AURAL DEVASTATION is a regular column about heavy rock music. This month, Pelican is back with a new album, Revocation introduces a banjo to their metal jams, plus songs from Harm’s Way, Dog Shredder and ALL PIGS MUST DIE.


Pelican – “Immutable Dusk”

In the early 2000s when post-metal was really beginning to take hold, Pelican were synonymous with the instrumental version of what ISIS and Neurosis were busy churning out. The Chicago quartet became quickly known for their sprawling soundscapes on The Fire In Our Throats Will Beckon the Thaw, but changed it up a bit on recent albums — hedging their bets more on shorter songs than the long 10-minute-plus jams they were known for. Rumor at the time was although the band loved the long stuff, the shorter jams were more enjoyable to play live. Fan reactions to that change appeared a bit mixed at times, so the die-hard, old-school Pelican fans will be delighted with their new song off of Forever Becoming, due out on Oct. 15 courtesy of Southern Lord.


Dog Shredder – ‘Shadow Deserts”

The Bellingham-based trio Dog Shredder’s previous release, Brass Tactics, sounded like a guitar, a bass and an entire drum set thrown into an industrial grade juicer to make a beverage not condoned by the FDA for any health benefit outside of sheer insanity. Their spastic sound combined metal, prog-rock and thrash into something barely listenable — in a completely good way. There was little headbanging to go along with it because Dog Shredder were just creating their own faultline on the Pacific Rim, so that everyone could fall into the Earth’s core in a volcanic blaze of glory. Their brand new track, “Shadow Deserts”, is a much more mature effort. It still maintains just the minimal amount of sanity required to operate the instruments, but is more restrained it how far it treads into the deep end. The result is a version of Dog Shredder where the heavy hits hit even harder, and if “Shadow Deserts” is any indication of what is coming out of Dog Shredder’s camp for the time being, it can only be considered a good thing.


Revocation – “Invidious”

The Boston tech-metal outfit might have pulled out one of the most bizarre stops on their new self-titled album due out on August 6th, courtesy of Relapse Records. Just listen a few seconds in,-second guess yourself and then come to the same conclusion everyone else will: you just heard a banjo in a metal song. It might be a bit hokey, but that is quite alright because the banjo isn’t the focus of the song, just the vessel through which to initially present some awesome guitar licks. Revocation isn’t the most awe inspiring metal band out there, but they are a fun listen and are easy to get pumped up listening to. The band holds enough ode to the heavy-metal fore bearers that came before them; allowing a solid dose of the tech-metal that is oh so popular these days with some good old thrash metal courtesy of the past century.


Harm’s Way – “Mind Control”

The Chicago based Harm’s Way are one of the best heavy bands that you have hopefully heard of by now. They combine an unbridled sense of extreme brutality upon all living things, merging metal guitar licks with the hardcore mindset as if it were the most natural way to write music. In the process, they apparently have upset a few people with one of the more bizarre campaigns you can see on Facebook. Don’t listen to the detractors however; Harm’s Way takes you hostage and then regretfully informs you there will be no prisoners. A sound this devastating was completely designed for this column. Their new 12″ Blinded is for sale on the Deathwish Inc. E-Store right now.


ALL PIGS MUST DIE – “Nothing Violates This Nature”

Actually, take back everything about Harm’s Way up above. ALL PIGS MUST DIE is a band whose sound is so devastating it was completely designed for this column. The Massachusetts based super-group featuring Hope Conspiracy vocalist Kevin Baker, Converge drummer Ben Koller, and Bloodhorse guitarist Adam Wentworth and bassist Matt Woods are one of the few bands where the group’s overall value is almost better than their individual parts. With a name befitting of being in all caps, ALL PIGS MUST DIE will lay waste to your eardrums with their second full-length album, where the lovely people at Revolver Magazine are allowing us to stream the whole goddamn thing. Sit back, pad yourself with cushions and thrash yourself into oblivion.


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