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Upcoming Metal Releases: 2/17/19 — 2/23/19

wretched fate

Here are the new (and recent) metal releases for the week of February 17, 2019 – February 23, 2019. Release reflect proposed North American scheduling, if available. Expect to see the bulk of these records on shelves or distros on Fridays unless otherwise noted.

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.

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Surprise Valentine’s Day Releases

MorphinistThousand Souls Unleashed | Atmospheric Black Metal | Germany

One of the most prolific solo black metal acts out there, Morphinist brought us his 15th full-length (since just 2013!) last week. The project’s development has been incremental — maybe time is more important than number of albums released — but I think we’ve finally reaching a fully blossomed Morphinist with Thousand Souls Unleashed. The last Morphinist album to really capture me was 2017’s Lust, but this new one ranks high up there in his expansive discography.

WoundsLight Eater EP | Technical Death Metal | United States (Illinois)

Well, here’s some throaty and chunky riffage from Chicago. This is exactly the kind of tech-death I gravitate toward: deathcore-adjacent, exceptionally groovy, but forever imbued with esoteric complexities, random diversions, and hyperspeed instrumentation. The Light Eater EP shines in its pithiness, actually: no unwasted moments, no drawn-out ideas. This quartet has the raw talent for sure, and it’d be kickass to see that talent played out over a fully featured full-length.

VukariDemo MMXVIII II | Atmospheric Black Metal | United States (Illinois)

Okay, this was actually released the day after Valentine’s, but no worries: Chicago-based Vukari have taken new flight with this latest one-track demo (functioning essentially as a single from their upcoming new full-length.) I’ve seen Vukari open for a number of shows in Chicago, and they’ve always impressed me — this new material, however, is on a totally new level for this band. Excited to hear what’s in store.

Upcoming Releases

CandlemassThe Door to Doom | Napalm Records | Doom Metal | Sweden

Few groups are as renowned within the pantheon of heavy music as Sweden’s epic doom founders Candlemass. Founded in 1984, this year will see the group’s 35th anniversary as well as the release of their 12th album entitled The Door to Doom, which will be Candlemass’s first since 2012’s Psalms for the Dead, breaking a seven-year hiatus and marking the longest gap between studio albums for the band. Of greater interest is the replacement of previous singer Robert Lowe with the group’s original vocalist Johan Längqvist, who only appeared on their debut album Epicus Doomicus Metallicus. Much of the album’s sound and presentation is specifically referential to their first album — even the latter’s cover art is a re-imagining/modernization of the former’s. This is not to say that The Door to Doom’s eight compositions are a mere rehash of the band’s older material, but rather a faithful continuation of the passionate and consistently groovy doom they first imagined 30 years prior. With this latest effort, Candlemass have proven once again that despite their legendary status, they are still readily capable of creating fresh, creative, and satisfying riffs without compromising the righteous old-school sound they pioneered.

— Thomas Hinds

BellropeYou Must Relax | Exile on Mainstream | Doom Metal | Germany

An apt album title indeed. You Must Relax, the debut full-length from this Roadburn-bound quartet, drones forward through thick waves of dark psychedelia and groovy thunder. There are rock sensibilities present for sure, but this is obtuse and angular doom at its heart, backed by viscerally soaring vocals to boot. Bellrope also dabbles in abstract noise, imbuing You Must Relax with an arthouse feel whose inherent pretensions are dissolved almost immediately by the band’s unadulterated riffing power.

Primitive Man + HellSplit | Translation Loss Records | Sludge, Doom | United States (Colorado + Oregon)

Ever-prolific “death sludge” masterminds Primitive Man have returned yet again, reaching deep into the sweltering mire of the doom underground to grasp the hand of M.S.W., the sole creative force behind “extreme funeral doom” project Hell. With side one composed of two gravel-coated, gut-wrenching tracks from Primitive Man and side two a mammoth, utterly ripping ten-minute jam from Hell, this release sees each group at their noisiest and most potent, with each band showcasing the full range of their sonic capabilities. Despite the two groups having tracked their contributions in geographically distant spaces, the superb engineering of Dave Otero marries their two distinct styles into one devious, unholy union, proving yet again that Primitive Man and Hell are two groups on the cutting edge of sludge and doom metal.

— Thomas Hinds

SanhedrinThe Poisoner | Cruz Del Sur Music | Heavy Metal, Hard Rock | United States (New York)

Tradition meets innovation on The Poisoner, Sanhedrin’s sophomore full-length. This trio pretty much nails the crossover between hard rock and heavy metal, owing allegiance to neither but living up to the ethoses of both. From the ripping guitar solos to the high-energy vocal performance by Erica Stolz to the quieter interludes (all of it Colin Marston-mixed), Sanhedrin feel dynamic, agile, and silky smooth.

