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Albums of 5/10/24

The most interesting releases of the week!

Dødsferd – Wrath

High-energy meloblack from Hypnotic Dirge records. Listening to Wrath, you can tell that Dødsferd have been around for a while. The songwriting blends great melodies in the guitars with emphatic vocal grunts and grumbles to maintain a high level of interest over these six long tracks. The promotional material calls this “raw black metal,” which might be a sticking point for some as Dødsferd sounds cleaner than I’d expect from a raw black metal band.

Dødsferd accomplish a lot with structure and repetition. You’ll hear them play a melody several times, really lean into it, and then switch up the drum pattern or add a vocal flair when it’s about to get stale. This doesn’t always work perfectly. But the larger song structures compliment the riffs and songwriting well enough to make Wrath worth a listen. For how long and straight-to-the-point Dødsferd‘s songs can be on this release, I didn’t get bored listening to them.

Belushi Speed Ball – Stellkira

Some cringe cross-over thrash from Kentucky that was independently released. You can tell right off the bat that Belushi Speed Ball are looking to reclaim the moniker “pizza thrash”. As the vocalist shouts on the opening track and lead single, “What’s your favorite mood? Pizza! What’s your favorite thrash? Pizza!” It’s dumb, it’s wince-inducing, and it’s fun.

If I listened to Stellkira 10 times in a week I’d hate it. But having it around in the background once in a while as a well-written changeup from very serious, pondering, and dark metal works wonders. Belushi Speed Ball don’t sacrifice songwriting to become a gimmick. The band has some surprisingly catchy riffs and choruses throughout the record. And despite the roughshod appearance, naming conventions, and overall sound, the performances and occassional songwriting flair betray that Belushi Speed Ball take their music more seriously than the pizza thrash alignment might indicate. A fun time for those who come to listen as long as you ignore the song names.

Missiles – Weaponize Tomorrow

Missiles sound like Unto Others in an alternate universe where they came up in a surf rock and punk musical world and didn’t have to grunt after every line. Reading the promotional material for Weaponized Tomorrow, released on Svart Records, you’d think that Missiles have reinvented genre classifications and made something undefinable and new. While Weaponized Tomorrow does blur the lines between rock, metal, and pop, nothing on here will shock or surprise the listener. Which is fine. Instead of avant-garde we get bouncy, catchy music with flair. Simultaneously joyful and dark, Missiles wrote with style.

Weaponize Tomorrow contains simple and direct songwriting, which gives the band space to flex. In the breakdown of “Living in a Nuclear Town,” you’ll just get two dismal notes in the melody over and over again with a simple drum beat underneath, until the drums stutter back into the chorus. It sounds like a brag, as if Missiles are saying that they know they don’t need more than those two notes to be interesting and bursting with style. I do wish the production was a bit clearer. Overall, Missiles have managed to show off without sounding complicated. Weaponize Tomorrow is a shimmering beauty to get lost in.