Upcoming Metal Releases 11/20/2016-11/26/2016
Happy Thanksgiving to all our American readers. Don't eat too much, but I'm in no place to judge.
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.
Root - Kärgeräs - Return from Oblivion | Agonia Records | Epic Black/Heavy Metal | Czech Republic
Root has been around a long, long time. Being around for a long, long time generally means getting weathered and winded, but Big Boss Root and company still possess a youthful, albeit mournful energy. Kärgeräs - Return from Oblivion, the band's tenth full-length studio album, is still the Root we all know and love - big and epic, if not a little morose, and possessed by evil - why would we want or expect anything else?
Bestial Raids - Master Satan's Witchery | Nuclear War Now! Productions | Black/Death Metal | Poland
Bestial black metal is stale, but there are still a few who "do it right" (read as: don't sound exactly like Fallen Angel of Doom or War Cult Supremacy). To be fair, Bestial Raids's debut Prime Evil Damnation wasn't the most original stylistic outing, but it was performed with a powerful conviction which seemed to state "We don't need to sound like any certain band, we just play what we like." Such conviction is cool, but it won't get you past one album (a friend once said something to the like of "It's bestial metal, it starts and then stops"), so Bestial Raids did the unthinkable. Namely, they did...something different. Different? In bestial/war metal? Why not. Though Master Satan's Witchery grinds and blasts with the gait of your average Blasphemy, Revenge and Conqueror worshippers, there is a certain warmth to their performance. However subtle, I hear echoes of Varathron and Triarchy of the Lost Lovers-era Rotting Christ buried in the murk. It's a nice departure - I wish more bands stepped up like Bestial Raids.
Bölzer - Hero | Iron Bonehead Productions | Black/Death Metal | Switzerland
How this band got the notoriety they have now is beyond me. Everyone screams their love of "Entranced by the Wolfshook" from the top of every mountain, and that's just because of the one riff. Hero aside from one or two riffs here and there, suffers from the same lack of substance. [I don't inject my opinions into Jon's columns that often, but I want to make special mention of how awful Okoi "KzR" Jones's vocals are on this awkward bellyflop of an album. Anyone want to buy my MDF-edition "Labyrinthine Graves" shirt? I could not wear it again. - Ed.]
Heavydeath - In Circles We Die | Aftermath Music/Iron Bonehead Productions
I still miss Runemagick, but hearing Nicklas Rudolfsson play heavy, crushing death/doom fills a small part of the void. Heavydeath's ever-mounting library of demos (I think they just hit 21, how?) was a bit of a bear to tackle, but this Swedish trio's full-lengths showcase the finest high-points in their discography. What sets Heavydeath apart as "Rudalfsson continuing Runemagick" is more than immediately apparent. However heavy In Circles We Die is, there is a fuzzy, comforting psychedelia to it - leaning closer to Pink Floyd than Winter at times.
Abigor - Kingdom of Darkness | Nuclear War Now! Productions | Black Metal | Austria
I've been listening to way too much Abigor lately - what timing, huh? Featuring a re-recorded version off the now-classic Verwüstung, this time featuring Absurd/GBK's Unhold on vocals (yes, contentious) and two instrumental rehearsals from the demo-era, this one is more of a release for fanboys like me who still anxiously await the fabled split with Mortuus, Thy Darkened Shade and Nightbringer.
Moss Upon The Skull - The Scourge of Ages | Pale Horse Recordings | Progressive Death Metal | Belgium
Spidery, intricate death metal, equally rooted in the adventurous noodling of Death and the expansive, atypical songwriting of "classic" 70s prog.
Boreworm - Entomophobia | Independent | Technical Death Metal | United States
Boreworm calls themselves "insectile" death metal, and Entomophobia certainly scuttles. I wish I could hear more of the music beneath the vocals - it sounds like David Hoffman is right next to your eardrum.
Einherjer - Dragons of the North XX | Indie Recordings | Viking Metal | Norway
I suppose this could fall under the "From the Grave" banner here, but hearing Einherjer revisit one of their classic albums some twenty years later brings me back to a time in which all I really listened to was viking metal. Where Kampfar follows the more tragic loneliness of being a conqueror in a distant land, Einherjer continues to embody the drunken revelry of success.
Mortualia - Wild, Wild Misery | "Depressive Black Metal" | Finland
"Shatraug does sad black metal" has never been my favorite outing of his, but his presence in the black metal world is undeniable. How many projects does he even have now?
FOR THE ADVENTUROUS
Havnatt - Heimferd | Secret Quarters | Neofolk/Dark Folk | Norway
Havnatt's body of work acts as what might as well be a direct extension of Ulver's Kveldssanger, which is perfectly fine with me. Modern representations of the simple, beautifully orchestrated post-Romantic folk style is gorgeous, and certainly a style of music in which I revel, but this kind of "neofolk" is starting to become one of those "dime a dozen" styles. The mold which Havnatt used for the past half decade was cracked in Heimferd, and the duo of Cecilie Langlie and Tom Simonsen have started taking cues from Impressionist composers like Debussy and Liszt.
Tumbleweed Dealer - TDIII - Tokes, Hatred & Caffeine | Independent/Digital | Progressive/Psychedelic Stoner Rock | Canada
I generally harbor a great disdain for stoner rock and metal - so much of it sounds the same...but, evidently, not all of it. Take, for example, Canada's Tumbleweed Dealer - the duo of Seb Painchaud (ex-Ion Dissonance, surprise) and Jean-Francois Richard's hypnotic, smooth mix of funky rhythm, immense, albeit subdued technicality, and Morricone's vast Spaghetti Western ambiance is still sun-baked and undeniably "stoned," but it's a new approach. Take heed, stoners who just play Iommi riffs.
FROM THE GRAVE
Throne of Ahaz - Nifelheim | Avantgarde Music | Black Metal | Sweden
Throne of Ahaz's debut album is steeped in tragedy. Originally recorded in 1993, legend has it No Fashion kept pushing Nifelheim's release until two years later, when black metal was much more widespread and homogenized. Had this been released when initially intended, I envision an alternate timeline in which Throne of Ahaz is uttered in the same phrase as Darkthrone and Burzum. Now, over twenty years later, maybe we can make up for No Fashion's mistake with this first-ever vinyl pressing of what should have been a classic album.
Darkthrone - The Wind of 666 Black Hearts | Peaceville Records | Black Metal | Norway
You already own A Blaze in the Northern Sky and Under a Funeral Moon, but you've probably gone this long without hearing the rehearsals which led up to it. Redundant, I know, but it's nice to get some insight into Darkthrone's black metal impetus in the wake of the more heavy metal-oriented Arctic Thunder.
Primogenorum - Damned Hearts in the Abyss of Madness | Moribund Records | Raw Black Metal | Ukraine/United States
I heard a lot of praise from certain friends leading up to this new Primogenorum album. Having never dug into the band's demos, I blindly dove into Damned Hearts… and hit my head on a very shallow riverbed. Many raw black metal bands successfully feign depth, but there isn't much to even mask the lack of strong material here. It's just kind of...raw. And that's it.
Alcoholic Rites/Lustrum - Drunk and In Charge | Eternal Death | Thrash/Black Metal / Black Metal | Ecuador/United States
Abigail/Lustrum - Too Wild for the Crowd | Eternal Death | Thrash/Black Metal / Black Metal | Japan/United States
Are you suffering from a lack of sleaze metal in this unholy year of 2016? Down about 30 beers and listen to these splits back to back.