Upcoming Metal Releases 11/13/2016 – 11/20/2016
Jon’s away, which means that I get to play in the Upcoming Metal Releases sandbox again. There’s a lot of new music to talk about, so let’s skip the preamble and get to it. Spoiler alert: fans of the black stuff will be particularly happy with this week’s slate of releases.
Here are the new metal releases for the week of November 13, 2016 – November 19, 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.
Cultes des Ghoules - Coven, or Evil Ways Instead of Love | Under the Sign of Garazel Productions/Hells Headbangers Records | Progressive Black Metal | Poland
Cultes des Ghoules have always seemed like a band with grand ambitions, but not even the most devoted followers of the band could have possibly foreseen them dropping an album as vast and stunning as Coven, or Evil Ways Instead of Love . Their last record, 2013’s Henbane, was an epic exercise in mostly second-wave Norwegian-inspired black metal fury. Calling Coven epic, though, would actually be selling it short. Clocking in at nearly 100 minutes, the album is a full-fledged black metal operetta told in five acts across five massive tracks, and it’s damn near Shakespearian in its scope and utterly flawless in its execution. The individual tracks have enough shifts in tempo, dramatic builds and releases of tension to almost feel like entire albums unto themselves, but they also coalesce perfectly in order to sustain the dramatic tension of the piece for its entire length. The vocal performance here deserves special mention; like a traditional play, Coven has a full dramatis personae, and Mark of the Devil has a different voice for each character, ranging from a very Richard Burton-esque dramatic voice for the narration to a variety of more traditional black metal rasps and shrieks. The length of the tracks here might seem a little overwhelming and turn some people off, but the songwriting is so tight that it honestly never feels anywhere close to its actual run time.
A note about the release: only the 2-CD digibook version comes out this week. It won’t be available for purchase digitally until next February, though the band has shared via Facebook what looks like an official stream of the full album on YouTube. I’m probably going to hold out for the triple-LP version, release date TBD.
Antaeus - Condemnation | Norma Evangelium Diaboli | Black Metal | France
Back with their first full-length in a decade, France’s Antaeus play black metal that’s fast, raw and nearly apoplectic with rage. Those who like a little nuance or melody with their blackness won’t find much to latch onto here, but readers more into barely controlled chaos should definitely check this one out.
Furia - Księżyc milczy luty | Pagan Records | Black Metal | Poland
From Jon’s full-album premiere:
Furia’s melodic, emotive “Nekrofolk” beautifully melds subtle, folky melodies with dense, rocking might. Though this five piece thematically centers around a more traditional sense of misanthropic hatred, this latest effort concentrates more on the despondent side of misanthropy. Echoes of bassist Sars’s bass-performance-heavy efforts in Wędrowcy~Tułacze~Zbiegi’s Światu jest wszystko jedno give Furia’s newest incarnation much more rounded edges than their previous, sharper performances, but with bottom-heavy, rounded edges comes weight. Księżyc milczy luty is heavy, both sonically and emotionally; even at their most aggressive, Furia in 2016 gazes downward and fills speakers with gloom.
Panphage - Drengskapr | Nordvis Produktionen | Black Metal | Sweden
As a general rule, I like my black metal melodic and folky, which means I tend to be into just about anything Nordvis Produktionen releases. One-man unit Panphage strikes a careful balance between furious, blast-driven tempos and folky/melodic influences, making for music that sounds almost equally triumphant and cold. Imagine something like Woods of Desolation with a lot more blastbeats.
Cross Vault - Miles to Take | Iron Bonehead Productions | Doom Metal | Germany
I don’t generally associate Iron Bonehead with epic melodic doom, so this two-song EP from German outfit Cross Vault is a nice little surprise. There’s some nice interplay between the guitars on this, and the clean vocals perfectly fit the overall mood of the music. They have two previous full-lengths that I’m probably going to go back and check out. Fans of Warning/40 Watt Sun, later Paradise Lost, and even Pallbearer will likely dig the hell out of this. Sty tuned for a premiere later.
