Here are the new metal releases for the week of December 11, 2016 – December 17, 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.

Please note: this is a review column and is not speculative. Any announced albums without preview material will not be covered.

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Blood Tyrant - Aristocracy of Twilight | Iron Bonehead Productions | Raw Black Metal/Ambient | Netherlands
I was left pretty flabbergasted after missing last year's Night of Blood Moon, which perfectly married the harsh crackle of very obviously home recorded raw black metal with the simple moodiness of the dungeon synth resurgence. This Dutch duo moves into relatively cleaner territory with their second full-length, and Aristocracy of Twilight also manages to evoke more "epic", battle-like feelings as opposed to the "haunted castle" vibes of its predecessor.

Until Death Overtakes Me - AnteMortem | Dusktone | Ambient Funeral Doom Metal | Netherlands
Until Death Overtakes Me is back?! Since when?! Stijn van Cauter was a pillar in the underground doom metal community until ultimately "retiring" from metal in 2009, and he left a sizable hole in his wake. Until Death Overtakes me is...unique, van Cauter calls it "funeral muzak," and musically it more closely resembles Chopin's funeral marches, albeit much louder. As someone who enjoys both the pomp and subtleties of the near-post-Romantic era of classical music and the lugubrious melodrama of funeral doom, Until Death Overtakes Me fills a very distinct niche of my music taste, and it fills me with joy to see Stijn van Cauter resurrecting his various projects.

Murg - Gudatall | Nordvis Produktionen | Black Metal | Sweden
Second wave black metal worship is generally nothing you can really shake a stick at, but Murgis one of the few standouts in a very reiterative style. Take a trip back to 1994 for a while.

Grok - A Spineless Descent | EEE Recordings/Cloister Recordings US | Symphonic Black Metal | United States
As opposed to the aforementioned musical face of 1994, Grok shines the spotlight on a largely ignored era of black metal. Or at least underappreciated. Come back later this week for a full-stream.





マグダラ呪念 (Magdala Ju-nen) - 何の因果でこうなった | GoatowaRex | Psychedelic Black/Doom Metal | Japan
Heavy, lo-fi, blackened doom metal with a significant Candlemass swagger. Some might lose interest when Magdala Ju-nen's distinct voice kicks in, but she is just one of the many elements which make 何の因果でこうなった a surprisingly lasting listen.

Tengger Cavalry - kAAN | Independent/Digital | Melodic Death/Folk Metal | United States (formerly China)
It's amazing how such a promising novelty as Tuvan throat singing and metal can go south so very, very fast. There is some great, catchy songwriting here, but I can't shake this nagging feeling that Tengger Cavalry has become a caricature of themselves. Don't get me wrong, they're talented, but I wonder if people listen to them for any reason other than the "throat singing plus metal wow!" factor.

Crypt of Silence - Awareness Ephemera | Solitude Productions | Death/Doom Metal | Ukraine
Solitude Productions releases can go one of two ways: 1) really incredible, heartfelt doom metal, or 2) they found a band who used the "funeral doom" tag on their Bandcamp page. Crypt of Silence's powerful despondency definitely falls under the first option.



AGLS - :11:11:11: | GoatowaRex | Black Ambient | Australia
Truly unsettling, Satanic blackened ambient from one of the minds behind Nazxul. Meditative, but containing some upsettingly jarring moments, 11:11:11: evokes both the Black Legions and Stockhausen.



Reek of the Unzen Gas Fumes - Detritivorous Kamigami | GoatowaRex | Industrial Black Metal/Grindcore | Japan
Riffs upon riffs upon riffs. Reek of the Unzen Gas Fumes is absolutely relentless, as well as unbelievably catchy. Plus, we've all heard of Anti-Judeochristian black metal, but anti-Buddhism is new territory.

Obskuritatem - Vampirska Kakofonija | GoatowaRex | Experimental/Ambient Black Metal | Bosnia
A new chapter from the "Black Plague Circle" (Nigrum Ignis Circuli, Deathcircle, Cave Ritual, et cetera), meditating on vampirism through ghostly, harsh, chaotic black metal filth. Originally released on a tape which sold out at an alarming rate, the "Vampiric Cacophony" of Obskuritatem's latest demo is now available on vinyl with over 20 minutes of bonus material.

Bagatur - Сказание за древнобългарското величие | CW Productions | Ambient/Pagan Black Metal | Bulgaria
Keyboard-drenched, mystical black metal - the soundtrack to the conquests of the Mongol Empire.



Black Cilice - Nocturnal Mysticism | Iron Bonehead Productions | Ambient Black Metal | Portugal
I've never really "gotten" Black Cilice, his music is "loud," but ultimately flat. Nocturnal Mysticism, whose release coincides with what is purported to be his only live performance ever, shows this mysterious solo artist venturing into more dynamic composition, but still retains that sort of strange static boredom of previous releases.

Ghoulgotha/Ruin - Churning in Vertebraes / Becoming Disease | Blood Harvest | Death/Doom Metal / Death/Doom Metal | United States
Ghoulgotha surprised me with the surprisingly progressive nature of To Starve The Cross earlier this year, and "Churning in Vertebrates" offers a similar sort of bizarre atmosphere, but more subterranean, bludgeoning, and eldritch. Split-mates Ruin, who recently reformed after twenty-four years of silence, offers up equally violent, thick, putrid death/doom metal. A fitting split.


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