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Here are the new metal releases for the week of 2/22/2015 – 2/28/2015. 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 Tuesday unless otherwise noted. Blurbs and designations are based on available promotional material and perceived buzz.

—Skid Rÿche

See something we missed? Goofs? Let us know in the comments. Plus, as always, feel free to post your own shopping lists. Happy digging.

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Anticipated Releases:

Aktor - Paranoia | High Roller Records | 70’s metal | Hard Rock | Chicago | Finland

Q: Does Chris Black ever stop? A: Chicago one-man-metal dynamo meets Finland one-man-metal dynamo of Circle/Pharoah Overlord fame, so to answer your question, no. He just teams up with the OTHER busiest guy in psyche-metal experimentation, Jussi Lehtisalo.
Related to: High Spirits, Dawnbringer, Pharaoh, Pharaoh Overlord, Circle

Carach Angren - This Is No Fairy Tale | Season Of Mist | Horror | Symphonic Black Metal

Dutch horror-fiends Carach Angren knock out their 4th full length of King Diamond-like storytelling.

Crypt Sermon - Out Of The Garden | Dark Descent Records | Doom Metal | Shredz | Philadelphia

Straight to the top of your 2015 AOTY list for these Candlemass-heavy doomsters. Check out our interview with them here.
Related to: Trenchrot | Hivelords

Ensiferum - One Man Army | Metal Blade | Epic Folk Metal | Vikings and Pagans

Have Ensiferum shed their folk metal roots and gone thrash? I dunno, I haven't heard it past this song, so it's up to YOU to decide when you get their new album.

Keep Of Kalessin - Epistemology | Indie Recordings | Black Metal

It's that old Obsidian Claw again. Not so much in the way of steaming fresh clips from the new album, but here's a clip of a song that is on the album.

Related to: Every Norwegian black metal band ever

Scorpions - Return To Forever | RCA | Hard Rock | 80's Metal

Seriously, for better or for worse, a new Scorpions album should be a national metal holiday. We metal fans owe them as much as we owe Sabbath. Also, they wrote the only "power ballad" worth mention by any metric in the immortal "Still Loving You." The included clip is promoting the documentary that celebrates their 50th anniversary as a band. 50 freaking years!!! That's when your grandparents got married. If you don't feel it necessary to get the new album, at least go listen to Tokyo Tapes, and if you haven't listened to their 70's RCA catalog, you need to end your ignorance forthwith.

Related To: Literally, everything we love.

"I hope we get a good feeling together... O genki desu ka!!"

Torche - Restarter | Relapse records | Heavy Metal | Prog | Fine Arts

Vastly divisive masters of the hook, Torche return with their first album since 2012's Harmonicraft. You can help Torche battle the robots here.

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Of Note:

Atomic Aggressor - Sights of Suffering | Hells Headbangers | Blackened Death Metal | Chile
Pioneering warlords of blackened death metal return (arrive?) with their debut full length following well received demos released in the early 90's.

An Autumn For Crippled Children - The Long Goodbye | Wicker Man Recordings | Atmospheric Black Metal | "Black Gaze" | Netherlands
Once a scene curiosity and not just for their bizarre name, AAFCC have been a longstanding leading light of the misunderstood "Black Gaze" sub-genre that has proven it's viability as well as deeply divided fans.

Below The Sun - Envoy | Temple Of Tortuous | Funeral Doom | Russia
There's a guy named "Vacuum" in the band. That's awesome.

Black Star Riders - The Killer Instinct | Nuclear Blast | Hard Rock | Early Metal | Guitar Heroes | It's Thin freaking Lizzy | Ireland
Let's not mince words here: BSR are the spiritual continuation of Thin Lizzy, formed by ex-members Scott Gorham and Brian Downey to honor the memory of Phil Lynott, but when they started writing new music, original guitarist Scott Gorham decided that the band should continue under it's own name since the spirit of Thin Lizzy's songwriting really was 100% Phil Lynott. A classy and necessary move by anyone's estimation.

Dr. Living Dead - Crush The Sublime Gods | Century Media | 80's Horror Flix | Crossover Thrash | Sweden
Skeleton mask wearing thrash gangsters ask "Are you TEAMxDEADx?"

Goat Semen - Ego Svm Satana | Hells Headbangers | Bestial Black Metal | War Metal | Español | Peru
Very hotly anticipated "load" of necrobestial war metal. Another debut album from a long-worshipped Sudamerican kvlt that has been together for over a decade brought forth by the filth peddlers at HHR.

Hacavitz - Darkness Beyond | Dark Descent | Black Metal | Mexico
Hacavitz follow up 2010's brilliant Obscura Meztli with their latest savage offering.

Halshug - Blodets Band | Southern Lord | D-Beat | Raw Scandinavian-influenced Hardcore | Denmark
Southern Lord has been harvesting the D Beat genre for awhile and Halshug proves that they are only getting better at picking winners. Stream a song here.

Johansson & Speckmann - Mask Of The Treacherous | Vic records | Old School Death Metal | Czech Republic | Sweden
Paul Speckmann of Master fame does what Paul Speckmann does best... uncompromising old school death metal!

