Upcoming Metal Releases: 1/15/2017 – 1/21/2017
Oh happy day, it is Monday once more.
Here are the new metal releases for the week of January 15, 2017 – January 21, 2017. Release dates are formatted according to proposed North American scheduling, if available. Expect to see the bulk of these records on shelves or distros on Friday unless otherwise noted or if labels and artists get impatient. Blurbs and designations are based on whether or not I have a lot to say about it.
See something we missed? Goofs? Let us know in the comments. Plus, as always, feel free to post your own shopping lists. Happy digging.
Please note: this is a review column and is not speculative. Any announced albums without preview material will not be covered. Additionally, any surprise releases which are uploaded after this is published will not be covered. This week: Vèrmibdrèb – Vèrmibdrèb Zuèrkl Goèbtrevoryalbe (even though I anxiously await my imported copy).
Emptiness – Not for Music | Season of Mist | Ambient Black/Death Metal | Belgium
Emptiness have always been a strange anomaly in black/death metal. Recall the more ambient, atmospheric, and extraordinarily despondent leanings of Nothing But The Whole – though these moments were sandwiched between heavy doom ‘n gloom, these expansive, near-darkwave tendencies truly set these Belgians apart. I had no issue with the band’s previous works, as I feel infusing a sense of adventure with death metal tends to be more difficult than, say, the raw, atmospheric tabula rasa of black metal, but I wanted more of these strange, near-darkwave moments. It’s as if Emptiness heard my prayers and answered with the bizarre, harrowing, ethereal Not for Music. A fair warning: this is not a metal album. Well, not superficially, anyway. The atmosphere is still there, and Jeremie’s half-growled whisper as well as subdued explosions like in “Circle Girl” and “Digging The Sky” hint at their past, but Emptiness mostly plays the “subtlety” game this time around. Expect texture over bombast and emotional weight over heaviness. When can we expect a Black Tape For A Blue Girl cover from the Emptiness camp?
Wulkanaz – Paralys | Helter Skelter Productions (Regain Records) | Experimental Black Metal | Sweden
Underground weirdo Wagner Ödegård has a unique voice. Be it his stumbling, alien black metal work under the Wulkanaz and Tomhet banners or the bizarre, folky ambient he makes under his own name or Semilanceata, Ödegård’s penchant for the despairing and hallucinatory has more than made a name for himself in underground communities. Hiding beneath thrashy black metal traditionalism, Wulkanaz’s strange, outsider tendencies speak both to the hallucinogen-driven “Helter Skelter” age (note the label choice) and the Anti-Cosmic/”Chaos Gnostic” ideology one might associate more with bands like Arckanum. As is his signature style, Wulkanaz remains raucous and metallic, but snakes tendrils into strange, psychedelic atmospheres and disgusting harmony. People have waited a long time for new material under the Wulkanaz banner – it’s actually been somewhere around two and a half years following the Hufô EP – so be sure to drink this in with great gusto. Word has it Ödegård’s Tomhet project will be receiving a compendium-style release on GoatowaRex sometime this year, as well. It’s time to get excited for the darkness ahead, y’all.
(please note the below track is unmastered)
Memoriam – The Hellfire Demos II | Nuclear Blast | Death Metal | England
Bolt Thrower may be over, but Karl Willets’s war rages on. Here with ex-Bolt Thrower and Benediction members plus a few other UK Crust luminaries, he continues the legendary death metal band’s rough-and-tumble style, and even bring it into the 21st century with “Drone Strike”. The songs? They’re good. Worthy, even. Memoriam so far delivers on the promise to carry on the Bolt thrower legacy in the same way Tryptikon carries on in the stead of Celtic Frost.
Helheim – landawarijaR | Dark Essence Records | Black/Viking Metal | Norway
Norway’s long-standing progressive viking/black metal band proves once again that though Enslaved has gone soft, the berserk Nordic spirit lives on in metal.
Aborym – Shifting.Negative | Agonia Records | Industrial Black Metal | Italy
The masters of weirdo industrial black metal take a big step closer to the “nu” industrial rock sound of the late 90s/early 2000s. I hate to so readily namedrop Marilyn Manson in an Aborym review, but the glitchy, dancey, bouncing machine sounds here sound much closer to the pop leanings Antichrist Superstar than Dirty.
“Long-running Colorado folkish black metal band The Flight of Sleipnir never get enough credit. contemporaries of Panopticon, Falls of Rauros and even Caladan Brood, the outfit’s been producing quality work since 2008, but seldom get mentioned among their esteemed contemporaries, which is a shame because the band has a knack for immediate and memorable guitar melodies. that melodic sensibility comes to the fore on their upcoming sixth fullo length, Skadi, thanks in part to contributions by new members Dave Borrusch on bass and Justin Siegler on second guitar.”
