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Been digging the doom band Indian (pictured), a Chicago trio that is about to release a new disc, Slights and Abuse/The Sycophant.

You can hear some of Indian’s stuff here. But I kind of prefer their slower, scarier material (think Khanate, Swans), stuff that isn’t promoted on the Web site.

This Chicago Reader piece suggests that the split between the thrashier stuff and the doomier stuff is some sort of internal divide between the guitarist and the bassist. Fast or slow, however, all of it is quite menacing.

Seeing as how it’s January and the release schedule hasn’t quite picked up, I’ve been revisiting some more ’07 stuff. This is what I wrote about Xasthur’s Defective Epitaph when I got the latest from this one-man-black-metal-band back in September:

Not only are the songs kind of lackadaisical, not to mention a bit too kvltishly recorded, but “Defective Epitaph” has to be one of the worst black metal album titles of all time. If you’re going to go with the adjective-noun thing, Malefic, you’ve got to think of something more grim than “defective.”

Here are some quick suggestions, free of charge: “Putrid Epitaph,” “Odious Epitaph,” “Unholy Epitaph”—even “Blemished Epitaph” is more likely to give someone chills.

Joe Gross said pretty much the same thing when he reviewed the album in the December issue of some other publication:

One would assume the title of this new one was supposed to be kinda funny, but he hasn’t exactly displayed a sense of humor about himself or his (really pretty amazing) body of work in the past. So, altogether now: Defective?! Really? That was the word you came up with?

Turns out the main difference between Defective and his last one, the excellent Subliminal Genocide, is that Xasthur (a.k.a. Malefic and, according to Spin, Scott Conner), decided to take up drums. On his previous records, he backed his many layers of chiming guitars and frosty synths with a drum machine, the fallback for many a one-man-black-metal-band.

Now, I’ve always said that rock and jazz acts are only as good as their drummers (which is why I always liked Rapeman better than Big Black), but it would seem that Xasthur is an exception. There’s something charming and not altogether distracting about the crappy fills, the hesitancy, and the recorded-in-my-Mom’s-basement sound.

Truth is, some of the best black metal is badass and funny in equal measure. Defective, which I like now, is just a bit funnier than most.