Necrowretch - With Serpents Scourge | Century Media | Blackened Death Metal | France
Enjoyable cross of South American bestial black metal meets early Marduk. If that's your cup of tea, then Necrowretch is... uh... your cup of tea.

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Since I am the new guy and I don't really have a very firm grasp on "things we may have missed" I'm going to leave it up to you guys, our trusted readers to provide your humble narrator with suggestions in the comments so I can start compiling my own understanding. In the meantime, my little pet addition as the new UMR editor is going to be a section of reissues to make note of. I am a vinyl nerd and while I am more interested in original pressings, very little beats a REALLY boss reissue of something that never came out on LP, or is typically so exorbitantly overpriced, the only reason anyone wants it is to wag it in people's faces. This will not be an "every week" thing, it will be a "when it applies" thing. It will also not be confined only to LP's. For instance, those Chastain reissues are out on CD and I am just as stoked on them as I am about the recent Melvins reissues.

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>>>Boss Reissues<<<

Warhorse - As Heaven Turns To Ash | Southern Lord | Extreme Doom | 1mph
Back in the early 00's, the place to turn to for the heaviest stuff happening was most assuredly Southern Lord. They pedaled in nothing else. No bedroom black metal, no HM2 D Beat, nothing fashionable whatsoever. Southern Lord almost singlehandedly made the drop-A bomb a fashionable chord to play. It could not have happened without As Heaven Turns To Ash from Warhorse. When this album dropped, just about every doom metal band on the planet ran back to their rehearsal rooms to re-think what they were going to do with the rest of their lives. It was quite literally, the heaviest thing anyone had ever heard. This double LP reissue is a bounty bestowed upon us by 'The Lord' and should be treated as such. Following a well received national tour where they played host for Electric Wizard's first national US tour, Warhorse quietly disbanded and the album went out of print as Southern Lord diversified their activities.

Bedemon - Child Of Darkness | Relapse | Classic Doom Metal
Pentagram junkies take note: Bedemon was a "bedroom" studio project of Randy Palmer and Geof O'Keef in the late 70's/early 80's apart from their work in the on-again-off-again Pentagram. They actually enlisted Bobby Liebling's help as a favor for these early recordings and while the demos are very "demo-y" sounding (read: about as rough as Pentagram rehearsal takes) Bedemon's material was easily as strong as Pentagram's. This collection was released ten years ago on a small Italian label and has been pretty difficult to find over the past few years, but Relapse Records has taken it upon themselves to put this material out there again. Bedemon has been somewhat active again over the past few years. Bedemon will be playing their first live show this summer at Psycho California alongside other noteworthy acts like Pentagram, Sleep, Acid Witch, Orange Goblin, Coffinworm, Earth, Pallbearer and something like 30 other groups. Looks like you need to gas up your boogie van and get you out to Cali!

Chastain - The Seventh Of Never and Voice Of The Cult | Divebomb Records | Speed Metal | 80's Metal | |Guitar Heroes | Power Metal
Behold, the best American 80's metal band you have never heard of. In the early 80's, David T. Chastain decided to avoid the hassle of dealing with record labels by just starting his own independent label, the guitar shred-oriented Leviathan Records which still operates to this day. While David Chastain continues to independently produce and release well done guitar-oriented albums for himself and a number of other shredder-types, his earliest nationally released act was CJSS, who by 1984, had ultimately sorta become Chastain. The biggest difference being a new powerhouse female vocalist, the unstoppable Leather Leone. Chastain's guitar pyrotechnics and the band's aggressive playing apexed with Leather's gritty trademark vibrato-howl to create one of the most powerful sounds of the 80's. While these albums may be a product of their time, the snarl Chastain put forth up their 5th release was really unheard of at that time for the style. Far too aggressive for the poncier Satriani/Vai crowd, but not willing to go full on thrash, or hand the reigns over to a major label, the original lineup of Chastain disbanded in 1990 after reaching a limited, but avid following with 5 albums. David has enjoyed a long and steady career as a "player's player" while Leather released "Shockwaves," a solo album in the early 90's. "The 7th Of Never" and "Voice Of The Cult" are Chastain's 3rd and 4th albums respectively and have been remastered for the first time and released in definitive packages by Divebomb records, who already released definitive editions of the 5th album "For Those Who Dare" and Leather's solo album. 3/4ths of the original Chastain lineup reformed a few years ago and dropped "Surrender To No One" and will be releasing "We Bleed Metal" later this year. I will seriously talk to anyone who will listen about how fucking fantastic Chastain are, and have been stoked on them for many years, so I am SUPER excited that these are back in print. Divebomb has really built up quite a stable of cool releases as well, so pick up a Reverend or Scanner reissue while you are taking my advice and giving them your money.

Relapse Records has also announced a hefty campaign of 25th Anniversary LP reissues of many of their catalog items that have been out of print for quite some time. I know you want a fresh copy of Onward To Golgotha, Human Remains, Pan-Thy-Monium and/or Amorphis's beloved classic Elegy. This shit is utterly bonkers and it doesn't look like they are done with it. Hopefully this goes on all year and we have loads more killer reissues to report. GET YOU SOME HERE!!!

That's all for this week. Let the new guy know where he is screwing up in the comments!