Saturday, March 5, 2022

SUMAC's "May You Be Held" & West Coast Tour: Mar 3 - 15

As with many bands, SUMAC released a new work in the very midst of the pandemic, with no opportunity to tour or explore its parameters live with an audience. Some two years later, they finally embark on a west coast tour for "May You Be Held", with a night at Seattle's Substation. Their sound belongs very firmly to the new burgeoning hybrids of metal, which have picked up heavy rock, shoegaze, hardcore, and industrial influences over the course of the last decade. The expansiveness of these recent hybridizations are detailed in Brad Sanders' essential overview, "Untrue And International: Living in a Post-Black Metal World", with complimentary curation from this sphere found in the excellent selections of The Quietus' Columnus Metallicus. The above resources sound the expanse of releases dominantly sourced from labels like, Neurot, Ipecac, Deathwish, 20 Buck Spin, Dark Descent, Sargent House, Profound Lore, Season of Mist, Roadburn, Century Media, The Flenser, and Relapse. On albums for the two of the above-mentioned labels, they have explored their own brand of metal hybridization, encompassing the influences of their originating projects, namely Russian Circles and Baptists, along with Aaron Turner, delivered the first of their works for Profound Lore with 2015's "The Deal". Few artists have been in this game longer, or produced more variations to its corpus, than Aaron Turner. Following on Hydrahead, his SIGE label has become a home for all things weighty, from experimental noise, to neo-folk, pure metal, and genreless explorations of sound. These are all touchpoints in his interview with The Quietus, when discussing another of the metal variations which he leads, "Elemental Absolution: Old Man Gloom’s Aaron Turner". In recent years he has also expanded into purely experimental forms, and heavy rock collaborations with one of the great electric guitarists of this century. As the lead of the legendary Japanese psychedelic rock outfit Fushitsusha, Keiji Haino has few peers. So it is great compliment to the band that he has collaborated on "American Dollar Bill: Keep Facing Sideways, You're Too Hideous to Look at Face On", and "Even for Just the Briefest Moment / Keep Charging this "Expiation" / Plug in to Making it Slightly Better", for the labels Trost and Thrill Jockey. Through these two intersections of style and form, the distorted lumbering weight of SUMAC, and the soaring blistering guitar of Haino, their music has ascended into a realm that few are capable of joining.