Upcoming Metal Releases: 2/5/2017 – 2/11/2017
Here are the new metal releases for the week of February 5, 2017 – February 11, 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.
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 after this is published will not be covered. This week: Nothing? Tell me in the comments.
Immolation - Atonement | Nuclear Blast | Death Metal | United States
I have the world's biggest soft spot for "mid-modern-era" Immolation (read as: Close to a World Below and Unholy Cult). Something about the juxtaposition of slightly melodic, wholly apocalyptic riff work and a completely unhinged rhythm section creating a mammoth style hit me in that hard-to-reach, "perfect modern death metal" niche. The "slow down" which happened afterward, mostly due to changing lineup, really lost me, and while Atonement doesn't even closely resemble the violent, chaotic sound-era which drew me in, there is a larger amount of muscle found here than before - replacing outbursts with a more consistent pummel.
From Joseph's premiere of "Ash Yggdrasil":
"After a four year break Nidingr are about to release their follow-up, The High Heat Licks Agaisnt Heaven, which doubles down on the moshy and anthemic songs of its predecessors (“Hangaguð”, “On Dead Body Shore”) and adds a few more progressive twists to the mix as well, such as the trip-hop twisted “Gleipnir”. “Ash Yggdrasil” splits the difference between both worlds, with more melody on the whole than Nidingr usually employs, as well as some of the memorable-as-hell riffs that pour out of Iversen so long as he’s not trying to fulfill someone else’s vision. Rygg sings on the first part of the track, but he doesn’t take the track over the way he often does. “Ash Yggdrasil” plays to all of Nidingr’s numerous strengths."
Wiegedood - De doden hebben het goed II | ConSouling Sounds | Black Metal | Belgium
Following their debut, De doden hebben het goed, is the creatively titled De doden hebben het goed II. I wasn't really totally sold on their debut, which seemed to tow the "atmospheric black metal" genre line, and while some of the more hardcore-inspired elements found within its sequel make more interesting points, I feel Wiegedood more aptly defines the stagnation and fall of the "new school" of atmospheric black metal.
Overkill - The Grinding Wheel | Nuclear Blast | Thrash/Groove Metal | United States
New Jersey's Overkill have one of the most consistent careers in metal; on balance I'd take them over almost any component of the Big 4. Equally impressive, they're hot on the heels of a run of excellent records. On this, their eighteenth, they falter a little bit. It's not that songs like "Mean Green Killing Machine" aren't as good as "Electric Rattlesnake". The issue is there's just too much music to digest on The Grinding Wheel. There's worse things to be than a little long in the tooth, though. The Grinding Wheel still kicks, just not quite as hard as, say, Ironbound.
FOR THE ADVENTUROUS
Trevor de Brauw - Uptown | The Flenser | Drone | United States
Pelican is definitely a household name, at least at this point, but guitarist Trevor de Brauw's range of influence goes beyond the atmospheric "metalgaze" of his primary project. Through projects like Chord and RLYR, de Brauw explored the worlds of rock-band-setup La Monte Young minimalism and more aggressive, heavier rock music, and, of course, Tusk's genre-bending post-hardcore-grind-rock. But hearing de Brauw on his own is a rarity. Featuring recordings which date back to the mid-2000s (some of which actually coexisted with The Fire In Our Throats…), Uptown is his musical essence - heavy, syrupy drones and distilled indie rock shimmer-and-jangle. Some might recall hints at this sort of sound in the more sparse moments of Flenser labelmate Planning for Burial's early work. Trevor de Brauw's work has always dealt heavily in texture and minimalism, and, by himself, is proven to be his primary objective.
FROM THE GRAVE
Nagelfar - Alte Welten | Ván Records | Black Metal | Germany
For all the people losing their minds over The Ruins of Beverast, I hear fewer and fewer references to von Meilenwald's first band, and, let me tell you, you are all missing out. Nagelfar (and not the Swedish Naglfar) made glorious, triumphant, autumnal, epic Teutonic black metal the likes of which has yet to really be surpassed, even by their former members' newer projects (Graupel, EgoNoir, Endstille, et cetera, along with the aforementioned Ruins of Beverast). This eleven-LP box definitely errs on the monstrous side, even featuring a previously-cancelled/shelved EP, but perfectly captures an idiosyncratic attempt at black metal perfection.
Cynic - Uroboric Forms - The Complete Demo Recordings | Century Media Recordings | Progressive Death Metal/Fusion, Thrash Metal | United States
The road to Focus was stuttered and covered a lot of ground. From the clumsy, endearing attempts at technical thrash metal (some of those moments in which the entire band was off-time with itself have burned themselves in my psyche forever) to the early versions of "Uroboric Forms" and "The Eagle Nature" on their 1991 Roadrunner Records demo, Cynic's demos show their approach was "progressive" both in execution and timeline approach.
Mors Principium Est - Embers of a Dying World | AFM Records | Melodic Death Metal | Finland
Yea, how the mighty have fallen. For someone who quite enjoyed Inhumanity and The Unborn now over a decade ago, this hyper-modern melodic death metal band is nigh unrecognizable.