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Upcoming metal releases: April 2012

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April is already upon us! And this post is undoubtedly late. Despite that sad fact, for whatever reason—an unfortunate confluence of fate, clearly—I’ve only heard a few of these records in their entirety. Thus the MIGHT RULE’s outnumber the SHOULD RULE’s by a large margin. Such is life.

A note on imports: Efforts have been made to accurately reflect release dates; this column generally hews to North American dates, but not always. For example, Impiety has a record out on 4/2 in most of the world; it doesn’t come out in North America until 5/8. I’m covering it this month, since it’s close. In the case of Pseudogod—who release Deathwomb Catechesis on 4/24 in Europe, with a vague sometime-in-May date for the USA—they’ll be featured next month.

One last note: As I venture deeper into this series, I find myself more drawn to the obscure than the mainstream. Certain curiosities only materialize when you’re doing an advanced metal-archives search and clicking the least likely links—that’s when the magic happens. As such, a few of the month’s higher profile releases will not appear here despite their likely quality. Either they didn’t jump out at me, or they wouldn’t be as interesting to discuss. So be it.

— Aaron Lariviere

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SHOULD RULE HARD

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April forecast: Looks like gloom. dISEMEBOWELMENT dudes resurface in INVERLOCH, bringing death, doom, and a newfound progressive bent on their first EP. Three songs across 22 minutes is short for this genre, but the relative brevity serves the material well. Secrets of the Moon rein in their excess (a little) on Seven Bells with surprisingly strong results. They play “avant-garde” black-metal in the sense that Triptykon play “avant-garde” doom: Songs stretch to double digits, hints of goth and industrial flit around the edges (note the Ministry riff on “Serpent Messiah”), both feature occasional female vocals and share a penchant for powerful, clean production. Genre purists be warned. Acephalix are back with album #2 (not counting last year’s Interminable Night compilation), and if the advance track is enough to go by, it will rule. Their crusty, pogo-pounding death always scratches the HM-2 itch without putting me to sleep; no small feat. Impiety, on the other hand, exists only to wear you down. Drums blast . . . forever. If you’ve got the stomach, it’s the perfect endurance test; the equivalent of sprinting a marathon (in leather and spikes). Is it still war metal when the production is this huge?

Acephalix – Deathless Master [Preorder]

Impiety – Ravage & Conquer [Preorder]

Inverloch – Dusk | Subside [Preorder]

Secrets of the Moon – Seven Bells [Preorder]

LISTEN

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http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XIbBETQjbzY&feature=youtu.be

Impiety – “Revelation Decimation”

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Inverloch – “The Menin Road”

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Secrets of the Moon – “Seven Bells”

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MIGHT RULE HARD

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Now that hammered dulcimer black metal is a legitimate thing that has been done and not just a sick joke, Botanist is back with a third volume of morbid floristry: III: Doom in Bloom. Apt title, as the tempo drops and songs finally crystallize into something listenable. Greed & Rapacity’s single-track EP sees the Portlandian/Australian duo move away from the black metal prog-isms of their first demo to deliver one hell of a sermon in death/doom. Strange path to take, but the proof is in the blood pudding. It’s rare to see light in a genre like funeral doom—Bereft summon the gloom but keep it at arm’s length with the faint glow of psychedelic guitar leads that overlay huge doom chords. It’s an interesting effect, one that makes sense when you realize it’s Sacha Dunable of Intronaut laying down the pyrotechnics. This Gift Is A Curse bring similar textures to light over sludgy Swedish hardcore. I know nothing about these dudes, but their Bandcamp hits hard.

