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"Portland band Atriarch have attracted some buzz for their fusion of blackened doom metal and real old-school goth, but I honestly don't get why anyone's treating it like a novelty," writes Monica Kendrick. "Bauhaus, Christian Death, and Fields of the Nephilim weren't that far away from metal in the first place, at least in their early years, so it's just a jump to the left to do that time warp again." On Ritual of Passing, Atriarch's second full-length if you don't count a split LP with Alaric earlier this year, they demonstrate masterful command of the vicious guitar slashes and pounding rhythms that mark goth at its scariest—and use metal's grand sense of architecture to hold it aloft before letting it all come crashing down. Indian headlines.
"When they play live, guitarists David Daniell and Douglas McCombs create their twangy, atmospheric, gently psychedelic duets on the fly, trusting in the intuition they've developed over the years of their collaboration (and on rows of effects pedals)," writes Peter Margasak. The four pieces on this year's Versions move together in a lush, wide-open rush, cut with acid tones, layers of tremolo, and occasional drum patterns (played in turn by Frank Rosaly, Steven Hess, John Herndon, and Chad Taylor) that contrast dramatically with the guitars. In 2011 Daniell moved from Chicago to Asheville, North Carolina, so the duo rarely performs these days—this is the first time in more than a year. Rosaly joins in on drums.
Last year Philadelphia psych-garage-pop duo Reading Rainbow expanded into a trio and changed their name to Bleeding Rainbow, but as Miles Raymer writes, "they haven't messed with the musical formula I was first exposed to via the 2010 HoZac LP Prism Eyes: pop that's sweet but not twee, its healthy dose of 90s alt-jangle submerged in a matrix of noisy psychedelia that's, well, trippy as shit." A Place to Bury Strangers headlines.