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New Enslaved!!! Nuff said. Support your local independent record stores or they will close and your city will be more boring for it.

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Here are the new metal releases for the week of 3/1/2015 to 3/7/2015. 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.

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:

Árstíðir lífsins - Aldafoor Ok Munka Drottinn | VAN | Iceland | Pagan | Epic Metal
Iceland has really started it’s ascent to "metal hotbed" country between Solstafir, Skalmold, and to a lesser extent, Misþyrming (seriously, keep your eye on that name over the next year) and now the bombastically sweeping Árstíðir lífsins… whom English tongues are equally loathe to attempt pronunciation of.

Cancer Bats - Searching For Zero | Metal Blade | Canada | Sludge Metal | Southern Rock | Hardcore | Metal If Canada = North and southern sludge metal = south, then if we were following rules, we could theoretically say East would be hardcore and west would be metal. The Cancer Bats don’t care and never have, Canadians play hardcore influenced southern sludge metal and it seems to be working out just fine for them. Subgenres and rules are stupid anyways.

Code - Mut | Agonia | UK | Prog Metal
Having stepped out of the shadow of their black metal supergroup past, ‘mut’ has CODE more fully embracing prog rock, using it not so much as an affectation anymore, but as a foundation.

Enslaved - In Times | Nuclear Blast | Norway | Progressive Metal | Black Metal
Really, if you aren’t excited about a new Enslaved album, then we won’t have a lot to say to each other over the next month or so, because this is what I am going to want to talk about. So many favorites of mine in their extensive catalog. They may be recording things a lot cleaner these days, but they are no less adventurous.

Evil Invaders - Pulses of Pleasure | Napalm | Belgium | Throwback Thrash
OK, they are named after one of the best Razor albums of all time, but do they stack up? You be the judge!!!

Harm's Way - Rust | Deathwish | Chicago, USA | Mosh
Probably a controversial addition for this week, but I tend to think of them more like a tank than a band, and tanks are fucking metal. I don’t care if there are more basketball jerseys at their show than denim patch vests.

Karen Crisis Gospel Of The Witches - Salem’s Wounds | Century Media | USA | Metal | Progressive
OK, so dig this, It’s basically the two main folks behind that last Ephel Duath record, only without fusion journeymen as a rhythm section (Bryan Beller and Marco Minneman? I had no idea!) Ross and Bob from Immolation pick up that slack… only it doesn’t sound like either Ephel Death or Immolation. If anything, this has a much closer feel to Karyn Crisis’s amazingly forward-thinking 90’s dark metal act, Crisis, in their more introspective moments. Karyn is one of the first female personalities in metal to really work to push female participation in metal beyond the hyper-sexualized stigma that women were saddled with in the music media at that time. "Salem’s Wounds" is Karyn assuming her place among the Mlny’s, Dorthia’s and Jex’s that are currently enjoying the inroads she was able to force a path through.

Melechesh - Enki | Nuclear Blast | Israel/Netherlands | Black Metal | Mesopotamian Metal
Ashmedi’s latest opus. You know them well by now. I shouldn’t need to say much at this point. Melechesh flat out whipped everyone at the "Middle Eastern Metal" thing with Djinn years ago, using actual middle eastern-inspired rhythms and instruments for something other than interludes. Now they dress like the slick European dope dealers in every movie that has ever featured a gang of slick European dope dealers. Ashmedi reminds us all that metal dudes need better fashion.

The Midnight Ghost Train - Cold Was The Ground | Napalm | Kansas, USA | Boogie Metal | Blues
I hail from the Midwestern USA, so I rep the Midwestern USA whenever I get a chance. These Kansas motherfuckers made their video in a corn maze where they wall-of-death with Amish schoolchildren, then set fire to He-Who-Walk-Behind-The-Rows in a Huey P. Newton wicker chair. Nothing gets ANY MORE Midwestern than that.

Oblivionized - Life Is A Struggle, Give Up | Secret Law | UK | Tech | Grind
Techgrind with a feel not too unlike old Willowtip bands like Kalibas and Creation Is Crucifixion. There is no bass guitar. Sometimes that is dumb, but capable bands like Oblivionized make bass guitar sound superfluous anyways.

Psycroptic - Psycroptic | Prosthetic | Technical Death Metal | Tasmania
Tasmanian tech death titans present their grand statement in the form of their self titled 6th album. It had better be a grand statement if they are naming the album after the band.

Urfaust - Apparitions | VAN | Black Metal | Ambient | Drone | Doom
Popular black metal weirdos bless us with a new EP. EP’s don’t usually get much coverage, but Urfaust is pretty prolific with their EP’s and splits and less so with the full lengths. You never know what these guys are going to do, but it rarely disappoints and it always is unmistakeably Urfaust.

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Of Note:

Apocrophex - Suspended From The Cosmic Altar | Manicidic | USA | Technical | Brutal Death Metal
Strong showing of super technical death metal.

