Upcoming Metal Releases 11/27/2016 – 12/3/3016
I ate too much. Did you eat too much? No, you don't have to have celebrated Thanksgiving to feel the same way. We all ate too much.
Here are the new metal releases for the week of November 27, 2016 – December 3, 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.
Ash Borer has certainly changed over the years - I still remember hearing their melodic, post-rock driven demo during the fast approach to "Cascadian Black Metal"'s peak over seven years ago. Now? Aside from the long-form composition, Ash Borer is a different monster entirely. Meditating on the more "apocalyptic" sound the band had been practicing since Cold of Ages, The Irrepassable Gate tackles the grandeur of mid-era Emperor with a distinctly American character. The framework is similar, but Ash Borer has matured with age - the big, fleshy chords retain a similar, mammoth character, but are more nuanced. As always, and it seems like this will be a constant in Ash Borer's post-melodious career, this music is a difficult pill to swallow - along with the band's dry nature, songs like Lacerating Spirit's lengthy meditations on what can essentially be "non-music" demonstrate a band whose initial classifying boundaries fit like old shoes - too tight and uncomfortable. Ash Borer's evolution has been drastic, but there hasn't been such a massive change in their discography quite like what we've seen between Bloodlands and The Irrepassable Gate.
Pain Cleanses Every Doubt caught my ear later than I had hoped - their mix of Bethlehem-inspired blackened hopelessness and densely compacted, sluggish doom metal might have not been the most original work in the universe, but it was certainly well-done. After both an EP and a split release over the last few months, this full-length came as a bit of a surprise, especially with a streaming digital release weeks before what Bandcamp denoted to be the official release date. Converging Sins unveils Ultha as a beast of many faces. Though previous releases highlighted a sludgier, sinewy side to Ultha, a vestige of Ralph's tenure in Planks, this full-length is more multi-faceted and concentrates on the atmospheric acrobatics of the band's blackened half. Featuring subdued, meditative collaborations with Rachel Davies of Esben and the Witch, and harsher, more chaotic flirtations with noise, courtesy of their own Andy Rosczyk (I had previously assumed and mistakenly reported that Kevin Gan Yuen had provided the noise on this release, as opposed to solely creating the cover art), Ultha's "black metal" album offers more than what a cursory first listen might entail.
Scum - Garden of Shadows | Blood Music | Progressive/Melodic Death Metal | Finland
Recorded in 1996 and stashed away, listening to this album makes me feel like Howard Carver breaking the seal and looking into Pharaoh Tutankhamun's tomb. You will feel the same way when you hear the album in full here tomorrow.
From Andrew's premiere of "II: Flight Over Aurora Borealis":
Maintaining static blasts throughout, the track may at first seem singular and flat. But this is about closed-eyed visuals resolved by a soft fade-out. It is attuned perfectly for surround sound: a cerebral massage, an all-encompassing experience.
Truly unique metal, progressive in the textbook sense of the word and featuring an unlikely set of players. Be sure to come back for a full album stream later this week!
Oskoreien - All Too Human | Independent | Atmospheric Black Metal | United States
Morose, enraged, complex atmospheric black metal which contemplates the inevitability of man's free will.
VMO (Violent Magic Orchestra) - Catastrophic Anonymous | Virgin Babylon Records/Throatruiner Records | Experimental Black Metal/Noisepop | United States/France/Japan
Vampilia is dead, and while they left a sprawling, far-reaching body of work in their wake, VMO, or Violent Magic Orchestra, takes everything Vampilia does and puts it in a blender. With the assistance of noise superhero and Yellow Swans alumnus Pete Swanson, as well as the production power of Mondkopf, Catastrophic Anonymous's impenetrable wall of black metal-meets-noisepop horror is a terrifying beauty.
