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This week is interesting. There is a lot of stuff, but most of it just kind of leaves me shrugging my shoulders. Anyway, here it is.

Here’s a lot of metal and stuff coming out during the week of October 18th-25th, 2015. I don’t really pick based on hype, rather pick a cross section of the cool (and not so cool) which comes out. I probably missed your demo if you quietly put it on bandcamp (or if I didn’t find it remarkable in any sort of way). Feel free to leave constructive comments - that means saying more than just the title of whatever I missed - in the field below. Let’s be nice/not sacks of crap to each other, yeah?

—Jon Rosenthal

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ANTICIPATED RELEASES

Onirik - Casket Dream Veneration | Altare Productions/Iron Bonehead Productions | Black Metal | Portugal
This is great! For all the dissonant black metal bands there are out there, only a select few take their sound all the way back to Carl Michael-Eide’s child Ved Buens Ende. Onirik’s stumbling, loose black metal is an exercise in organized delirium. I can’t say I was expecting this gem from the Portuguese scene, which largely concentrates on perfection in genre conservatism, but Casket Dream Veneration is the strangeness the scene has sorely been missing. Technical proficiency is generally downplayed in black metal, but Onirik is a strong reminder that black metal is so much more than the conservative sound so many strive to emulate. The original adventurous spirit which fueled black metal’s progression into the new millennium lives on in Onirik.

Blood Folke - My Heart In The Brilliance Of Fire | Init Records | Post-Metal/Crust | United States
I didn’t particularly expect a Blood Folke album to happen. It was maybe four years ago when Small Doses labelhead Joe Beres handed me a copy of Blood Folke’s debut EP while I was in Minneapolis attending a Dreamless show (it was good), and I rather enjoyed their unique brand of cello-driven, blackened, sludgey His Hero Is Gone sort of post-metal, but then nothing. It made me happy to see classic screamo (yes, screamo) label Init Records, who actually put out a few Krieg releases last year, had picked up Blood Folke for their debut full length, which is a strong, albeit bizarre example of melodic, crusty sludge. Expanding upon the more Eastern-inspired sound palette of the EP, My Heart In The Brilliance Of Fire displays and flexes a strong sense of adventurousness already cemented in their previous release. Though there are certainly quite a few "neocrust doom" bands out there, especially left in the wake of Fall of Efrafa’s disbandment, what really sets Blood Folke apart, at least for me, is their sense of space. There aren’t a million layers of guitar or massive distortion and endless reverberation which muddies everything. No, there is a separation, almost an emptiness, which creates an atmosphere unique to Blood Folke.

Aosoth - IV | Agonia Records | Black Metal | France
Another week, another Aosoth release, I guess. I can’t really tell you much about this one as Agonia chose to forego heavy PR for this release, but IV features a new song and a remix of a track from IV: An Arrow In Heart. This EP is intended to be the final installment between IV: An Arrow In Heart and the next Aosoth full-length, and, if last week’s split with Order of Orias is any indication, we certainly don’t have to fear their quality.

Much like last week’s Aosoth release, there is no streaming link. Suffer.

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OF NOTE

Kauan - Sorni Nai | Blood Music | Post-Rock/Doom Metal | Ukraine
Kauan was a pretty special band to me for a while. From the release of Lumikuuro to Pirut, I was hooked. Now there seems to be a little too much studio magic involved in what was already organically majestic. There is a pronounced jazz influence, almost in the same vein as Bohren und der Club of Gore’s noir obsession, which is an interesting new twist, but the overall heavily polished sound ultimately takes away from Kauan’s unique approach.

Harbinger/Züül - | High Roller Records | Heavy/Power/Thrash Metal / Heavy Metal | United States
Heavy metal is supposed to be fun. Let it be fun.

Black Tribe - It Won’t Stay Dead | Independent/Digital | Experimental Black Metal | Germany
The resurrection of the polarizing beast. This… this is weird. In a good way. Opening with a fairly traditional, melodic black metal song, Black Tribe very quickly delves into industrial and "cabaret" oddity. Have you ever heard a raw, industrial cover of a David E. Williams song about Jesus being the product of rape? Have fun with this one.

Moloken - All Is Left To See | Temple Of Torturous | Post-Metal | Sweden
So I talked about good post-metal above with Blood Folke… now let’s talk about mediocre post-metal. It’s not that Moloken is bad, it’s just that this is a carbon copy of everything Isis and Neurosis did in the 2000s. Weren’t there enough bands who did that already?

Vehemence - Forward Without Motion | Battleground Records | Melodic Death Metal | United States
Vehemence’s God Was Created was an important album during my mid-teens. New melodic death metal which was fresh, passionate, and extremely heavy? What’s a teenager not to like? I was definitely bummed when they broke up, and I definitely raised an eyebrow when they announced a reunion, broke up, and then re-united again. Their first album in a staggeringly long eleven years, Forward Without Motion is definitely a Vehemence records - almost as if they never broke up. It’s powerful and has that same heaviness which made them so special when I first heard them. However, and maybe this is just it’s been over a decade, but this sound comes off as dated. Like it didn’t need to happen. Maybe I need to listen to it more.

Vhöl - Deeper Than Sky | Profound Lore Records | Heavy Metal | United States
When Vhöl’s existence was first made public, I will admit to being very excited at first, then being horribly, horribly let down. I will also admit to finding the staggering amount of casual metalheads not understanding that Vhöl was strictly heavy/power metal and trying to say they were "black metal" to be very amusing, but amusement at the band does not equate to enjoying their music. There is a lot of "fun" guitar shred and big, anthemic choruses, but I can guarantee if this didn’t have members of hyped bands, people would write them off as another corny power metal band. Fight me. [Consider it fought. This is some very creative Voivod-and-kraut inspired speed metal. I love it, and expect more coverage on it soon! -Ed.]

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FOR THE ADVENTUROUS

that means things which aren’t metal

Mono/The Ocean - Transcendental | Pelagic Records | Post-Rock / Post-Metal | Japan/Germany
What a weird split, but I guess these two bands are touring together. With Mono, whose track I embedded below, they essentially make what you would expect. Though Mono were kind of the progenitors of the new-standard post-rock sound, this comes off a little "paint by numbers"-y for my liking. As for The Ocean, I can say I’ve always admired their creativity, but their constant lineup changes lead to a very inconsistent sound. Fans of Deftones and even System of a Down will definitely appreciate their song, and I mean that sincerely.

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OTHER RELEASES

Varathron - The Confessional of the Black Penitents | Agonia Records | Black Metal | Greece
This is disappointing. I’d like to consider myself a big-ish Varathron fan, but when an EP is three new tracks and four live tracks, you wonder what the point really is. The new material is good enough, I mean, Varathron are the kings of Hellenic black metal, but they could have just waited… or just released the new material. This almost comes off like the band trying to fulfill a contract. Why?

Corrections House - Know How To Carry A Whip | Neurot Recordings | Industrial Rock/Metal | United States
Full disclosure: I never really *got* Corrections House. A bunch of guys from various sludge and doom bands coming together to record heavy Einsturzende Neubauten worship could be fun, but, at the same time, I could just listen to Einsturzende Neubauten.

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WHAT WE MISSED

Ride For Revenge - Ageless Powers Arise | Bestial Burst | Black/Death Metal | Finland
Probably the most aggressive band in Finland right now (yes, more so than Horna, who are still good). Don’t sleep on this.

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