Yonkers, New York, might not seem like a natural hotbed for death metal, but it’s produced at least one great band. Immolation came together in Yonkers in the late 80s, and right out of the gate guitarist Robert Vigna was writing punishing, demanding music—their first album, 1991’s Dawn of Possession, is often considered one of the foundational documents of technical death metal. Their ninth and latest, Kingdom of Conspiracy (Nuclear Blast), is like a knockout punch or a killing blow, finishing the job started by its two predecessors, Shadow in the Light and Majesty in Decay. Immolation have perfected their balance of brutality and sophistication—though their relentlessness can work against them, given that the album’s intense production sets up every element to constantly compete with all the others. But there’s no weak link—the slightly sidewise riffing sells the dystopian atmosphere at every turn. —Monica Kendrick Cannibal Corpse headlines; Napalm Death and Immolation open. $25
I’ve long assumed that Scranton band Tigers Jaw would be one of the acts to help boost the emo revival from the basements and lofts of the DIY scene into the big time. Their sturdy punk combines the shameless hooks of power pop with lyrics about existential woe and romantic entanglements, pitting washy, soothing keyboards and swooning male-female vocal harmonies against pent-up riffs that sometimes erupt into huge, blissful melodies. The 2009 slow burner “Spirit Desire,” which sounds like a Pinkerton B side with a reggaeton beat, has an especially powerful pull, evoking the nervous energy of love—it’s easily one of my favorite songs from the past five years. So when Tigers Jaw announced that three members quit back in March and the remaining two would be taking one last tour with some “talented friends” before putting the band on hiatus, I was more than a little bummed. Boston labels Topshelf and Run for Cover recently released a final track from the band, “Fake Death” (on a four-way split seven-inch with Code Orange Kids, Self Defense Family, and the World Is a Beautiful Place & I Am No Longer Afraid to Die), and it’s as bittersweet as the thought of what could’ve been. —Leor Galil Pianos Become the Teeth and Sainthood Reps open.
This weekend’s Bolt Thrower shows both sold out in a few hours almost four months ago, and for the benefit of everyone who didn’t know that already I’m going to try to explain why. Formed in Coventry in 1986, these legendary UK war machines have been called “the AC/DC of death metal,” and since 1991, when they dropped blastbeats from their songs, Bolt Thrower have been refining a stripped-down, deceptively simple style that combines merciless martial drive with infectious groove. They depart from the AC/DC comparison, though, in that they refuse to make an album that doesn’t meet the high standards they’ve already set. I know that sounds like music-writer bullshit, but hang on: In June 2008, three years after releasing their eighth and still most recent record, Those Once Loyal, the band made a statement explaining their decision to scrap the material they’d written since. “We know everybody says that their new album is better than their last, but with us we really believed that,” it said. “From day one we made it clear that we’d stop recording when we felt we’d written the ultimate Bolt Thrower album; we just never knew when that would be.” I realize some fans will always prefer, say, 1989’s Realm of Chaos (“World Eater,” anyone?), but for me the skill and focus that the band gained in the intervening 16 years—to say nothing of the vastly improved production—more than validate Bolt Thrower’s claim that Those Once Loyal is the perfect expression of their swinging sledgehammer of a style. These are the best riffs in death metal, period stop. Come at me, bro. —Philip Montoro Benediction and Jungle Rot open.
DIY five-piece Restorations come from Pennsylvania, one of the most fertile breeding grounds for the nation’s underground emo scene—they’re from Philly, in fact, though from the sound of their music you might assume they’re blue-collar guys from the sticks. Restorations’ nervy, cathartic punk makes it easy to picture these dudes wiping motor oil off their hands and heading into practice. Their style complements the meat and heart of the songs on their recent sophomore album, LP2 (Side One Dummy), most of which describe working-class youngsters who “work 12 hours and then wake up” (as front man Jon Loudon sings on “Let’s Blow Up the Sun”) and dream of ditching their small towns while clinging to the people there who make their lives meaningful. The scorching guitars and forceful, chugging melodies of the album’s best tracks, particularly “Kind of Comfort” and “New Old,” feel like a 70s Chevy revving onto the next exit out of town and heading for Thunder Road. —Leor Galil The Menzingers headline; Fake Problems, Restorations and Captain, We’re Sinking open. Restorations also play a free all-ages in-store show at Record Breakers at 3 PM.