Shortcuts: 7 Recent EPs, Singles, and Splits of Note

Ok – I’m busy. You’re busy. So let’s cut the shit and talk bad-ass tunes, specifically, some recent noteworthy non-LP releases that are more than worth investing what little precious time you have to spare.

Dark Circles/Abstracter – Split LP (Halo of Flies/L’Oeil Du Tigre Records/Moment of Collapse/Sick Man Getting Sick/Shove)
Damn. This one doesn’t waste a breath before pummelling the listener with a brutal triple shot of callous, frostbitten crust (incongruously appended by an almost ethereal ambient drone outro) courtesy Dark Circles. Misanthropic Oakland throatrippers Abstracter provide no respite on the flip side with two sadistic, slow-boiling sludge conjurations, making for relentless symmetry in perpetual motion on this punishing split.

Coffins/Ilsa – Split EP (Relapse)
Japanese death doom meets sludgy PNW crustcore in a 12” vinyl summit meeting of crushing cross-continental mayhem. Short, sickening and subtle as a Sunday garotting. Any questions?

Bl’ast/EYEHATEGOD – Split 7” (Rise)
What was that about subtlety? Smilin’ Dave Grohl’s all-time fav OSHC band (no, REALLY!!1) sparks a meth-lab explosion contrast to EYEHATEGOD’s uncompromised, oozing black tar extremity like a flamethrower hitting noxious NOLA swamp gas. Hope you’re HAZMAT-ready, dude.

IOTUNN – The Wizard Falls EP (Independent)
Mixed and mastered by the legendary Flemming Rasmussen (who, ICYMI, manned the boards for all the Metallica records that don’t suck), these almost-but-not-quite trad, slightly blackened (browned?) Danish bangers capably blend clean vox, gritty tremolo-picked riffs and a freewheeling seventies prog/hard rock creative spirit into a promising debut offering.

Mammoth Mammoth – Mammoth Bloody Mammoth EP (Napalm)
Quick on on the heels of 2015’s Volume IV: Hammered Again, Mammoth Mammoth continue to brazenly mine their burly vein of biker-friendly, booze-sodden doom-punk on Mammoth Bloody Mammoth. Don’t expect any fancypants Frippertronics or meandering acoustic interludes on this full speed ahead tour sweetener. These noose-tight, no-nonsense Down Unda party jams are here solely to be kicked out at maximum volume, motherfuckers.

Highrider – Armageddon Rock (The Sign)
Call it an EP, call it a mini-album. Either way, Armageddon Rock is 21 intergalactic minutes of overdriven organ-drenched hardcore-meets-Uriah Heep ecstasy. Admit it — you always wondered what Jon Lord would have sounded like if he’d ever stumbled shitfaced into 924 Gillman and started jamming.

Carnac – The Frail Sight (Sliptrick)
Turkey may not immediately be at the top of your go-to list of DM powerhouse nation states. However, judging by their confident (if somewhat aimless at times) debut EP, The Frail Sight, Ankara-based five-piece Carnac is clearly determined to flip the international metal-of-death script. 4 thick, meaty cuts that make for a (mostly) satisfying appetizer in lieu of a forthcoming full-length entree.

Matthew Elliot is a political and music writer, editor, and social media hooligan from London, ON. A lifelong, obsessive metal fanatic, he tries not to take the third person too seriously. Tries. Send promo blasts to: [email protected].