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A few months back, I grabbed some beers at Bar Pilar with a friend who founded a metal-related company. When talk turned, as talk so often does, to the subject of authenticity, this friend expressed apathy verging on animosity toward the Southern Lord roster, which includes Maryland’s The Hidden Hand.

This wasn’t backlash against the label so much as backlash against what the label represents. You see, among those who would ascribe trueness and falseness, Southern Lord is to metal what pot is to cocaine: a gateway. Except not really. It’s just that certain recent converts (such as this guy and this guy) have made it difficult for some of my friends to take certain hipster-beloved imprints as seriously as they might deserve.

Greg Anderson doesn’t need anyone’s praise at this point, but, as evidenced by two new releases, he still deserves it. On God Luck And Good Speed, North Carolina’s Weedeater take a tried and true formula—Southern crust metal—and make it interesting, or at least entrancing. That’s no easy feat when all you’ve given yourself to work with are three-to-five power chords per song, world-weary vocals, and drumming that sounds as if it’s being executed with dinosaur bones.

Fas – Ite, Maledicti, in Ignem Aeternum, the new album by Deathspell Omega, is both artier and more extreme. The band is French and is in no way encumbered by its nationality, which puts it in the rarefied company of bands such as Magma, Blut Aus Nord, and Gojira. Did I mention that they’re French and don’t suck? Amazing.

Neither Weedeater or Deathspell sounds much like the other, but both make it quite obvious that they listen to something other stoner rock and black metal, respectively (Weedeater cover Skynyrd and bust out the banjos; Deathspell is by turns proggy and fierce).

Not bad for August, eh?