ContinuumDesigned Obsolescence | Unique Leader | Techincal Death Metal | United States (California)

Featuring current and former members of Animosity, Deeds of Flesh, Decrepit Birth, and Allegeon, Continuum is an incredibly technical and inexorably punishing technical death metal supergroup formed in 2009 and currently based in Santa Cruz. Their sophomore full-length Designed Obsolescence incorporates elements from both the mathematical and progressive ends of tech-death, and calls to mind the shapeshifting, serpentine compositions of Necrophagist or Spawn of Possession interpreted through the grinding, blistering brutality of Cryptopsy. As stated by guitarist Chase Fraser: “this album encapsulates the feel of [the] first album while adding many more layers and expanding on the concept of what Continuum can do as a band.”

— Thomas Hinds

MiscarriageImminent Horror | Sentient Ruin Labratories | Post-Sludge | United States + Sweden

Make no mistake: Imminent Horror is a sonic “bad trip.” A really, really, really bad trip. Steeped in Godfleshian horrors and all twisted and mangled like a fucked-up corpse, Miscarriage’s latest full-length has the power to fuel nightmares, sending your mind into a dizzying and uncontrolled descent into dark fantasy. But just like self-waking from nightmares is nearly impossible, so is turning off Imminent Horror. You just have to see if you can make it through in one go.

Cold ColoursNorthernmost | Gothic Metal | United States (Minnesota)

From Ivan Belcic’s premiere of Northernmost:

With regard to snow-laden boughs nestled between glistening crags, the contemplative black metal of the Pacific Northwest has largely laid claim to this brand of imagery as far as the United States is considered. For these unperturbed forests, testaments to an ageless landscape, 20 years is but a gentle sigh. Huebner, along with a lengthy list of collaborators over the past two decades, has endured to declare that doom-drenched death metal can evoke as visceral a portrayal of these twilit scenes. His lamentations fuse plodding goth lugubriousness with focused aggression and razor-wire melodies, a fitting medium for the tortured existential themes of the album’s lyrics.

Wretched FateFleshletting | Redefining Darkness | Black Metal | Sweden

One of the key elements within the modern resurgence of old-school death metal is its healthy sense of compromise between old-school savagery and contemporary innovation — paying homage to one’s inspirations while pushing the genre forward into unexplored territory. In achieving this delicate balance, none have risen to the task to quickly and adeptly as Sweden’s Wretched Fate. Formed in 2016, this relatively new outfit has already begun to establish itself as a remarkable up-and-coming name in death metal, exploding out of the underground with their impressive debut full-length Fleshletting. While the record initially obliterates the listener with its raw savagery and unbridled speed, a more thorough listen reveals novel oddities (such as layered synthesizers and samples from old horror films) just subtle enough as to keep the album fresh and creative without alienating death metal purists.

— Thomas Hinds

Relics of HumanityObscuration | Willowtip Records | Death Metal | Belarus

Bleeeerrrgh. Bleeeeee! Blaaaarrrghhh. Bloooooogggghhhh! Blughaaaaaa. Brrruuuuuuhhhhh!

PernicionSeek What They Sought | Osmose Productions | Blackened Death Metal | United Kingdom

Featuring Anil Carrier (live performance drummer for Anaal Nathrakh) on all instruments except vocals, Pernicion’s new album Seek What They Sought showcases real multifaceted talent. With near-medical precision, Carrier unleashes drumming fury (as expected) alongside strongly built guitar and bass backbones to create a delicate but hard-hitting blend of black and death metal. Dan Benton’s gutterally low and harsh vocals further add to the chasm of horrific darkness that Pernicion successfully creates here.

OverkillThe Wings of War | Nuclear Blast | Thrash Metal | United States (New York)

Speaking of legendary genre-pioneering bands founded in the 1980s, New Jersey thrash innovators Overkill are fast approaching the release their 19th studio album The Wings of War through Nuclear Blast Records, the first since the departure of drummer Rob Lipnicki in 2017. Dependable as always, Overkill has presented another album full to the brim with breakneck riffs written in their classic style, wailing volcanic guitar solos, and of course Bobby Blitz’s signature soaring, borderline operatic vocal lines. The group has a self-admitted tendency of sticking to a rather concise formula, but what Overkill lacks in experimentation they make up for in longevity and consistency, having released an average of five albums per decade for the last four decades.

