Upcoming Metal Releases 4/17/2016 – 4/23/2016
Another big release week. Can’t a guy catch a break? No? Dang.
Below is a list of metal ephemera slated for release during the calendar week of April 14 through 23, 2016. Chances are I missed something, so feel free to engage in polite discourse in the comment box below. Please refrain from 4/20 jokes, brah.
The Poisoned Glass - 10 Swords | Ritual Productions | Experimental Drone/Doom Metal/Ambient | United States
It is hard to believe almost 20 years separates the current day from Burning Witch’s final recording sessions (it’s true - everything released after the Crippled Lucifer compilation in 1998 was recorded beforehand!). They are missed, and have left quite the mark on doom metal, but the most exciting aspect of Burning Witch is what came after. Sunn O))) and Goatsnake aside, multi-instrumentalist G. Stuart “Bootsykronos” Dahlquist has cemented himself as one of the more exciting pieces of underground avantgarde music. Mixing old and new seems to be a central theme in Dahlquist’s post-Burning Witch catalog, the long-standing Asva effortlessly combining modern academic music and avant-jazz sensibilities with his crushing doom background. Now, reunited with Burning Witch vocalist and sampler Edgemont “Edgy 59” Martin, The Poisoned Glass takes that predilection for era mixing and shifts the scales in favor of Modern “art music.” Lost somewhere in the miasma of sound between Sunn O)))’s abstracted drone/doom metal and Karlheinz Stockhausen, The Poisoned Glass’s “orchestral doom” marries Dahlquist’s deep synthesizer and rattling bass with Edgy’s layered, nasal croon, resulting in a dichotomously soothing and terrifying sound. Drink it deep.
Ancst - Moloch | Halo of Flies Records | Blackened Crust | Germany
Melding black metal’s sensibilities with melodic crust/dark hardcore is most certainly not a new concept. I mean, bands like Ekkaia could have been a black metal band in their own right. However, when that mix is done correctly, evoking visions of a younger Fenriz in a tattered His Hero Is Gone shirt, I’m hooked. Ancst’s venomous, melodic metalpunk rages against fascism and our eardrums in one fell swipe.
Mechanized industrial doom, crafted to crush your very soul. Come back this afternoon for an exclusive full stream of the album.
Into Coffin - Into A Pyramid Of Doom | Caligari Records | Psychedelic Death/Doom Metal | Germany
I was initially hesitant to check this release out. Something about both the band name and their release starting with the word “Into” seemed so goofy. Over the years I’ve learned that no matter how goofy a book’s cover might be (and trust me, I’ve gotten some...interesting promos in my day), everything warrants at least one listen. Into Coffin’s suffocating, psychedelic take on traditional, murky death/doom metal evokes both the Bay Area’s early '90s tumult and the kaleidoscopic colors of Italy’s psychedelic '70s. Caligari rightfully name drops Italian psychedelic doom master Paolo “Paul Chain” Cadena in their bio, which is only fitting, as, much like the aforementioned Chain, this German trio certainly knows how to let their oozing sound seep from all errant cracks.
Sinistrous Diabolus - Sinistrous Diabolus II | Independent/Digital | Blackened Death/Doom Metal | New Zealand
Sinistrous Diabolus is dead, long live Sinistrous Diabolus. After 25 years of existence, the black emanation from the furthest, most isolated corner of the Earth has extinguished itself with a mighty, terrifying bellow. Perfecting his long-practiced, inky brand of crushing death/doom metal, Sinistrous Diabolus II is one of the rare instances of the oft-attempted, rarely achieved balance of murk and musicianship. Though undeniably cut from the same “cavernous” cloth which gave the world bands like Irkallian Oracle, Portal, and Grave Upheaval, mastermind N.K.S.’s distinctly melodic approach and biting guitar tone cuts through what are otherwise very dense atmospheres - a complex, graspable, but ultimately overwhelming texture. These two lengthy tracks, eight chapters compiled into a diptych, carefully and tastefully bridge the gap between morose, melodic funeral doom and terrifying, gnashing death metal discordance. Though it is sad to see Sinistrous Diabolus go, listening to them leave is otherworldly.
