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There is a whole lot of nostalgia in this week’s list, featuring many bands who were sort of omnipresent during my formative years of diving deep into the underground. It’s nice to feel that sort of youthful, teenage excitement again, especially after wasting away at a desk 5 days a week. Here’s to feeling excited about music once more, friends.

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—Jon Rosenthal

These are a handful of releases which come out during the calendar week of July 19th through July 25th. Is there anything missing? Did I get my facts wrong? Are you angry? Am I too whiney? How old are bears? Tell me in the comments!

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ANTICIPATED RELEASES

Locrian - Infinite Dissolution | Relapse Records | Black/Doom Metal/Krautrock (I’m trying here, guys. It’s unique.) | United States
Every time a new Locrian album comes out, I am reminded of the first time I saw them perform in a small club in the middle of the wasteland that is the Chicago suburbs. I would say they’ve come a long way from their formative days as a two-piece "power drone" project, but, at the same time, I still hear the meandering, deep ambiance of Drenched Lands hidden deep beneath the now much more concrete, songwriting-driven direction they’ve taken since Territories. With Infinite Dissolution, Locrian’s controlled fall takes them further down the crystalline rabbit hole, further solidifying their unique mesh of black and doom metal, post-hardcore, krautrock, and noise. As I wrote this, I also purchased a ticket to see Locrian perform in Chicago for the first time in three years. You could say I’m excited.

Indesinence - III | Profound Lore Records | Death/Doom Metal | United Kingdom/Spain
Indesinence takes me back. I remember being head over heels for their one-two punch of Noctambulism and Neptunian upon their releases in 2006, but thought their long-awaited return Vessels of Light and Decay fell flat. Too much on the death metal side of things and lacking in the British doom passion which made the aforementioned releases so memorable and defining for my music taste. III is a reminder as to what the kind of power which left teenage Jon bewildered and awestruck Indesinence possesses. Heavy, despondent death/doom with nods to both the old British school, pioneered by the big three, and the recent stylistic inclination towards the cavernous and murky, III is a fine return to form, and how about that Sisters of Mercy tribute in "Five Years Ahead of my Time"?

Human Bodies - Demo MMXV | Independent | Black Metal/Punk | United States
Pure, unadulterated, misanthropic hate from this Boston trio. A trilogy of scathing black punk with the immediacy of a boot to the face. A completely unhinged, muscular performance from an exciting up-and-comer. This tape is currently only available on Human Bodies’s current tour, whose dates you can check out here. Their Chicago date fell through, so if anyone feels like getting me a copy of this tape...

Gloam - Hex of Nine Heads | Caligari Records | Atmospheric Black Metal | United States
I actually premiered this one about a week and a half ago. Read my very happy thoughts about Hex of Nine Heads here.

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OF NOTE

Hope Drone - Cloak of Ash | Relapse Records/Grimoire Cassette Cvlture | Atmospheric Post-Black Metal | Australia
Long-form, aggressive, post-rock-tinged black metal with a few nods to sludge and doom metal thrown in along the way. That is a LONG genre name. I can’t really call myself the biggest fan of the whole "post-black metal" style, but I was definitely impressed with Hope Drone’s debut EP, which released just a few years ago. Cloak of Ash shows Hope Drone pushing a few elements to their furthest limits, resulting in some very, very long songs, and, while their passion is very clear, the execution could still use some work. Opener "Unending Grey" might be twenty minutes long on paper, but, when broken down, we find a few smaller songs with noise interludes, which is a structural issue found within the entire album. Bands shouldn’t have to worry about song-length so much, you know?

Symphony X - Underworld | Nuclear Blast Records | Progressive Power Metal | United States
Never underestimate the power of Michael Romeo’s little sausage fingers. That guy can shred like none other. Never thought I’d get to write about Symphony X in this column, but here we are. Lose yourself in the fist-raising choruses, friends. Pretend you’re riding a dragon. You deserve it.

One Master - Reclusive Blasphemy | Eternal Death | Black Metal | United States
One Master definitely caught me off guard. A powerful melding of orthodox black metal aggression and an almost poetic melodic sense, Reclusive Blasphemy seems to keep its own oppressive blasphemy in check, opting for tasteful song arrangement as a foil to an almost overwhelming sound barrage.

