Upcoming Metal Releases: 1/22/2017 – 1/28/2017
Happy Monday, all. I'll be sparser 'round these parts this week - grad school is proving to be more ridiculous than anticipated.
Here are the new metal releases for the week of January 22, 2017 – January 28, 2017. Release dates are formatted according to proposed North American scheduling, if available. Expect to see the bulk of these records on shelves or distributors 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. Additionally, any surprise releases which are uploaded after this is published will not be covered. Maléfices - Asarlai
From Ian's premiere of "Alles in Einem Schnitt":
"Make no mistake, Horn are not a folk act. Nor are they a classical ensemble. They aren’t going to be doing Christmas specials or Mozart tributes any time soon. But by channeling authentic folk melodies through the heft of metal they capture a classical spirit better than any number of shredders peddling harmonic minor arpeggios for music composition students. Part of what makes their music work is ornamentation, the extra trill on a passing note or the effort to make resolution conclusive. But what really sells their songs is smart and learned songwriting."
Mustan Kuun Lapset - Saatto | Inverse Records | Dark Metal | Finland
I'm still trying to wrap my head around the fact that Mustan Kuun Lapset are back. Last year's Kuolemanvirta was a fantastic return to the "dark metal" sound which was indicative of Finland's non-Beherit scene in the early/mid '90s. Much like their work up until 2007, when Mustan Kuun Lapset first broke up, Saatto continues down the moody, grey, folky path tread by Thy Serpent, Wintermoon, and Throes of Dawn before them, but this new full-length, their first in ten years, shows a lighter approach. That isn't to say these Finns are "going soft," Saatto is still powerful and emotive, but Mustan Kuun Lapset appears to be concentrating on the gothic, more pop-oriented undercurrent of the style this time around.
No public preview yet, sorry!
Au Champ des Morts - Dans La Joie | Debemur Morti Productions | Black Metal | France
Being touted as the spearhead of the "New Wave of French Black Metal," there is no doubt that Au Champs des Morts embodies the "French" aspect of said conceit. Following a brief EP release last year, Dans la Joie shows this now-full-band emphasizing their extra-stylistic influences. Be it the gothic coldwave-isms or post-rock's texture and dynamism, Au Champ des Morts encapsulates the artistic, dismal, gothic character to what would be considered stereotypically French, at least in a post-Impressionist way.
From Andrew's premiere of "Where the Stars Align":
"Furious intensity (blasting, howling) gives way to meditative intensity (doomy thundering), and then explosive intensity at the final moment (arm-tingling choir vocals). TGOO has a knack for blending black metal blastbeats, doom interludes and death metal structure into a non-messy package. A fundamentally clear formula is key."
Turia - Dede Kondre | Haeresis Noviomagi/Altare Productions | Atmospheric Black Metal | Netherlands
The "Haeresis Noviomagi" circle has very quickly become one of the more interesting group entities in new black metal. Centered around the artists Galg, Iskandr (who recently had an LP re-issued on Arcane Angels), Lubbert Das, and, of course, Turia, this troupe of artists run the gamut of atmospheric black metal substyles. Turia's last album, Dor, didn't quite get me, but the pop-jangle and bittersweet nostalgia found in Dede Kondre offers up a more desperate answer to the '90s rock/shoegaze influence found more and more in modern black metal. Hell, there's even some very tasteful use of harmonica. Color me convinced.
Domedag - Domedagen | Independent | Black/Doom Metal | Sweden
Most of you are aware of ex-Runemagick/ex-Sacramentum multi-instrumentalist Nicklas Rudolffson's death/doom escapades as one third of the prolific Heavydeath, but this solo project of his went quietly under the radar. Emphasizing more on the dark, textured hues of black metal, Domedag's heavy, sinister doom metal is yet another victory for Sweden's most valuable member of the underground.
From Joseph's premiere of "Immolate the Denied":
"Taste the flavor. Which flavor exactly? It ought to appeal to the same palates that salivated over staff favorites Blood Incantation, except with even more shrieking high-register pinch harmonics in the style of Bob Vigna’s work in Immolation. Delicious."
Jon's note: I was super bummed to hear this wasn't the German Ekpyrosis.
FOR THE ADVENTUROUS
William Basinski - A Shadow In Time | Temporary Residence, Ltd | Modern Classical Minimalism/Drone | United States
The new master of long, static, textured drones returns once more, and I'm still bummed I missed out on seeing him play a cemetery not too far from where I live. Opening with an elegiac tribute to our dearly departed David Bowie, Basinski weaves morose tapestries of organic and electronic drones. Though I don't think he will ever top his crowning achievement (The Disintegration Loops), Basinski's music is indisputably beautiful and comforting.