Ashcloud - Abandon All Light | Xtreem | UK | Old School Death Metal
Old school maniacs take note, current vocalist of OG Swedish death metal acts Wombbath is 1/2 of Ashcloud.

Decline Of The I - Rebellion | Agonia | France | Black metal | Prog
Who’s surprised to hear that a French black metal band is awesome? Ex members of Merrimack and Vorkriest for those keeping score. Hey, Agonia Records sells their bandcamp downloads for $3. That’s less than a pack of generic cigarettes or most beers worth drinking, so do it.

Dehuman - Graveyard of Eden | Kaotoxin | Belgium | Technical | Brutal | Death Metal
More of an old-school vibe than I was expecting.

Devast - Into Decimated Reality | Gore House | USA/Argentina | Brutal Gore Metal | Tech
I Had my goregrind phase. I have a warm spot in my heart for it and know a good band when I hear it. Devast do it better than many.

Dhampyr - Oceanclots | Acephale Winter | Connecticut, USA | Surreal Black Metal | Trippy Mane
Messed up black metal… Limited edition cassette comes with seashells and a tiny baggie filled with small bones and false teeth? Don’t miss out on that fun.

Eternal Solstice - Remnants Of Immortality | Dark Descent | Netherlands | Death Metal
Crispy production and strong performances give this Dutch crew something to be proud of.

Furia - Nocel Pagan | Poland | Black Metal
Promising black metal act. The best thing I have read all day is the last sentence the Pagan Records website has to say about them: "They rumble gloomily and yawn with methane." That sounds like a very unpleasant way to wake up indeed.

Garden of Worm - Idle Stones | Svart | Finland | Psyche | Heavy | Cult
They named a song "Summer’s Isle." That is going to bring up immediate thoughts of the cult in Wicker Man, and indeed, if the cult in Wicker Man had a heavy psyche band, they would probably sound like Garden Of Worm.

The Haunting Presence - The Haunting Presence EP | Hells Headbangers | California, USA | Black Metal | Cvlt
Ex-Nocturnal Blood and Nuclear Desecration, now affiliated with the obscure and cavernous black metal cult, the Black Twilight Circle.

Haust - Bodies | Fysisk Format | Norway | Blackened Punk
Raspy black metal-ish vocals share the room with an intense post-punk vibe. It makes more sense if you check out the interview and stream we did and you listen to it.

- Eternal Sleepwalker | Svart | Norway | Heavy | Death | Psyche
What exactly do you need to see more than the band name to know what you are listening for? It is heavy and it is death, only they are one word. Nothing can be that cut and dried if it is on Svart though, so the "psyche" tag gets thrown in there, because most stuff on Svart gets a little psyched out.

Invincible Force - Satan Rebellion Metal | Dark Descent | Death |Thrash | Black
After years of demos and splits, Chilean deathrash cult drop their debut album.

Kollwitz - Dissonance | Fysisk Format | Norway | Hardcore | Metal
Churning, hardcore influenced mid-paced metal.

Morbid Evils - In Hate With The Burning World | Svart | Finland | Doom Death
Keino from Rotten Sound and ex-Nasum downshifts with his new project from 500mph grind to 5mph doom death.

Ovid’s Withering - Scryers Of The Ibis (Re-Release) | Unique Leader | FL, USA | Techgrind | Death | Symphonic
These mish-moshers of tech death styles released this album a year ago and created a massive upswell of support. With an impressive 26,000 Facebook likes (most in this field have between 1,000 - 4,000 tops) that would usually warrant an "anticipated release," but being that this is a re-release, we’ll make sure to bump them up when the new album drops.

Porta Nigra - Kaiserschnitt | Debemur Morti | Germany | Black Metal | Avant Garde
Reviews are coming back REALLY positive, hailing this perplexing group as geniuses.

Red Moon Architect - Fall | Playground | Finland | Melancholy | Doom Metal
Maybe these guys plod along at more of a ‘Funeral’ pace at times, but they are hella melodic, so it makes the chasm of time pass between quarter notes. Strong female vocals coupled with death vox.

Sacral Rage - Illusions in Infinite Void | Cruz del Sur | Greece | Classic Heavy Metal | 80’s
All the denim patch-vest kids are going to be talking about these guys soon, if they aren’t already (they usually know what’s cool before I do anyways.) Another quality release from Cruz Del Sur.

Steel Bearing Hand - Steel Bearing Hand | Unholy Anarchy | USA | Old School Death Metal
Wow, I don’t think anyone would be upset if I said these guys sound like Bolt Thrower. They have it down too, just enough of that crusty Sacrilege anarcho metal in their sound to really nail it hard.

Wardenclyffe - Control All Delete | Van | Sweden | Classic Doom Metal
Strong debut cleaving closely to the style of 70’s influenced greats like Count Raven and Internal Void

Things We Missed:

Dorthia Cottrell - s/t | Forcefield | Folk | Americana | Not Metal
I’m taking some license by qualifying this for UMR, since there isn’t a stitch of M in it at all. Dorthia is the powerhouse vocalist for Windhand whose vocals were so buried in reverb on the last Windhand album, I could barely make out how strong her vocals were until they were on stage in front of me. She was on top of the mix and absolutely killing it live. This is her solo folk album.

