Welcome to the first of many posts highlighting a metal release from each month, because a little dose of metal can go a long way.
After a huge year for metal (with incredible albums from Gojira, Pallbearer, and Black Breath), 2013 has been continuing with its share of impressive releases. For the month of February, I’m picking Bushcraft, the debut album of Vancouver thrashers Baptists, as the winner. Released on Southern Lord Recordings, who have been signing some of the most talented and fresh acts in metal/hardcore lately, this album proves that Baptists are a breakout act. And I mean that in the most literal way possible; not only do these guys break barriers, they absolutely destroy whatever stands in their way (and may have you doing the same).
Bushcraft‘s first track opens with some uneasy, foreboding chords that make you question where this album is going. After about 40 seconds of trifle, the band lets loose and makes it clear that this album is going fast, savage places. From then on, it’s nothing but an unrelenting storm of pummeling drum beats and derailed guitar riffs. Baptists play with such speed and ferocity they make other bands sound weak; creating a top-notch atmosphere of pure, uncompromising rage. With song lengths barely extending three minutes, the mentality of hardcore punk is clearly an influence on Baptists’ sound, however, some of the riffage is just too wild for me not to call it thrash metal, too. The real standout on this record, though, is the vocals. Frontman Milton Stille’s delivery is different from the common metal scream; it’s more of a raw, angry yell. Whatever you call it, he’s friggin’ terrifying on some of the tracks, which couldn’t make for a better metal record. To refine this unique sound, the record was produced by Kurt Ballou of the highly regarded hardcore band Converge.
So Baptists got a lot of things right on Bushcraft, which makes them my pick for the best metal of February. Have a different choice? Feel free to comment. Stay tuned for next month’s album, and until then, happy headbanging.