Hey friends. You might have noticed we didn't run our usual column last week. That is because there wasn't one!

You will also notice that this covers December 17th through January 16th. Yes, it is a long period of time, but it's pretty sparsely populated. It's the end of the year, so the latter half of December and first half of January tend to be a little light on the releases. Instead of sending out three columns where maybe one or two releases are mentioned (there is actually one release on my calendar for this week, go figure), you get a bigger column and I get a vacation. I'll still be around, obviously. See you next year.

Here are the new metal releases for the weeks of December 17, 2017 – January 16, 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.



Nortt - Endeligt | Avantgarde Records | Black/Funeral Doom Metal | Denmark
The sullen master returns, but you'll hear more about this on Wednesday.

Summoning - With Doom We Come | Napalm Records | Epic/Atmospheric Black Metal | Austria
So here's the deal: I love Summoning. Yes, the music is chintzy and the fantasy atmosphere sounds more like a D&D table than an actual castle, but god damn is it captivating. Or… it was captivating. Old Mourning's Dawn was a fine album, if lacking when compared to its predecessor, and With Doom We Come continues this downward swing. The chintzy element I brought up earlier? It's gone, and the duo of Silenius and Protector have suddenly made greater attempts at both cleaner production and bigger sound. It doesn't feel as legitimate anymore, erring on the upsetting end of corny -- a plastic and manufactured action figure instead of the painstakingly hand-painted pewter figurines which came before it. I'm sure some will probably enjoy it, and sure, Protector's suddenly very expensive synthesizer replacement sounds fine, but my love for Summoning sharply declines after 2006's Oath Bound.

Watain - Trident Wolf Eclipse | Century Media Records | Black Metal | Sweden
A good Watain album? And it's almost 2020? Sure, why not. Completely casting off the cock rock which made albums like The Wild Hunt so, uh… something, Trident Wolf Eclipse turns back the clock to 2003's Casus Luciferi. Did you know Watain was a ripping, melodic black metal band at one point? Yes, Erik Danielsson and crew are certainly capable. Sure, people who want Sworn to the Dark 2: Satanic Boogaloo will have to look elsewhere, but I am of the opinion that black metal Watain is the best Watain.

Panphage - Jord | Nordvis | Black Metal | Sweden
RIP Panphage. This mysterious solo artist's final outing before laying his band to rest, Jord (dirt) is Fjallbrandt's finest work to date. A magnificently sharp, wintry black metal attack, Panphage's gloriously memorable, final anti-cosmic black metal work is a fitting epitaph for an untouchable discography.





Eternal Helcaraxe - In Times of Desperation | Naturmacht Productions | Black Metal | Ireland
So, all the talk of "war metal" over the past few decades definitely makes me feel as if the tag is improperly used. The triumphant, melodic music found within Eternal Helcaraxe's latest album is a melange of might and foreboding… kind of like a war. At least, I would assume as much.

Loth - Apocryphe | Vendetta Records | Black Metal | France
Fairly standard autumnal black metal -- lots of acoustic guitars and rainy sadness. Not that there is anything really wrong with that.

Sinistro - Sangue Cássia| Season of Mist | Sludge/Doom/Post-Metal | Portugal
Not terribly long after their last album, Sinistro begins to tip the scales on their dramatic mix of cinematic rock and post-metal brawn. Now much more dramatic and atmospheric, this Portuguese band increases the distance from their NeurIsis roots to something uniquely emotive.

Nova - Soli Contro Il Mondo | ATMF | Black Metal | Italy
Though their label refers to this particular album as a "sharpening of the traditional Nova sound," there isn't much here outside of a more traditional melodic black metal album. Luckily for us, Nova does it extremely well. Sometimes it is okay not to reinvent the wheel -- work smart, not hard.

Heidevolk - Vuur van Verzet | Napalm Records | Folk Metal | Netherlands
From Rhys's premiere of "Ontwaakt":

Already, one can tell that this is both an old and a new Heidevolk: gone are the fur-and-leather Iron Age garb of past iterations, replaced by a more generic all-black style in the vein of Amon Amarth. The music, too, is darker than much of Heidevolk’s output, reflecting the moodiness of Batavi more than the jauntiness of Walhalla Wacht or Uit Oude Grond. But don’t disabuse yourself of the notion that this isn’t “Heidevolk” anymore, as de Wijs’ basso rumble is as epic and stentorian as any of the band’s past vocalists, and he meshes with Vogel as effortlessly as Vogel meshed with Bockting. Every now and again a violin can be heard, but the riffs are solid, minor-key, and punishing. This is Heidevolk at its most cohesive, musically.

Hamferð - Támsins likam | Century Media Records | Death/Doom Metal | Faroe Island
Dramatic, tragic death/doom in the beautifully gothic Peaceville 3 style. It's hard to believe a band of this style would win the Wacken Metal Battle competition, but even a cursory listen reveals Hamferð's immense talent.

Corrosion of Conformity - No Cross No Crown | Nuclear Blast | Crossover/Thrash Metal/Stoner Rock | United States
A new Corrosion of Conformity album… with Pepper Keenan?! It had been rumored, but after two new albums as a trio, I had all but accepted Keenan's full retirement as a member of Corrosion of Conformity. Now back in the fold, No Cross No Crown is the beefiest album in the band's library, if just since In The Arms Of God.



Drawn and Quartered - Feeding Hell's Furnace | Krucyator Productions | Death Metal | United States
The most putrid and horrifying death metal. You don't hear people talking about Drawn and Quartered like they used to -- maybe use this reissue of their 2012 album as an opportunity to do a deep dive.


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