Upcoming Metal Releases 2/18/2018-2/24/2018
God damn, there is a TON of stuff coming out this week.
Here are the new metal releases for the weeks of February 18, 2017 – February 24, 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.
Composed over a three-year period, solely within the confines of Heathen Sun holidays like today, Bhleg’s mammoth Solarmegin is a musical homage to the Sun above. Resting at the crux between early ritual folk music and hazy, gritty folk metal, this incandescent double album is a powerful statement, Bhleg’s own Jul. Written under the sun’s rays, and only composed/recorded during celebrated days of the sun (much like today), Solarmegin is literally solar.
Using the folk metal genre tag has become a bit of a damnation in itself. Most bands who utilize the tag are plastinated, a film-inspired approximation of much more complex ethnomusicological constructs. Folk music is meant to be the music of the people, and, within that, is more than the raucous drinking songs which so suddenly define the genre’s metal counterpart.
In the Nordic sense, ancient (the academic term is actually “Early” — go figure) music is rhythmic, cracked music which celebrates the Earth and the gods which represent it. Bhleg follows a similar approach: simple and meditative, but through the ecstatic lens of black(ish) metal. This is jagged and earthen music, true to a much “Earlier” approach. This is the truest example of “folk metal,” and Bhleg makes a verbose case in their favor.
Calgary bruisers WAKE use grindcore as a springboard to connect to far distant points. The band’s tight angles of crunch are superimposed over an ocean of space; layers are curtailed quickly, then lengthened and sent to their logical ending. The band’s upcoming fourth full-length Misery Rites is like extreme metal quicksand: the more you run, the more deafening and complex the maze becomes. For a group closely tied to the grind scene since its inception, Misery Rites is an album with defiant punch: ever brutal while continuously expanding, offering highlights of sharpened psychedelia.
12 Winter Moons Comes The Witches Brew, a totally off-the-wall black metal album whose wicked complexity and hidden melody serves only to delight the purveying/curious mind. The project comprises Tyrone “Tyraenos” Kostitch (all instruments, except saxophone) and Glen Wholohan (saxophone) whose interplay bridges jazz-like tension and multi-layered harmony. We’ve seen saxophone-infused black metal before, but Wholohan’s approach is freshly postmodern without being overbearing.
Coffins/Second to None - Nine Cocoons of Dens to F | Daymare Recordings | Death/Doom Metal / Death Metal | Japan
Can't say I've ever really heard Second to None much, but Coffins has long been my compass rose for death metal majesty. You know the drill (unless you don't, in which case I'd recommend you listen to Mortuary in Darkness ASAP).
Maladie - ...of Harm and Salvation | Apostasy Records | Progressive Black Metal | Germany (and other places)
In stark contrast to the jazz-inflicted psychosis of their prior works, Maladie suddenly falls down a "prog" black hole. Not necessarily "Dream Theater" prog, but something more sprawling and atmospheric, sumptuous in intricacy and uncomfortable in its transparency.
Funerary Bell - Undead Revelations | Saturnal Records | Black Metal | Finland
I recall a time in the mid/late 2000s when Funerary Bell's darkness was more inward and self-destructive (does anyone else remember their split with Blood Red Fog?), but these Finns have fallen prey to the gleaming beacon of triangle-filled occult Satanism. If it was any other band, Undead Revelations would be an incredible album, but Funerary Bell's background offers a damning context.
Esoctrilihum - Pandaemorthium (Forbidden Formulas To Awaken The Blind Sovereigns Of Nothingness) | I, Voidhanger Records | Black/Death Metal | France
I recall this band's previous album being atmospheric and crystalline - my, how sound can change over even a few months. Pandaemorthium is heavy, full of rage and chunk. I always make it a point to highlight bands who tastefully meld black and death metal without sounding like "oakleys&hoodies&goats&...", and Esoctrilihum finds a great middle ground between frightening atmosphere and flexing brawn.
Apostle of Solitude - From Gold to Ash | Cruz del Sur Music | Doom Metal | United States
Classic, powerful doom metal. I get so lost in esoteric emotion and deep texture that immense, solid songwriting like on From Gold to Ash leaves me taken somewhat aback. I guess I kind of separate myself from the "classic doom" school to a large degree, but so few from recent years hits me quite like this.
