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Another big release week! I do wish I could cover everything slated for release every week, but I think that would probably be a full-time job for a whole team of people (ever look at how long Decibel’s new review blurb section is now? Imagine trying to do that by yourself!).

Oh, and Happy Valentine’s Day! Hug your CDs and records close.

Below you will find a list of metal-and-related music releases slated for physical and/or digital consumption during the week of February 14 through 20, 2016. I wish I could cover it all, but I’d probably go crazy. Since I’m bound to miss stuff, leave a comment, maybe even a streaming link(?), in the comments below! My e-mail is below, so please, please keep me abreast of any new releases coming in. Happy listening.

—Jon Rosenthal
send Jon your promos at jon@invisibleoranges.com

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ANTICIPATED RELEASES

Pogavranjen - Jedva Čekam Da Nikad Ne Umrem | Arachnophobia Records | Avant-Garde/Post-Black Metal | Croatia
What a trip of an album. A direct descendant of Carl-Michael Eide’s musical legacy, Pogavranjen’s queasy, discordant black metal is a distinct reminder of black metal’s formative avant-garde days. Read more of my thoughts here.

Circle of Salt/Taggarik - Circle of Salt / Taggarik | Eternal Death | Atmospheric Black Metal | Canada
There’s been quite the influx of "lush, beautiful, verdant" black metal as of late - even albums whose artwork features snow-capped mountains and icicled evergreens don’t quite capture the sound of Winter’s foggy breath. I don’t suppose it is a bad thing, the new century has demonstrated perfectly well that black metal doesn’t have to sound frigid or evil, but it is a welcome return when a black metal release so perfectly embodies the white of winter. The result of Circle of Salt and Taggarik’s union is an absolute malestrom. Occupying the more "gale force" end of the spectrum is Circle of Salt, who eschews the doomed, post-rocky sounds of Suffer the Cold for a much more glacial, luminous sound. The glassine sound found in "Ulserkir" is as relentless as it is awe inspiring and chilling. Taggarik’s slack-tuned fusion of black metal and harsh doom is a perfect match to Circle of Salt, meeting its partner’s intensity with grace and strength.

Funeral Mourning - Descent | Psychedelic Lotus Order | Black/Funeral Doom Metal | Australia
I only recently learned of Funeral Mourning’s semi-recent re-awakening (I actually own multiple copies of Drown in Solitude), and am absolutely ecstatic. Initially released in a hyper-limited edition of twelve copies, Psychedelic Lotus Order has been kind enough to gift Descent to the other seven billion people on Earth. In classic form, Funeral Mourning embodies deep, forlorn depression - cavernous, melodic despondency from deep within the hermit’s cave. After such a long break, it would have been expected for a rebirth to be stale and uninspired, but Funeral Mourning is still fresh and miserable.

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OF NOTE

Hemelbestormer - Aether | Debemur Morti Productions | Post-Metal | Belgium
Is anyone else as offput by Debemur Morti’s abrupt transition into a "post-metal" label as I am? As musically competent as Hemelbestormer may be, I just feel that the whole "loud post-rock sludge" is so overdone that every band sounds like, well, every other band. I’ll stick to my ISIS and Neurosis albums, thank you.

Master’s Hat - Incontinence Fantasy | Universal Consciousness | Black/Doom Metal/Punk | United States
Gross, grimey, putrid blackened stomp featuring Andorkappen of Harassor fame on percussion. Like, this is exceptionally gross. I love it.

Omnium Gatherum - Grey Heavens | Lifeforce Records | Melodic Death Metal | Finland
Okay, so parts of this I really enjoy and parts of it remind me why I fell so deeply out of love with melodic death metal. As always, Omnium Gatherum maintains a mastery of catchy melodies. I mean, these songs are all earworms, but, and there always seems to be a "but" with new melodic death metal albums, the concentration on rhythm over melody is a vast pitfall. I suppose that could be said of all melodic death metal past 2005 or so. Shame. At least we still have Spirits and August Light.

Entropia - Ufonaut | Arachnophobia Records | Black/Sludge/Post-Metal | Poland
Eclectic, weird, spacey, but ultimately not black metal in the way the band proclaims. Entropia fits a little closer to bands like Cave In or Old Man Gloom, not that existing on the post-hardcorey end of the spectrum is bad. Definitely a go-to if you prefer your music chunky, bouncing, and atmospheric.

Bastard Thieves - Bastard Thieves | Dullest Records | Black/Post-Metal/Crust | United States
Is it black metal? Is it sludge? Is it screamo? Bastard Thieves rather effectively blurs the lines in comparison to so many others who have tried, and those absolutely insane screams keep me coming back for more.

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FOR THE ADVENTUROUS

Column of Heaven/Suffering Luna - Column of Heaven / Suffering Luna | Nerve Altar | Powerviolence/Ambient/Power Electronics / Psychedelic Hardcore/Sludge/Doom Metal | Canada/United States
Column of Heaven is dead. It’s a shame - it was actually this release which led me to finally check them out after years of watching most of my blogging friends sing their praises. Thus is life: a day late, a dollar short, mostly because Column of Heaven is so feral and ridiculous that I essentially had a "Jacob’s Ladder" moment, lamenting all the years I had missed. Their crazed, noise-inflicted, expansive approach to hardcore is the perfect next step to powerviolence. I hope someone else carries the torch. It makes sense that Column of Heaven would share a release with oddball psychedelic hardcore stalwarts Suffering Luna, and yes, that is the same Suffering Luna who did a split with Dystopia 21 years ago. Though much slower now than during the days of their complete reign over the West Coast hardcore scene, Suffering Luna’s tempo shift is in no way a cover up for loss of sound potency. They still have it, and you are bound to get lost more than a few times over their 17 minute, side-long contribution to this excellent split.

