February 2021 Release Roundup
The main thing that I recall from February, as a Chicago resident, is snow. It's not something we're unfamiliar with, but we tend to have an annoyingly persistent thin layer of the stuff throughout the winter, not a sustained barrage. But in February, we had trench-like fortifications lining sidewalks as snowfall after snowfall demanded cleanup, heaps of snow in the alleys making driving miserable and my garage not all that useful, snow on my roof causing leaks, and so on. As it melted, whenever I took my dogs outside, they kept finding random objects to bark at -- they apparently had gotten used to an ambiguous heap of snow taking the place of everything around us. As had I -- I'd almost forgotten there was grass here.
But, back in the realm of Invisible Oranges, there was also music released this past month — a good amount, actually, as releases always pick up a bit in February before the full onslaught begins in March. We've picked some of our favorites to share with you all -- enjoy!
Suffering Hour — The Cyclic Reckoning
February 19th, 2021
The type of dissonance-wielding, inhumanly melodic black/death metal that Suffering Hour creates can often be hard to get into—but strangely, The Cyclic Reckoning is not. You can jump right in and immerse yourself in it... although, your mind might be torn into a thousand fragments, eternally and infinitely scattered. A risk worth taking, right?
The riffs and lead lines that spread out over the album are weirdly ancient-feeling, like they're melodies composed by a Bronze Age civilization that have no business existing in the present day. They hiss out like superheated steam, scalding and yet captivating at the same time. Underneath them, the rhythmic side has an unusual capacity for groove -- taking what could have been just serviceable song structures and instead making them another layer of interesting nuance to underpin the melodic weirdness.
Gravesend — Methods of Human Disposal
February 19th, 2021
Blackened death grind band Gravesend shares their name with a historic cemetery founded in 1658 in Gravesend, Brooklyn. Now imagine if those bodies, after hundreds of years of decomposing and festering underground, all managed to slide out in one disgusting landslide. Between the liquified remains every and the puke-inducing stench, you now have a good idea of what Gravesend sounds like.
After their well-received Preparations for Human Disposal demo last year, Gravesend is back to tell the disgusting tales of old New York with their debut full-length album Methods Of Human Disposal. Over the course of 15 tracks and 27 minutes, Gravesend spews forth the unbearable grime and horrendous danger of the city in such a way that simultaneously deafens and breaks necks. Methods Of Human Disposal is the body in the river, the used needles on the sidewalks, and the knife at your throat cutting in as your wallet is taken out of your hand.
Evil — Possessed By Evil
February 1st, 2021
Bludgeoning Japanese black/thrash unit Evil plan to crush your souls on their very Venom and Midnight-esque brand of in-your-face extreme metal. Their sophomore effort Possessed By Evil is exactly the same level of guitar pyrotechnics that you would expect from a country that birthed bands Abigail and Barbatos, to name a select few. 'Revenge' hearkens back to the days of yore and has to feature spiked gauntlets with at least 5 inch spikes and fire-breathing bravado. 'Raizin' has some excellent riffs that give it a little more staying power and variety than the more straightforward tracks contained within; ample melody and enough of a reprieve from the faster paced bangers littered throughout. Possessed By Evil is a blast of an album that demands to engulf you in its flames without regard for recourse.
Lords of Quarmall — Iron Exile
February 12th, 2021
Heavy metal can be really goddamn derivative, and not always in a cool way. It’s a genre based mostly on revivalism and the worship of days gone by, and when you see a cool-looking new band like Lords of Quarmall and see a bunch of comparisons to Slough Feg and Brocas Helm, well, there’s only two ways that can go- the good kind of influence, or being yet another boring clone.
Fortunately, Lords of Quarmall is the first type of band, and while songwriter and all-instrument handler Reuben Storey (Christian Mistress, Funerot, Quayde LaHüe) isn’t afraid to show his influences on his sleeve, he also has the experience and depth of love for heavy metal to keep it interesting. Slower tempos, a demented vocal approach that’s more like Lemmy-gone-wizard than like anyone you’ve heard doing this sort of heavy metal, and a certain ear for cool synth or lead guitar buidups separate out Lords of Quarmall from hordes of demos doing similar stuff, and I’m all about it. I can’t wait to hear what comes next and until then I’ll keep listening to Iron Exile over and over again.