Panopticon – Sheep in Wolves’ Clothing | Decibel Flexi Series | Atmospheric Folk/Black Metal | United States
I generally don’t cover singles here, but, c’mon guys, it’s Panopticon. Sole member and multi-instrumentalist Austin Lunn has proven his mettle again and again, pulling his pet project in many directions while retaining its original, ferocious, individualist’s spirit. “Sheep in Wolves’ Clothing”, a single purported to be on the forthcoming Panopticon album, shows Lunn bringing the project back to its core, the post-rock-inspired, long-form atmospheric black metal which characterized the project’s eponymous debut. I’m generally not one for the whole “post-y black metal” thing, but Lunn does what he does very, very well. I might even pony up and get a new Decibel subscription just for this flexi.
FOR THE ADVENTUROUS
Orthodox – Supreme | Utech Records | Experimental Doom Metal/Free Jazz | Spain
Orthodox have always been ones to, ah, do whatever the hell they want. We all remember when Southern Lord released the crushing Gran Poder, and even more vividly recall the confusion which followed with the avant-jazz, piano-led Setencia. And so the rest of their discography follows, venturing into various tendrils of the “avant-garde” world and maybe, maybe finding their way back to their impetus. Supreme is an interesting statement from Orthodox, and interesting in this case is…well…an interesting definer to use, especially coming from someone who is familiar with Orthodox’s entire body of work. The subterranean rumble of core duo Marco Serrato and Borja Díaz’s plodding, improvised, broken-sounding jazz/doom is punctuated by Achilleas Polychronidis (of free jazz/grind Skullfuck fame) piercing, shrieking saxophone. It’s kind of like a small Eric Dolphy trio trying their hand at making something at least remarkably slow and crushing, or even some of Naked City’s more “funereal” works (remember Torture Garden?). Doom metal? In spirit, maybe, but this is far too “out” to be considered anything but free jazz. Sort of. It’s hard to really tell, but it’s like running the most confusing, spiritually exhausting marathon. The trio weaves in and out of this strange, hallucinatory dysfunction for thirty-six minutes. Supreme is a glorious burden to carry hinting at both Orthodox’s doom metal roots under the guise of Coltrane’s “Ascension”. This is not introductory music.
Code – Lost Signal | Agonia Records | Progressive Rock/Post-Rock | England
I’m part of the minority who thinks Code (remember when they had those “carrots”/brackets around their name which rendered HTML useless?) never quite regained their swagger after losing former frontman Matthew “Kvohst” McNerney. After hearing this new EP, which actually features a reimagining of my favorite song from Nouveau Gloaming, it sounds like they’re concentrating too many resources on reclaiming old glory instead of progressing.
FROM THE GRAVE
Katatonia – The Great Cold Distance 4CD Hardback Book | Peaceville Records | “Depressive Rock” | Sweden
The Great Cold Distance certainly marked a new era for Katatonia, taking the morose, introspective progressive rock of their more recent efforts and injecting a significant amount of heft. Some were left frigid in its wake (I recall some “nu-metal” comparisons), but I feel they have yet to top this album with the albums which followed. Now over a decade later, this new, hardbound book edition comes with 3 bonus discs featuring b-sides and bonus songs, a new 5.1 remix of the album by Bruce Soord (Wisdom of Crowds) and a live album of Katatonia playing ‘The Great Cold Distance’ in its entirety with the renowned Plovdiv Philharmonic Orchestra in Bulgaria, performed in September 2016.
Mosaic – Old Man’s Wyntar |Eisenwald Tonschmiede | Atmospheric Black Metal | Germany
I recently covered Mosaic’s most recent effort, their section of the Samhain Celebration split/compilation, so it is high time we all revisited their first EP (which might as well have been a full-length, anyway). Project mastermind Inkantator Koura’s mystic sense and alchemically designed black metal, woven in potent strands which disperse across wide, open spaces, create absolutely mammoth atmospheres. Now featuring two new bonus tracks, including the twenty-three minute “Winter Nights”, Mosaic is the perfect soundtrack to the miserable, cold winter nights ahead.
Nebiras – The Great Rites… | Dunkelheit Produktionen | Black Metal | Malaysa
Nebiras first gained notoriety for their early friendship with Darkthrone’s Fenriz (he even dedicated a poem to them in the A Blaze In the Northern Sky liner notes, how sweet), but their final work in 1998 showed that this band was greater than a mere connection. The Great Rites… is a mighty slab of eerie, evil black metal and one of the final vestiges of the classic “second wave sound.” It became increasingly difficult to find copies of this Malay masterpiece in the decades to come, and Dunkelheit Produktionen has taken it upon themselves to ameliorate the situation, making it available digitally and on vinyl almost twenty years later.