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Upcoming Metal Releases: 1/26/20 — 2/1/2020

Upcoming Metal Releases

Here are the new (and recent) metal releases for the week of January 26th to February 1st, 2020. Releases reflect proposed North American scheduling, if available. Expect to see most of these albums on shelves or distros on Fridays.

See something we missed or have any thoughts? Let us know in the comments. Plus, as always, feel free to post your own shopping lists. Happy digging.

Send us your promos (streaming links preferred) to: Do not send us promo material via social media.

Surprise Releases + Things We Missed

Lunar MantraPsychosomatika EP | Black Metal | United Kingdom

I can’t get enough of space-infused black metal — anything especially heady, extra-dense atmospherically, and sinister to boot. This EP from Lunar Mantra checks all those boxes for sure. With magnificent blasts through space and time offset by plenty of mid-paced content to keep things from being overblown, it’s a surprisingly balanced release for how cutting-edge it still feels.

— Andrew Rothmund

SnorlaxII | Brilliant Emperor Records | Blackened Death Metal | Australia

Pissed-off death metal with a blackened edge; or, pissed-off black metal wielding death metal’s sonic hammer? Either way, Snorlax fucking belts (the Pokémon would be proud). This six-track slicer has all the razor-sharpness needed for blackened blasts, but also diverges into riff-monster death metal territory at will.

— Andrew Rothmund

Sallow MothThe Larval Hope | Dead Red Queen Records | Death Metal | United States (Texas)

A riffing delight of a death metal album, with just the right amount of prog and avant-garde to keep things fresh. All things considered — the lovely album artwork, for instance — this solo project sells itself as a whole lot more than any other “solo [genre] project by another talented musician” deal. These tunes feel totally fresh and inventive, actually, and even the vocal performance offers tons of dynamics to maintain attention across The Larval Hope‘s six songs.

— Andrew Rothmund

Wasted StruggleAgenda of Fear | Sludgelord Records | Blackened Hardcore | Hungary

Furious and mean. Wasted Struggle hide nothing when it comes to be being bombastic, belligerent, and downright angry. The blackened tint on the whole mix only adds to this outfit’s devilish nocturne. Agenda of Fear comes, kicks ass, then leaves, no time wasted, no note overwrought, no moment oversold. Everything, and just the right amount too (a lot).

— Andrew Rothmund

Frigoris…in Stille | Hypnotic Dirge Records | Atmospheric Black Metal | Germany

High-end, medium-length, low-frills atmospheric black metal courtesy of Frigoris. Everything about atmospheric black metal comes together here, on this release, so nicely: gentle ascents growing more violent as they hit their peak, with solemn descents and lofty hangtimes always following in due form. Even the production is wonderful.

— Andrew Rothmund

Upcoming Releases

Former WorldsIterations of Time | Init Records | Sludge + Doom | United States (Minnesota)

From Ted Nubel’s premiere of Widow Moon”:

It’s never too early in the year to listen to something that spurns easy comparison — while ear-shredding distortion and delay-laden interludes don’t always fit together in interesting ways, here they’ve been woven into an enjoyable dissonance with a vocal element that sets Iterations of Time very far apart from innumerable other attempts.

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MonolitheOkta Khora | Les Acteurs de L’Ombre Productions | Avant-Garde | France

This album released late last year, but is now seeing physical release. And it deserves it for sure, because Okta Khora is a bewildering array of progressive noises, post-modern soundscapes, and avant-garde experimentation. This isn’t one you listen to so much as get absorbed in, and Monolithe prove themselves the master of this craft yet again, as this is their eighth full-length overall.

— Andrew Rothmund

MolokenUnveilance of Dark Matter | The Sign Records | Sludge + Experimental | Sweden

Moloken pulls back the curtain on atmospheric sludge for Unveilance of Dark Matter, and the pervasive gloom of the genre finds itself eclipsed by an anxious frenzy, perhaps telegraphed by the vocals fluctuating between paranoid whispers and full-throated roars. The busy drumming and dominant basslines are the wardens of the asylum, generating hints of post-punk sympathies even while the guitars indulge in unorthodox soundscapes and chromatic, jittery outbursts.

— Ted Nubel

Obsidian TongueIII | Bindrune Recordings | Black Metal | United States (Maine)

Here’s an example of when clean vocals can be super-welcome in otherwise hard-honed black metal. For III, the album feels draped in a soft, human mystery as much as it slices your head off with super-energetic explosions of intensity. The builds and releases that Obsidian Tongue arrange throughout the album’s tapestry are, well, sublime, too. This one might take a few listens to sink in, but when it does, I hope it captures you like it did me.

— Andrew Rothmund

Dead KosmonautGravitas | High Roller Records | Heavy Metal | Sweden

Gravitas harkens back to a now rather unusual strain of heavy metal — the mid-1980s borderlands of traditional heavy metal where reverb-drenched guitars sought mid-tempo velocities, not blazing speed, and influence from rock and blues was a constant ingredient in the mix. It’s not all appreciated now, but it rocked, and so does this, which unabashedly drapes epic doom sensibilities on top of tube-screaming metal.

— Ted Nubel

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Aerial Ruin + Panopticon— Split | Bindrune Recordings | Ambient | United States (Oregon + Minnesota)

A beautiful ambient/acoustic split between Aerial Ruin and Panopticon. Comes out alongside the Panopticon split with Nechochwen (that’s where you should look if you’re seeking the black metal side of things). As for this split, well, just soak up its gentle and somber atmosphere, and lavish too in how well these two artists come together to make something so rich yet so digestible.

— Andrew Rothmund

Nechochwen + Panopticon — Split | Bindrune Recordings | Black Metal + Folk | United States (West Virginia + Minnesota)

The lush, folky tunes of Nechochwen sit beside the almighty Panopticon with such clarity and ease. The former contributes four tracks while the latter has a big, epic 20-minute closer to really seal the deal on this split.

— Andrew Rothmund

YatraBlood of the Night | STB Records | Doom | United States (Maryland)

With Blood of the Night, Yatra has taken their sludge-meets-heavy-metal approach from their previous effort Blood Ritual and made it even more enchanting: the band is unafraid to add in speed or throw in tasty licks to mix it up, but maintains an oracular precision in knowing exactly how long the brutalizing crawl of their bread-and-butter sludge riffs should last for maximum impact. I was sold on the last record, but here Yatra has pulled off something even stranger without losing their intensively evil sound.

— Ted Nubel

Harvest of AshDeadlights EP | Doom | United States (Utah)

Harvest of Ash’s grunged-up form of doom metal echoes the windswept geography of their home state Utah, conjuring visions of arid plains and towering plateaus. Just like the varying topography, the aggression waxes and wanes across the two fuzzy tracks: notes echo around as if shouted in a canyon before a sudden escalation to full-on doom that loosens its grasp only sparingly. Sometimes, doom metal tells the story of fantastical drug, laced journeys past otherworldly horizons — but sometimes the same red-lining waveforms portray an equally worthwhile trek across an earthlier landscape.

— Ted Nubel

Sons of RaCognitive EP | Doom + Progressive + Jazz | United States (Illinois)

Attaching “jazz” to metal is risky business, but then again, jazz has always been a genre that thrives on experiments and risks. Sons of Ra’s approach to the fusion takes notes from math rock, progressive metal and classic progressive rock acts like King Crimson — the result is often sheer insanity, but a contagious form of it. In a nutshell, you get the craziness and technicality of progressive metal here, but focused into more of a jazz-rock fusion by the inventive drum and bass work that scaffolds the time-signature-defying guitar licks.

Stay tuned tomorrow for a special Sons of Ra treat.

— Ted Nubel

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