Dead Letters Spell Out Dead Words - No Words | Cloister Recordings US | "Drone Pop" (Drone/Ambient) | Sweden
Most of you probably know Thomas Ekelund from his more recent work running the Beläten goth/synth imprint and bloodied performances under the name Trepaneringsritualen (or TxRxP), but few seem to cite Ekelund’s earlier work as Dead Letters Spell Out Dead Words. Galaxies away from his current death industrial-meets-power electronics sound as TxRxP, Dead Letters Spells Out Dead Words was pure sonic sadness - synthesizer-led coldwave stripped down to its bare essentials, or, as he liked to call it, "drone pop." Initially released on Locrian’s now-defunct private label Land of Decay, No Words is now available on vinyl (with a beautiful screen-printed foldover sleeve) on Cloister Recordings US.

Gnaw Their Tongues/Actuary - Gnaw Their Tongues / Actuary | Black Horizons | Blackened Noise/Industrial/Doom Metal / Harsh Noise
Oh wow, another Gnaw Their Tongues release! My collection grows ever larger. In true form of his non-album releases, this split shows a much more abstracted, noisy side of Gnaw Their Tongues previously seen on releases like Issei Sagawa and Kaolo. The structure and riffs found on Abyss of Longing Throats are there, just buried under endless synth explosions, massive drum sounds, and swaths upon swaths of harsh noise. As someone who has seen the Actuary name float around (they have an impressive back catalog) but never really listened, the most I can really say is 1) they’re noise and 2) they owe a ton to Eric Wood’s weird adventures in Bastard Noise, which whom Actuary once shared a split.

Ten Thousand Miles Of Arteries - Even Spilled Seed Crawls Toward The Womb | Annihilvs Power Electronics/Sol Y Nieve | Blackened "No Wave"/Power Electronics/Drone | United States
The deserted, hollow emptiness of a post-apocalyptic world. Drawing influence from Swans’s infamously oppressive early years, melancholic black metal, and the harsh oppressiveness of traditional power electronics, Ten Thousand Miles Of Arteries weaves a terrifying tale of the last living person on Earth, a woman who wanders alone amidst nothingness. Even Spilled Seed Crawls Toward The Womb is a hypnotic, miserable, unsettling foray into the bleak sounds of complete isolation.

Oh, and I suppose there’s an element of "conflict of interest" with this release, as I’ve worked with a handful artists on the massive "featuring guest performances by" list.

Whorid - Bloated Pig Carcass In A Shallow Wake | Annihilvs Power Electronics | "Self-Harm Electronics" (Power Electronics/Noise) | United States
It wouldn't be a proper Valentine's Day without abject misery. Daniel Suffering lays down a massive slab of torturous, scathing "self-harm electronics" of the highest caliber. Whorid is not for the weak of heart.

Stream Bloated Pig Carcass In A Shallow Wake via Decibel here.

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LIVE ASSAULTS

Old Man Gloom - Mickey Rookey Live at London | Ektro Records | Sludge Metal/Hardcore/Ambient/Noise | United States
I normally don’t cover live albums, but Old Man Gloom’s The Ape Of God was one of the best albums of last year (yeah, I messed up ignoring them [and Sumac]). As far as live shows go, this is a solid, long set which doesn’t suffer any of the weird "live album" issues: no stage banter, the audio is good, and Old Man Gloom was nice enough to do a little exploring with their songs. What’s the point of a live album if the band just plays their material exactly like how they did in the studio, anyway? Would there be a point, otherwise?

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FROM THE GRAVE

Gnome - Silent Scream | Psychedelic Lotus Order | Black Metal | Japan
Whoa, I don’t think I ever expected to see Gnome end up on vinyl. This glorious gem of mid-'90s Japanese black metal underground has been passed around and pretty much unanimously praised on forums for eons now, but the audio was always lacking. Yes, part of it was because it was the '90s and Masanori had self-released everything on home-dubbed tape, but Gnome’s lush, otherworldly black metal deserved better, which is where this lovely LP re-issue with fully remastered audio comes in. If you want insight into how black metal developed in Japan during the second wave, or if you want to hear some incredible bass work, Gnome is waiting for you.

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OTHER RELEASES

Mefisto - 2.0.1.6.: This Is the End of It All… the Beginning of Everything… | Vic Records | Thrash/Speed/Black Metal | Sweden
Oh man, oh man, this is so bad. To give a bit of context, Mefisto released two amazing demos in the mid ‘80s which helped define black metal’s future, but then they disappeared. In fact, they disappeared to the point where the entire lineup had left metal by 1986. Now, 30 years later, we get a mid life crisis where Mefisto, who can actually play their instruments, attempt to recreate their reckless teenage years. To be blunt: it sucks. Especially the vocals. Avoid.

Morgue Supplier - Morgue Supplier | Obscure Musick | Death Metal/Grindcore | United States
Grooving, but extremely monotonous deathgrind. It seems that Paul Gillis’s mid-ranged vocals have begun to suffer over the band’s existence, as well. Here’s hoping he starts making more music with Drug Honkey, instead.

Svarti Loghin - De överjordiska | Independent/Digital | Black Metal
I went into this expecting another disappointing acoustic rock album - but can you blame me? Empty World came out of nowhere eight years ago and their unique take on grunge-tinted, lush black metal depression left a big mark on me which I still wear (and listen to) today. Luckily, it looks like Svarti Loghin have returned to the black metal sound, but seem to have shed all grunge sound all together. I suppose it should be said that the world doesn’t exactly need another "depressive black metal" band, but Svarti Loghin at the very least performs well and with conviction.

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