October Tide - Winged Waltz | Agonia Records | Melodic Death/Doom Metal | Sweden
I’m such a sucker for the classic Swedish death/doom sound - you can find me listening to early Katatonia at least 30% of the time, I’m sure. The reborn “classic” band October Tide continues as an extension of that tradition, blissfully despondent and triumphantly melodic. Part of me is elated to see more October Tide material make its way to the public, I mean, Rain Without End is a perfect album, but I still think the way the band was “reformed” was silly.
From Joseph’s premiere of “Purgatory Under New Management”:
“[...].Goatess, whose upcoming sophomore LP, II: Purgatory Under New Management, is the best doom album I’ve heard all year. Linderson and Co. aim for the more bluesy side of the doom spectrum, but unlike so many of their peers they never let their songs meander into the doldrums. Considering how long each individual riff takes, these are quite concise and direct tracks, even at six or eight minutes in length. Linderson in particular stands out. His delivery on songs like “Silent War” and closer “Good Moaning” serve as reminders that doom has its roots in American soul music. He’s not the only singer to be thinking this way right now–notably Dorthia Cottrell mines similar veins, but Linderson sings more immediate choruses and his bandmates don’t overburden their craft with reverb and other effects.”
Syberia - Resiliency | Debemur Morti Productions | Post-Metal/Rock | Spain
I normally stray from “standard” post-rock/metal nowadays - it’s just become so cookie-cutter - but the wispy, luminous sounds of Syberia’s Debemur Morti Productions debut takes me back to the first few times I listened to The Album Leaf’s In A Safe Place. Resiliency carries a nostalgic sort of innocence, layering playful melodies over dense, effected guitar textures. Traditional post-rock might not really be “my thing” anymore, but I do concede to enjoying this album.
The Foreshadowing - Seven Heads Ten Horns | Cyclone Empire | Gothic/Doom Metal | Italy
Some of you might have noticed a distinct lack of Giuseppe Orlando’s presence on the last Novembre album - feel free to fill that void here (he joined The Foreshadowing in 2013). Seven Heads Ten Horns is a competently written doom metal album which verges on the exotic, especially in their latest single “17”, but I can’t shake a strange feeling I have toward the vocals. Though the instrument tracks are awash with heavy reverb, Marco Benevetos vocal track is completely dry and devoid of any effect...which makes it feel out of place. Like a karaoke track.
Zealotry - The Last Witness | Lavadome Productions | Death Metal | United States
Quebecois guitarist Philippe “Pat” Tougas has had a busy year. In the wake of his works with Chthe’ilist and First Fragment, Zealotry follows a relatively conservative path. Though certainly technically proficient, a theme which encapsulates all of Tougas’s projects, Zealotry showcases a penchant for catchy songwriting and comparatively tame musical proficiency, favoring crushing heaviness over flourish.
FOR THE ADVENTUROUS
Prag 83 - Metamorphoses | Nordvis Produktionen | Progressive/Atmospheric Folk/Rock | Sweden
A departure for Nordvis’s folky metal spine, German solo musician Prag 83 smoothly blends minimal, stripped down atmospheric rock (think the quieter moments of Katatonia’s Last Fair Deal Gone Down) with expertly orchestrated guitar-centric neofolk. Metamorphoses is a blissful listen, unassuming and passive, yet moving in its emotional density.
Blood and Sun/Brittsommar - Blood and Sun / Brittsommar | Pesanta Urfolk | Neofolk/Neofolk | United States
Blood and Sun very quickly became one of my favorite neofolk groups with their self-titled Pesanta debut in 2014 (a very elaborately packaged coffee table-style artbook with an LP and CD), so any new material from Luke Tromiczak and his rotating list of guests is more than welcome to my ears. The fairly (stylistically) conservative, lush Blood and Sun meets its match in this lovely split with Brittsommar, a rather idiosyncratic project from Madison, Wisconsin. Blood and Sun’s “At Rest”’s dreamy strummed chords and layered string work mourn the autumn past, whereas Brittsommar’s unique performance evokes the reserved sounds of Lee Hazelwood and Nick Cave, a quiet cabaret in neofolk dress.