FOR THE ADVENTUROUS
Keiji Haino & Sumac - American Dollar Bill - Keep Facing Sideways, You're Too Hideous To Look At Face On | Thrill Jockey | Avant-Drone? (beats me) | Japan/United States
I'm not sure what I'm listening to here. Don't get me wrong, Fushitsusha and Sumac both rule, but these two things don't really mix and match very well. American Dollar Bill (amazing title, by the way -- classic Haino) is somehow far too abstract, but also… too much. I guess I expected a heavier Sumac presence, especially with how stellar both their albums are.
White Hills & Der Blutharsch and the infinite church of the leading hand - Desire | Ván Records | Krautrock | United States/Germany
I'm such a sucker for psychedelic rock-era Der Blutharsch (and the infinite church of the leading hand -- important to make that distinction so people don't mix this album up with Track of the Hunted), but I wasn't sure how a collaboration with equally as odd space rockers White Hills would be. As it turns out, the two meet in a strange clash of blissed out krautrock and delicate industrial beats.
Tor Lundvall - A Dark Place | Dais Records | Ambient Pop | United States
I love Tor Lundvall, and knowing my nine year long patience yielded an unexpected voice-led album leaves me overjoyed. Or, somewhat, and briefly, as A Dark Place certainly exists within one. Lundvall's music is generally empty, but warm and familiar (check out Empty City, really). This new album, though, comes from a place of pain and loss, a sudden burst of creativity after the death of Lundvall's father, and so A Dark Place's tenderness exudes a similar darkness. It is new territory for this artist whose music I've looked toward for comfort, but god damn if it isn't brilliant.
Marrow Hymns burrows into your mind like a complex web of substance, filling portals like roots in a reflective glass. There is another layer behind the sound: a form that wraps the compositions like a blanket in the desert of space. You can feel an intimacy that is complete. An area destined to contain the outside of your inner-world. Like a black hole far away, the band careens across a wide expanse of textural pastures, continually seeking the center, but never fully collapsing.
FROM THE GRAVE
Battle Dagorath - I - Dark Dragons of the Cosmos & II - Frozen Light of Eternal Darkness | Fólkvangr Records/Out of Season | Ambient Black Metal | United States/Switzerland
I love Battle Dagorath, especially this two-part monster. Don't believe me? Click here or here. As someone who loves tapes, knowing these two will be available as a box set will definitely make my week. Maybe yours, too?
Vorkuta - Where Still Darkness Dwells | Metal ör Die Records | Black Metal | Hungary
I have missed Vorkuta so much since they disappeared into the aether shortly after their split with Marblebog (how is that ten years old already?). This might be a collection of older material, but any stirrings from this dark Hungarian unit are worth the attention and praise.
Night in Gales - The Last Sunsets | Apostasy Records | Melodic Death/Thrash Metal | Germany
Oh wow, I remember listening to this band during my first deep-dive into melodeath obscurity in the before times/long-long-ago. You should know the deal here - Night in Gales sounds like At The Gates down to the Tomppa-soundalike vocalist!
Thy Antichrist - Wrath of the Beast | Napalm Records | Black Metal | United States (formerly Colombia)
Knowing this band was initially from Medellín definitely painted my expectations (I wouldn't mind some more Ultra Metal in my music vocabulary), but Thy Antichrist is pretty… run of the mill, if not a little "classic metal" inspired in their aesthetics and lyrics. There aren't many black metal songs which are explicitly about the metal genre, you know?
Usurpress - Interregnum | Agonia Records | Death/Sludge Metal | Sweden
If we look back just a few months, it's sad to remember how disappointing the return of Iron Monkey is. Though possessing a unique sort of drama, Usurpress's apocalyptic, death-inflicted sludge fills that void. Somewhat.
Cultus Profano - Sacramentum Obscurus | Debemur Morti Productions | Black Metal | United States
Pure, unadulterated black metal evil. Not much more to say about this, really, but it's good! I guess one of these guys is in Sadistic Intent, too?
Necrophobic - Mark of the Necrogram | Century Media Records | Death/Black Metal | Sweden
For a band who has been around since the '80s, Necrophobic still fucking has it. This is a fun, intense album -- I wish I had known to dive in headfirst earlier on.