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Another week, more metal releases. Have I been getting less verbose?

Below you will find a selection of metal-and-related releases slated for release between November 22 and 25 in the year 2015. Am I missing anything? Is there more information concerning a release you'd like to share? Do you agree with me? Do you disagree with me? Is there something cool on the horizon? Do you just want to say hi? Leave a comment! Y'all were especially quiet last week :(

—Jon Rosenthal

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ANTICIPATED RELEASES

Bismuth - Unavailing | De Graanrepubliek/Dry Cough/Box Records/Tartarus Records/Viral Age | Drone/Doom Metal | England
If you were to check out Bismuth's Bandcamp page (you should), you would note their choice of URL title: "bismuthslow." To call English drone/doom metal duo Bismuth "slow" would be an understatement ("loud" would fit in a similar criterion). With Sunn O)))'s new album Kannon looming in the distant future, people see the "drone/doom" tag and expect strict, conservative amplifier worship, and, though that element exists within Unavailing, Bismuth is so much more. Draping the listener in a thick, hazy muck of deep, heavily distorted bass drones, Unavailing takes on an unexpectedly dreamy character, with Tanya Byrne's quietly murmured melodies floating just above the droning miasma. It's not often a drone/doom metal album quite as heavy as Bismuth's full-length debut would be described as "pretty," and yet...

Hellgoat - Infernal Zeal | Pale Horse Recordings | Black Metal | United States
Sharp, visceral black metal devotion from the sweltering heat of Georgia. I waxed poetic about Pneuma Hagion's use of clarity as a means of showcasing stellar songwriting, and Hellgoat's Infernal Zeal only furthers that conceit. Most bands on the more orthodox side of the spectrum occupied by bands like Hellgoat prefer harsh, grating murk, which is fine (Hellgoat even used that sonic aesthetic earlier on), but Amon and Asmodeous's frantic, engulfing songwriting and absolutely hellish dual vocal attack is only strengthened with clarity. I rarely quote press releases, but I have to hand it to A from Pale Horse Recordings: "Hellgoat is black metal!"

Gevurah - Dialogue of Broken Stars | Independent/Digital (7" version from Graceless Recordings in the future) | Black Metal | Canada
News from the Gevurah camp is sparse, the Canadian duo meditating deep within the shadows before bursting forth with unexpected new music at what appears to be any given moment. Luckily, the Dialogue of Broken Stars single is the ominous flash before imminent, albeit frightening future rumblings.* Comprised of a single black metal song, a triumphant roar supposedly excised from their upcoming album, and a sparse, ritualistic ambient track, Dialogue might come off as short, but it's only meant to really whet our palettes in anticipation of future works. And hell, if the A side to this single (and future 7") was removed from their upcoming album, this only spells good things for Gevurah's prospects.

*This means they have a new album coming out.

Furze - Baphomet Wade | FreshTea | Experimental Black Metal | Norway
Woe J. Reaper hasn't given a damn about black metal convention for almost 25 years. Such staunch, outsider-based separatism should be universally lauded, yet aside from a single album featuring Satyricon's Frost on drums, Furze's unique brand of oddity is far from a household name. Baphomet Wade, the first Furze album in three years, is an immediate, strange album, which drew me in within the first few notes of its opener (below). Reaper's idiosyncratic guitar style, equal parts psychedelic rock, rockabilly and black metal, remains fresh and unique, if not still just as daring as the rest of Furze's discography. Baphomet's Wade slinks and stumbles its way through its brief existence with an intentionally outsider calculation. Furze evolved alongside, but separate from black metal, and the separation is all the more obvious in this latest effort.

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OF NOTE

Abysmal Lord - Disciples of Inferno | Hells Headbangers Records | Black/Death Metal | United States
Coming at you, more goaty war metal. Admittedly, Abysmal Lord put on one hell of a show at Hells Headbash 2, but Disciples of Inferno has the misfortune of sounding like the band used Playskool sing-along boom boxes as amplifiers.

Danzig - Skeletons | Evilive | Heavy/Doom Metal/Rock | United States
Pfft, like Glenn Danzig needs an introduction for this covers album. The real star, however, is the sheer amount of pinch harmonics Tommy Victor manages to squeeze out of his poor, poor guitar.

Zgard - Totem | Svarga Music | Pagan Black Metal | Ukraine
I'm normally a pretty big sucker for "Slavonic" black metal (see: Drudkh's first few albums, Astrofaes, Nokturnal Mortum, et al), and when Zgard is in black metal mode I am hooked. I mean, this is powerful, romantic, and speaks right to my Slavic heritage. What really loses me are the goofy, unintentionally playful moments in which Zgard layers tin whistles. It sounds like a damn carnival. Oh well, you can't win 'em all, but, at the same time, Totem could have been so much more.

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FOR THE ADVENTUROUS

that means things which aren’t metal

German Army - Kalash Tirich Mir | Yerevan Tapes | Industrial | United States
German Army has been one of those bands whose name I've seen floating around the internet but have never really checked out . . . mostly due to the sheer mass of their discography. Not counting compilation appearances (of which they've made nine), German Army has put out a staggering 36 releases in the past four years. Thirty-six! Upon receiving this promo, I figured I owed it to myself to finally dive in, and I suddenly found my foot in my mouth. German Army is . . . good! Disparate and multifaceted, but good. Finding a beautiful medium between calm, mechanical electronic minimalism and washy, absolutely saturated guitar atmosphere, German Army hypnotically weaves through motorik detachment with ease. It's no wonder they make so much, but when will it end? Here's hoping it won't be for a while.

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COMPILED STUFF

this is where compilations go

Various Artists - Teach Your Soul With Fire, Vol. IV | Signal Rex | Black Metal (mostly) | International
A cassette time machine to 1999. No, really. History lesson: the Teach Your Soul With Fire cassette series had its first three volumes of then-cutting-edge black metal released in the '90s before suddenly stopping. Now? The unreleased fourth volume has surfaced and, with the gracious help of Signal Rex, found its way to our ears. Featuring unreleased songs from the likes of Moonspell (yeah, remember what they sounded like in 1999?), Krieg, Negura Bunget, and countless others, Teach Your Soul With Fire, Vol. IV is a fond backwards glance at black metal a lengthy sixteen years ago, and a strong reminder as to how much the style has changed in the time since.

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THINGS WE MISSED

Magic Circle - Journey Blind | 20 Buck Spin | Doom Metal | United States
Judas Priest meets doom metal? Saint Vitus at the drag race? I can't tell, but Magic Circle manage to tastefully straddle the line between jangling, classic heavy metal and melt-your-innards doom metal without sounding stale. I swear, 99.9% of all these "classic" sounding bands end up so boring, which makes Magic Circle all the more exciting. Now I know what Justin from Innumerable Forms has been up to!

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