Friday, December 15, 2017

Double Vinyl Review: "The Last Bastion of Cowardice" by Northless

The Last Bastion of Cowardice
"Geez, Nik, it would be nice if you talked about yourself," said no one ever to me.

However, like Ice-T said, freedom of speech. I want the right talk and for personal reasons, I watch what I say.

So, this album arrived to me last week in the mail. It came the night before an outpatient procedure was scheduled.

That day was to be a recovery day of painkillers, beer, and records. During the purple haze I was attempting to create there was going to be some writing.

Well, the Oxycodone knocked me on my ass like I was washing my hair in a waterfall, (Inspired by Mitch Hedberg, RIP). After listening to Northless's The Last Bastion of Cowardice there was still two thirds of the STLIPA to drink and my computer screen was blank.

The thoughts in my head swirled into something that was impossible to articulate. On top of that, the music, I had no idea what it even was. It was heavy, that's for sure.

You may notice that my unboxing video this time was a little..shall we say...stilted.

Hope you enjoy that and the rest of this now that I'm hearing this record with, as my man Ashitaka says, eyes unclouded, well ears really.

The beer pairing was on point. The Last Bastion of Cowardice is a thumper of a record. Like my delicious DIPA, it's thick and slow. There's no way to get through either of these two works of art quickly.

Just enjoy the feeling of them both. It's a bit like being on stimulants and depressants simultaneously. Northless is going to raise your blood pressure, but that STLIPA is going to relax you.

But both of them will leave a woody taste in your mouth. The guitars here are as smooth as a rough hewn 2X4 and the STLIPA will make it feel a bit like you had one in your mouth.

The lesson here really is that if you're about to put on a thick, heavy slab of basically molten metal, make sure you're drinking a non-session beer. It'll make the whole world seem better.

Even after hearing this record clear headed, I can't pigeon hole it into any of the metal sub-genres. It's as heavy as death metal, but it doesn't have any solos to speak of like Grindcore.

It's topical like American Black Metal, but there's riffs in it like traditional heavy metal. It's like hardcore, but riffy and more musical.

Maybe it's High On Fire style stoner metal? (NOTE: I don't think High On Fire is stoner metal.)

It's not really a compliment to say that this is the record that will make that skeptical friend a fan of extreme metal and it's not that. But it might get someone who's into more easy listening metal into heavier sides of the genres....

Not because it's so easily digestible, but because this album nails it from start to finish. It's undeniable.

As with any release from Halo of Flies, it's not only a great album, but it's packaged like it's the most important record out there. When your copy arrives, that DLP mailer is heavy enough to be a TLP and I know because I had both The Last Bastion of Cowardice and Roger Water's The Wall Soundtrack sitting on my table to listen to.

There's a full color booklet with lyrics. At the time, I couldn't match the words to the songs, but again, DIPA and painkillers probably made it difficult. The photos in the booklet are amazing. Check it out in the unboxing video below.

Release: Out Now
Genre: Stoner Metal(?)
Label: Halo of Flies
Order 200 Black 150 Clear 150 Gold

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