Upcoming Metal Releases 4/15/2018-4/21/2018
It might be the week of 4/20, but don't forget to do your taxes.
Here are the new metal releases for the weeks of April 15, 2017 – April 21, 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.
Altar of Perversion - Intra Naos | Norma Evangelium Diaboli/The Ajna Offensive | Black Metal | Italy
Darkness. Infinite darkness. Seventeen years after debut, From Dead Temples (Towards the Ast'ral Path), Italian duo Altar of Perversion captures the shadow of time and compress it into almost two hours of impenetrable, occult hysteria. Long albums present themselves as an artistic impossibility -- much like Proust's In Search of Lost Time, albums like Intra Naos feel destined to gather dust on a bookshelf, more of a public presentation of one's intelligence and patience for "true art" than a regular listen. However, the two decades which define this second album make the two hours of orthodox discord seem too short. This is a focused, singular work, something which moves with a narrative voice, the trumpet from the bowels of Hell and into the psyche. Tread lightly, but plunge into Altar of Perversion's depths when you are able.
Ails - The Unraveling | Flenser Records | Avant-Garde Black Metal | United States
From Ian's premiere of "Bitter Past":
[Laurie] Shanaman and fellow Ludicra alumnus Christy Cather have always had a knack for making metal which is extreme without sounding inhuman and forward-thinking without coming off as snooty. Ails continues that legacy. “Bitter Past” is black metal through and through, but isn’t a replication of any song you may have heard before. Though the song twists through some familiar ground, with verve appropriate for an album’s finale, it never walks the beaten path. Each new turn is a surprise. No matter how heavy the past weighs, each moment bursts with the possibilities of the future.
Assumption - Absconditus | Sentient Ruin Laboratories/Everlasting Spew Records | Funeral Death/Doom Metal | Italy
Spending a few weeks with some of funeral doom metal's earliest demos (Unburied, Gallileous, Thergothon, and so on) has left me very impressed with this Italian duo's tripartite debut. Assumption strictly follows in the style and mannerisms of early funeral doom: the trudge, the drama, the tragedy, the disgust. Finding new blood embracing what came before the slow, adventurous experimenting of the 2000s is refreshing. I hear the strict adherence to Fhtagn-nagh Yog-Sothoth and Transcendence Through the Peripheral in a beautiful way which somehow bypasses nostalgia and instead treats slow, torturous doom as a new element to be conquered instead of a fragile antique which should be revered with delicate care.
The duo of R of M have been busy, as evidenced by three brand new full-length albums, each from a different project. The sound of the harsh, obscure underground exists here.
Serum Dreg - Lustful Vengeance | Vrasubatlat/Invictus Productions | Black/Death Metal | United States
I am always impressed with a band who uses the "black/death metal" qualifier as an actual definition and not a warning sign for the immediate proximity of goats and Oakleys. Serum Dreg is heavy, gnarly. Lustful Vengeance takes all the slimy filth which coats the most incorrigible of black and death metal and, from this conglomerate, builds a nightmare form.
Adzalaan is the output of a singular personage known only as “R,” who has written and performed the entirety of the project’s debut full-length release Into Vermilion Mirrors. “Succumb and Vanquish” is sinister as it comes, with single-note tremolo melodies slaughtering and burning their way across the song’s battle-scarred landscape.
Though R begins the song in straightforward 4/4 time, he soon engineers a transition into triplet feel that is smooth enough so as not to be noticed upon first listen. R maintains the triplet feel until the song’s end, passing it through tremolo blast beats, crushing downbeat chords, and even a chugged mid-song breakdown-bridge.
Rather than falling neatly into a blackened death metal categorization, the music of Adzalaan might be more appropriately described as “deathened black metal,” with deathly trappings laid atop a thoroughly blackened foundation. R’s vocals are the music’s deathliest aspect, as he spends the vast majority of his time in the low guttural register.
Dagger Lust - Siege Bondage Adverse to the Godhead | Vrasubatlat/Invictus Productions | Black/Death Metal | United States
Ferocious, trudging sound, buried deep beneath an impassable torrent of noise. This one physically hurts.
Vampillia - Happiness Brought By Endless Sorrow | Temple of Torturous | Experimental Black Metal | Japan
As always, Vampillia says "fuck you" to convention and does… whatever they want. The root of this little EP can definitely be equated to black metal's blasting grandeur, but it also possesses this noise pop joy, orchestral mass, and a uniquely goofy sense of humor.
Celtachor - Fiannaíocht | Trollzorn Records | Celtic Folk/Black Metal | Ireland
Between this, the new Primordial album, and an impending Cruachan album, the year 2018 appears to be ushering in a new epoch of Celtic black metal. I used to listen to Celtachor pretty often when I was a teenager, and it is comforting to revisit them as an adult, only to come to the realization that they've never been a bad band. As an album in their greater body of work, Fiannaíocht, mostly due to its halved identity, balancing quieter folk songs with their trademark, very Irish black metal.
Varmia - W ciele nie | Pagan Records | Folk/Black Metal | Poland
For those who are aware of the now established style of "Slavonic black metal": Varmia follows in that tradition.
For those who are unaware: Varmia continues in a tradition publicly solidified by Drudkh in the early 2000s. Personally, I think this album is just an okay representation of the Slavic folk style through the prism of black metal.
