May 2019 Release Roundup
The year 2019 just keeps on giving! Tool finally announced their long-awaited new record will be out August 30th, though no additional details or studio singles have yet been revealed. The band’s profile has also begun to appear on streaming services, leading fans to believe Tool will finally end their boycott of all things digital. In a bit of a smaller time frame between records, but perhaps more proggy, Karnivool has announced they’re in the studio for the first time since 2013. Karnivool has not given any information on when they expect to release the record. Still, new Karnivool is coming and everyone should be very, very excited.
In keeping with all manners of mind-bendingly complex, Blotted Science is working on their first new record since 2011. For those unfamiliar, Blotted Science is an instrumental force of nature featuring guitarist Ron Jarzombek of Watchtower and Spastic Ink, bassist Alex Webster of Cannibal Corpse and Conquering Dystopia, and drummer Hannes Grossmann of Alkaloid, Hate Eternal, Triptykon, Howling Sycamore, and Gomorrah. All of Blotted Science’s material cannot be played by humans.
Abigail Williams is working on their first new record since 2015, because again -- the year that just keeps on giving. Personally, I’m very excited for it but also very curious as to how it’ll turn out. I loved the filthy, raw grime that was their 2015 record The Accuser, but that entire lineup sans founding vocalist and guitarist Ken Sorceron has quit the band. Sorceron has not mentioned who, if anyone else, is involved in the new record. You can catch Abigail Williams and a slew of other great bands at the Stardust VII event on July 4th and 5th in Brooklyn alongside artists like Dead Congregation, The Ruins Of Beverast, Dispirit,
Lord Mantis, Evoken and more (update: the lineup is still stacked, but Abigail Williams and Lord Mantis are no longer on the bill).
Despite their shows in Brooklyn going over extremely well, and selling well, Ulver cancelled their West Coast tour after a disappointing amount of tickets sold. The band was incredibly upfront about the issue, summarizing things as “pre-sales are too modest up against the rather big risk, given the size of the production and the venues.” Ulver pondered if maybe they announced the West Coast dates too close to the New York dates, or maybe their absence from the United States overall after so many years ultimately killed any interest in their live shows. I share the same sentiment Ulver did at one point in their statement, and I’m sure a lot of Invisible Oranges readers do as well -- “Hopefully it will not be our last visit in the US.”
Now it’s time to dive into the nightmare of the new Batushka albums. Long story short, founding guitarist Krzysztof Drabikowski and non-founding member vocalist Bartłomiej “Bart” Krysiuk had a falling out in the beginning of 2018, leading to there being two versions of the band. Legal documents have since surfaced online where Drabikowski claims he was given the rightful ownership of the band, but in the end, Krysiuk’s version of Batushka signed with Metal Blade Records and will release a new album called Hospodi on July 12th. In retaliation, Drabikowski released a new Batushka album called Панихида on May 26th. The album was originally under the Batushka name, but two days later was changed to be by Krzysztof Drabikowski. The matter seems to still be ongoing, though listening to output by both iterations makes it pretty clear who the mastermind behind Batushka’s 2015 record Liturgiya was (spoiler: it’s Drabikowski).
Now let’s talk about some records whose histories aren’t mired down in legal troubles. Probably.
-- Greg Kennelty
Arch/Matheos -- Winter Ethereal
May 10, 2019
Ex-Fates Warning vocalist John Arch has this incredible ability to write vocal lines that all sound like he’s making them up on the fly. Arch’s soaring, diving, completely unconventional note choices make for an unforgettable listen that the world needs more of in less than eight year intervals. Musically, Arch is backed up on Winter Ethereal by current Fates Warning bassist Joey Vera, drummer Bobby Jarzombek and guitarist Jim Matheos, ex-Fates Warning drummer Mark Zonder, Cynic drummer Matt Lynch and bassist Sean Malone, Testament bassist Steve DiGiorgio, Leprous drummer Baard Kolstad and more. You need this record in your life. Trust me.
Darkthrone -- Old Star
May 31, 2019
Eighteen albums into their career, some of whose popularity will never subside, Darkthrone comes forth with one of their best reinventions of self yet. Darkthrone trudges through hateful, plodding heavy metal riffs that occasionally break into a mad dash to rip your throat out, though certainly less so than 2016's Arctic Thunder. The latter really shines on Old Star, with such fist-clenching examples being the opening salvo of “The Hardship of the Scots” and the ensuing sludge of its verse. Darkthrone proves they’re still very much at the top of their game in 2019 with this release.
Full of Hell -- Weeping Choir
May 17, 2019
Weeping Choir is a maelstrom of noise and chaos, harsh industrial grime, and straightforward death metal paired with lyrics vomited forth in only the most throat-destroying ways. The record showcases Full of Hell's talents in every fashion. From the pummeling machines of "Aria of Jeweled Tears" to the riff obliteration of "Silmaril," right down to the nauseating, churning epic that is "Armory Of Obsidian Glass," the band calls upon ten years of existence to culminate in a perfect effort. This is the record with which Full of Hell needed to follow-up Trumpeting Ecstasy, in that it perfectly encapsulates who they are, but also solidifies their future direction.
Bonus: check out our interview with Full of Hell guitarist Spencer Hazard.
The Shrine -- Cruel World
May 3, 2019
The Shrine is snotty, don't-give-a-fuck skate-punk bordering on heavy metal with Refused-esque vocals. Cruel World vocalizes its distaste for the modern world perfectly, though it never feels overly doom and gloom or cynical. Instead, The Shrine takes more of a party vibe approach to their realization that we're all done for, and goes down dancing and laughing in flames. This album comprises four songs and 15 minutes of well-balanced, restrained anger and frustration that lets its message speak for itself more than it does try to beat it into your thick skull. It also helps that The Shrine can write one hell of a mean riff.
Spirit Adrift -- Divided by Darkness
May 10, 2019
With Divided by Darkness, Spirit Adrift have entered the pantheon of the decade's most important heavy metal bands. Every riff on the album can be dissected to unveil layers of brilliance. Every solo has nary a note out of place, the rhythm section strikes a perfect balance between taking the lead and driving the charge from behind, and Nate Garrett's voice embodies the soulful, melodious tonal spirit that is modern heavy metal. Divided By Darkness takes everything you loved about Ozzy's solo career, NWOBHM, and recent acts like Khemmis and Pallbearer, and rolls them all into one untouchable package. Do not sleep on this.
Zealot R.I.P. -- Zealot R.I.P. EP
May 24, 2019
What do you get when put Pig Destroyer electronics overlord Blake Harrison, Darkest Hour guitarist Mike Schleibaum, Olympia guitarist Peter Tsouras, and Frodus drummer Jason Hamacher into one room? Furious hardcore that utilizes faster mid-paced tempos to create stomping, face-punchable songs with throat-shredding vocals. Who knows how active Zealot R.I.P. is going to be in the coming years with the rigorous schedule of Darkest Hour and the seemingly more-active-than-ever Pig Destroyer in the mix, but here’s hoping. These three tracks blaze through their runtimes in no time at all and leave zero survivors.