Nested - Nested 3 | Independent/Digital | Ambient Drone/Noise | United States
Last week I discussed the merits of Wrath of the Weak’s sugary, thick black metal ambiance - now meet the other side of sole musician j’s coin, the static dream drone of Nested. Very clearly coming from a similar artistic place, Nested’s glistening, harsh ambiance evokes the abrasive, dreamy sounds of Wrath of the Weak’s earlier works, but manifests itself with a much more reserved sense of abstracted sloth.
dälek - Asphalt For Eden | Profound Lore Records | Experimental Hip-Hop | United States
A lot of metal fans write rap off as “unintelligent” swill, I know I was like that for a long time, but dälek’s Abandoned Language changed that for me. Their Tupac-by-way-of-Einsturzende Neubauten blend of industrial music’s ear for texture with hip-hop’s spitfire venom and phrasing was a catalyst and jumping off point for many into the world of hip hop, myself included, so the return of dälek, at least in relative terms, after a seven-year absence was met with a deep, reverent excitement. Though very obviously lacking the smooth, shoegaze-inflicted sounds of DJ Oktopus’s endless array of samples, replacements Mike Manteca (samples) and DJ rEk (turntables) craft a much more rhythmic, significantly darker sounding album. MC dälek’s flow is as devastating and enraged as ever, especially in the wake of the many injustices which have surfaced since 2009’s Gutter Tactics, and he displays his deep inner rage with intelligent wordplay and absolutely devastating damnations. Asphalt for Eden will be one of those divisive releases in metal circles, but Profound Lore arose from much stranger aeons.
FROM THE GRAVE
ALN - Iyov | Greysun Records | Blackened Stoner/Doom Metal | United States
Mizmor’s ALN sort of exploded into the metal scene in recent years (aside from a few vocal spots on Hell’s first two albums), but how did he get here? GreySun Records offers a bit of insight into this enigmatic musician’s roots in romantically-tinged stoner/doom metal and an early demo of a song which would eventually make it onto Mizmor’s 2013 CDr debut.
Leadeater - Oxalis | Greysun Records | Atmospheric Black Metal | United States
Longform “Pacific Northwest”-styled atmospheric black metal can be pretty hit-or-miss in my book. Love Fauna, loathe Wolves in the Throne Room. Love Leech, loathe Addaura. It goes on, and, unfortunately, Leadeater is a little too on the “stereotypical” end of the spectrum for my tastes.
Harassor - Hater of Man/Harassor | Universal Consciousness | Black Metal/Punk | United States
Harassor’s dirty, brackish metalpunk has caught the ears of many, but their early works have become exceedingly difficult to come by. No one wants to pay that much for a CDr or a tape...unless you’re a hyper collector like me, but I digress. Lovingly pressed on CD by their drummer Sandor GF, Universal Consciousness birth’s Harassor’s formative releases anew. Eat up.
Mutterlein - Orphans of the Black Sun | Sundust Records | Avant-Garde Metal/Rock | France
Heavy, strange, metallic avant-rock with some particularly feral vocal acrobatics from Overmars alumnus Marion Leclercq.
Coffin Lust - Manifestation of Inner Darkness | Hells Headbangers Records | Death Metal | Australia
Old school death metal from the land which perfected and eventually overdid the “cavernous” sound. A wondrous, exciting listen in comparison.
WHAT WE MISSED
Zhrine - Unortheta | Season of Mist Records | Atmospheric Black/Death Metal | Iceland
Though initially a fairly traditional death metal band, at least by Icelandic standards, Zhrine’s Season of Mist debut shows them to be the Northern hemisphere’s answer to the woefully absent Ulcerate.
Panteon - Septum | Final Agony Records | Ambient Black Metal | Russia
Raw black metal crackle pitted against catchy, folky keyboards. Quite a few people have been singing the praises of dungeon synth - I prefer the style when mixed with black metal, give me Fear of Eternity over Hliðskjálf any day, and the relatively unknown Panteon’s sole public offering Septum is a prime example of the mixture at its most balanced and pure. I’m not sure how Final Agony finds these releases - this re-issue had apparently been in the works for a few years - but I hope he finds more like this one.