High on Fire, Coliseum, Genghis Tron, and Vverevvolf Grehv


SXSW Platters


Relapse Records grinds to a halt. Yours. High on Fire's fourth alarm, Death Is This Communion, leaves craters deeper than even 2004 predecessor Blessed Black Wings, airplane-hangar sonics courtesy of Seattle soundman Jack Endino. Des Kensel's turbine drums power Matt Pike's locust swarm, the guitarist's threshing gargle war-torn by Roman legion riffs. "Fury Whip" flogs apocalyptic steeds into dog meat, "Turk" fires catapults, and "Rumors of War" drums along the Mohawk. "Return to Nod" closes like SF 1906. Communion earns the Oakland trio its deluxe edition DVD album doc. Kentucky trio Coliseum rips a seat from their labelmate's ringside, No Salvation encasing hardcore tendencies in metallic body armor (45rpms of "Defeater"). Guitarist Ryan Patterson's ability to cauterize vocal polyps without compromising either melodic cadence of verse or firewall riffs ("The Fate of Men," "Seven Cities") distinguishes their sophomore LP: 13 tracks in 31 teeth-bearing minutes. What's in a name? Philly trio Genghis Tron crowns theirs with epic electro-metal, synthesizers layering emotional progressions out of hard Floyd and ELP on sophomore sacrifice Board Up the House. "Things Don't Look Good," death/doom/Benedictine vox overlording 3½ minutes of urban overpopulation on a grid of guitar/synthesizer, clashes in contrast to 1:45 of "Endless Teeth" gnashing. Ambient instrumentals ("Recursion"), NIN meets Tangerine Dream ("I Won't Come Back Alive"), and nearly 11 minutes of track 11 bring a tolling "Relief" and pinging ascension to this death House. Vverevvolf Grehv, Omaha one-man Dapose, transforms Genghis Tron's video gaming into an ear-splitting industrial caterwaul on debut Zombie Aesthetics. Looping, soundtrack splatter, and processed, malevolent vocals equal a jackhammer cavity fill by Laurence Olivier. Getting through Zombie Aesthetics once, or just the seven-minute title track, warrants the Purple Heart. Pin me. (Thursday, March 13, Emo's Annex, 9pm-1am.)

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