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Oh hey, it’s the end of October. Isn’t there a holiday associated with this?

There are too many metal releases which coincide with whatever holiday happening this week (October 24-31, 2015). We all know there is only one song you all should be marathoning this week, anyway. Leave comments about how awesome King Diamond is in the comments.

—Jon Rosenthal

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ANTICIPATED RELEASES

Abigail Williams - The Accuser | Candlelight Records | Black Metal | United States
Abigail Williams gets a bad rap in the more conservative metal community, which is a real shame as main songwriter Ken Sorceron, backed by current and former members of Wolvhammer, Cobalt, and Abysmal Dawn, really tore me a new one with The Accuser. To be honest, I was expecting another flowery affair like Becoming [aside: apparently an entire album in that vein was recorded and scrapped], but The Accuser is a truly visceral, enraged album. I suppose "tried and true" Abigail Williams fans will have to take their time with this one, as this is a fairly standard black metal album, albeit painted in vibrant shades of Temples of the Morning Star-era Today is the Day, but this is the album I’ve really been waiting for Sorceron-and-co to make since I first heard the Gallow Hill demos some eleven or so years ago.

Hooded Menace - Darkness Drips Forth | Relapse Records | Death/Doom Metal | Finland
I used to love Hooded Menace. Fulfill the Curse hit my mailbox on Halloween of 2008 and I drove around the small college town in which I lived just blasting the goddamn thing. It was creepy and campy in that special mid-to-late-2000s Razorback Records "golden era" sort of way, and my fandom was only further solidified with 2010s Never Cross the Dead. I’m not quite sure what happened afterward - maybe it was spreading too thin across so many splits (there were a ton of splits), but Hooded Menace really lost their potency with me. Darkness Drips Forth is definitely a step back in the right direction. No longer campy or creepy like the band I fell in love with, this new full-length showcases a much more mournful sound, almost like the original "Peaceville Three" speaking through main songwriter Lasse Pykkö. A striking, but very effective transition. I want more like this.

Horrendous - Anareta | Dark Descent Records | Death Metal | United States
Remember when death metal was fun and not a bunch of musclebound dudes frowning really hard while playing slacktuned cavern riffs? Those were the days. Horrendous wants to help us remember how fun death metal can be. Melodic without being corny, technical without sacrificing strong songwriting, and retaining a reverence to classic heavy metal often foregone by most newer death metal bands (the best bands listened to Priest, not Incantation. Come on, guys), Anareta will put a big, goofy hesher’s grin on your big, goofy hesher face.

Lunar Mantra - Genesis | Invictus Productions | Black Metal/Ambient | Scotland
Super chilling, atmospheric black metal from… Scotland? Yes, Scotland has a rather vibrant black metal scene, Lunar Mantra actually sharing members with Obscure Lupine Quietus (another favorite). I’ve sorely missed Lunar Aurora since their inevitable demise after the release of Hoagascht, so it is nice to hear another Moon worship-obsessed band take up the torch before it was extinguished entirely. Not the most original sound - Hell, I’m saying you should listen to them because they sound like another band - but this nuanced sound hasn’t really been attempted too often.

Draconian - Sovran | Napalm Records | Gothic/Doom Metal | Sweden
The overwrought sadness lives on. I honestly didn’t even know Draconian was still active (I had actually assumed the band had dissolved and drummer Johan Ericson had taken up his solo project Doom:VS full-time), and, upon my first listen of Sovran, Draconian’s first album in four years, I can confirm that they haven’t changed. Is it bad? Not if you like dramatic gothic doom metal! Listen for a stream later today.

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OF NOTE

Lung Molde - Lung Molde | Caligari Records | Doom Metal | United States
Finally, some "stoner"-y doom metal I can really get behind. Possessing the same heroin-withdrawal-driven spirit which brought us Dopethrone, Lung Molde’s brand of doomed depression is a crushing one.

Sacrificium Carmen - Ikuisen tulen kammiossa | Saturnal Records | Black Metal | Finland
Man, Finland is too good at black metal. Chilling, razor sharp riffs and absolutely unhinged, caterwauling vocals. Everything I need now that the weather is cooling down.

Grave Ritual - Morbid Throne | Dark Descent Records | Death Metal | United States
The big-and-frowny death metal to which I referred in the Horrendous writeup above? Grave Ritual is that, but they definitely know how to keep it compelling.

Saviours - Palace of Vision | Listenable Records | Heavy/Stoner/Thrash Metal | United States
Sounds like Hydra Head ca. 2004. Huh.

Wilt - Moving Monoliths | Bindrune Recordings | Atmospheric Black Metal | Canada
Nice, autumnal gloom. A fitting soundtrack to the now-changing leaves on the lone tree in my apartment complex’s courtyard.

Cage - Ancient Evil | Independent | Heavy/Power Metal | United States
To offer some context: this band wrote an album about a guy who went down to Hell so he could blow it up. You aren’t ready for this.

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FOR THE ADVENTUROUS

that means things which aren’t metal

Killing Joke - Pylon | Spinefarm Records | Post-Punk/Deathrock | United Kingdom
After a dramatic few years (remember when frontman Jaz Coleman "went missing"? What a penchant for theatrics that man has), Killing Joke takes a massive step up from the letdown which was MMXII. The oddly heavy deathrock kings (deathrock being a subset of goth rock, not death metal) lay down some heavy, albeit polished paranoia to round out the first half of this decade. As far as recent albums go, I highly doubt Killing Joke will be able to top the massive Absolute Descent, especially given how digitally altered Coleman’s voice seems to be, but no one really does it quite like Killing Joke. Glad they’re back.

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OTHER RELEASES

Cold Northern Vengeance - Maelstrom | Moribund Records | Black Metal | United States
Cold Northern Vengeance has always been a bit of a wild card. Their 2008 debut Domination and Servitude was a bit on the clumsy side, but their off-kilter and unconventional approach to the traditional, "cold" black metal sound spelled great things. After almost a decade of silence, they return with Maelstrom, which is more of the same near-progressive approach, but still retaining that clumsy charm.

Twitching Tongues - Disharmony | Metal Blade Records | Hardcore/Stoner Rock | United States
Sounds like a tough guy hardcore band hired a guy who happened to casually like Type O Negative to help out with songwriting. Not the best combination, and I’m sure Peter Steele is groaning from beyond.

Nyx - Home | Agonia Records | Black Metal | Germany
I’ve been trying to wrap my head around this one. The general atmosphere is definitely "black metal," but tell me you can’t hear mid-era Opeth in some of Nyx’s more complex/groovy moments.

Def Leppard - Def Leppard | earMUSIC | Hair Metal | United States
What has nine arms and took 38 years to release a self-titled album?

Cryptopsy - The Book Of Suffering (Tome 1) | Independent/Kickstarter | Technical Death Metal/Deathcore | Canada
Yawn. This isn’t actually Cryptopsy. Remember that. [It’s also better than most other tech death you’ll hear this year, regardless-Ed.]

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