In case you haven’t been following, Singled Out is our new weekly column to round-up all of the singles and new tracks from the past week dropped by bands we cover. Consider this our weekly mix to help keep you all on top of the latest releases from across the metallic and progressive spectrums. We’ve got an awful lot of new music to cover this week from all over the place, so let’s forego the whole introductory setup today and just get to it. Let’s get singled out!
Born of Osiris – “Throw Me in the Jungle”
Born of Osiris released an album in 2013 and they’re going to release one in 2015. I know it seems silly that I’m saying it like it’s just the next Call of Duty game, but at this point it seems like that’s how it should be handled. Hell, Call of Duty even attempts to throw you a curveball every once in a while, but it seems like Born of Osiris is just phoning it in at this point. Their new single “Throw Me in the Jungle” could have just as easily been on their last album as there seems to have been no growth between then and now, if this single is anything to go off of. The song mostly consists of chugs, which can only carry you so far and I feel like I’ve heard these ones plenty of times before. Just because they haven’t moved forward, however, doesn’t mean they haven’t regressed. The synth parts on display here are nowhere as good as on their last album, which is sad because it was the only redeemable piece of that record apart from that one song with that one riff. Also, they somehow forgot to cobble guitar parts with actual notes in them together because the little “tech” guitar part in the song sounds sloppy as hell. I’m not irritated because this band isn’t just making A Higher Place over and over again, it’s that it doesn’t feel like there’s any point listening to the song. In order to see if I was wrong or just felt burned by the band due to their product in the past, I played the song to a pair of fresh ears (My seven year old cousin) to see if there was something I was missing. Her words were, “There just isn’t much action in it.” I don’t think I could have said it any better myself.
Clutch – “X-Ray Visions”
Clutch is the best modern rock n’ roll band, period. If you think otherwise, you’re wrong. They’ve not released a single bad album in their near 25 year career as a band, and after releasing the excellent Earth Rocker in 2013, it appears they never will. This still holds true for their upcoming album Psychic Warfare, if the album’s lead single “X-Ray Visions” is any indication. Carrying on the high energy and straight-up rock n’ roll vibe that was so abundant on Earth Rocker, “X-Ray Visons” chugs along like a early Motörhead song, albeit with those great Clutchisms only Clutch could pull off. JP Gaster’s mean groove serves as the perfect backbone to Tim Sult’s pulsing, bluesy guitar lines and Dan Maine’s funky bass line, while Neil Fallon continues to be his wonderful, theatrical self as he bellows that catchy-as-hell chorus. If this telekinetic rocker of a song doesn’t convince you that Psychic Warfare is going to be one of the best albums of the year, you better believe it brother, you be trippin’.
Dark Sermon – “In Each Hand, a Talisman of Sacred Stone”
Formerly, Dark Sermon was simply an ok band. They played blackened death metal, and they played it well, but still in a way that did not particularly set them apart from their peers. However, Dark Sermon is also not the same band as they were on their first album, as indicated by their new single “In Each Hand, A Talisman Of Sacred Stone”. The song shows a more mature Dark Sermon who no longer relies as heavily on death metal cliches but instead has chosen to introduces new, more atmospheric elements, drawing more on the melodic black metal influences of bands such as Dark Fortress. This helps the song to not simply be so shreddy, but instead actually cause the full fledged assaults to be even more meaningful, as they’re surrounded by more space. With this new single Dark Sermon has shown that they will not simply be another blackened death metal band attempting to imitate Behemoth, but instead, forge a path all their own.
Disturbed – “Fire It Up”
Did you ever think you would hear a Disturbed song that not only started with a pretty big bong rip by lead vocalist David Draiman but was ALSO entirely about weed lyrically? Even if you didn’t, it’s here for all to hear. Honestly, this track is still pretty enjoyable. The song has a really nice groove to it overall and the chorus melody is super catchy. This track is pretty good proof that Dan Donegan can write a riff or two. The lyrics are silly, but since when does music have to be 100% serious all of the time? I know tons of people are going to dismiss it immediately because the theme seems douche-y in concept, but in execution it’s more of a lighthearted song about finding inspiration. There are tons of other bands that are entirely about weed (Weedeater, Sleep, etc.) so I think Disturbed can slide on this one. If you already have your mind made up about this song I can kind of understand, but, if you’re curious you should listen. You might be surprised.
Fuck the Facts – “Prey”
As with any track from these Canadian grind favorites, Fuck the Facts‘ latest album primer is an intense display of speed and aggression. “Prey” packs quite a bit of content it just over two minutes, ensuring that the numerous blasts and riffs carry some level of meaning beyond mindless speed and heaviness. The interlude within the track provides a rare melodic moment, something Fuck the Facts utilize sparingly. This southern-tinged detour is relatively brief, and if not for the quality of the this grindcore sandwich, it may have been cause for disappointment. Still, it would have been nice to see Fuck the Facts explore their more adventurous side.