Mosaic - Samhain Celebration | Independent/Digital | Atmospheric Folk/Black Metal | Germany
Jon calls this one essential (in the alchemical way) black metal. Check back in a few days for an exclusive stream.
Metallica - Hardwired… To Self-Destruct | Blackened Recordings | Heavy/Thrash Metal/Rock | United States
A confession: not only have I never listened to St. Anger all the way through, I’ve never listened to Death Magnetic at all. So I have no frame of reference at all for the Trujillo era of Metallica. That being said, the pre-release tracks have me at least mildly intrigued. “Hardwired” seemed like it was trying a little too hard to draw on past glories, but the other two songs aren’t bad at all. That thrashy verse riff on “Moth to Flame” is a total neck wrecker, and the twin guitar harmonies in “Atlas, Rise!” remind me of both classic Maiden and “Blackened,” which is never a bad thing (Invisible Oranges has not recieved a promo for this album, and will not evaluate based on leaks).
Mavradoxa - Sojourners | Nebular Winter Recordings | Atmospheric Black Metal | United States
With a logo that looks remarkably similar to Moonsorrow and an album cover more than a little reminiscent of Agalloch’s The Mantle, Mavradoxa pretty clearly wear their influences on their sleeves. I happen to rather like both of those bands, so this album totally works for me. Actually, the excellent Sojourners draws from a much wider swath of influences, including some definite post-punk tinges in the drumming and some very lyrical accents from what sounds like fretless bass. Highly recommended for fans of bands like the aforementioned Agalloch, Waldgeflüster and Falls of Rauros.
FOR THE ADVENTUROUS
FOR THE ADVENTUROUS
Z.K. - A Sea Of Stars | The Doom Cult | Ambient/Drone | United States
I don’t listen to a ton of ambient music—honestly, I’m more of a harsh wall kind of guy—but when I do, this is the kind of thing I go for: synth washes interspersed with things like field recordings of natural sounds (wind, rain, fire) or NASA recordings from outer space. Anyone who likes Prurient’s Frozen Niagara Falls or some of the mellower stuff Lee Bartow has released under the Theologian banner would do well to check this out.
Karg - Weltenasche | Art of Propaganda | "Ambient Black Metal" (actually post-rock) | Austria
One-man black(ish) metal from one half of Harakiri for the Sky. Anyone who liked the most recent Harakiri album will probably like this as well, even though it’s a little more aggressive overall. Lots of melodic guitar work on this, and there’s a nice balance of clean and harsh vocals.
Black Hole Generator - A Requiem for Terra | Dark Essence Records | Black Metal | Norway
Moody black metal from Bjørnar Nilsen, frontman for long-running progressive/avant-garde metallers Vulture Industries. Also features guest spots from Enslaved’s Ice Dale and Taake’s Gjermund Fredheim on guitars.
Ultha/Morast - In Memorian of Quorthon | Vendetta Records | Black/Doom Metal / Blackened Death/Doom Metal | Germany
A nice split 7” featuring a pair of pretty faithful covers of songs from Bathory’s first album. Ultha’s take on “Raise the Dead” might slightly edge Morast’s version of “Armageddon,” but both are well worth checking out.
Shambles - Realm of Darkness Shrine | Nero One Records | Death/Doom Metal | Thailand
Shambles have apparently been around in one form or other since the late 90’s, though this is their first full-length. Pretty boilerplate cavernous death/doom, but it’s well executed.
Gravehill/Mordbrand - Skullbearer / In Nighted Waters | Doommentia Records | Death/Black/Thrash Metal / Death Metal | United States/Sweden
Both halves of this split are pretty solid, but the advantage goes to Mordbrand and their energetic take on classic Swedeath, especially the surprisingly catchy “Cold Womb.”
Lamb of God - The Duke | Nuclear Blast | Groove Metal/Metalcore | United States
Randy Blythe seems like a genuinely good guy, and Dark Days, his book about being on trial for murder in the Czech Republic, is an engaging read that I highly recommend. Never much cared for his band, though.