This Week’s Best Albums: October 23, 2012

This Week's Best Albums: October 23, 2012

Each week, editor-in-chief Chris Force and music editor Scott Morrow choose ALARM’s favorite new releases for This Week’s Best Albums, an eclectic set of reviews presenting exceptional music.

P.O.S: We Don't Even Live Here (Rhymesayers)

"Fuck Your Stuff"


Though fans may be satiated by a new Doomtree album and a bevy of side projects, it’s been three-and-a-half years since any solo output from Stefon Alexander, a.k.a. P.O.S, the punk-spirited rapper/producer and cofounder of the aforementioned hip-hop collective.

From the aggressive, rhythmic opening of “Bumper,” it sounds like Alexander picks up where he left off with Never Better, his watershed 2009 album. Very quickly, however, We Don’t Even Live Here reveals itself to be a different kind of beast, as squiggly synths and electronics create an electro-rap hybrid. There’s plenty of rock to go around — as well as a bunch of Doomtree guest spots, a steadily pulsing piano, and an anti-consumerist anthem (“Fuck Your Stuff”). But the final four tracks delve straight into dance and dubstep territory, and with appearances by vocoder as well as Justin Vernon of Bon Iver, this is a whole new P.O.S.

- Scott Morrow

Pig Destroyer: Book Burner (Relapse)

"The Diplomat"


After five years of relative inertia, Pig Destroyer — flaring up like an incurable Amazonian virus — is back on the books with Book Burner, a 19-track installation of furious, “misanthropic” grindcore that is as violent as it is relentless. Recorded at guitarist Scott Hull’s Visceral Sound Studios, the album hearkens back to Prowler in the Yard with a raw, live sound that waylays studio artifice for aggression.

Members of Misery Index, Agoraphobic Nosebleed, and Drugs of Faith make guest vocal appearances, and the deluxe edition includes a second disc with seven bonus tracks covering songs from the Misfits, Black Flag, Minor Threat, and others on which Pig Destroyer has drawn for influence. Bonus cuts or not, Book Burner is an album worth saving from the fire.

- Benjamin van Loon

...And You Will Know Us by the Trail of Dead: Lost Songs (Superball Music)

"Catatonic"


There’s rock for the garage, rock for the arena, and rock for the mind. Lost Songs is of the third sort. Though the title suggests a B-side retrospective — and with nearly 20 years of Trail of Dead history, the idea isn’t far fetched — Lost Songs delivers 14 tracks of new material that pairs the emotional intensity of Source Tags & Codes with the art-punk aggression of Madonna.

The album has a wandering, story-like feel to it, and the atmospheric textures are controlled without seeming restrained. Most tracks are short and quick, but there’s even a touch of early Black Sabbath on “Mountain Battle Song.” In total, Lost Songs proves that rock and roll isn’t dead — it’s in the head.

- Benjamin van Loon

Honorable Mentions:

Neil Davidge: Halo 4 soundtrack (The End)

God Seed: I Begin (Indie Recordings)

A Life Once Lost: Ecstatic Trance (Season of Mist)

Other Lives: Mind the Gap EP (TBD)

The Secret: Agnus Dei (Southern Lord)

The Sword: Apocryphon (Razor & Tie)

V/A: The Man with the Iron Fists soundtrack (Soul Temple)