Upcoming Metal Releases 12/3/17-12/9/17
If you're reading this, I'm in the Great White North. This means next week's column will be handled by… someone else. Play nice while I'm away.
Here are the new metal releases for the week of December 3, 2017 – December 9, 2017. 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.
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.
Cleric - Retrocausal | Web of Mimicry | Progressive/Avant-Garde Metalcore | United States
Have you ever taken the time to listen to Cleric? No, not the death metal Cleric. Yes, the one people claim to be "metalcore." Honestly? I have no idea how to truly classify these guys. Inextricably tied to the legendary John Zorn, this avant-metal collective took their sweet time composing and recording the truly insane followup to 2010's Regressions (2014's Resumption single notwithstanding). Blending the chaos of mathcore's playful time-signature and tempo number games with metal's brutality and a jazz-like sense of adventure and wonder, Cleric throw all expectations out the window. This is a free-for all, complete chaos and mammoth enormity painted with sound. New fans: dive in, I dare you.
Over the song’s course, and the album’s as a whole, the music is characterized by an unsettling war of impressions. The raw, windpipe-scraping vocals are undeniably sinister, cloaked in heavy reverb. The drums are a ceaseless storm of punishment that are never content to sit still in any one groove for more than too long. Blanketing the landscape in an oppressive cloud of dread are writhing guitar leads which ring out in foreboding tones.
Despite all this, the chord changes are markedly cathartic. Churning underneath the haze of abrasiveness are progressions that on a particularly sunny day might even be described as warm. The end result is an uncomfortable sense of friction, as the music yearns to venture in both directions at the same time but is never allowed to truly align itself with either pole. Multiple abrupt shifts in meter exacerbate the music’s jarring effect as the listener is denied the luxury of settling into a reliable pattern.
Tongues - Hreilia | I, Voidhanger Records | Black/Death/Doom Metal | Denmark
Bands who cite black, death, and doom metal in their genre of choice generally seem confused, but Tongues definitely manages to fit this very sprawling approach. Hreilia is an imposing record, but very careful in how it creates its large atmospheres.
The Clearing Path - Watershed Between Firmament And The Realm Of Hyperborea | I, Voidhanger Records | Progressive Black Metal/Post-Rock | Italy
Lost somewhere between solo artist Gabriele Gramaglia's prior, more post-hardcore-influenced works under the The Clearing Path banner and the skyward, squeaky clean progressive post-rock of his Summit project, this new The Clearing Path is an oddly isolated convergence within this artist's career.
FOR THE ADVENTUROUS
Suzuki Junzo - Shizuka Na Heya De Ashioto Wa | Utech Records | Acid Rock/Psychedelia | Japan
The legendary, hyper-prolific avant-garde guitarist (I once watched him mildly beat up a guitar for 70 minutes a few years ago) returns to his psychedelic rock roots. It's hazy, an adventure into cannabis-infected brainspace and hypnotic periods of time spent in that really comfortable bean-bag chair you had in your college dorm, man. Remember when?
LÜÜP - Canticles of the Holy Scythe | I, Voidhanger Records | Darkwave/Chamber Music | Greece
With the release of Les Chants du Hasard's debut earlier this year, I, Voidhanger Records acquainted themselves with the world of orchestral darkwave. Greece's LÜÜP, however, takes that notion to a much deeper level. Casting off any use of electronics, the blasphemous Canticles of the Holy Scythe solely features acoustic instruments. This hypnotic, gorgeous work fills me with dread, as if it emanated from a hidden hall in some haunted, long-since abandoned castle. Like something you shouldn't hear, lest you be struck down for intruding on some occult ritual.
FROM THE GRAVE
Carpathian Forest - The Fucking Evil Years | Season of Mist | Black Metal | Norway
People don't talk about Carpathian Forest as often as they should. Sure, the bondage approach they took later on doesn't really match their more atmospheric, naturalistic beginnings, but have you listened to them lately? This is some evil, gnarly stuff! A 3CD set which compiles Defending the Throne of Evil, the Skjend Hans Lik EP, and Fuck You All!!! Caput tuu, in ano est, this truly captures the band's most evil era. Though it's been over a decade since we've heard from Carpathian Forest, this might be a sign of future stirrings. At least, I hope.
Into Coffin - The Majestic Supremacy Of Cosmic Chaos | Terror From Hell | Death/Doom Metal | Germany
Instead of going into a pyramid of doom, Into Coffin delves into a full-on necropolis with this new album. Heavy as generations of rotting corpses.
Thaw - Grains | Agonia Records | Ambient Black Metal/Noise (?) | Poland
I still don't quite understand why people insist on saying this band has some type of noise element. Across their career, Thaw has morphed into a post-rock band who just happens to employ black metal's harsh distortion. It isn't, nor has it ever been all that impressive to me.