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January 2019 Release Roundup

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Allow me to introduce myself. I’m Greg Kennelty. I’ve been the senior news writer at Metal Injection for just about six years now, and before that I was a contributor to Heavy Blog Is Heavy for a few years. Now I’ve been so graciously invited to Invisible Oranges to recap each month with the five (or so) releases that caught my ear. For the posterity of this article, I’d like to state that you should not come in with expectations in terms of genre. One month might be loaded with stoner and doom, and the next grindcore and noise. The same rule applies for signed and independent bands.

January has been a pretty good ramp up to the year ahead. Some of the highlights thus far have been the announcement of Over It All, the new band featuring Lamb of God’s Randy Blythe and Animals as Leaders’ Javier Reyes, as well as Revocation frontman and guitarist Dave Davidson’s new band Gargoyl. As far as releases go, the long-fabled Tool record will supposedly be out in April according to drummer Danny Carey (or, actually maybe not)? I’m not dying for a Tool record, but I’ll certainly give it a spin when it hits shelves. The same goes for the new Slipknot and Rammstein records. As far as major releases right now, I’m very curious to hear how Devin Townsend’s much-reported-on new post-Devin Townsend Project record Empath shaped up, especially given the guest list of everyone from bands like Beneath The Massacre to Nickelback.

Oh, and let’s take a moment before we jump into the music to remember Bruce Corbitt, vocalist of Warbeast and Rigor Mortis. Corbitt battled esophageal cancer for about a year and a half and sadly passed on in late January.

— Greg Kennelty

Charnel Altar
Demo
January 9, 2019

Charnel Altar is going to sign to Dark Descent Records — they don’t know it and the label doesn’t know it, but I’m telling you it’s probably going to happen. They’ll tour with bands like Spectral Voice and Ossuarium (20 Buck Spin – I know), and everyone will be very happy about it. Profound Lore would be a viable second option. Charnel Altar conjure up more filthy, tumultuous death-doom than your speakers have subwoofers and midrange drivers for. While some bands try to affect the whole “metal from the bowels of the Earth” sound, Charnel Altar’s music genuinely sounds like it’s violently churning in, and being spewed from, a cavernous hole in the ground. They are already opening for bands like Incantation, Primitive Man, and Faceless Burial in Australia, so here’s hoping this demo puts them in the international spotlight.

Lantern
Lost Paragraphs EP
January 6, 2019

Lantern’s new Lost Paragraphs EP is the audible equivalent of driving through a hellish version of an M.C. Escher painting about 40 miles per hour over the speed limit. By the time you think you might’ve gotten your bearings, you’re already hurtling toward the next shambling monstrosity of insanity. Oh, and there’s someone yelling constantly — sometimes in tandem with the guitar, sometimes like an extra-pissed David Vincent — but you’ll get back to that. One thing at a time. Lost Paragraphs is two tracks and 14 minutes without an ounce of fat on it. It encapsulates where Lantern is two years out from their II: Morphosis record, but doesn’t feel at all like a “for fans only” stopgap. Lost Paragraphs is how you write a 7″ and should be in your library.

Lillake
Memory Lies
January 11, 2019

I genuinely do not want Lillake to go down as one of those cult bands that, ten years down the line, people say were great but could never quite figure out why they didn’t take off. Lillake is two albums deep into their career now and have yet to release a skippable song. Where their 2016 self-titled debut focused more on hypnotic riffs and rhythms, Memory Lies is all about an angularly melodic approach woven into a more amped-up hardcore punk attitude. Guitarist and vocalist Nico Santora splits his time between screaming so hard you can practically see the veins bulging out of his forehead and crafting off-kilter lines that fit overtop Lillake’s particularly odd brand of harmony. Lillake should be a mystery to nobody at this point.

Mo’ynoq
Dreaming in a Dead Language
January 11, 2019

Mo’ynoq’s Dreaming in a Dead Language is every shade of black metal out there right now jammed into one record and given a good trim around the edges for a final, concise product with solid attention to its running order. The album covers everything from the atmospheres of Alcest and Deafheaven to the feral black metal sounds of yore, and even manages to throw in some stellar death metal shred and a full-on classical piano piece. Dreaming in a Dead Language genuinely sounds like it comes from a group who absolutely love the genre and wanted to see the culmination of its subsets into one record.

Panopticon
The Crescendo of Dusk EP
January 26, 2019

The Crescendo of Dusk is two songs and 20 minutes. The title track was written and recorded for the black metal half of Scars of Man on the Once Nameless Wilderness, while “The Labyrinth” was written and recorded for Autumn Eternal. I can see why “The Crescendo of Dusk” was cut from its respective album, and it’s because it’s just too good of a song. The track is 13 minutes of beautiful and furious atmospheric black metal standing so well on its own that it seems silly to have jammed it into a double album. “The Labyrinth” is essentially the missing link between Autumn Eternal and the folk half of Scars of Man on the Once Nameless Wilderness, but doesn’t quite fit on either. I’m really glad Austin Lunn decided to release these two tracks as a standalone EP, as they compliment each other really well.

Soilwork
Verkligheten
January 11, 2019

Soilwork’s long-awaited 11th album Verkligheten couldn’t afford to be phoned in. It was the band’s first album in four years and their first with new drummer Bastian Thusgaard, who replaced Dirk Verbeuren after he left for Megadeth in 2016. Instead of trying to replicate their tried-and-true brand of melodic death metal found on 2015’s The Ride Majestic, which frankly felt like one final and futile attempt to capture the magic of albums past, Soilwork seemingly took some cues from vocalist Björn “Speed” Strid’s AOR-tinged hard rock side-project The Night Flight Orchestra. Verkligheten is an impeccable blend of chorus hooks and fist-pumping 1980s-esque anthemic metal riffs with blinding blasts and a refreshingly stripped-down take on that classic Soilwork melo-death sound, now donning a pair of aviator shades.

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