Upcoming metal releases: July 2012

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“I don’t follow new metal bands. I have enough metal.”

Never say that. Never give in. That dissenting voice, the one that says you’re content with the classics, that nothing new could possibly be as good as the time-tested shit of days past: that’s the death rattle of your imagination.

According to Metal Archives there are only 77 new releases coming out in July, compared to the usual 150 or 200 in the average month. What gives? I won’t wax esoteric on record label psychology I don’t understand. Luckily the heavy-hitters have stepped up: Profound Lore and Hells Headbangers both drop serious shit you should own. Light month or no, you’ve got no excuse—get out there and buy something to rattle your skull and torment your neighbors. Do your part.

— Aaron Lariviere

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SHOULD RULE HARD

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Profound Lore deserve a trophy for consistency in brilliance, this month in the form of abysmal, monolithic death/doom (Evoken) and riff-centric black madness (The Howling Wind). Both bands proved their salt on past albums; both new albums feature lead guitar put to stellar use in very different ways; both bands are at the height of their powers here.

Enabler typify the new breed of Southern Lord hardcore, with a little Holy Terror thrown in for pizzazz. You can’t fake that apocalyptic, late-’90s metallic-hardcore chug; this shit is authentic and surprisingly fun. Nile continue to be . . . Nile. They get a little playful, mixing in dissonant guitar textures and more clean singing (fear not: it’s still brutal), but Nile do what Nile have always done, and they still do it better than the rest. Samothrace return to the land of the living with another batch of contemplative, moody doom. For all their weight, the arrangements themselves are delicate: clean guitars and spacious percussion flesh out the quiet moments before riffs take flight and tear down the sky.

Enabler – All Hail the Void (7/17) [Preorder CD/MP3] / [Bandcamp]
Evoken – Atra Mors (7/31) [Preorder CD]
The Howling Wind – Of Babalon (7/17) [Preorder CD]
Nile – At the Gate of Sethu (7/3) [Preorder Vinyl/CD / Preorder MP3]
Samothrace – Reverence to Stone (7/31) [Preorder Vinyl/CD]

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Enabler – “All Hail the Void”

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Evoken – “An Extrinsic Divide”

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MIGHT RULE HARD

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A double album in the MP3 age takes serious balls, no matter what the naysayers say—I need to hear the new Baroness. Bestial Holocaust flips the script on ripping black/death with vicious female vocals. Songs about female goat genitalia, with a singer in possession of female genitalia—inversion of the perversion? The new Nachtmystium is the long-rumored return to black metal we’ve all hoped for since Addicts dropped like a stink-bomb on the dance floor. Advance tracks retain layers of synthetic filth, but the result sounds organic and ferocious.

Hells Headbangers prove they, too, can shit gold with a couple of black metal gems this month. Royal Arch Blaspheme has N. Imperial (Krieg) barking obscenities over John Gelso’s (Profanatica) stew of black, death, and sludge riffs. It’s a slow burn, but it burns like hell. Satanic Bloodspraying are all mystery—little is known outside their country of origin (Bolivia) and the fact that they play ugly, blasting black metal—it’s classic Hells Headbangers, in both sound and quality.

Gaza sounds like the machines at a slaughterhouse set loose on the countryside, made even worse by Kurt Ballou. Ghostlimb spin their ‘core towards late ’90s screamo guitars, without the shitty screamo vocals, which makes all the difference. Power Theory play US power metal, while Striker play Canadian speed metal. If you can count the differences between those styles on two hands you should probably check ‘em both out. And then there’s Om: Al Cisneros continues his mystical journey to oblivion, and the road to nirvana is paved with sweet basslines. The term “Advaita” means “non-duality”, for whatever that’s worth.

Excellent death metal is again in short supply, but there are a few beacons of dark hope. Unique Leader dug up some brutal death in Iceland, of all places: Beneath are all hyperblast insanity and stampeding war machines, not unlike Hour of Penance. Zombiefication offer your monthly dose of HM-2; for an EP, this fucker rips.

I’m excited for the new Testament, but I haven’t heard a lick of music yet. The internet wants to hear you, yet you deny us. The not-knowing makes it all the worse. Bastards.

Baroness – Yellow & Green (7/17) Preorder Vinyl/CD/MP3] / [Bandcamp]
Beneath – Enslaved By Fear (7/17) [Preorder CD/MP3]
Bestial Holocaust – Into the Goat Vulva (7/17) [Preorder CD]
Gaza – No Absolutes In Human Suffering (7/31) [Preorder]
Ghostlimb – Confluence (7/10) [Preorder Vinyl] / [Buy now at Bandcamp]
Nachtmystium – Silecing Machine (7/31) [Preorder Vinyl/CD/MP3]
Om – Advaitic Songs (7/24) [Preorder Vinyl/CD]
Power Theory – An Axe to Grind (7/3) [Preorder CD]
Royal Arch Blaspheme – II (7/31) [Preorder CD] / [Preorder MP3] / [Bandcamp]
Satanic Bloodspraying – At the Mercy of Satan (7/17) [Preorder CD/MP3] / [Bandcamp]
Striker – Armed to the Teeth (7/27) [Preorder CD]
Testament – Dark Roots of Earth (7/31) [Preorder Vinyl/CD]
Zombiefication – Reaper’s Consecration (7/10) [Preorder CD/MP3]

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Beneath – “As Gods Walk the Earth”

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Gaza – “Mostly Hair and Bones Now”

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Striker – “Forever”

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EYESORE TO END ALL EYESORES

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In their quest to create the shittiest album cover of all time, Tankard have outdone themselves. The music is fine—standard Tankard-issue Teutonic thrash about beer, and the yearning one feels for beer when it is out of reach—but the cover art should be burnt out of existence. It cannot be unseen.

Tankard – A Girl Called Cerveza (7/31)