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Hey guys! I’m back! Whoa. Apparently you missed me, but a lot of you seemed to shit all over my pal Richard Street-Jammer’s taste. For shame. We’re supposed to be family! Apologize.

On an unrelated note, I’ll be spending the next weekend in Oakland performing as part of my ongoing live residency with Ævangelist. Who all will I get to meet there?

Here are things which are technically coming out this calendar week, but I wanted to include a lot of extra stuff and didn’t want an overflowing "What We Missed" section… so expect a looser definition of "This Week" than before. I still missed stuff because I’m human and can only write so much, so I guess tell me things in the comments.

—Jon Rosenthal

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ANTICIPATED RELEASES

Terzij de Horde - Self | Burning World Records/ConSouling Sounds/Tartarus Records | Black Metal/Hardcore/Screamo | Netherlands
We’re streaming this one tomorrow, so I’ll keep it brief. Self is ripping, passionate, poetic black metal with a distinctly dark hardcore edge. You won’t know whether to get a neck brace or put on your reading glasses.

Ævangelist - Enthrall to the Void of Bliss | 20 Buck Spin | "New Oblivion Gospel Music" (Atmospheric Death Metal) | United States
Conflict of interest (see above) keeps me from writing about this one, so I’m handing the baton off to Joseph:
Listen, I know a lot of you readers love the everything-on-ten-maybe-even-eleven approach to metal. I also know that it’s not my cup of tea 99% of the time. Ævangelist is the 1%. A dedication to curveballs and left-field choices makes them an exception to the rule. Multiple eight-plus minute tracks somehow manage to hold my attention throughout. They’re complemented by unexpected choices such as "Alchemy," which would be a filler track on anyone else’s record, but on Enthrall to the Void of Bliss is a twisting experiment with both hip-hop and non-western music on this record. This is the cognitive dissonance that odd costumes and walls of amps cannot compensate for. Metal is outsider art, but Ævangelist have crafted a piece of work that strives with almost every note to be alien from both the mainstream and the metal blogosphere. You already knew that if you caught our full album stream, but if you didn’t, here it is a second time. —Joseph Schafer

Kowloon Walled City - Grievances | Neurot Recordings/Gilead Media | Sludge Metal | United States
It actually took me a long time to even check out Kowloon Walled City. A little known fact about this writer is...well, I recoil with the same velocity to the "sludge metal" tag that I do to the "retro doom metal" tag, it just seems the former has faded away. Grievances is definitely not your average sludge album. I suppose the slow tempo and detuned strings lend themselves to something which could resemble sludge metal, but Kowloon Walled City possesses a stylistically bizarre restraint which I, personally, have only really seen with "slowcore" bands like Low, Red House Painters, and Savoy Grand. What a pleasant stylistic departure. I’m cool with this.

Le Chant Funebre - Ghosts at the Deathbed | Foreign Sounds/Dullest Records/Disorder Recordings | Funeral Death/Doom Metal | United States
Here’s an EP which took a little while to come out - I vaguely remember vocalist/drummer Neill Jameson (Krieg, Twilight, et al) sharing an update about recording vocals for his "new funeral doom band" in 2011 or 2012, so it definitely took a few years for Le Chant Funebre, Jameson’s trio with Jeff Wilson (Abigail Williams, Chrome Waves, Doomsday, Liar In Wait, et al), and Lord Kryptok (Bringers of Disease), to really see the light of day. Ghosts at the Deathbed is a thick, slow-moving wall of melodic despondency - despair-filled doom cut from that same gothic-rock influenced cloth which brought us Brave Murder Day, but pushed to a slow extreme.

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OF NOTE

Beaten To Death - Unplugged | Mas-Kina Recordings | Grindcore | Norway
Entirely tongue-in-cheek, insanely brutal grindcore. Nothing is safe from Beaten To Death’s sense of humor, but I wouldn’t expect anything less from a band who demands that everything they do be "fun." Note: this is NOT unplugged.

Altarage - MMXV | Iron Bonehead Productions/Sol y Nieve/Sentient Ruin Laboratories | Black/Death Metal | Spain
The murk is strong with mysterious Spanish death metal duo Altarage, but that doesn’t stop their MMXV demo from being devastatingly heavy. Most the "cavernous death metal" bands of this style end up falling flat, enslaved by the endless monotony of atmosphere over musicality (which does work for some, like Grave Upheaval), but Altarage finds strength in balance. You can have your atmosphere and deep, glorious chunky riffs, too.

