Upcoming Metal Releases: 1/21/18 – 1/27/18
Raise your hand if you actually read this part.
Here are the new metal releases for the weeks of January 21, 2017 – January 27, 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.
Tribulation - Down Below | Century Media | Progressive Death/Black Metal | Sweden
I referenced "arena black metal" with the release of Cloak's debut last year, but none have yet to perfect the "big, catchy, sinister" sound quite like Tribulation. Sure, most will stand by black metal's obscure determinations -- lo-fi, static aggression and monochromatic texture palettes -- but Tribulation has transcended those tenets. As is the case with their preceding works, Down Below is a main stage band in corpse-painted clothing.
Portal - ION | Profound Lore Records | Experimental Death Metal | Australia
Portal is back, which means more than just those three words for someone whose fandom dates back over a decade. Sure, there was a lot of fanfare surrounding Vexovoid, but the lifting of their hissing mask of sound didn't quite "do it" for me. In my experience, Portal has been an atmosphere, this slithering, amorphous voidshape of amoebic death metal. Clarity didn't work. Listening to ION still offers a bit of clarity, but these Australians have stopped trying to be modern. No eight-string guitars, no boutique distortion. Which, in turn, takes them back 15 years to the horrific Seepia. Instead of a lumbering shape, Portal reassumes their form as a spiny shape of dread, just around the corner. It almost feels nostalgic. The nightmare has returned.
Hooded Menace - Ossuarium Silhouettes Unhallowed | Season of Mist | Death/Doom Metal | Finland
So, I guess I should open by expressing my love for Hooded Menace's first two albums. I truly miss their sinister, horror soundtrack-influenced, Candlemass-inflicted death/doom metal. There was nothing heavier, especially during that era. That being said, the tragic sound of Hooded Menace, having been a full band for over six years at this point, hits a soft spot which few can. "Peaceville 3 doom" is a phrase which has showed up here and there in this column over the past three years, and Hooded Menace has finally, truly achieved that sound with true earnestness.
Mammoth Grinder - Cosmic Crypt | Relapse Records | Death Metal/Hardcore | United States
I almost wrote "Sweden" instead of "United States" if that means anything. I still think of Mammoth Grinder as that one sludge band with members of Hatred Surge, which makes the Swedeath violence of their current form confusing with each new release.
Agrimonia - Awaken | Southern Lord Records | Post-Metal/Neocrust | Sweden
I recall a time in which Agrimonia very classily straddled neocrust (yes, like His Hero Is Gone, Tragedy, et cetera) and post-metal, but as the market (and bassist/At The Gates member Martin Larsson) move further toward rote, bludgeoning crust, so does Agrimonia.
Faal - Desolate Grief | Ván Records | Funeral Doom/Death Metal | Netherlands
Bleak funeral doom, full of grief and despair, but that's par for Faal's course. You should have seen this coming! Do not mix with alcohol.
Bind Torture Kill - Viscères | WOOAAARGH | Grindcore/Hardcore | France
From Ivan's premiere of "Chacal":
As implied by the band’s morbid moniker, the music of Bind Torture Kill falls firmly on the blackened side of their genre: Viscères is filled with smoldering wickedness.
Orphaned Land - Unsung Prophets & Dead Messiahs | Century Media | Progressive Folk Metal | Israel
Even now, I feel sad knowing Orphaned Land will never sound like El Norra Alila again. Sure, it was 22 years ago, but there hasn't been anything quite like it since. This big budget, "cinema folk" metal seems so plastic, enraptured in pandering political notions of peace, that none of it seems sincere anymore.
Howling Sycamore - Howling Sycamore | Prosthetic Records | Progressive Metal | United States
Incredibly absurd, oddly toned progressive metal, and boy, do I mean progressive. I guess that's what happens when you pit Davide Tiso from Ephel Duath against Jason McMaster from Watchtower.
In Vain - Currents | Indie Recordings | Progressive Metal | Norway
Hefty, polished progressive metal featuring some of Norway's finest (members of Solefald, Funeral, Leprous, and more), but Currents has yet to reveal all its secrets to me in the few listens I've been able to fit in. My thoughts might just change over time.