Upcoming Metal Releases 3/6/2016 – 3/12/2016
Last week was too long. I’m dialing it back this week for my sanity. At least, I’m dialing it back with this column. Also, have you guys given the last Borknagar album a solid listen? I definitely wrote it off beyond the amazing single "Winter Thrice." Listen to it while it’s still cold.
Y’all know the drill by now. I found a bunch of metal releases which should be out this week (March 6th through 12th). Use the comment box below to talk about stuff. Be nice.
Northless - Cold Migration EP | Triple Eye Industries | Sludge/Doom Metal/Post-Hardcore | United States
More Northless! Yes, you might recall a certain split Milwaukee’s finest shared with Primitive Man gracing last week’s Upcoming Metal Releases column, but Northless appear to be maintaining an ecstatic momentum, culminating in yet another new release. The band’s first solo release since 2013’s mammoth World Keeps Sinking, Cold Migration is yet another highlight in Northless’s discography, reveling in both extreme heaviness and intricate musicianship. I had mentioned seminal post-hardcore and experimental punk label Touch & Go when referencing their emphasis on technicality in conjunction with hardcore intensity, which is definitely echoed here (especially in Jerry Hauppa’s incredible bass work - you can tell he’s a guitarist by trade), but Northless definitely ups the ante with the 11-minute closer "Conduit." A mammoth, heartfelt "post-metal" ballad, I was mildly surprised to find frontman Erik Stenglein abandon his trademark sasquatch yell for a (unfortunately dialed back) clean voice. It’s these moments which can either redefine or completely destroy a band, and this was one of those magnificent moments in evolution which bolsters Northless’s status as a mainstay. I’ve heard word of yet another release in the pipeline this year, about which I am ecstatic. Keep 'em coming!
Sonance - Blister The Maw | Holy Roar Records | Post-Metal/Ambient | United Kingdom
While Sonance’s much lengthier, cinematic efforts have garnered near-universal praise, often entire record-length tracks split up into movements and uploaded to the internet with hope of an analog release, Blister in the Maw shows their ambiance-driven post-sludge is so much more than "soundtrack metal." Taking stronger cues from their post-hardcore roots, these Brits offer up a much more evenly-spread mixture of deep sludge and expansive post-rock with enough post-hardcore bounce to maintain an ecstatic momentum. I must admit to avoiding Sonance, it is in my nature to distantly ignore the darlings of the blogosphere, but this latest full-length convinced me that my self-imbued curmudgeonliness has been more of a hindrance than anything else.
Panopticon/Waldgeflüster - Panopticon/Waldgeflüster | Bindrune Recordings/Nordvis | Atmospheric Folk/Black Metal / Atmospheric Black Metal | United States/Germany
From my premiere last Friday:
The union of Panopticon and Waldgeflüster is breathtaking, a survey of the beauty and rage of black metal in the new millennium. I tend to use the "two sides of the same coin" phrase when it comes to splits like these, but these two acts manage to maintain their own identities while simultaneously making minor tributes to each other in a way which is both challenging and heartfelt. This salute to Lunn and Winterherz’s lasting friendship, as well as Lunn’s adoration for his son, is a graceful ideological challenge: you don’t have to be alone, it is okay to embrace the love of others.
Read more of my thoughts and have an exclusive listen here
Njiqahdda - Moonstones I & II (Cloudmessenger) | EEE Recordings | Atmospheric/Progressive Metal/Rock | United States
Njiqahdda has definitely been a constant in the past decade of my own music listening, and with multitudes of releases every year, I never really lost interest. An endless stream of media keeps Jon sane. A recent relocation to Colorado has kept the enigmatic E, now unmasked as multi-instrumentalist Eric Henderson via a tour with Velnias, at bay, though the few releases which have worked their way through have been some of his strongest work yet. An instrumental "double album," though only thirty-seven minutes in length, expounds upon the progressive rock of both previous Njiqahdda releases and Henderson’s "solo" E. releases, marrying hardened technicality with a penchant for the extraterrestrial.
Sarke - Bogefod | Indie Recordings | Black Metal | Norway
I could really get into it about this album, but that would just get in the way of Nocturno Culto being the best black metal frontman ever. If you are a false, do not entry.
