Columnus Metallicus – November Is The Cruelest Month

Toby Cook really hates November - but luckily for us, he still loves his metal. He overcomes his calendar blues to tell us what he's been bursting his eardrums with this month.

November. God-damn motherfucking November! If there is a god then surely he was taking the piss with November wasn’t he? I mean it certainly seems – to me anyway – that the whole purpose of this dreary, shit soaked month is merely to make the human race angry, nay, even more angry: There’s flooding, ‘Jedward’ are receiving more media coverage than when they were actually on the Cunt-Factor, and even one Guido Fawkes was suitably enraged by the time November came around that he elected it as the perfect month to attempt to blow up parliament! November. I’ll always remember it as the month I once took some drugs, vomited, and passed out in the toilet of a squat in New Zealand and, more recently, found that pictures of my gentleman’s area may have found their way on to the internet – you complete bastard of a month!

Converge Axe To Fall Epitaph

It’s as if by some sort of divine fluke then that anger-misters Converge have a new LP out. Now, I know what you’re all thinking and the answer is no, this isn’t as good as Jane Doe. But for fuck’s sakes be reasonable, what do you people want? Blood? Gold? Golden blood? Well fuck off, you can’t have it. What you can have thought is Axe To Fall, which is as near to perfection as Converge have achieved since the altitudinous water mark of Jane… ‘Worms Will Feed’ goes down as one of the most visceral, vein-splitting tracks the four piece have ever committed to tape; while during the closing moments of ‘Wishing Well’ Converge, like, totally shred dude! Elsewhere ‘Cruel Bloom’ finds the band in more-than-slightly-dodgy Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds mode but it’s solid, not to mention sombre, enough to avoid the tag of being the proverbial turd in the swimming pool.

The Plight Winds Of Osiris Visible Noise

Gnashing doggedly on the much frayed coat-tails of the current crop of much lauded Southern-fried hardcore bands – ETID, Cancer Bats etc – The Plight mark themselves out as being, so far, the UK’s most notable exponents, despite coming from Leeds (not that there’s anything wrong with Leeds of course, it’s just, y’know, it’s not very Southern). The quintet’s second release sees a marked progression on the heaviness scale and a more deliberate representation of their punk roots shines throughout. Mind that acoustic guitar though! Careful, careful! No, too late…

Gama Bomb Tales From The Grave In Space Earache

Witches, ninjas, mummies and Mussolini plus break-neck, shred-tastic thrash all in little over half an hour – what more do you greedy fuckers want? Their second album in as many years, Gama Bomb’s Tales…., although a late entry, could just be the best thrash album of the year; Domo Dixon riffs like Ian Scott never existed whilst accompanied by vocalist Phil Byrne caterwauling like Dio’s drunken Irish cousin. Oh, And did I mention that you can download it for free, legally? ‘Cause you can! Get it here! Do it now!

Baroness The Blue Record Relapse

This should be the best metal/alt. rock album of the year. This should be, at the very least, the album of Baroness’ career, and yet it just isn’t. In many ways The Blue Record is vastly superior to 2007’s Red Album yet in so, so many ways it falls short. If you’ve been in a lead-lined cave the last five years and have never heard of the Savannah, Georgia natives, one thing that is immediately clear on …Blue… is that these are four guys with talent in spades. ‘Steel That Sleeps The Eye’ is plucked straight from the pages of early 70s folks-y psychdelia, yet seamlessly morphs in to ‘Swollen And Halo’ – a white-water rapid of swirling guitars and bowlderous drum work – whilst, honestly, ‘A Horse Called Golgotha’ is one of the best tracks the band have ever produced. Frustratingly though, overall …Blue… just smacks of a band trying too hard; a band who have forgotten the simple pleasures of eight minute guitar wank epics. Great, just not quite great enough.

Nile Those Whom The Gods Detest Nuclear Blast

Nile, on the other hand, have done just the opposite. Having stalled with 2007’s ironically rather flaccid Ithyphallic with Those Whom… Nile have firmly stepped back from the precarious precipice that saw them veering dangerously into the territory of becoming the Yngwie Malmsteens’ of death metal (although it can’t just be me that suspects that the real Yngwie going DM would be kinda awesome?) and have resumed their dutiful worship of the riff. The seven minute opener ‘Kafir’ is just about all you could want from metal’s premier Egyptologists – guitar work channelled from Ramesses himself, augmented with cryptic, droning chanting and noises that sound like pyramids collapsing.

Dÿse Lieder Sind Brüder Der Revolution Exile On Mainstream Records

Do you like Jesus Lizard? Or Fugazi? Do you rate Blood Brothers, but wish they’d spend les time screaming and add a brass section? What do you mean no? Of course you bloody do, and what’s more you’ve found the perfect(ish) amalgamation right here. Beyond the cover art – which is sure to be responsible for more epileptic fits than Gameboys and early Astro Boy cartoons combined – Lieder… just fucking rocks, pure and simple. And all in a way that’s pretty much impossible to nod your head to, but is as mad as a Panda trapped in a sack of MDMA.

Dead Confederate Wrecking Ball Kartel

Dead Confederate really shouldn’t be any good. They aren’t anything close to approaching metal, and I shouldn’t so much as not like them, as much as I should want to make them cry by throwing Slayer albums at them. Yet somehow their sort of Mogwai pretending to be Radiohead, if Radiohead were from the southern states of America and had extra fingers and slide guitars, is really, annoyingly, very good.

SubArachnoid Space Eight Bells Relapse

In the central nervous system, the subarachnoid space refers to the interval between the arachnoid membrane and pia matter and is occupied by a spongy tissue consisting of trabeculae and intercommunicating cannels in which cerebrospinal fluid is contained. It’s pretty much the area that its Portland namesakes exist in. Slow, meandering, doom-tinged space rock that impressively never once disappears up its own sub-anal space.

Fu Manchu Signs of Infinite Power Century Media

“Webfoot, witch hat…. du du, du du, du-du deeeah!” If you can’t air guitar to this then you’re either in a coma, or simply have no soul. Ten albums and 20 dope-fuelled years into their careers it’s more than a little impressive to see ‘the Fu’ knock out one of their finest ever tracks with ‘Webfoot Witch Hat’, though overall, it’s unfortunately more a case of Signs of impressively-long-but-basically-the-same-as-we’ve-always-been power.

Shrinebuilder Shrinebuilder Neurot

Despite the fact that November is such a fucking shitty month this, that is, Shrinebuilder, is possibly the best thing to come out of any month, ever. Frankly the line up of Scott “Wino” Weinrich, Scott Kelly, Al Cisneros and Dale Crover is nothing sort of an alt. metal fans wet dream, and the music contained isn’t too far off either. Read Derrick Koo’s excellent review on the Quietus, as I’ve just cum all in my pants…

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