andy and Gary pick a new album for the store each month—here are this month's picks:
DEAF FOREVER PICK:
Tucson’s Gatecreeper embrace the unbearable Arizona climate the best way they can: death metal. Sonoran Depravation, their debut full-length after a series of splits and one hell of a self-titled demo tape, is a heat-induced hallucination that manifests as a death metal tapestry rich in homage, but also the force their influencers had in their heyday. Here, they take the classic Swedish HM-2 buzzsaw guitar sound and apply it to the slamming grooves of Obituary and Asphyx, and honor both of those groups’ ethos of getting the most out of uncomplicated structures. Every riff, every growl, every hit is optimized for maximum impact. The crusty battle thrust of Bolt Thrower is also apparent, and it’s given a American hardcore scrubbing, only adding to Gatecreeper’s blunt mastery. If you value efficiency as much as you value brutality, and you thrive off of sweat, Depravationis a must.
Standout tracks: “Desperation,” “Patriarchal Grip,” “Lost Forever”
Jamie Teasdale has come a long way since his days as half of the industrial strength dubstep duo Vex'd. While that project sought refuge in the grime and diesel of abandoned warehouses and derelict factories, his solo efforts under the Kuedo moniker explore comparatively cleaner facilities via futurist melodies and reveries. 2007's Severant danced on the razor's edge of contemporary hip-hop, of both the U.S. and U.K. varieties. Slow Knife, Kuedo's magnificent new full-length for the legendary Planet Mu imprint, fuses the synth splatter and dystopian dread of '70s/'80s science fiction with a broad sonic palette that would do both John Carpenter and Metro Boomin proud.
No sophomore slump, the album reveals a producer easing out of genre and instead into storytelling. Befitting his recent work in commercial sound design and composing, Teasdale approaches these fourteen engrossing cuts with the calculating precision of a film director. From the pensive New Age pop of "In Your Sleep" to the Space Age Spaghetti Western tension of "Approaching," it's hard as a listener not to imagine an ongoing cinematic narrative that smashes together horrors past and future, outer-planetary and earthbound. "Broken Fox - Black Hole" sounds incredibly like something both salvaged from the Nostromo and recovered at the Overlook Hotel.
Those currently caught in the synthwave rapture of the Stranger Things soundtrack will no doubt find Slow Knife a formidable and rewarding experience.