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And we're back. Hello everyone. I hope you missed me.

Here are the new metal releases for the weeks of January 14, 2017 – January 20, 2018. 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 the coming Fridays 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.

As a little bit of a challenge, include your own opinion about anything you want to add. Make me want to listen to it!

Please note: this is a review column and is not speculative. Any announced albums without preview material will not be covered. Additionally, any surprise releases which are uploaded or released after this column is published will be excluded.

send Jon your promos at jon@invisibleoranges.com. Do not bother him on social media.

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ANTICIPATED RELEASES

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Yhdarl - Loss | I, Voidhanger Records | Black/Funeral Doom Metal | Belgium
So, conflict of interest: I've been on a few Yhdarl releases. That being said, I've never had any part in songwriting or PR or anything.
This particular release by the prolific Yhdarl is completely unlike any of its predecessors. The long-awaited Loss is a beautiful, breathtaking approach to the mammoth, dreary end of the black/doom metal spectrum. The three lengthy songs held within this album are pure negative emotion, three monoliths of despair looming on a high hill. Psychotic, miserable, and just sad. Try your hardest to catch up with this magnificent project's back catalog if you can.

Make a Change… Kill Yourself - IV | Cursed Records | "Depressive" Black Metal | Denmark
How long has it been since Fri? Goofy name aside, the Danish mastermind Ynleborgaz continues to churn out gorgeous, horrific black metal despond. Take this new release as an opportunity to start fresh with I and make a marathon run through his entire discography. A new Angantyr album is on the horizon, as well, making 2018 the "year of Ynleborgaz."

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OF NOTE

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Hagetisse - Godendraak | Grey Matter Productions | Black Metal | Netherlands
Maurice de Jong is incapable of making bad music, at least in my opinion. The chaos of all his other projects is more than abundant, but there is just enough "riff" involved here to keep Hagetisse grounded. Prepare yourself for atmospheric glory.
Spectral Lore/Jute Gyte - Heilian | I, Voidhanger Records | Atmospheric Black Metal/Avant-Garde Black Metal | Greece/United States
Two of black metal's most adventurous sons (finally) join forces. Check back in a few days to hear the whole thing.
Gnaw Bone - Scorched Earth | Auris Apothecary | Black/Sludge/Doom Metal | United States
Suffocating, bilous murk from the depths of… Indiana? Sure, why not? In all seriousness, Gnaw Bone's debut EP is one of the more impressive examples of recent black/doom releases. No post-rock and none of the effects-pedal-enshrouded pseudo atmospheres. This band is the real deal.

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FOR THE ADVENTUROUS

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Locktender - Friedrich | Moment of Collapse/Zegema Beach/I.CORRUPT.RECORDS/Deadwoodrecords | Screamo/Post-Metal | United States
After years of hints, jokes, and continued setbacks, the new Locktender album is finally here. Finding a happy (er… "happy") middle-ground between late-'90s post-rocky screamo and the enormity of both post-metal and sludge, Locktender's fabled third album is an emotional tour de force, referencing their earlier efforts as Men As Trees while still looking forward.

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OTHER RELEASES

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Arkona - Khram | Napalm Records | Pagan/Folk Metal | Russia
This is the kind of folk metal I can't stand - it sounds like a Hollywood approximation of old drinking songs while offering little to no actual cultural references. Oh well.
Anvil - Pounding the Pavement | Steamhammer | Heavy/Power Metal | Canada
The men behind "Metal on Metal" are still at it and will never give up. Gotta respect those who dedicate their entire lives to heavy metal.
Verheerer - Maltrér | Vendetta Records | Black Metal | Germany
This is an example of a band who does a perfectly fine job executing a more modern example of "atmospheric black metal." The big issue with this band, and the countless others who take a similar approach, is that it's inoffensive and offers nothing new. There are a few bands who perfect the style enough to warrant praise, but Verheerer's latest album is merely a drop in the bucket.

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