— Thomas Hinds

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OpprobriumThe Fallen Entities | High Roller Records | Death Metal, Thrash Metal | United States (Louisiana)

Opprobrium have returned from a ten-year silence with their new full-length The Fallen Entities, their fifth overall. Crunchy, bombastic riffing takes full charge on this new album, unsurprisingly, with raunchy shrieks from hell interspersing passages at perfect intervals. The technicality here is especially impressive (drumming, too), both because of The Fallen Entities‘ complexity but also how seamlessly this duo’s chops are blended into metal bliss. Opprobrium blasts through these eight tracks without a hitch or a dull moment.

The Moth GathererEsoteric Oppression | Agonia Records | Post-Metal | Sweden

This post-metal outfit has been releasing something new every other year since 2013 and show no signs of letting up. The Moth Gatherer’s penchant for heavy layering, dense atmospheres, and lofty emotional ascents plays out nicely across Esoteric Oppression‘s five monstrous tracks. The vocal performance here brings back to mind older The Ocean (a great thing indeed), but is augmented by a marvelous guest vocalist on the first track. Also, mastered by Magnus Lindberg from Cult of Luna, this album sparkles dark reflections in all the right ways.

MinorsAbject Bodies | Holy Roar Records + Deathwish | Hardcore | Canada

Abject Bodies is my kind of metallic hardcore with its chunky and well-varied chugging undergirding a blistering vocal performance. The guitars do more than keep beat, though: they’re all over the place (in the best way imaginable), ripping the sky to shreds or drilling deep underground. The punk-infused drumming keeps everything on tippy-toe, resulting in an album whose poise and balance is both delicate and destructive.

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HorndalRemains | Prosthetic | Sludgy/Punky Hardcore | Sweden

This Swedish quartet’s debut full-length Remains cuts a hard slice into numerous genres without crossing any unnecessary wires. The punk-derived drumming, for instance, does nothing to distract from the fuzzy old-school shred of the guitars, or from the thick natural distortion of the band’s vocalist. All these factors and more combine into a decidedly cutting-edge package, minus any outwardly obvious experimentation — Horndal feels less progressive/experimental than they do just outright furious, a great thing indeed.

PounderUncivilized | Heavy Metal | United States

Pounder is a new band from the great Matt Harvey (Exhumed, Gruesome, Expulsion, Noothgrush, etc), and the band’s lineup is rounded out by Tom Draper (Carcass, ex-Angel Witch) and Alejandro Corredor (Nausea LA). While Matt Harvey may be best known for making gory death metal, this one sees him diving into his love of classic metal subgenres like NWOBHM, speed metal, and hair metal. The album’s got everything from fast-paced speed metal to power ballads, and it’s fun to hear these guys making music like this.

— Andrew Sacher

GatekeeperGrey Maiden EP | Cruz Del Sur Music | Heavy Metal | Canada

Four new Gatekeeper songs. You know what to do.

Dream TheaterDistance Over Time | InsideOut Music | Prog Metal | United States (New York)

Dream Theater has never interested me, though I’ve given their albums plenty of shots. Obviously, I’m attracted to the musicianship, the pantomine, and the complexity of of their opus-grade productions, but something always seemed to fall flat (beyond the oft-derided vocals)… not necessarily lame, but tame. With Distance Over Time, though, and somewhat surprisingly, something may have changed. I’ve yet to dive into the whole album, but based on the singles so far, Dream Theater might have the chance to obtain broader new relevancy. Stay tuned later this week for a special Dream Theater-related piece.

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Hate ForceHate Force | Death Metal | United States

You know James Pligge as the frontman of the muscular hardcore band Harms Way, but he also dips hits toes into death metal with his band Hate Force, whose lineup also includes former Weekend Nachos member Drew Brown and Drew’s Like Rats bandmate Todd Neif. Their self-titled debut album drops this week via Closed Casket Activities, and it’s way filthier than anything Pligge has done with Harms Way, and it turns out he’s pretty damn good at this kind of thing too.

— Andrew Sacher

Dead WitchesThe Final Exorcism | Stoner Doom | United Kingdom

Dead Witches count Psychedelic Witchcraft’s Virginia Monti and original Electric Wizard drummer Mark Greening as members, and as you’d expect from a lineup like that, they make psychedelic, fuzzed-out, Sabbathian doom. The Final Exorcism is their second full-length and it’s out this week via Heavy Psych Sounds.

— Andrew Sacher

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