Joan of Arc - He's Got The Whole This Land Is Your Land In His Hands | Joyful Noise Recordings | Emo/Math Rock/Progressive Rock/Experimental | United States
The long-standing "supergroup" spearheaded by ex-Cap'n Jazz/current Owls frontman Tim Kinsella continues to push the envelope with their never-fully-defined, chaotic form of absurd, progressive rock music. Note the emo tag, though I suppose it speaks to Kinsella's musical pedigree. I'm not sure how you all will feel about this, but it certainly leaves me feeling warm and goofy.
Altered Form/Sacramence - Altered Form & Sacramence | Everswallower Records/Funeral Party Records | Kosmiche/Krautrock / Post-Industrial/Death Industrial/Darkwave | United States
The winner for "most ridiculously packaged release of the week" definitely goes to this split. The cult of the "DIY tape boxset" seemed to have faded in 2012 or so, leaving me with a collection of reel-to-reel boxes filled with lots of stuff and a desire for more. I'll let you guys investigate what's in the box, but my scope falls on what sounds reside on the tape. Altered Form is new to me (I'm in this for Sacramence), but the sounds here are decidedly (tastefully) dated, recalling the meditative synthesizer works of Tangerine Dream and Klaus Schulze, or the more minimal, electric works of Popol Vuh. I don't find myself listening to much "electric kraut" stuff nowadays, but Altered Form is just catchy enough to warrant further listens. Sacramence really wowed me with the complete stylistic about face of last year's Lovers Seek Dominance, and S. Jordan continues down the Coil shaped hole he seems to have dug himself. Less oriented on the "harsh industrial" end of the spectrum this time around, Sacramence's half of this split is thoughtful and atmospheric, but much more pop/goth oriented, at times recalling the "witch house" phenomenon of the late '00s. Overall? This is a really pleasant, gorgeous split. Hopefully there will be a box set left for me!
Gates - Viscera | Utech Records | Ambient/Drone/Doom Metal | Canada
Gates has meandered through a wide array of styles under the general "drone/doom" handle, but more recently the duo of Bryan Bray and Joel Beauchamp have moved into more abstract territory, distancing themselves from the conservative hum of drone. 2015's Palace of Mirrors's unexpected turn into loosely-composed, heavy doom was unexpected, and yet it fit within Gates's hypnotic scope. An extension of the Palace vision, Viscera fragments this duo's performance into rumbling, ritual percussion and expansive guitar psychedelia. I often feel nostalgia for Locrian's early era, somewhere between ghostly ambiance and muffled, technical gitarwork, and Gates beautifully echoes that time.
Rotgut God - Hope for Higher Heaven | Funeral Party Records | Neofolk | United States
So first off, naming your band after a Current 93 lyric is by far the best thing ever. Auspicious for a neofolk group, I suppose, but, nonetheless, it works in Rotgut God's favor. As the allusion in their name suggests, this group's music follows the delicate, baroque style of Michael Cashmore-era Current 93, steeped in sparse textures, interesting orchestration, and voices sung at an almost spoken meter. Pulling off this kind of loose, referential music is difficult, but I'm convinced.
FROM THE GRAVE
Tenebrae in Perpetuum - La Genesi: 2001-2002 | Ordo MCM | Black Metal | Italy
Up until about 2010, multi-instrumentalist Francesco Marinelli created some of the most haunting, despondent black metal to emerge from Italy, both as Beatrik and Tenebrae in Perpetuum. Unfortunately, we have been without his music for almost seven years. It's truly hard to believe. Compiling his first demo and self-titled EP from the early part of the last decade, La Genesi: 2001-2002 captures the harsh, searing beginnings of what was to be a monochromatic, stunning discography.
Ride For Revenge - Thy Horrendous Yearning | Hells Headbangers Records | Experimental Black Metal | Finland
Harald Mentor is a madman, I'm sure of it. Along with having irons in a seemingly infinite amount of stylistic fires, curating the Bestial Burst label, and hosting a podcast, Mentor's main body of work exists under the increasingly strange, alien sounds of Ride For Revenge. I made the mistake of missing out on the original release of this one last year, but, thanks to Hells Headbangers, we can all appreciate Mentor and co's continual envelope pushing.
Hour of Penance - Cast the First Stone | Prosthetic Records | Technical Death Metal | Italy
Welp, it's definitely technical death metal, and it's certainly on the lifeless/"let's play solos the whole time" end of things.