Hexxus Credit: Courtesy the artist

Two-thirds of this young Alabama trio is made up of veterans of Hog Mountin, an underrated southern-fried swamp-metal outfit that was once a jewel of the Birmingham scene. But on their debut self-released full-length, last year’s Tunguska, Hexxus seem to be on a different trajectory entirely. Still backbreakingly heavy, they prove themselves capable of employing a lighter touch from time to time, with sweet and slightly proggy interludes offering moments in which to take a deep breath before being slammed back down into the extragravity grind. Inspired by a catastrophic and still somewhat surreal event in Siberia involving a meteor that wiped out a forest without leaving an easily identifiable impact crater—while also carrying a subtext of grief and loss—Tunguska has a beguiling thread of mystery and complexity running throughout its slag-boiled riffing, and I look forward to seeing where Hexxus will lumber to next.   v