Few creatures carry the apocalyptic and genocidal gravitas of the invasive Emerald Ash Borer, a beautiful metallic beetle about the size of a penny that will likely choke the life from billions of ash trees across North America over the next few decades. NorCal black-metal trio Ash Borer's debut full-length is as diminutive as their namesake (limited to a 150-cassette run) but no less destructive or striking as they hurtle through three tracks in 40 minutes. "In the Midst of Life, We Are in Death" seethes fury with the force of redwoods crashing into the ocean. All fed through a thick fog of tape hiss and reverb, it's eerily reminiscent of late Portland, Oregon, obscurantists Velvet Cacoon, although Ash Borer are far more dynamic in their shifting tempos and tendency to toy with melody. Never droning for more than two minutes at a time, the album builds to hyperspeed passages packed with wrenching guitar lines snaking in from the margins. Nowhere is this more apparent than closer "My Curse Was Raised in the Darkness Against a Doomsday Silence," which at nearly 20 minutes would have been a perfect EP on its own. Ash Borer's debut isn't just one of the best metal releases of 2011; it's a reminder that there are places extreme music can evolve beyond adolescent leather-and-spikes posturing and fests brought to you by Toyota.
ASH BORER + BLESSED OFFAL + NACHZEHRER + RUIN LUST + KATAHDIN | PT-109, Brighton | July 17 @ 8 pm | $8 | all ages | firstname.lastname@example.org for address and info.