Here are the new (and recent) metal releases for the week of July 19th to July 25th, 2020. Releases reflect proposed North American scheduling, if available. Expect to see most of these albums on shelves or distros on Fridays.

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 Releases + Things We Missed

Well of Night -- The Lower Plains of Self-Abstraction | Black Metal | United States (Ohio)

Absolutely stoked to discover some new black metal from Dayton, Ohio, a place I called home for almost half a decade. Say what you want about the city -- all places come with good and bad -- but the DIY spirit is 100% alive there, something I can vouch personally. And here we are, with The Lower Plains of Self-Abstraction, which turns out to be supremely high-quality. Makes me happy for both reasons: ripping new tunes, and the sounds of a city I once knew.

-- Andrew Rothmund


Seventh -- Vacarme | Black Metal | Canada

Soaring atmo-black from Canada; you might already have the sound in mind, and you'd be close enough. Vacarme is just a step above its peers though, favoring slick songwriting and transitions that fragment the album's flow in exchange for a more concrete structure.

-- Andrew Rothmund


Aseitas -- False Peace | Translation Loss Records | Blackened Death Metal | United States (Oregon)

Chaotic demon music from the necrosphere.

-- Andrew Rothmund

Upcoming Releases

Defeated Sanity -- The Sanguinary Impetus | Willowtip | Technical Brutal Death Metal | Germany

Death metal has always been about excess: excess in brutality, in musicianship, aggression, attitude… the list goes on. Defeated Sanity is that excess -- on all counts, even. I can't think of a more perfect post-Death example of what death metal should be: over-the-top, frightening, and incensing.

-- Jon Rosenthal


Empress -- Premonition | Independent | Stoner Metal + Post Metal | Canada
From Ted Nubel's premiere of "Hiraeth":

Though each member of the band writes their own parts as they see fit, the end result feels animated and coherent: hard-nosed riffs nestle into the softer slopes of post-metal without seeming out of place. For any modern metal enthusiast who still pines for the roughshod stoner metal of the early century, "Hiraeth" may soothe your longing.


Haken -- Virus | InsideOut Music | Progressive Metal | United Kingdom

To say this is the most anticipated prog metal record of the year wouldn't do justice to it. For the past decade, Haken have been claiming the space that Dream Theater once held and Between the Buried and Me very nearly grabbed for themselves, becoming simply the preeminently prog metal band of the 21st century. Ignore what you may have heard about Virus regarding its status as a concept album; what matters here are the riffs, the songs, the hooks, the juxtaposition of neck-snapping heaviness and delightful left-brain proggy excursions, all of which it has in spades. Haken is a superlative band of the style, mandatory for anyone interested in the metallic wing of progressive music. Virus cements and underscores what was palpable even as far back as Aquarius and became pressingly obviously at the release of The Mountain: Haken is the very best prog metal band on the planet right now and not checking them out is only a disservice to yourself.

-- Langdon Hickman


Drops of Heart -- Stargazers | Independent | Melodic Death Metal | Russia
From Ivan Belcic's premiere of "Escapist":

The concept of “familiar but new” is not itself novel -- it’s a driving force in the culinary world and a significant factor behind the success of many chefs and concepts. As it turns out, it also works for melodic death metal. To embrace the comfortable, to envelop the intimate and known, and to revitalize it through fresh eyes is its own special vein of creativity, one which Drops of Heart fully embody on their second full-length Stargazers.


Valkyrie -- Fear | Relapse Records | Heavy + Doom Metal | United States (Virginia)

Valkyrie, despite coming into existence in the early 2000s, has always had the proto-metal vibe down pat, to the point where I often wonder if time travel was involved. Sometimes they riff with razor-sharp vigor, and sometimes they spiral off into expressive, lengthy leads -- either way, I find it hard to imagine listening to Fear without a goofy smile ending up on your face.

-- Ted Nubel


Buried Realm -- Embodiment of the Divine | Independent | Melodic Death Metal | United States (Colorado)
From Andrew Rothmund's premiere of "Overlord":

I'll be blunt: these songs go harder than most full bands can manage, and the licks are as downright compelling as some of the best tech-death bands out there. What sets Buried Realm apart, though, is the proggy infusion of both downright speed and complete instrumental dexterity all without any of the pretense that usually flows freely through these sorts of territories.


Stonebirds -- Collapse and Fail | Ripple Music | Sludge + Post-Metal | France

From Ted Nubel's fullalbum premiere earlier today:

There's a powerful duality here: shaky breaths of post-metal slip between expulsions of antipathy. It's not always possible to separate the two modalities, and so you'll often find yourself in the strange position of feeling angry and sad at the same time as crushing sludge overlaps with gripping atmospherics. That's not a bad thing, though, and the interweaving of textures creates striking superpositions that make that a state worthy of returning to.

Check out the album premiere here.

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