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Life has a way of doing the unexpected to you. “If you want to make God laugh, tell him your plans,” goes the quote. So here I am, again, inflicting my terrible taste in music on y’all. Does that mean God is laughing at you, or at me? Ponder that while you peruse our list, which is all new releases from 4/20/15 to 4/27/15. Also, go to the comments and read commenter “Aildrek”’s list, which will be better than ours. Goddamn overachiever.

—Richard Street-Jammer

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Anticipated Releases

Mare Infinitum - Alien Monolith God | Solitude Productions | Russia | Death | Doom

HOLY SHIT this is really good death/doom. Apologies for the caps, but seriously, HOLY SHIT. Normally I don’t like this stuff, but one acknowledges and enjoys great music when one encounters it, genre(s) be damned. If the album title didn’t clue you in, this is either a concept album about the Cthulhu mythos, or it’s entirely about said mythos.

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Tribulation - The Children of the Night | Sweden | Rawk | Death? | Black?

Are you ready to rage? Of course you are, you’re a metalhead on the Internet! they’ve only released this one track, so we’ll only focus on this one track. This one track is not black metal. This one track is not death metal. This one track does have screamed vocals, but otherwise, it’s a melange of hard rock, NWOBHM, and goth rock. If the rest of the album was actually black/death metal, this one track would be a bump in the road. but it’s not, so...basement dwellers will insist that the debut was better and change is bad and Tribulation is trying to sell out. Critics will embrace the change as long as the songs are good. Realists will state that a Swedish guy screaming over riffz has limited commercial appeal in the 21st century. All of of us sans basement dwellers will be treated to something that is good music.

Artizan - The Furthest Reaches | Pure Steel Records | United States | Power | Power | Power

FINALLY I get to get some power metal up in this Anticipated section. Anticipated by whom, or by how many, well… nevermind. Anyway, Artizan’s last album, Ancestral Energy, was one of 2013’s best power metal albums. It was articulate, smartly written, catchy, classy, and featured fantasy lyrics that weren’t totally cheesed out. I see no reason why The Furthest Reaches will be anything less.

Dark Quarterer - Ithaca | Metal on Metal Records | Italy | Power | Prog | Fuckin’ Organs, Man

Oh yes, another Dark Quarterer album. For the song below at least it’s stout sounding power metal with organs all over the place. I’m pumped for it. Inspired by the Constantine Cavafy poem of the same title.

The Atomic Bitchwax - Gravitron | Tee Pee Records | United States | Stoner Rock | Noise | Amp Worsip
New Joisey power trio formed of current Monster Magnet sidemen deliver riffs and furious rock and roll. Two song sin and you will detect the whiff of Marshall amp tubes smoking. The snare drum sounds like a Desert Eagle blowing out your front door lock.

Sol Luna - Blood Moon | USA | Stoner Metal | Re-Grunge
Harmony-heavy stoner doom with a lot of "and roll" that really, really, misses the early '90s in Seattle. Whatever, Dirt is amazing and anything that aspires towards it and lands this close deserves applause. We premiered the album, we like it so much.

Kontinuum - Kyrr | Candlelight Records | Iceland | Progressive | Post-Black

I’ve heard two tracks from this album. I am not convinced it deserves the post-black label, but metal archives insists it applies, and when has MA ever been wrong about a band’s genre(s)? I’m not sure the ‘progressive’ label applies here either, but whatever. There are shades of Anathema and Katatonia here, and some riffs that sound like Entombed’s post Mardrauum output. It’s in turns bittersweet and uplifting. In a ridiculously stacked Anticipated lineup, this one ties with Tribulation. The second track below plays up the Enslaved/viking metal angle with the clean vox, but the rest of the track is decidedly different.

Tyson Dog - Cry Havoc | Rock Sector Records | United Kingdom | Trad | Heavy | Speed
Aww yiss, new Tysondog. I’m not surprised to say that some of the band’s NWOBHM is gone, replaced by harder, faster speed metal riffs. This is, I think, to be expected. Most of the reformed or still-going '80s bands have become harder and faster; the interesting part of that is why. Do they feel pressure to compete with today’s more extreme bands by becoming relatively more extreme? The retrorock movement would lead me to think not. Have they been unconsciously influenced? Do they just feel like playing faster and harder?