>>>BOSS REISSUES<<<

Judas Priest - Defenders of the Faith Re-Release | Columbia / Legacy | UK | Metal Gods
Priest, some will argue, have a shaky discography. Some albums are definitely ‘lesser,’ but most will agree that when they made a good album, they made a PERFECT album and they have more than a few of those. Defenders is the album I reach for the most when I just want to put on a perfect Priest record. I just think cover to cover, it is unbelievably strong, even for Priest. It turns 30 this year and Columbia/Legacy are doing a double disc remastered release of it with a full live set from that era (as if the remastering job they did in 2003 was inadequate?) Whatever. The album is fucking boss and it’s one of my favorites, so how could it NOT make it into my pet "Boss Reissues" section. Here’s what I believe to be the only video released from the album, or at least the only one featured on the Judas Priest VEVO channel, it’s their vampire sexx jam "Love Bites." Why they don’t have some rad video for "Some Heads Are Gonna Roll" is beyond me as that was one of the strongest singles in their entire catalog.

Nocturnus - The Science Of Horror | Nuclear War Now | FL, USA | Original Florida Death Metal
Last fall it was announced that Nuclear War Now was going to be doing the first ever officially sanctioned version of the Nocturnus demos, then it was delayed for months so I have been salivating over this release for way too long. "The Key" was such a huge album for when I was a kid. A big part of what influenced my decision to attend MDF this last year was to catch the Nocturnus AD set where they performed "The Key" in it’s entirety. The A side is the second demo, "The Science Of Horror" which features 4 songs that all made it on "The Key." With the addition of Louis Panzer’s keyboards and Mike Davis’s solos, the later demo featured cleaner performances that are much more familiar to those who know the album. The first 1987 "Nocturnus" demo (the B side) is an almost entirely different lineup from the album (but does feature Vincent Crowley from Acheron) and is as rough and demo-y as it gets. Both sides feature the song BC/AD so I guess that makes it a fun release for dorks (ahem, "cvlt completists") who like to compare the development of guitar solos and drum fills over time.

Sacrilegium - Wicher (Re-Release) | Pagan | Poland | 90’s Black Metal
This will be of interest to all who dig those 3rd string black metal gems that should have been 1st string releases. "Wicher" was released in 1996 and was maybe a little too ahead of it’s time. It’s pacey 90’s black metal done well though. Maybe not as smash-up as "The Somberlain" or as bombastic as "Thy Mighty Contract," but it’s criminal that it didn’t get any further beyond the borders of Poland than it did. This one was a surprise that I am just now catching on to.

Unruh - Tomb 3LP Box Set | King Of The Monsters | AZ. USA | Metal |Hardcore | Grind
There was once a not-so-golden time when metal just lost its way. Grunge upended the bloated sideshow the biggest acts had created and ripples went through the underground as well. "Alterna-metal" started taking form and it eventually made way for the the Nü-Jocks to take over. Many a 16 year old outcast steeped in Sepultura and Metallica lost their way too around this time after realizing with horror that their favorite bands were no longer going to make their favorite music. That music was meant for someone else now. A good amount stumbled helplessly into the waiting arms of underground hardcore house shows and basement squats where all sorts of grinding, blasting and bellowing went on and had been going on since the 80's, and that was where they settled. In that time, Assuck occupied that space with them, The Swarm aka Knee Deep In The Dead occupied that space with them, and a band from Arizona called Unruh also occupied that space. Unruh’s debut full length, 1997’s "Misery Strengthened Faith" yields one of the most savage thrashings the late-90’s metal OR hardcore scene would spit out. "Setting Fire To Sinking Ships" effectively adds some much needed dynamics to that mix and is a generally more interesting record. While it lacks the energy and just straight up cutthroat insanity of the debut, it possesses a manic desperation all on it’s own. A third LP collects all demos, EP’s and split tracks in one place making one of the most necessary collections of that era. The late 90’s were a VERY metal time for hardcore, and the spillover from one scene to the other was of epic proportions at the time. It spawned the ‘metalcore’ boom that still thrives to this day (for better or for worse in many cases) but in it’s rawest form, it was pretty fucking exciting. What was weird was trying to explain to someone how metalcore was that much different from metal, but the truth of the matter was, for many, there was no "this is for us" vibe coming off of the metal of the day when they came of age listening to Carcass and Entombed. It was re-discovered in the exact same place that Carcass and Entombed started though, straddling the hardcore and metal scenes. Unruh are an almost perfect example of everything that made that time period great despite all the weird shit that was happening. The release of this compendium box set is a pretty healthy sign that the spirit of that time continues in thousands of DIY acts/record labels/show spots/scenes to this day.