A weekly round up of the best (and strangest) action on Bandcamp from artists in and around Pittsburgh.
Contemporary crossover metal has recently fallen into a bit of a predictable rut, with the genre getting overrun by bands meshing death and grindcore with doom elements, settling for the norm.
With that in mind, Dreadeth is bucking the trend with more traditional metal compositions and mash-ups. The Pittsburgh blackened death quartet put together nine solid tracks of 90s throwback metal in their newest release “Jarnvidr,” even exploiting the age-old imagery of Scandinavian gods and folktales.
On their newest album, the first in two years, Dreadeth don’t stray too far from the beaten path, throwing together combinations of 90s-era black metal and multiple elements of death subgenres. There’s an adherence to the song structure of New York’s classic death metal roots, but the quartet doesn’t shy away from melodies that are more Swedish than anything American.
What Dreadeth lack in innovation they make up for with execution. “Jarvidr” is a well-planned album, and one that surprisingly stays away from any of the cringeworthy tropes of the 90s metal scene.
Hot track: The Forgotten
Arbitrary emoji rating: 3.5 out of 5 fallen leaves
THE HILLS AND THE RIVERS
I’ve seen (and told) the same tired joke since the election that Trump’s presidency will all but ensure the return of great punk music. Yay. Lucky us. I do think, though, that the promise of more rooted and authentic folk music has been understated, and there’s no better proof of this than the well-timed release of The Hills and the Rivers’ newest album.
The Pittsburgh-based folk group, centered around the Hill siblings, has made the folk genre their bread and butter, and there are several classic folk elements spattered throughout “Apocalyptic Dreams.” The group doesn’t utilize as much bluegrass as perhaps they may think they do, but Ewan MacColl-era Celtic folk rhythms drive most of the songs and much of their music is a throwback to Vaudeville revelry. There’s enough variation throughout the album to keep you pleasantly surprised.
If there’s a knock on “Apocalyptic Dreams,” perhaps it comes on the instrumentation. As much as you’d like to dismiss it, none of the individual musicians are especially impressive, but the group finds comfort in their cohesive manner. There’s an understated joy in listening to this giant band of pluckers plod their way through nine tracks of folk.
The Hills and the Rivers is like Beirut, if Beirut was really into Old and in the Way. Does that make “Apocalyptic Dreams” folk on the nose? No, probably not, but that doesn’t keep it from being perfectly palatable.
Hot track: Lift the Veil
Arbitrary emoji rating: 3.5 out of 5 locomotives
WHAT THE FUCK DID I JUST LISTEN TO?
Bandcamp allows any artist to upload whatever they want to the site. Some artists take that idea and run with it. Here’s the weirdest thing from Pittsburgh on Bandcamp this week.
If you, like me, found last night’s Saturday Night Live cold open featuring Kate McKinnon – as Hillary Clinton – playing the late Leonard Cohen’s “Hallelujah” as a surreal, empty posture, then perhaps you’re also turned off by all of the fine art projects that have been churned out during this election. So excuse me, I guess, for introducing you to the album “TRVMP” by Brash Teeth.
Brash Teeth recorded this album prior to election day, and intended the recordings to be delicious satire, a folly of art to look back on as you wonder “Ah, what could have been.” Yet, here we are. I’m not going to make a political statement here on Breaking Bandcamp, but goddamn.
The idea, according to the quartet, was to improvise upon an album of discordant tones and unrefined noise – an artistic statement intended to parallel the xenophobic furor of the Trump campaign.
As a standalone, the album is actually pretty badass. The guitars are HEAVY and don’t give a fuck about your stupid ears and the unified chaos is part Comus, part The Melvins. Frankly, I think Brash Teeth should taper towards this style of depressed minimalism more prominently, because they’re kind of nailing it.
By the way, NBC, that wasn’t even Cohen’s version of his own goddamned song, and if I had Ghostbusters money, I’d be pretty confident about pulling through the next four years, too.
Hot track: Satvrated As Fvck