Raven - ExtermiNation | Steamhammer | United Kingdom | Athletic Rock

“Destroy All Monsters” rips. The whole album rips. Not too dissimilar from vintage/classic Raven, but a bit heavier, faster, and harder. Not much else to say here except that it should’ve been the header, but you lot have tastes that are different (inferior) than mine. We’re streaming a track later today.

Satanic Assault Division - Kill The Cross | Satanath Records | Denmark | Black | Fun

I like to think every band has a great album - just one, great album - in them. This is probably the lone bit of optimism in life, but enough about me. Yes, Satanic Assault Division have a goofy name, and “Kill The Cross” seems like an awfully strong reaction to Arrested Development’s fourth season; I’m not sure we can blame it on one person. Based on the two tracks I’ve heard, Kill The Cross could be that one great album from a band that seems otherwise designed as disposable.

Shining - IX - Everyone, Everything, Everywhere, Ends | Season Of Mist | Sweden | Black

If the tags didn’t make it obvious, this isn’t the skronky, oddball Norwegian Shining. This is the Shining that always takes you down to Frowntown. The most widely accepted model of our Universe’s lifespan is that after many billions of years, black holes will have swallowed up all of the matter and the Universe will be cold, empty and dead other than the black holes. You should perhaps ruminate on that while listening to this Shining album. They still sound like a rockier, more black metal, more pissed-off Opeth which, by virtue of a lack of competition, makes them a hot market commodity. It’s not as good as Halmstad, but Shining never disappoints.

Unleashed - Dawn of the Nine | Nuclear Blast | Sweden | The soundtrack to Marvel’s Thor 3

Our current editor, who sort of looks like Prince [I am not sure if this is a compliment…-Ed.], would’ve moved this blurb to the Anticipated section if I didn’t do it myself, because he really likes Unleashed. So, out of deference to our editor, who sort of looks like Prince, I’ve done just that. I don’t much like Unleashed. I think they’re overrated and besides that, not good anyway. But a lot of you will disagree. My judgement is: this song is fine. Fine enough that I’ll give the album a few listens after I listen to everything else in this Anticipated section first. Our editor, who sort of looks like Prince, will probably do the opposite. [I already have. Not as good as Odalheim, but still good. “The Bolt Thrower” is the jam.-Ed.]

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OF NOTE

Abiotic - Causistry | Metal Blade | United States | Technical | Death
A point of contention: Abiotic’s metal-archives page says they are technical/progressive deathcore. On this track, they do sound a lot like pre-carnival music The Faceless, which is a good thing. The track they shared? That’s a different story. It’s much more atmospheric, relying on melodic, droning riffs over blasting and double bass. Sort of like last year’s Fallujah record, except the production isn’t compressed into a cow patty! Anyhow, if this album sounds more like “Cast Into The Depths” than the track, this will be a very interesting album indeed.

Alastor Sanguinary Embryo - For Satan and the Ruin of the Divine | Satanath Records | Costa Rica | Norsecore
Got ourselves some speedy ‘n blasty Costa Rican black metal here. There are some keyboards going on in the background. It’s not Cradle of Filth, but make of that what you will.

Ages - The Malefic Miasma | Black Lodge Records | Sweden | Black
Melody-focused black metal. I don’t have much to say here except that the song below is really good.

Celtachor - Nuada of the Silver Arm | Trollzorn Records | Ireland | Celtic | Folk | Black

The track’s pretty strong stuff. There’s almost no folk in it, but fear not, this band’s previous album wasn’t bouncy Eurofolk. As with Celtachor’s last outing, this track is midtempo with a thick production and punishing vox.