Owl - Aeon Kult | Zeitgeister Music | Death/Doom Metal/Ambient | Germany
I guess I could start this off by saying that multi-instrumentalist Christian Kolf is an absolute madman. With a pedigree which includes the sadly defunct Woburn House and Island, as well as Valborg, whose Romantik was a massive slab of psychotic, romantic doom metal, Kolf’s penchant for the bizarre and disparate ends of extreme metal. After their initial, self-titled release in 2011, Kolf’s discordant Owl became a fast favorite. An absolute umberhulk of an EP, Aeon Kult manages to simultaneously straddle too many opposites - calm/active, beautiful/disgusting, melodic/dissonant. I guess this was just that next step.

Vreid - Sólverv | Indie Recordings | Black Metal | Norway
Was there really any doubt that Norse legends Vreid were going to put out at least a mildly solid black metal album? I suppose you’re at a real advantage when you cut your teeth in Windir of all bands.

O ("Circular Sign") - Pietra | Grindpromotion | Black Metal/Grindcore | Italy
Most "blackened grind" bands just play really, really fast black metal and cite Extreme Noise Terror as an influence. I get it, you like playing fast and being different. O (otherwise known as "Circular Sign") opt for something else, feeding upon the emotional intensity of each genre in a fluid, cathartic way which is very enjoyable. Enjoyable enough that I can even overlook the oft mediocre vocal performance.

Human Bodies/Leather Chalice - Human Bodies / Leather Chalice | Broken Limbs Recordings/Prison Tatt Records | Black Metal/Punk | United States
The most obvious pairings tend to be the best. Human Bodies’s mammoth, clear, pissed the fuck off black metal stomp fits so well with Leather Chalice’s melodic, 1982-obsessed sleaze. Punk enough to make even the most Elmer’s glued liberty spikes go limp.

Lux Ferre - Excaecatio Lux Veritatis | Altare Productions | Atmospheric Black Metal | Portugal
Looking past Black Cilice, who I’ve never really been able to enjoy (sue me), Portugal’s black metal scene has been a bastion of quality in this new decade. I suppose Lux Ferre had to emerge from their slumber to show the rest of the Altare scene how to take black metal’s traditional tenets to the next level.

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FOR THE ADVENTUROUS

that means things which aren’t metal

Coil - Backwards | Cold Spring | Industrial | United Kingdom
I know a few people have expressed a great deal of distaste for yet another Coil release now that both Jhonn Balance and Sleazy have passed from this mortal coil, but this "lost album" shows just how much growth Coil went through after Love’s Secret Domain. You have to admit, Coil was definitely a different band come Musick to Play in the Dark. Wouldn’t you like to hear the missing link?

Soft Kill - An Open Door | No Sun Recordings | Post-Punk | United States
With all the drama surrounding Toby "Grave" Chan, it’s easy to forget just how stellar a musician this guy really is. I mean, between Blessure Grave and Soft Kill, there really hasn’t been a dull moment in Toby Grave’s discography. If you’re familiar with Soft Kill’s An Open Door, then you’re in for a treat; the project has slowed down and somehow gotten even more despondent. These are the doomed The Cure jams for which 2015 has really been begging. Apparently I just missed Soft Kill perform with The Chameleons Vox a few nights ago. Bummer.

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OTHER RELEASES

Die Choking - III | The Compound | Grindcore | Pennsylvania
Yeah. Yeah, this is grind. You like grind? You will definitely like this. Brace yourself.

Abigail/Shitfucker - Bloody Your Lovely Pussy! | Hells Headbangers Records | Black/Thrash Metal / Black/Death/Thrash Metal | Japan/United States
In case the title wasn’t enough, you should probably know that both these bands revel in their gross sleaziness. I’m normally pretty turned off by this kind of music, especially the subject matter, but sometimes I really need some good thrash to get through the day. I think Abigail only needs to do like 3 more splits before they run out of other bands on Earth.

Borgne - Régne des morts | Those Opposed Records | Industrial Black Metal | Switzerland
I must admit that Swiss black metallers Borgne and I never really clicked. I guess the connotation was important - they were on Sepulchral Productions and, being the Gris fan I am, I didn’t quite understand the detached, chilling industrial sound next to Gris’s forlorn, melodic approach. Now? Borgne certainly hasn’t changed, but I dig it. I guess context really is important.

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