Halloween is tomorrow, which means loads of new releases. Hell, three albums that made my Decibel EOY list drop today. Some sweet tunes for your socially-distanced Samhain parties below, including some really impressive GWAR and Motörhead reissues. Also, remember to vote Tuesday — and if you’re voting for Trump, click here for a special message.

Carcass
Despicable EP (NB)

I think this is the only time I’ve included an EP in my EOY list for Decibel; that it consists of cast-asides from Carcass’s upcoming full-length should tell you just how remarkable this band and these songs are. Not that anyone needs to be told that Carcass rule, of course. The four melodic death metal masterpieces here prove that their scalpel blades slice as sharply as ever. The full-length can’t come soon enough, but the upside of this EP is that the length makes it real easy to listen to on repeat over and over again.

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Convulse
Deathstar (Transcending)

If Convulse had literally any other vocalist this would easily be in my top ten for the year. I don’t mind the dichotomy between bright rock riffs and death growls in theory, but Rami Jämsä’s deep grunts are a little too one-note for me. My wife described them as sounding like someone turning their garbage disposal on and off. That said, the music here is so fucking spectacular I have to highlight this release. On the very first track, they land “Children of the Grave” solidly on the Dark Side of the Moon. Once they’ve established their playful mix of death metal, prog/psych and classic heavy rock riffs, they’re off and running, throwing down some of the best instrumental passages you’ll hear this side of the 70s. It’s very frustrating.

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Emma Ruth Rundle & Thou
May Our Chambers Be Full (Sacred Bones)

I know a lot of people love Thou, but they always seemed a little too one-note to me. Turns out that the second note they needed was dark folk troubadour Emma Ruth Rundle. She brings some lovely dynamics to their grungey sludge. The result feels like a great lost heavy alt rock record from the early 90s, the coffee shop-confessional melodies somehow mixing perfectly with the miserable trudge. The dichotomy between the beautiful and bestial makes this compulsively listenable.

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Mr. Bungle
The Raging Wrath Of The Easter Bunny Demo (Ipecac)

After witnessing one of their LA reunion shows earlier this year, I told the friends I was with that, if they put out what we just witnessed as an album, it would be the best thrash record of the year. As usual, I was right. While not quite as transcendent as the live performances (nothing could be), the studio version still kicks an ungodly amount of ass. Scott Ian and Dave Lombardo fit in perfectly with the terrible core trio. Although it doesn’t display much of the goofiness Bungle would become known for, don’t expect straight-ahead thrash here. They bring every bit of their bonkers creativity to even their most (relatively) conventional material.

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Nothing
The Great Dismal (Relapse)

Nothing’s fourth album is named after either William Gibson’s Twitter handle or a big-ass swamp. Either way, that should clue you in as to the level of cheerfulness to expect here. I’ve never been that into these Philadelphia shoegaze revivalists, but for some reason this one speaks to me. Maybe I’m just feeling the fuzz more lately. At any rate, feedback-abusing bummer anthems like “April Ha Ha” and, uh, “Bernie Sanders” really capture that autumnal melancholy.

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Possessor
Damn the Light (APF)

A little doom, a little thrash, a little groove, and a lot of blood — Possessor remind me of COC circa Blind but with more of a fixation on horror flicks. Obviously that’s a good thing. I’ve been following these London lunatics for a while now, and they’ve improved on each subsequent release: better production, better songs, better riffs. Damn the Light may be their finest hour yet, and unfortunately for any lost souls, it’s the witching hour. Don’t fear this reaper.

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Stalker
Black Majik Terror (Napalm)

I went to New Zealand on vacation as a teenager and I mostly remember a lot of sheep, but apparently they also have some seriously face-ripping speed metal. Who knew? Stalker are exactly the kind of stupid that I love. Killer thrash riffs, incoherent shrieks, even some bonafide catchy choruses to keep things from getting too monotonous. Admittedly, those choruses consist of repeatedly shouting the name of the song. Whatever works. Sure, you’ve heard it before, but these Kiwis are clearly having a blast. You will too.

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Wytch Hazel
III: Pentecost (Bad Omen)

I cover lots of retro-minded metal in this column. Even amongst all the stuck-in-the-Seventies acts I’ve highlighted, though, Wytch Hazel stand out — their progressive melodies bring Thin Lizzy, Wishbone Ash, Jethro Tull, and Angel Witch to mind, but they have their own pastoral charm. Although the lyrics revolve around vocalist/guitarist Colin Hendra’s Pentecostal faith, it never feels preachy. Rather, it gives the music a deeply personal devotional aspect that doesn’t come across as chintzy as some of the acts more explicitly interested in converting heathens. It turns out Satan doesn’t get ALL the good music.

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OTHER SHIT THAT COMES OUT THIS WEEK

Audn – Vokudraumsins Fangi (SoM) Listen
Autopsy – Live In Chicago (Peaceville) Listen
Bad Omens – FGBGFM Unplugged EP (Sumerian) Listen
Black Foxxes – Black Foxxes (Search And Destroy) Listen
Black Mountain Hunter – Black Mountain Hunger (GrindEthos) Listen
Black Stone Cherry – The Human Condition (Mascot) Listen
Bleeding Out – Lifelong Death Fantasy (Profound Lore) Listen
Bring Me The Horizon – Post Human: Survival Horror EP (Columbia) Listen
Draconian – Under A Godless Veil (Napalm) Listen
Evildead – United $tate$ Of Anarchy (SPV/Steamhammer) Listen
Fenisia – The Spectator (Eclipse) Listen
GWAR – Scumdogs Of The Universe 30th Anniversary Edition (Pit) Listen
Ice Nine Kills – I Heard They KILL Live! (Fearless) Listen
Insidious Disease – After Death (NB) Listen
King Diamond – The Dark Sides Reissue (Metal Blade) Listen
Motörhead – Ace Of Spades 40th Anniversary Edition (BMG) Listen
Nuclear Power Trio – A Clear And Present Rager EP (Metal Blade) Listen
Pantera – Reinventing The Steel Reissue (Rhino) Listen
Puscifer – Existential Reckoning (Alchemy/Puscifer) Listen
Ruff Majik – The Devil’s Cattle (Mongrel) Listen
Them – Return To Hemmersmoor (SPV/Steamhammer) Listen
Various Artists – Best of Black Sabbath [Redux] (Magnetic Eye) Listen
Various Artists – Vol. 4 [Redux] (Magnetic Eye) Listen
Visions Of Atlantis – A Symphonic Journey To Remember DVD/CD (Napalm) Listen
War on Women – Wonderful Hell (Bridge Nine) Listen
Witchtrap – Evil Strikes Again (Hells Headbangers) Listen
Yaotl Mictlan – Sagrada Tierra del Jaguar (American Line) Listen
Yawning Man – Live at Giant Rock (Heavy Psych) Listen

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