Dawn of Azazel - The Tides of Damocles | Independent | New Zealand | Death
I remember Dawn of Azazel sounding a bit like Anaal Nathrakh, except not as unhinged. I didn’t go back and listen, because these UMR pieces are fucking exhausting to do. Anyway, this is death metal with a sort-of black metal production, which makes the stop-starts and chugging kinda odd. I thought there was a law now that all death metal albums must either 1) sound like they were recorded at Sunlight 2) sound like Demigod, or 3) sound compressed and clean ala tech death. I like this track. It takes a lot of unexpected turns even though it’s moving through the expected death metal tropes. And yes, this is the same Dawn of Azazel whose frontman is a constable that got in some twouble for being in an ‘heevy meetul” band.

Disrupted - Morbid Death | Memento Mori | Sweden | Death
Stockholm/HM2/Sunlight Studios death metal here. Guitar tone’s pretty mean - not far off from Like An Everflowing Stream’s (un)godly tone.

Dys Inbunden - One With Morbidity, The Opus Misanthropy</> | Liflätinn Productions | Sweden | Black
As required by our standard Invisible Oranges Social Justice Warrior Due Diligence Procedure, I dumped “Dys Inbunden” into google translate. Google translate insists that “dys inbunden” is Swedish for dyslexic hardcover. I’m thinking that’s wrong. What’s right about Dys Inbunden is their punishing take on black metal.

Ereb Altor - Nattramn | Cyclone Empire | Sweden | Viking
This song’s clearly influenced by Bathory’s viking metal era, circa songs like “One Rode to Asa Bay”. It’s stirring stuff. “Midsommarblot” sounds like the part after a huge Viking battle when everyone’s mourning the dead who are in Valhalla. The title track, though, is much more black metal than viking metal.

Incinerate - Eradicating Terrestrial Species | Comatose Music | United States | Technical | Death
Now I don’t know if the material will hold up to this bold claim from the band, but based on the two songs I’ve heard, it might. I’m quoting the claim because I applaud the band for having vision: “Remember when you had your headphones on and sat in your bedroom and immersed yourself in an album. Read the lyrics and every time you heard it you picked up something new? That's what we went for on Eradicating Terrestrial Species. The samples, the noise tracks, the songs. All tell a story.”

Khors - Night Falls Onto The Fronts Of Ours | Candlelight Records | Ukraine | Black
I shall freely admit to never listening to Khors in any substantive way. This track opens as calm, melodic black metal. Things pick up around 2:35 with a very Jester Race riff. I can’t recall anyone ever going nuts about this band, but hey, maybe this’ll be the Khors album.

Kommandant - The Architects of Extermination | Aeternitas Tenebrarum Musicae Fundamentum | United States | Black | Thrash | Death
Yes, everyone’s favorite Chicagoan black/thrash/death band who caused a stir at Maryland Deathfest a few years ago are back! They sound like themselves. Not doing much for me, but there are literally hundreds of people who love this stuff, and literally a dozen of them will read this post and get both unreasonably excited by the new album and unreasonably annoyed that I said something potentially negative about the MDF incident.

Kult of Taurus - Adversarial Paths: The Sinister Essence | | Greece | Black |
More black metal! This time, from Greece. The beginning and the end of this track are blasty and knotted. The middle is knottier still. I wouldn’t call this technical, but it’s definitely more involved than almost any 2nd wave clones.

Nightrage - The Puritan | Despotz Records | Sweden | Greece | Melodeath
The track’s pretty solid. Melodic death metal’s not a strong genre these days, so you might be looking at the melodeath album of the year. Oh wait, The Crown released an album in January. Silver medals are still medals.

Ninkharsag - The Blood of Celestial Kings | Candlelight Records | United Kingdom | Black
“The Essential Salts of Human Dust” didn’t do much for me until about two-thirds of the way through, when they go for a sweet bass solo underneath some chiming, calm riffs. Consider me intrigued but not sold. Candlelight has good judgement, so maybe this’ll be a good album.

Pestkult - Soul Collector | Narbentage Produktionen | Germany | Black’n Roll
Despite the genre tag, the ‘roll’ part of this song is missing. Still enjoyable, though.