Kylesa – “Lost and Confused”
When Kylesa initially appeared in the metal scene, they seemed to be just another stoner/sludge band in the vein of Electric Wizard. However, as time has went on, Kylsea has evolved into a beast all their own, retaining their initial ability to creat massive, groovy riffs, while also incorporating a plethora of new elements. “Lost and Confused”, their new single, is no different as it shows the band at possibly their most creative yet. The song starts with a simple synth line and ambient guitar work before launching into a pounding assault of sludge guitar and bass. From there the song only continues to expand, almost entirely abandoning the synth in favor of powerful, groovy riffs driven by a steady, hammering drum beat. The song is somewhat a return to original form for Kylsea, while still expanding and incorporating their new influences, causing it to be possibly one of their most interesting tracks to date.
Mgła – “Exercises in Futility”
Mgła prove with this track how to capitalize on simultaneously both the beauty and intensity of black metal. Layering modernly mournful black metal (à la Roads to Judah Deafheaven) tones atop an Emperor inspired base, the band rips through a plethora of emotions throughout “Exercises in Futility.” Additionally, it helps to add to the variety that Mgła’s vocalist bears a striking resemblance to Mikko Aspa of Deathspell Omega fame. There is something for every black metal fan on this track, and though Mgła’s name is not one of the most well known in the genre, their latest offering seems so far to demonstrate how much of a travesty that is.
Sevendust – “Thank You”
Sevendust are one of the few “mainstream” metal bands with enough talent and street cred to still maintain a good reputation with the more underground, die-hard metalheads. Not only are they one of the absolute best live bands on the planet, but they consistently churn out some of the heaviest, catchiest and most well-written hard rock songs around. They had a few duds after lead guitarist/ songwriting genius Clint Lowery left the band, but when he returned to the band for 2010’s phenomental Cold Day Memory, it was arguably the best thing to ever happen to the band. They re-hit their stride with that album and recaptured everything that made them such a great band in the first place, and they only keep gettng better. Case in point: “Thank You,” slated to appear on the Dust’s recently announced upcoming album, Kill the Flaw. Sure, they don’t stray too far from their tried-and-true formula, but why fix something if it isn’t broken? The song is complete with a skull-crushing hook, that signature Morgan Rose groove, and a chorus that should be quarantined by the CDC. There’s just something about Sevendust that I can’t get enough of, and I can’t wait to hear the rest of Kill the Flaw.
Skepticism – “The Departure”
Pioneering funeral doom act Skepticism may only be on their fifth album with Ordeal, but sampling lead single “The Departure” demonstrates that being prolific and having prowess do not necessarily coincide. Skepticism’s brand of funeral doom heavily employs keyboards, which in this track take on the grandiose sounds of a cathedral organ. The majesty of the pipes compliments the rest of the band’s instrumentation, all while lead vocalist Matti emits his deep howl through the sonic density. Admittedly, the track is a bit one-note, but for any fan of the genre, it is certainly a note worth listening to.
Soulfly – “Sodomites”
You kind of know what you’re getting with Max Cavalera and Soulfly these days but it might surprise you to hear that “Sodomite” is one of the best Soulfly tracks in a long time. The simplicity of it is crushing and refreshing and also a million miles away from the million notes a minute world of technical death metal; a genre that takes up more bandwidth than seemingly any other just now. Opening with a corrosively blunt Bible passage being spouted by none other than Nails frontman Todd Jones, this track doesn’t take long to get into it’s full swing. There’s a big lazy riff and a creeping lead effect underneath that reeks of classic Cavalera, the Cavalera brand that put out one of the best albums of the year a decade ago. It’s the broken into three, one word chorus of “Sodomite” that makes this track hit the heights of Dark Ages for me. The gang vocal is done with typical Soulfly aplomb and the bass phaser (phaser?) effect is smart as fuck. Not to mention the wicked choral vocals that wrap up each line of the chorus.
The track does really just have two main riffs and the obligatory doube time section near the end of the song but it is a punisher of a tune. I’m lucky enough to have heard the rest of Archangel and fuck me, it is with on shadow of one doubt that it is their best material in a (dark) age.
Stray From the Path – “Eavesdropper”
Long Island alternative-hardcore outfit Stray From The Path released a new single titled “Eavesdropper” (featuring Rou Reynolds of Enter Shikari) off their upcoming album Subliminal Criminals, coming out August 14th. For starters, they sure haven’t strayed from the angry path they’ve been walking down for the past ~15 years, because on their newest single, they’re just downright pissed the hell off, and they have no problem showing it. If the title of the song wasn’t obvious, they certainly have a problem with the NSA. Still don’t believe me? Well, read the first stanza of the song below:
“Mic check, is this thing tapped?
‘Cause I can’t say shit without being hacked
Mic Check, is this thing tapped?
‘Cause I know they hit record and play it back”
This very well could be up in the ranks as their last album, Anonymous, in terms of heaviness, both lyrically and musically. If you’re trying to start a protest against the NSA and get some privacy restored, this is the song to be blasting through your giant boom-box while walking through the streets of New York City (people still do that, right?)