Here are the new metal releases for the weeks of February 25, 2017 – March 3, 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. Some things whose releases are rumored to happen this week: Ancst - Ghosts of the Timeless Void, Aorlhac - L'espirit des vents

send Jon your promos at jon@invisibleoranges.com. Do not bother him on social media.




Slugdge - Esoteric Malacology | Willowtip Records | Progressive Blackened Death Metal ("Slug Metal") | England
From Chris's premiere of "The Spectral Burrows":

While the band is no less heavy than before, “Spectral Burrows” finds Slugdge exploring the space within their songwriting process with a fresh approach. Shades of Meshuggah, Gojira, and even Amorphis shine through the clear production work. Yes, concept albums about slugs might seem like they need to sound muddy, but these are space slugs. There’s a difference.

Sixes - Methistopheles | Black Bow Records | Blackened Sludge Metal | United States

From JJ's premiere of "Methistopheles":

There’s a cavern in the brain that most people avoid, a submerged recess that houses our basest impulses. Sixes’ debut LP Methistopheles and its title track dive headfirst into that murk, not once emerging for air. Throughout “Methistopholes,” guitarists Stephen Cummings and Hannes Bogacs weave lead blankets of distortion adorned with rusted nails of feedback. Drummer Eddie Estrada, who’s been replaced by atom-smasher Dustin Daniels, and bassist Zander Reddis’ churning rhythms similarly weigh on the chest. Adding extra sting, the song traverses into a storm of primitive black metal before diving back into the chasm of negativity from which it was spawned.

Knelt Rote - Alterity | Nuclear War Now! Productions | Black Metal/Grindcore | United States
Knelt Rote is dead. Has been for over a year at this point, but the legendary masters of chaos's death throes have finally made their way to the public. Much like their previous work, Alterity is an exercise in inertia, and this album opens at full tilt, denying friction and embracing their own momentum in its entirety. Even after their demise, Knelt Rote forged their own epitaph. It reads "More Extreme Than You".






Ilsa - Corpse Fortress | Relapse Records | Death/Doom Metal | United States
I can see why people like Ilsa -- really, I can -- but to me they're just another band who owns a couple Boss HM2 pedals and wants to sound like a pastiche of bands who played death metal from 1988-1995. It's fine, and I'm sure I would like to see them live again, but "new old school death metal" does nothing for me when I listen to it by myself.

Towards Atlantis Lights - Dust of Aeons | Transcending Obscurity Records | Funeral Doom Metal | International
We still have to wait about a month until the new Mournful Congregation album hits shelves, but at least we have the long-form MC worship of "funeral doom supergroup" (how odd) Towards Atlantis Lights to tide us over.

Iron Reagan/Gatecreeper - Split | Relapse Records | Crossover/Thrash Metal / Death Metal | United States
I mean, it's riff city. You should know what to expect here.

Oceans of Slumber - The Banished Heart | Century Media Records | Progressive Metal | United States
I actually enjoyed Oceans of Slumber's debut if just a little bit -- somehow finding a middle ground between Blackwater Park-era Opeth and the soul of Sevendust (and there is that great Moody Blues cover, too), but this time around they've dialed it back. There is a lot of nuance to this record which is hard to pinpoint -- focusing more on Appalachian-esque atmospheres than the progressive metal brawn of its predecessor.




Spirals - Spirals | Pacific Threnodies | Black-ish Krautrock ("Alien Sex Music") | United States
It's weird to think this album is finally coming out - I recall a 3" CDr with its first half finding its way to my parents' house seven or eight years ago, back when someone had first jokingly described their sound as "Alien Sex Music". Boasting members of Nemorensis, At Dusk, Hollow Sunshine, and more, Spirals couldn't sound further from any of those bands. A complete emotional void, the long-shelved self-titled Spirals album mires itself in the blackest, most minimal krautrock -- something soothing and hypnotic, but with an unsettling, depersonalizing undercurrent.

Qual - The Ultimate Climax | Avant! Records | Gothic/Hard Techno | England
What the fuck is this?! I should absolutely hate it, and yet I find myself absolutely enthralled. Somehow mixing coldwave with hard techno and black metal-esque shrieks, Qual bursts out the gate with peak intensity. This is total body music, and you will move more than just your head to this album (I guarantee it).




Voidhanger - Dark Days of the Soul | Agonia Records | Black/Thrash/Death Metal | Poland
Voidhanger continues down the path of greatness, and Dark Days of the Soul is yet another shining example of this Polish band finding threads of intensity within every style of metal and weaving them into a tapestry of madness. The only thing which keeps them from becoming a regular listen is… Voidhanger is super one dimensional. I wouldn't mind a little variety every once in a while, you know?

Lumnos - Ancient Shadows of Saturn | Flowing Downward | Atmospheric Black Metal | Brazil
Though Lumnos wears the "space" influence on their sleeve, the music found on Ancient Shadows of Saturn lacks that "astral" character. Musically, Lumnos is perfectly fine, but standard "atmospheric" black metal, but of a type which I find myself immediately forgetting after even the most intense listening session.

Coldawn - ...In The Dawn | Flowing Downward | Post-Rock Metal | Australia/Venezuela
To be completely transparent, I'm the worst person to ask about super washy black-ish metal like this. I'm glad Avantgarde Music has taken the time to open a new sublabel to shine a spotlight on underground artists like this, but Coldawn, even with their semi-star-studded lineup (featuring Tim Yatras from Germ/Austere), just sounds like another stumbling late 2000s attempt to "sound like Alcest."


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