Upcoming Metal Releases 10/30/2016 – 11/5/2016
Hope your Halloween is extra spooky. Don't forget to listen to King Diamond instead of anything in this week's installment.
Here are the new metal releases for the week of October 30, 2016 – November 5, 2016. Release dates are formatted according to proposed North American scheduling, if available. Expect to see the bulk of these records on shelves or distros on Friday unless otherwise noted or if labels and artists get impatient. Blurbs and designations are based on whether or not I have a lot to say about it.
See something we missed? Goofs? Let us know in the comments. Plus, as always, feel free to post your own shopping lists. Happy digging.
Jassa - Lights in the Howling Wilderness | Fallen Empire Records/Amor Fati Productions | Black Metal | Russia
Fallen Empire has done more than a solid job finding those who carry the torch left hanging by our fallen Ukrainian overlords Hate Forest. Jassa moves with that familiar sense of near-mechanical momentum, but the percussion's speedy heartbeat belies a graceful stride. This Russian duo's sense of melody is not immediately apparent — brawn and gait is the centerpiece — but beneath the layers of sinew and pride are some gorgeously composed, longform melodies. I imagine name-dropping the BlazeBirth Hall scene might be a bit of a "no-no," but there are certainly some elements here which I could equate to Branikald or Forest's bodies of work. As far as the world of those who worship at the throne of pre-2003 Roman Saenko goes, Jassa has proven to be one of the more unique takes on a style upon which is rather difficult to expound. Listen and feel victorious.
From my premiere of Pillars I:
"Lifelessness and grey emptiness are new territory for Earth and Pillars, and yet they more than manage, and with a newfound sense of momentum. The lengthy ambient passages from its predecessor still make grand appearances, but the humid feeling is replaced with dreadful desolation, and their once ecstatic, flowery black metal normalizes and condenses. In a metaphoric sense, Earth and Pillars clear cut the verdant forest they grew in Earth I and built large, looming, lifeless monoliths in Pillars I. In the end, it's still the same band, but rearranged and reinvented, which makes this grey a more unique parallel to Earth and Pillar's originally connoted green."
Void Meditation Cult - Utter the Tongue of the Dead | Hells Headbangers | Black Metal | United States
From my premiere of the full album:
"Void Meditation Cult’s debut full-length Utter the Tongue of Dead is a perfectly horrific audio snapshot of Satan’s kingdom. Desolate Defiler’s thick, bass-heavy approach lurches and struggles forth, and it is absolutely filthy. Void Meditation Cult’s sound has always been a sluggish, cavernous roar, and this new full-length effort leaves a slimy film in its wake. The word “bestial” gets thrown around quite a bit nowadays, but Utter the Tongue… is animalistic in a way which the “bestial” descriptor’s champions fail to unleash. This gibbering, cave-dwelling hellbeast is somehow captured and contained in an album, which must have been a feat. Approach with caution and take plenty of showers intermittently."
Wędrujący Wiatr - O turniach, jeziorach i nocnych szlakach | Werewolf Promotion | Atmospheric Folk/Black Metal | Poland
Atmospheric black metal can be so overwrought, but Wędrujący Wiatr hit's a soft spot in all the right ways. Though their previous full-length was much "smoother" in that weathered, mountain of analog tape sort of way, so the much harsher sound of O turniach, jeziorach i nocnych szlakach is surprising. Well, surprising but still powerful. With their black metal elements occupying a much more expected, higher frequency range of the sound spectrum, the wider array of folk instruments utilized shines through with a striking clarity. Don't worry, this is still the tragic, passionate band you've fallen (or are about to fall) in love with, but this unprecedented incident of successful "oil and water" separation makes these elements more potent and interesting.
Disharmonic Orchestra - Fear of Angst | Independent/Digital | Progressive/Avant-Garde Death Metal | Austria
I actually wasn't aware Disharmonic Orchestra was still a band - if you like your old school (and I mean "Death"-style old school, all progressive and weird) death metal on the adventurous side, then look no further. Approaching thirty years since its inception, Disharmonic Orchestra's warped minds show no signs of growing "old" nor "tired," in fact, they've only gotten more progressive. You want slap bass in your technical death metal? No? Too bad.
