Empire State Bastard’s “The Looming” Is Our Heavy Song of the Week

Heavy Song of the Week is a feature on Heavy Consequence breaking down the top metal and hard rock tracks you need to hear every Friday. This week, the top honor goes to “The Looming” by Empire State Bastard.

The term “extreme metal” speaks for itself. It’s heavy metal pushed to the max, whether that be reflected in the musicianship, arranging, production, or all of the above. An umbrella term for the least compromising corners of the death metal, black metal, and grindcore genres, if you will.

The new band Empire State Bastard was formed by Biffy Clyro members Simon Neil and Mike Vennart with the express purpose of being the most extreme metal act. That might sound like an attempt at parody, but then you hear a song like “The Looming” and you realize that ESB are dead serious. In fact, so serious that they recruited metal legend Dave Lombardo (Slayer, Testament, Mr. Bungle, Misfits) as their drummer.

Perhaps the unique quality of Empire State Bastard’s music stems from the fact that Neil and Vennart hail from a more alternative rock background, because the song doesn’t sound like it was derived from any templated style of metal. Rather, it’s the result of two gifted musicians exploring the limits of their craft, naturally reaching an amalgamation of sludge, doom, grindcore, and death metal — certainly extreme, but undefinably so.

There’s a playful honesty to it all, something that is too often missing within the puritanical confines of metal music and metal culture in general. Regarding a project like Empire State Bastard, the Biffy boys’ outsider perspective is their greatest strength.

Honorable Mentions:

3TEETH – “Drift”

We just wrapped up a comprehensive Industrial Week here at Consequence, so we’ve been listening to the genre nonstop over the past month. That said, 3TEETH must be privy to our current state, because they stripped things back for their latest single “Drift.” The band can dish out pulsing, harsh music with the best of the modern industrialists, but it’s nice to hear some diversity in the group’s sound, as well. The track is also a nice change of pace from the previous two singles from 3TEETH’s forthcoming album, EndEx.

Buckcherry – “Summer of ’69”

OK, at some point, we all gotta recognize that Buckcherry are not just the “Crazy Bitch” band, as they’ve been flying the hard rock flag for a quarter century now. Their rousing take on Bryan Adams’ classic “Summer of ’69” has the same nostalgic tug as the original, but amps up the guitar and vocal theatrics, adding some dirt and grit to an iconic rock song.

Girlschool – “Born to Raise Hell (feat. Biff Byford, Phil Campbell, and Duff McKagan)”

UK metallers Girlschool are best remembered for their collaborations with Lemmy and Motörhead, and “Born to Raise Hell” — the closing number on their new album WTFortyfive? — feels like a callback to that legendary “MotörheadGirlschool” St. Valentine’s Day Massacre EP. The track even features Motörhead axeman Phil Campbell, as well Guns ‘N Roses’ Duff McKagan and Saxon singer Biff Byford, who handles the verses and duets the choruses with singer-guitarist Kim McAuliffe. One of the stronger all-star collabs we’ve heard this year.