Upcoming Metal Releases 2/7/2016 – 2/13/2016
Last week’s list was really long, and you will see throughout the week that I’ve kept myself very, very busy. On the bright side, I get to see the sun before and after work now! FOAD, winter.
Below you will find a cross-section of metal-and-related albums slated for release during the calendar week of February 7th through 13th, 2016. I definitely missed a few releases, so be sure to tell me all about them in the comments below.
Urgehal - Aeons in Sodom | Season of Mist | Black Metal | Norway
Trondr Nefas is dead, long live Trondr Nefas. In the wake of the Urgehal frontman’s untimely passing in 2012, I honestly wrote the band off as disbanded and was done with it. Knowing the band managed to salvage guitar tracks Nefas had recorded and made an album out of them brought about some conflicting emotions. Yes, he is dead and maybe his band should die with him, but, at the same time, there is something to be said about a sense of completion and his intent to complete the album. Cognitive dissonance aside, Aeons in Sodom is an extremely well performed Norwegian black metal album, albeit on the conservative side (it is Urgehal, after all). The most impressive, and moving, honestly, aspect of this album is the incredible list of guest musicians who all pay their respects to their fallen brother. I mean, members of Taake, Thunderbolt, Sadistic Intent, Koldbrann, Shining, Darkthrone, Tsjuder, and so many more leave their distinct mark on this album. For something so evil, it really is quite touching.
Löbo - Älma | Signal Rex | Atmospheric Sludge/Doom Metal | Portugal
I was surprised to hear Löbo had reformed, as I was a semi-frequent listener of the Älma EP when it first came out almost six years ago and was left subsequently bummed when they broke up in 2013. Returning with a re-recorded and extended version of the aforementioned EP, Löbo sets forth to put their entire listening audience in a blissful, sound-induced trance. Älma is an absolutely gorgeous, lush "post-metal" album which, though not very gripping (Editor Joseph Schafer refers to them as "Yoga Metal": music which best takes place enjoyed in the background), is well-executed and tastefully performed.
Stream the opening track here.
Siaskel - Haruwen Airen | Graceless Recordings | Black/Death Metal | Chile
The "black/death metal" tag always warrants a little bit of a cringe from me, but Chile’s Siaskel has absolutely perfected the mix. Coming off like a heavier, less melodic Dissection, Haruwen Airen is a powerful, catchy, memorable album which honestly caught me off guard. I can’t wait to get my grubby mitts on a copy of this.
Magrudergrind - II | Relapse Records | Powerviolence/Hardcore | United States
I still love you, Magrudergrind. Even after the "we’re posing in front of a Scion because branding" debacle surrounding the Crusher EP (man, people really got mad about that one, huh?), I found solace in Magrudergrind’s spastic, crunchy, grooving powerviolence. Then they disappeared. In fact, had I not played a festival with this trio a little under a year and a half ago, I would have resigned myself to the fact that my beloved Magrudergrind was no more, but, alas, I knew I had to wait. And so I waited - rabidly - and the wait paid off. II picks up right where Magrudergrind left off with their self titled full-length and the aforementioned Crusher EP. These guys are relentless, constantly gaining momentum and grasping onto coherence by just a thread. Welcome back, Magrudergrind - don’t leave me again.
Eight Bells - Landless | Battleground Records | Atmospheric Sludgel/Prog/Alternative | United States
Describing Portland’s Eight Bells is tough. Here’s the best that I did when we premiered their song “Hold My Breath” last month: “Darkness conceals; it is more than the absence of light. Eight Bells sound as if they, too, are hiding something. Their jagged, sometimes Slint-like approach to songwriting, and their assonant singing make their songs obscure. This is the case on their entire new album, Landless. Like Homer's sailors cave across the surface of the ocean, I find myself obsessed with the surface of Eight Bells's music, curious what lies beneath.” Confused yet? How’s this. Melodic proggy melancholy with clearer vocals than before as well as tighter and more pounding drums.
Rotting Christ - Rituals | Season of Mist | Melodic Black Metal | Greece
And so Rotting Christ continues their downward spiral. The same band who was seemingly on a twenty-year rampage hit a wall after 2007’s Theogonia and never really got back up. That isn’t to say this album is all that bad, songs like "For A Voice Like Thunder" still carries that special sort of "Hellenic pomp" which made Rotting Christ so special, but nowadays I turn to Thou Art Lord if I want to hear Sakis make quality metal.
Gehennah - Too Loud to Live, Too Drunk to Die | Metal Blade Reccords | Black/Thrash Metal | Sweden
In the wake of Lemmy Kilmister’s death, it seems sort of sacrilegious to release an album which would sound distinctly Motorheadian, but Gehennah’s blackened d-beats definitely do Lemmy justice. I went into this expecting some especially mediocre blackened thrash in the special sort of "bad" that only bigger label bands can pull off, but all I want to do now is get drunk and ride my bike.
FOR THE ADVENTUROUS
Zvi - Zvi II : Death Stops Us All | Half Pear | Experimental Drone/Doom Metal/Rock/Ambient | United States
Ron Varod is a musical force to be reckoned with. More widely known for his wildly adventurous guitar work with Kayo Dot, Varod’s solo project Zvi shows just how unique and idiosyncratic his inherent style really is. Three lengthy tracks which bridge the gaps between drone, jazz, the avant-garde, and doom metal, all retaining a cinematic, grandiose atmosphere.
WHAT WE MISSED
Seven Sisters Of Sleep - Ezekiel’s Hags | Relapse Records | Sludge/Doom Metal | United States
Wow was I stupid when I missed this. Seven Sisters of Sleep was always in my peripherals but I never really gave them the time of day. I operated under the notion that they were "just another sludge band," but Ezekiel’s Hags shows I was obviously wrong. Though rooted in the aforementioned sludgy doom, Seven Sisters of Sleep has their fingers in many, many different pots, utilizing elements of hardcore, black metal, death metal, and more, resulting in a strong fist launched square into your sternum. Be sure to breathe evenly.