Vivus Humare - Samhain Celebration | Independent/Digital | Atmospheric Black Metal | Germany
Though the Samhain Celebration compilation was released in limited amounts just a few weeks ago, the bands held therein have been carefully controlling their digital presence. Following Mosaic, Vivus Humare's (who share member Inkantator Koura with Mosaic) atmospheric black metal occupies a similar sphere as the former, but with a much more traditional gait. However standard Vivus Humare's folky, melodic, reverb-drenched black metal may be, their power is a certainty.
Bethlehem has had their ups and downs - I will sing the praises of Dark Metal, Dictius te Necare, and even S.U.I.Z.I.D. from the highest peaks, but Jurgen Bartsch's subsequent experiments and reformatting into a strange rock band lost... most of their fans. A late-career self-titled album hints at a return to form, and with new vocalist Onielar of Darkened Nocturn Slaughtercult fame, we certainly have a strong step toward Bethlehem's Renaissance. Concentrating on a strange mix of gothic darkness and black metal desperation, Bartsch eloquently evokes Bethlehem's golden age, while Onielar's absolutely over the top vocal performance shows Bethlehem still knows their roots. There are still some flubs which lean a little too far into the "modern/urban" (read as: tired-ass post-punk) sound, but a guy will take what he can get if it means Bethlehem is making "dark metal" again.
Nothing new, by any means, but The Loom of Time can both craft a well-written song and inject some extremely infectious melodies therein. There are more than a few dual-lead-guitar sections which inspire "Wyld Stallynz"-style air guitar from this guy. [Not to take away from Jon's thunder at all, but I found myself more taken by this album than he did. Like maybe in my year end top-10 taken. Well worth anyone's time. - Ed.]
FOR THE ADVENTUROUS
I'm such a sucker for neofolk, especially when the genre's sense of strong, minimal songwriting is met with tasteful orchestration. Wolcensmen, otherwise known as Winterfylleth newcomer Dan Capp, looks back on the early, guitar-based folk deviations from bands like Ulver and Empyrium, but with the singer/songwriter backbone which made Death In June a household name. Namedropping aside, the ethereal, mystical, near-Druidic atmospheres found on Songs from the Fyrgen marry the atmospheric leanings of Capp's metallic alter ego with strong, song-based songwriting that most "neofolk side projects" lack. I've only had the pleasure of hearing the song below, but I have high hopes for Wolcensmen's full-length debut.
Jessica Way and Lorraine Rath are very talented musicians, and Aesop Dekker's pedigree is undeniable, but Worm Ouroborus's discography has been a fast descent into abstract minimalism. Darkwave and doom metal go together hand in hand, sure, but this band's formula definitely leans toward the former, and a very sparse execution of such. There are very good ideas at work here, but What Graceless Dawn plays a veritable game of chicken - will you wait it out before the big climax hits you or will you tap out?
Big and pretty blackened devastation with odd moments of avant-jazz saxophone noodling, but never too over the top. As it is with any band in which Déhà aligns himself, Maladie borders on the impossibly strange while still maintaining a refreshing cohesiveness.
Cokegoat - Drugs and Animals | Independent | Stoner/Doom Metal | United States
Okay, this is definitely much, much more than "stoner/doom metal." Cokegoat's big, beautiful, bombastic doom metal verges on the dark, artistic brood of Neurosis and Jarboe's collaboration without any of the unnecessary space. A surprisingly powerful album that is easy to get lost in.
Weird, jangly, dissonant... the few bands that champion the Ved Buens Ende sound and do it right are everything that is right with the world.
Sombre Mundus - Demo | Independent | Black Metal | Canada
Where did this demo come from? However brief, Sombre Mundus's melodic whirlwind is an exercise in the balance between fury and beauty. I can't wait to hear more - this tape was an instant order.
WHAT WE MISSED
What a trip - I was a big fan of Diapsiquir's work leading up to this, especially A.N.T.I., but I can't say I would ever have expected such a strange turn in sound. Lost somewhere between Jacques Brel's heartfelt songs, Throbbing Gristle's harsh industrial, and... trap music? I can't wrap my head around this, but I'm not hating it.