Sonance/Torpor - SONANCE / TORPOR | Truthseeker Music (Holy Roar Records) | Post-Metal/Ambient / Sludge/Doom Metal | United Kingdom
More Sonance? Sure, why not. This time the Bristol band pairs up with Torpor, who had been previously unknown to me. With such a small discography in volume as Sonance’s, I am perfectly content with more of their boundless, lens-intensed atmosphere, but Torpor’s excessively heavy, though still melodic, sludge really steals the show. They come off as an artsy, but still reserved Grief: crushing, bottomless and intelligent.
Draugnim - Vulturine | Debemur Morti Productions | Blackened Pagan Metal | Finland
Big, big, big, atmospheric black metal with strong, folky melodies. Did I mention big? I’ve been sort of burned out on the standard "post-metal" Debemur Morti has been dipping into with their more recent releases, so I am glad to hear something a little more blackened from their camp. Fun fact, I think I had a CDr copy of Draugnim’s Sworn in Waves demo some nine years ago.
Boveda del Sol - Terra Firma | Independent/Digital | Atmospheric Death/Doom Metal/Post-Rock | Spain
For all the "post-metal" bands out there, so many remain locked in the now-classic sludge rut. Don’t get me wrong, there are still good bands making music in that style, but Bovea del Sol’s utilization of monolithic death/doom metal as a vehicle for their otherworldly atmospheres sets this solo project apart. I always wondered what it would be like if Rosetta was signed to Peaceville in 1993.
Diamond Head - Diamond Head | Cargo Records | NWOBHM/Hard Rock | United Kingdom
Though a little more known for Metallica’s cover of their "Am I Evil?" single, Diamond Head is a band worth exploring (with a massive discography at your disposal). Far removed from their classic NWOBHM days, Diamond Head’s newest self-titled affair (so many classic bands are going the eponymous route, huh) is a summery bout of arena rock, bound to be the soundtrack to many motorcycle rides to come.
FOR THE ADVENTUROUS
FOR THE ADVENTUROUS
The Observatory - August Is The Cruellest | Independent/Digital | Psychedelic/Art Rock | Singapore
I don’t think I could begin to deconstruct this release at this point. Give me a few months and even then I might be able to scratch the surface of The Observatory’s catchy, adventurous, strange, lush, artful progressive rock. People in the United States generally don’t turn to Singapore for new, progressive music (I could probably list more Singaporean brutal death metal bands), but The Observatory makes yet another powerful statement in music, as well as a strong stance against my own ethnocentrism.
Njiijn - Moonstones III | EEE Recordings | Ambient/Drone| United States
With each Njiqahdda album comes a response from its dark ambient sibling, Njiijn. Though most releases from this project fall under the "abstract" banner, I was pleased to hear some very pleasant, folky piano work. I’ve always been touchy on Njiijn releases, especially compared to the monstrous Njiqahdda, but this is a sudden turn for the better.
FROM THE GRAVE
FROM THE GRAVE
Panphage - Genom Konst & Krig | Ætergap Productions | Black Metal | Sweden
The four gorgeous, melodic, aggressive Panphage demos, now remastered and available in an A5 digipack double album. Be sure to follow any and all instructions to a T when ordering from Ætergap Productions, lest ye be left in the dust.
Moon - MMXII (Demo) | Independent/Digital | Black Metal/Ambient | Australia
You should know Moon by now, and if not, it is still cold enough to listen. This demo is special in comparison to previous works, mainly due to usual isolate Miasmyr’s employment of a full band.
Asgrauw - Schijngestalten | Sylvan Screams Analog | Black Metal | The Netherlands
Oh how I love a solid slab of Dutch black metal. Asgrauw’s first album is a much more conservative companion to fellow countrymen Lugubrum’s first forays into black metal oddity. Melodic, aggressive, and cold, this is now available on cassette via Sylvan Screams Analog.
Primitive Man - P//M | Crown & Throne Ltd | Noise/Drone/Doom Metal | United States
I covered a couple Primitive Man releases last week which were more or less par for the course concerning their signature "heavy as a blue whale" doom metal, but the trifecta is closed with a reissue of their P//M album. This is not your average sludge release, or your average metal release. With P//M, Primitive Man delves into the darkest depths of harsh drone, noise, and industrial music, even going as far as to cover one of my favorite Portishead songs. This isn’t another Scorn, and Crown and Throne Ltd were brave enough to press it on vinyl.