Kły - Szczerzenie | Pagan Records | Atmospheric Black Metal | Poland
The now-rare "urban" black metal album. Kły primarily cites the ill-fated Lifelover's urban atmospheres as a main influence, but the most which is truly communicated is the psychosis-through-vocals approach. Cool, shrieking throat sounds are cool and all, but the music itself is rather unremarkable and static, which is a pitfall of most "atmospheric/depressive" music.
Schrat - Alptraumgänger | Folter Records | Black Metal | Germany
Pure black metal pestilence and imposing Germanic might. Those who recall the mid-1990s styles of black metal atmosphere, oddity, and expressionism will find relative comfort here.
Wild Hunt - Afterdream Of The Reveller | Independent/Digital | Atmospheric Doom/Post-Black Metal | United States
A conflict of interest: this band features our own Avinash Mittur among its ranks, though he is not on this album (as far as my research tells me).
New atmospheric black metal like Wild Hunt is as surprising as it is invigorating. Sure, in performance it could fall under the more modern definition of the "post-" black hole, but Afterdream of the Reveller wholly avoids the less-than-interesting trappings of the style's cookie-cutter conservatism. Likely due to Harland Burkhart and Greg Brace's tenures in avant-thrash band Dimesland, Wild Hunt, too, finds itself navigating peculiarity and uniqueness much more than parking itself in the endless queue of new-era uniformity.
FOR THE ADVENTUROUS
Father Murphy - Rising. A Requiem for Father Murphy | Ramp Local/Avant! Records | Post-Industrial | Italy
Father Murphy is dead. As opposed to the heavier, brutal, rhythmic industrial music into which this duo found themselves in recent years, Rising indeed feels like a requiem mass, or, rather, a note of their regrets and sadness. This is quiet, mournful music written in anticipation of one's own artistic death.
Fedrespor - Tid | Nordvis Produktion | Neofolk | Norway
Though the artist behind Fedrespor's claims of a much more ambitious future paint a very vivid creative timeline, his debut follows in the now classical tradition of the "black metal artist's first neofolk album." Tid, itself, is a fine album, but it is in a commonly tread style. By now, we all recognize the hallmarks of the stagnant, picturesque emotion of experimental folk transcendentalism. Though Fedrespor speaks of traditionalism and ancient culture, this new album is remarkably modern, much more so than the unexpectedly modern neofolk style (neofolk artists will vehemently deny this based on the entire philosophical base: against the modern world). That isn't to say it's bad, the familiarity of Tid has warranted further listens and analysis, but it still manages to stay at the "tip of my tongue" as I try to figure out just why and how I feel like I recognize it so vividly.
Sangre de Muerdago - Noite | Música Máxica/sickmangettingsick/Neuropa Records | Neofolk | Galicia
Yet another beautiful album of pastoral, neofolky grandeur from this prolific, international band. You should know the drill by this point, but, if not, Sangre de Muerdago is a great starting point if you ever want to inch your way into the neofolk genre.
The Duskfall - The Everlasting Shadows | Black Lion Records | Melodic Death Metal | Sweden
With Gates of Ishtar back in action, I wonder what possessed Michael Sandorf to continue with (the much more mediocre) The Duskfall. Though his much more renowned band has yet to make any new statements, The Everlasting Shadows immediately recalls the era in which they flourished: the mid-2000s. A time in which music like melodic death metal languished and veered in a grooving, modern… bad direction. Maybe I'm old fashioned.
Graveir - Cenotaph | Impure Sounds | Black Metal | Australia
I suppose I enjoy this little EP, but there really isn't much to this. If you take your black metal super duper no-frills and in a cavernous mug, this is for you.
Vomitor - Pestilent Death | Hells Headbangers Records | Death/Thrash Metal | Australia
There is no other band who sounds like Vomitor. Hells Headbangers calls this long-standing Australian unit idiosyncratic, which maybe approaches how bizarre and spastic their oeuvre sounds and feels. Pestilent Death is thrash metal on as many amphetamines as it can rail, death metal sprinting until its lungs bleed. The most extreme "total death metal" under the sun.
Wiegedood - De Doden Hebben Het Goed | Century Media Records | Black Metal | Netherlands
Part three, same title. Wiegedood is a perfect example of a band deciding to make black metal, discovering the "hot style" upon their entry, and achieving immediate complacency. There isn't anything inherently wrong with the modern atmospherics and cookie-cutter post-rock tendencies of this band, per se, but it doesn't really do anything or go anywhere. Wiegedood is a bit of a synecdoche for the modern black metal movement -- it sounds like whatever it is, but it doesn't really sound like the band who made it.
Ghastly - Death Velour | 20 Buck Spin | Death Metal | Finland
I mean, it's fine. That's the most I can really say about the "new old school death metal" movement. Really, really liking Adramelech is fine, but copying them down to what effects pedals they use and what greyscale gradient they used on their earlier photos should speak to the copycat's lasting power.
Svederna - Svedjeland | Carnal Records | Black Metal | Sweden
As it is with each new release on Carnal Records, Svederna communicates black metal in its most distilled form -- blacker and more mystical than a night under the Witch's Moon.