Technical death comes in several flavors this month: Hour of Penance hit the sweet spot between hyper-aggression and bangable riffs. Compared to similar Italian tech-death bands who also release records this month—Antropofagus, Gory Blister; this is a weird trend—Hour of Penance stand tall. Dreaming Dead take a more melodic tack on their long-delayed second album. I’ve seen Elizabeth Schall and company deliver the goods live twice in the past year; let’s hope the album is worth the wait. If you’re looking for something cosmic, bizarre, and mired in filthy demo production, there’s the reissue of Timeghoul’s Complete Discography 1992-1994. Rough death metal stretches into full-on progressive territory (10 minute songs!), with weird, harmonized guitars and chanted clean vocals, and it is good. Speaking of prog, there’s a new solo album from Jeff Loomis . . . call it sacrilege, but the prospect of a Nevermore album sans Warrel Dane sounds awfully appealing after The Obsidian Conspiracy dropped like a brick of shit. The lead single, with Ihsahn on vocals, is all parallel-dimension wish fulfillment, and it works better than you’d expect. Judging by the number of likes on YouTube, I’m not the only one hoping for further collaboration.

And lastly but not leastly: trad-metal lives! Accept! Steel Assassin! Crystal Viper! These bands are metal, pure and simple—words would only dilute the power, so lend thy ears to the clips below.

16 – Deep Cuts from Dark Clouds [Bandcamp/Preorder]

Accept – Stalingrad [Preorder]

Bereft – Leichenhaus [Preorder]

Botanist – III: Doom in Bloom [Info/Stream]

Creative Waste – Slaves to Conformity [Facebook] [Bandcamp]

Crystal Viper – Crimen Excepta [Preorder]

Deathhammer – Onward to the Pits [Bandcamp] [Preorder]

Dødsengel – Imperator [Info/Stream]

Dreaming Dead – Midnightmares [Info]

Greed & Rapacity – Loki Bound [Stream]

Hellvetron – Death Scroll of Seven Hells and Its Infernal Majesties [Bandcamp/Preorder]

Hour of Penance – Sedition [Preorder]

Jeff Loomis – Plains of Oblivion [Preorder]

Steel Assassin – WW II: Metal of Honor [Preorder]

This Gift Is a Curse – I, Guilt Bearer [Preorder] [Bandcamp]

Timeghoul – Complete Discography 1992-1994 [Buy now]

Tormented – Graveyard Lust [Preorder]

Vorkreist – Sigil Whore Christ [Preorder]

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LISTEN

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16 – “Her Little ‘Accident’”

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Accept – “Stalingrad”

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Crystal Viper – Album Trailer

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Dødsengel – “Sun on Earth”

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Dreaming Dead – “Overlord”

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Hellvetron – “Sheol – Grave of Supernals” & “Shaari Moth – Ominous Gate of Death”

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http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6x2irm61CYg&feature=youtu.be

Hour of Penance – “Decimate the Ancestry of the Only God”

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http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T61X60Vwktg&feature=youtu.be

Jeff Loomis – “Surrender (featuring Ihsahn)”

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Steel Assassin – “God Save London”

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http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VLtsN2j8Fe8&feature=youtu.be

This Gift Is A Curse – “I, Guilt Bearer”

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Timeghoul – “Occurrence on Mimas”

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http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rrmc7x3q5_4&feature=youtu.be

Tormented – “Graveyard Lust”

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Vorkreist – “Maledicte”

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BATHE IN THE GLOOM

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After sifting through all this shit and scrutinizing minutiae for days, patterns begin to emerge. Besides the Italians—who released 22 of this month’s 207 releases, more than any country besides the USA—the other clear trend leader was gothic metal. Next time you feel like streaking your mascara and sadly/gently banging your head through a rainy day, reach for one of these weepers.

Alaric & Atriarch – Split [Preorder]

Moonspell – Alpha Noir/Omega White [Preorder]

Paradise Lost – Tragic Idol [Preorder]

Valkiria – Here the Day Comes [Preorder]

Woods of Ypres – Woods 5: Grey Skies & Electric Light [Preorder]

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LISTEN

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Alaric – “Weep”

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Atriarch – “Oblivion”

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http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OfGGG_ADJKk&feature=youtu.be

Moonspell – “Lickanthrope”

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Paradise Lost – “Crucify”

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Valkiria – “Sunrise”

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Woods of Ypres – “Kiss My Ashes Goodbye”

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DIG DEEPER

Metal-Archives list of April releases

About.com list of April releases

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