In the last installment of our monthly metal feature The Black Market, I talked a little bit about the increasing trend among extreme metal bands to feature “clean” vocals — i.e., melodic, textured singing — rather than what’s popularly known as Cookie Monster vocals. And North Carolina’s ASG might represent the apotheosis of that trend: Frontman Jason Shi’s muscular, dynamic voice drives the band’s downtuned riffing, and ASG’s forthcoming fourth full-length, Blood Drive, features a terrific abundance of both. Blood Drive is a heavy album, no question, but it’s primarily a catchy album, full of resin-sticky summertime metal. There’s not a bad song on the thing, and it surges from doom-y melancholy to sludge-y aggression, from psychedelia to rawk. It comes from a place not far from the ones that produced three of last year’s best metal albums, in fact: Baroness’s Yellow & Green, Torche’s Harmonicraft, and Pallbearer’s Sorrow & Extinction. That’s high praise, to be sure, but I think Blood Drive earns it. We’ve got the title track for you to spin now. Do so.
Blood Drive is out 5/28 via Relapse.