Wise Blood

Graveripper Radiated Remains CD

GRAVERIPPER of Indianapolis plays very cleanly produced thrash death with elements of blackened metal. The vocals are grim, reminding me of CENTINEX but with the punk attitude of BAT. Also, the themes create illustrious visions of cosmic, bleak scenes of monsters and beasts. Think AURA NOIR played a bit more melodically but just as intensely. Black hypnotic riffs blanket my soft brain with scorching bile. All the greatness of ’80s US thrash with the demonic harmonic vibes of Scandinavian death-beat. This is catchy and cold, and I can’t help but be ripped from my seat into the talons of GRAVERIPPER. I see this was mastered by Joel Grind of TOXIC HOLOCAUST, and Joel really gave it the full-on hexing and unholy treatment. Definitely recommended for escaping into a headbang and a mind-melt. It also seems to be selling like hotcakes, so grab this whenever you can. Damn, the vocal rhythm and IMMORTAL grimacing is insane on “Cherenkov Light.” Six evil tracks, each one more impressive than the last. Did I mention the cover art rules?? GRAVERIPPER is detailed as hell on every level. This is a great new one evoking thee metals of olde.

Milquetoast Caterwaul CD

Have you heard the song “Milquetoast” by HELMET? It’s from their “weird” album Betty, and not a bad starting point for understanding MILQUETOAST’s influences. This CD is a mix of noise rock, stoner riffs, and occasional punk blasts about our crumbling world, as well as goofy shit about space missions, “psycho tweakers,” and a Spanish-language song about “ghoul cops.” It seems like the band has a good time with these songs, many of which drag on past the four-minute mark with comic operatic vocal touches and lots of guitar solos. This might have an audience, but it isn’t me. The whole thing comes across as tedious and silly— especially songs like “Space Force,” with lyrics like “(Space force) / Hey man, did you tie that down? / Fuckin’ (space force) / Then why’s it floatin’ around? / Oh no (spaaaaace).” There are some good stoner riffs, like on “Step Off,” but the whole thing sounds very “local bar band” to me. Their bio describes them as “punked-up party sludge,” but really, bands like TORCHE have been doing this better for years. A positive I can mention is that the limited cassette run is held together with sealing wax. That’s cool.

Nattmaran The Lurking Evil CD

Imagine early JUDAS PRIEST at its speediest, with shrieking, echoing black metal-style vocals, and that is NATTMARAN. Nominally out of Sweden, this old-school thrash powerhouse is actually an international collaboration of Michael Lang (Sweden) on guitar and bass, Koji Sawada (Japan) on drums, and Yoga Beges (Indonesia) on vocals. In fact, only the guitars and bass were recorded in Sweden. The rest of the recording, as well as the mixing and mastering, was done in Indonesia. There’s lots to like here for fans of VENOM or MOTÖRHEAD. The blackened thrash never lets up, and yet for all its grim speed, evil lyrics, and overall hostility, a nasty rock’n’roll swagger permeates every track. As blackened as it may be, on some tracks, like “There’s Nothing You Can See,” one could imagine substituting a power metal wailer’s vocals and transforming the song into a speed metal arena anthem.

Sundown Keep Moving CD

Melodic hardcore quartet SUNDOWN, of Indianapolis, presents their debut LP. With every member contributing to vocals, you get a variety of leads from song to song, the best of which I think is the tremendous, metal-tinged screams of the opener “Don’t Ask Me” that lights a fire for its successors. Their self-described influences of HOT WATER MUSIC and AVAIL can definitely be heard throughout: heavy riffs, clever lead guitar turnarounds, shouts and howls that cede to emo-styled melodies. Think of a grittier ALKALINE TRIO. If this strikes your nostalgic fancy, this fast and technical record will keep you on your toes.