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Albums of the Week – October 3, 2012

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Where to even start? You might have noticed these posts winked out of existence for all of September. This was not by design. To say life got in the way would be a colossal understatement; death got in the way. Anyone actually curious can read a hybrid concert review/eulogy I wrote for another site, and I’ll leave it at that.

So here we are, back on the front lines, ready to tear into fresh flesh in the ongoing quest for blood and iron. Autumn went and snuck up when we weren’t looking, wrapping us in a cloak of cooler weather; the subtle shift in color and the newly filtered daylight matches the tone of most of the records coming out this week. Throw on a sweater, grab your headphones, and take a twilight stroll to one (or all) of the new releases below.

And this has nothing to do with the new releases, but it bears repeating because it’s the greatest news to come along all year. In case you have not heard: BOLT THROWER ARE PLAYING MDF AND CHAOS IN TEJAS in 2013. That’s it. It’s old news already, I know. But I’ve been living under a rock and this is the kind of thing I hear that makes me crawl out of my cave and loudly proclaim my elation for all the world to see; the kind of thing that makes life worth living. Gotta celebrate the good when we can get it.

— Aaron Lariviere

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As weeks go, this one’s not especially brutal. The most intriguing release by a long shot, Menace Ruine, comes by way of Profound Lore and Aaron Turner’s other label, SIGE Records. Synthesizers spar with clean female singing, casting pools of shadow and dappled light. There’s nothing heavy here; rather, the tenuous connection to metal comes across more in the tone than actual sonics. It’s strange, stirring stuff that’s hard to wrap your head around until you let it sink in over a few listens. I plan to keep listening as autumn has its way with the world over the coming months.

Menace Ruine – Alight in Ashes (10/2) [Preorder CD] / [Buy MP3]

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Menace Ruine – “Set Water to Flames”

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The pickings this week, they are slim. But onward we go lest our ears wither in the absence of fresh offerings. If we must dig harder to find shit worth hearing, so be it.

Deserted Fear are a trio of young German dudes doing the Swedish Death thing. Dan Swanö handled mixing and mastering, and it sounds like it. It’s reminiscent in a lot of ways of the new Horrendous record; both bands use lead guitars better than most to elevate traditional-sounding tunes. Originality be damned; this is comfort food served up steaming. My ears could use some goddamn comfort already, and this shit rips.

Then there’s the second album from Sabbath Assembly. Again, not really metal. What we have here is the sound of Satan-worshipping Christians making strange rock ‘n’ roll, or Christ-worshipping Satanists playing hymns for two masters—whatever it is, it’s weird, and not for everyone. Justin Norton’s recent interview got deep into main-man Dave Nuss’s thought process and does a better job summarizing the project than I could ever hope to. Fascinating stuff, even if it’s not metal.

Deserted Fear – My Empire (10/1) [Buy CD]

Sabbath Assembly – Ye Are Gods [Buy LP] / [Buy CD] / [Buy MP3]

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Deserted Fear – “The Battalion of Insanities”

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I didn’t forget about September, and I’m sure you didn’t either. Despite my inability to craft handy lists of the short-and-weekly variety as I would have preferred to, I have instead assembled one monster list of all the major contenders. Here they are with a minimum of commentary, because I can only do so much. If you haven’t heard any of these, well, no time like now.

These first four albums are all essential, so you may as well just order them now if you haven’t already. Chris Rowella already sold you on Hooded Menace, so we can move right along. Winterfylleth‘s latest might be the perfect pagan black metal album—they nail everything here, from chord choices that tug at your guts, to chanted vocals that actually work, plus one hell of a non-filler acoustic track—I can’t recommend this highly enough. The new Blut Aus Nord goes even further into weird goth-industrial electro-mania. It might be too much for some, but I love it. And the latest Midnight release is just a repackaged collection of all their early stuff with an added track. If you’re not familiar, Midnight take the Venom blueprint to its highest possible level, simple as that—they’re easily one of the best bands on the planet. Every song here is awesome; if for some reason you’ve snoozed on previous collections, this is now the one to own.

Blut Aus Nord – Cosmosophy [Buy LP / CD] / [Buy MP3]

Hooded Menace – Effigies of Evil [Buy LP / CD] / [Buy MP3]

Midnight – Complete and Total Fucking Hell [Buy LP] / [Buy CD] / [Buy MP3] (Vinyl includes the CD for only $22!)

Winterfylleth – The Threnody of Triumph [Buy CD] / [Buy MP3]

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Winterfylleth – “The Swart Raven”

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And here’s a pile of other releases worth looking at. I don’t know them as well as I should, so I’ll leave the digging to you. Dig deep, friends.

Abstracter – Tomb of Feathers [Buy MP3] (only $2.99!)

Beastwars – Beastwars [Buy MP3] / [Buy Vinyl] (only $12!) / [Buy CD] (import)

Behexen – Nightside Emanation [Buy CD] / [Buy MP3]

Haarp – Husks [Buy CD] / [Buy MP3] / [Buy LP]

Millions – Failure Tactics [Buy CD / MP3] (CD includes free beer koozie!)

Noisear – Turbulent Resurgence [Buy CD] / [Buy MP3]

Norska – Norska [Buy LP]

Orchid – Heretic [Buy MP3]

Reverence – The Asthenic Ascension [Buy CD] / [Buy MP3]

Serpentine Path – Serpentine Path [Buy CD / LP] (available on Snot Green vinyl!) / [Buy MP3]

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