HammerFall - Built to Last | Napalm Records | Heavy/Power Metal | Sweden
Power metal and Jon Rosenthal go together like gin and milk, but HammerFall and Jon Rosenthal are best buds. As a staunch fan of older In Flames, and In Flames certainly hasn't been keeping up on their end in that respect, HammerFall's much more joyous, energetic take on that classic, hyper-melodic Swedish sense is all I really need right now (especially since my heater isn't on).
Boris + Endon – EROS | Daymare Recordings | Shoegaze/Drone/Noise/Doom Metal/Harsh Noise/Everything/Nothing/Does It End? | Japan
Boris and Endon are definitely two of Japan's "weird metal" heavyhitters, and it looks like this release went under EVERYONE's radars last year. Boris's more recent works seem to be missing any high register sounds, and Endon's bizarro, noisy, blackened grind misses that entire low-end register. Go figure these two would complement each other so well in a collaborative setting. Moreover, the relative speeds of these two seem to meet in the middle - EROS is a lovely marriage of crushing heaviness and blurry noise, somehow horrifically harsh and comfortably ethereal.
Recluse - Stillbirth in Bethlehem | Darker Than Black Records | Black Metal | United States/France
Do you take your black metal putrid and horrific? Cool, cool. Listen to this if you want that. Moreover, this is the first black metal-related recording to which Wlad Drakksteim of Vlad Tepes fame has lent his strange, inhuman voice.
Axis of Light - Northern Ascendancy | Fallen Empire Records | Black Metal | England
Ten seconds into opening track "Eyes Unto The Hills" and Axis of Light has already more than successfully "out-Englished" the suddenly very culturally aware George Proctor (White Medal's new album is just okay, guys). Axis of Light may be minimal and harsh to a certain extreme, but goddamn if they don't perform their music with passion.
Kyy - Beyond Flesh - Beyond Matter - Beyond Death | Saturnal Records | Black Metal | Finland
There must be something in Finland's water supply, because they've maintained a steady stream of focused, enraged black metal which is both catchy and sharp as steel. Satanic Warmaster fans take note, Kyy's grasp of melody and vicious attack should fit like a glove.
Dark Tranquillity - Atoma | Century Media Records | Melodic Death Metal | Sweden
Dark Tranquillity has been riding a dramatic, downward curve following the admittedly perfect Character. Following that trend, Atoma leads me to mourn the band who was killed in a plane crash shortly after Character's release, cause this band of robot doppelgangers isn't really "doing it" for me. Who knew a melodic death metal band could suffer from "Weezer syndrome."
FROM THE GRAVE
Sargeist - Nockmaar | Lafawijn Records | Black Metal | Finland
Sargeist's demo was only limited to a handful of cassettes, but now there are 70 lathe-cut copies. Lathes are pretty harsh, but not as harsh as Sargeist.
Hoath - Codex III: Crown of the Mind | Saturnal Records | Black Metal | Finland
It isn't very often a Finnish black metal band, let alone one featuring the mighty Shatraug, would cross my desk with less than an ecstatic response from me, but Hoath is just kind of "there."
Hierophant - Mass Grave | Season of Mist | Sludge/Black Metal/Hardcore | Italy
To these ears, Hierophant and fellow countrymen/related band The Secret are essentially interchangeable. That being said, Mass Grave proves Hierophant is the better of the two.
Arkona - Lunaris | Debemur Morti Productions | Black Metal | Poland
I was actually rather excited for this new Arkona material, but this Polish horde appears to have lost some momentum with this new one.
WHAT WE MISSED
Unendlich - Scales Of Existence | Horror Pain Gore Death Records | Black Metal | United States
USBM which is more on the traditional end of things, but we haven't heard anything from Judas Iscariot in a long, long time.