Posehn Kicks It Old School (Megaforce Records, 2/14/2020)

So… with the show of hands, who keeps up with stand-up comedy? Rhetorical question because the Klown can’t see you anyway. Brian Posehn is a stand-up comedian, in case you were wondering. If you’ve never seen his work, he primarily pokes fun at himself. If it isn’t about his height, it’s about his nerdom and shenanigans regarding pot smoking or his immediate family and friends. He’s also extremely prolific within the metal community not just as a fan but because he knows some of the talent within our beloved genre, and incorporates these experiences into his stand-up routine. Posehn has teased an album for some time, now flash forward to Valentine’s Day and Grandpa Metal was finally released.

This isn’t anything like Jim Breuer’s project. Let’s be real, that was a hard rock album, at best. Unlike Breuer’s, not only was Grandpa Metal… metal it still had lots of humor and a plethora of guest musicians. The album kicks off with the intro “Intro to Satan” and then transitions to the humorously titled song “Satan’s Kind of a Dick” with Gary Holt. Sorry Satanists, Posehn isn’t gonna be joining your religion anytime soon. It is then followed by the intro-song combo of “Scary Nightmare” and “One-Quarter Viking, Three Quarters Pussy” alongside the king of the Vikings Johan Hegg and Alex Skolnick shredding away. Kim Thayil of Soundgarden even joins in and teams up with Posehn for “Grandpa Metal.”

This album also serves as a final piece for our metal queen Jill Janus who left a powerful impression. How? Well she recorded not just one but two songs. She has a duet with Posehn about goblins hooking up in “Goblin Love.” But she’d also join him again, Chuck Billy, Steve “Zestro” Souza and Rob Cavestany for their cover of A-ha’s “Take On Me.”  For those of you who really, really hate any music outside of metal, Posehn alongside Patrick Stump of Fall Out Boy, parodied Pop/ R&B with “New Music Sucks.” 

Lastly, he covers Norwegian comedy duo Ylvis’s “The Fox (What Does the Fox Say)” alongside Corey Taylor and Michael Starr of Steel Panther, and tops it off with “Secret Song” making fun of hidden tracks. Long story, short if you enjoy his stand-up you’ll enjoy this album. You’ll laugh and headbang at the same time. Check it out on your platform of choice or take the plunge right away. Get your copy here!

6 out of 6, On a Viking Longship I wouldn’t last an hour. Any word of battle I’d shit myself and cower 

Dark Fortress Returns for the New Decade (Century Media Records, 2/28/2020)

The Klown has mentioned this band way too many times in the past but as a comparison to other bands. Most notably, when applying said comparisons to independent or “unheard” of black metal bands. Now though…now, they have graced the Klown’s crusty ol’ ears with a brand, spankin’ new album! Nearly six years since the release of Venereal Dawn, one of the dark kings of Germanic black metal are back. This latest incarnation is titled Spectres from the Old World and it kept creeping out from the shadows like the ghost of black Christmas future and even premiered  the album’s first hit “Pulling at Threads” few days before Christmas. 

The album opens strongly with the intro “Nascence” which had a nice build up and kept the Klown pumped up for “Coalescence.” Skinsman Matthias “Seraph” Landes shows off his drumming prowess and reminds you that Dark Fortress is back and ready to hold the black metal fort. They would do this again, towards the end of the album with “Penrose Procession (Interlude)” and “Swan Song.”  It is then followed by a black metal love song titled “The Spider in the Web.” However, if you are still fixated on the Ylem and Venereal Dawn craze (the Klown doesn’t blame you)? Rejoice, these guys got you covered with the one-two combo of “Spectres from the Old World” and “Pali Aike!” “Spectres” starts off really strong and aggressive for the first two minutes and winds down a bit but builds up again.

However, on the final wind-down of the song, Viktor “V. Santura” Bullok and Asvargr take over guitar duties alongside Job Bos’s keys providing ambiance which serves as a catalyst for the slow but dark song, “Pali Aike.” Still, want the classic sounds but have some awesome guitar solos? Then the second hit, “Isa” is your track. The group takes a melodic turn with a harmonious but ghastly chorus but still keeps it trve with “In Deepest Time.” 

The album closes off with the ambient “Nox Irae.” As you can all read, the Klown loved this album. If you are a fan of Dark Fortress or are looking for a known name but never have had the chance to listen to some of their work, then this album is a good one to start with this year. Check them out in your streaming service of choice or take the plunge, if you take the Klown’s word for it. Get your copy here

6 out of 6, Coerced back to awareness By subliminal inertia The shadow of a soul Groping desperately in the dark

It’s Scarlxrd’s Time (A Lxrd Records/ Island Records, 2/28/2020)

For those who know about Scarlxrd, you’ll be scratching your head and wonder why he’s in the Klown’s trials. For those who are not, strap in this one deserves a quick intro before the Klown gives his breakdown. The rapper known as Scarlxrd is infamous for a couple of things. The first being that he replaces his letter “O”s with “X”s and places a period at the end of his titles. Secondly, he comes from across the pond, a.k.a England. Thirdly, he was once, like some of the new generation of rappers, a Soundcloud rapper. Fourthly, the reason he’s in this current set of trials is because he uses a lot of elements from our beloved genre. If it isn’t the heavy distorted riffs with some double pedal drumming, he’s doing screaming vocals while doing his rhymes and keeping his flow. But even more impressive, sometimes his songs are a full-blown metal track whether it’s nu-metal, deathcore, screamo or industrial metal. Either way, he still gots the Klown’s attention.

With all that said SCARHXURS does that but not as much as his previous albums. Keeping in mind that the artist is a rapper first and foremost so don’t be surprised if you mostly hear rap. With that in mind, the first four tracks are mostly rap with some industrial metal influence and trap… as in a style in electronic music. Once “SXCIAL SKILL.” begins he lets some of the screaming rhymes begin in full force. “YXU’RE TXX ANGRY” continues with the aggression and even starts the song off with some heavily distorted guitars. However, the track that truly dive in to some metal is “TERRAFXRM.” Don’t quote the Klown but it sounded like the artist listened to some Whitechapel and decided to use it as a sample for the song and combined it with some trap. Beyond that, if you’re not musically open to anything else, then this album is not for you. But if this piqued your interest, check’em out you may like what you hear altogether. Get your copy here!

5 out of 6, Delete it all, start again. We take the fall, royally. Disarm the poor and start again. Don’t trust a soul