Kronos - Arisen New Era | Unique Leader Records | Brutal Death Metal | France
I honestly wasn’t sure if Kronos would ever return. The Hellenic Terror was a favorite around its release - I remember going to Metal Haven (RIP) with a friend, who ended up picking up a copy. One listen in and it was like we had run three miles wearing brick-laden backpacks; in short, Kronos was intense, especially for the pudgy black metal nerd I was eight years ago. It seems that the past near-decade has resulted in some weight-loss for Kronos, as well, but it was their musical heft which defined them. Now we are left with a forgettable, modern-tinged death metal reminder of what was.

Destruktor - Opprobrium | Hells Headbangers Records | Black/Death Metal | Australia
Filthy, ruthless blasphemy with a penchant for muscular, head-bobbing-at-your-desk riffage. Song titles like "Priestiality" are a nice reminder that you don’t always have to be serious.

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FOR THE ADVENTUROUS

that means things which aren’t metal

Sangre de Muerdago - O Camiño das Mans Valeiras | Música Máxica/Sick Man Getting Sick Records/Neuropa Records/Into Endless Chaos | Neofolk | Galicia
Sangre de Muerdago, as far as I’m concerned, can do no wrong. Hailing from the forests of Galicia, an autonomous sociocultural community in the furthermost northwestern tip of Spain, Sangre de Muerdago is frontman and chief songwriter Pablo Ursusson’s hommage to his home. Utilizing the Galician dialect of the Spanish language, which, on paper, looks somewhere between traditional Castillian Spanish and Portuguese. As it is with Sangre de Muerdago’s previous output, O Camiño das Mans Valeiras is a collection of lush, passionate folk songs meant to both celebrate and revere Galicia and its people. I sincerely hope this will be distributed stateside. Fun fact: Georg Börner from the incredible ColdWorld plays viola and nyckelharpa on this album.

Ducktails - St. Catherine | Domino Recording Company | Psychedelic | United States
Multi-instrumentalist Mat Mondanile’s body of work was integral to my transformation from underground black metal nerd to general music nerd. Ducktails, Mondanile’s "psychedelic ambient" project was definitely a favorite of mine around 2009, but his less sporadic output following the initial prolific burst let Ducktails sort of slide into, and then from my peripherals entirely. The best way I could describe Ducktails is being comfortably stranded on an inhabitable island with a radio, which is always just slightly out of reach from the various Polynesian radio stations which surround you. The radio plays soft static and brief glimpses of relaxing South Pacific beach music, fading in and out. It’s quite striking, and a definite foil to Mondanile’s more concrete beach-y pop work in Real Estate.

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OTHER RELEASES

Cepheide - Respire | Misandre Productions | Atmospheric Black Metal | France
Big, melodic black metal from France. It kind of follows in the modern, droning/atmospheric sort of school, so you should know what to expect. Cepheide certainly pull the style off well.

Urðun - Horror & Gore | Signal Rex | Death Metal | Iceland
People have been freaking out about the Icelandic black metal scene, but how about adding some death metal to the mix?

Sleep Terror - Unihemispheria | Independent | Instrumental/Technical Death Metal | United States
I had no idea Luke Jaeger still had this project going. Goofy, wildly technical "instrumental death metal" (ergh), filled with Luke’s musically schizophrenic antics. Sleep Terror certainly has not changed from the MySpace days, at least stylistically, so this is a nice portal to the past.

Lamb of God - VII: Sturm und Drang | Epic Records/Nuclear Blast Records | Groove Metal/Metalcore | United States
After a bit of international legal turmoil, Lamb of God is back. Teenage Jon is excited, and current Jon will still vouch for the merits of Ashes of the Wake [As will his editor! -Ed.], but I can’t help but feel Lamb of God had already run their course. Also, it pains me to say that Chino Moreno’s guest spot is abysmal… and that’s coming from a Deftones fan.

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FROM THE GRAVE

Funerary - Starless Aeon | Sentient Ruin Laboratories/vendetta records
Funerary’s massive, Asunder-inspired debut makes its triumphant return on cassette, courtesy of Sentient Ruin Laboratories, and vinyl, courtesy of vinyl powerhouse vendetta records. I already own the cassette box version, which was released last year on Midnight Collective, but I have a feeling I could break my "no more than one format per release" rule again.

Poenari - Wrath, War, Lucifer | E.E.E. Recordings | Death/Black Metal | Poland
Well, this certainly is ugly and aggressive. Polish death metal done right - they don’t all sound like Behemoth, you know.

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