Serpentine Creation - The Fiery Winds of Creation | Satanath Records | Bulgaria | Black
Tagged as black metal by official sources but that production is waaaay too chunky for BM. Whatever, I’ll take it. The songwriting and riffing is pretty strong.

Speed Whöre - The Future Is Now | Witches Brew | Germany | Thrash
The album’s title is surely a reference to the band member’s young ages, because they all appear to be about 19. Musically, this album sounds like they started researching thrash metal but stopped when they heard Morbid Tales and . Which is fine and all, just know what you’re getting: messy riffing, heavily reverbed vocals, and so on. The guitar solo on “The Machine” sticks out for being way too technical and well executed for those early European “trash!!” bands.

Stonegriff - Come Taste the Blood | Metal on Metal Records | Sweden | Doom
This is Stonegriff’s second full-length. The first was solid, but showed a band with much untapped promise. It left me wanting more, is what I’m saying. I’m not sure yet that Come will live up to the promise, but we’ll find out soon enough. April 24, specifically.

>>>DICK TEASES<<<

Forefather - Curse of the Cwelled | Seven Kingdoms | United Kingdom | ???

Forefather hasn’t seen fit to leak, post, or preview any tracks from Curse, so yeah. It’s supposed to come out on April 23rd, and now that’s a thing you know. The art’s by Kris Verwimp, and “Cwelled” is, per the band, an alternate spelling of “quelled”. Other than that, uh, all we know is that we don’t know nothin’, and that’s fine.

Here’s a fan video for an older song. FAN VIDEO, OLDER SONG. Just so’s we’re clear.

 

>>>NOT METAL FOR POSEURS AND WIMPS<<<

Native Construct - Quiet World | Metal Blade | United States | Prog

I quite like this. It’s kinda-sorta heavy prog rock, lots of pretty melodies, nice vocals, and so on. I don’t have much else to say except that Metal Blade is losing their edge! *rimshot*

 

>>>BACK FROM THE GRAVE<<<

Transgressor - Ether for Scapegoat | Memento Mori | Japan | Death

Transgressor was a Japanese death metal band. That’s...the extent of my knowledge of them. Their debut and sole album, the oddly titled Ether for Scapegoat, is getting reissued this week by Memento Mori. Collectors, completists, and fetishists will want this, as it appears to have been printed once, back in 1992. If you told me this was released on Roadrunner circa 1989-1994, I’d believe you. It’s solid, with some interesting but minor twists on standard Florida death metal, but I’m not hearing a lost classic.

Pyrexia - Sermon of Mockery | Century Media | United States | Brutal Death

Pyrexia’s debut was just like Suffocation, expect without the technicality and thoughtful, interesting songs that pushed the boundaries of what death metal and music could be. I’m being too harsh there, but honestly, Sermon’s just not as good as any of Suffocation’s albums. Pyrexia’s last two albums have easily been the best of their career. Century Media’s doing the reissh on both CD and an admittedly totally boss looking double vinyl. The Liturgy of Impurity and Hatreddangeranddisgust EP are included in both editions, and all three releases have been remastered. (Not sure how much that will accomplish, though. Like slapping Bondo on a totaled car.)

Freedom Call - 666 Weeks Beyond Eternity | Steamhammer | Germany | Power

See that album title? It’s literally the reason for this reissue: it’s been 666 weeks since Freedom Call’s (highly regarded) third album, Eternity, was released. I seriously hope this was the label’s idea and not the band’s idea. There are some live tracks and a single new song on the second disc and some other bullshit or whatever. I refuse to link to a track because the impetus for this re-release is stupid and now my jimmies are super rustled.

Instead, here’s Rob Halford and the Halfordtones performing the definitive version of “Never Satisfied”. The studio version was cool, easily the best song on Rocka Rolla, but this version just destroys it in every way.

Iron Savior - Megatropolis 2.0 | AFM Records | Germany | Power

Megatropolis is Iron Savior’s first weak album. Seriously, they could do no wrong from 1997 through 2004, and then this came out. To be clear, it’s still a good album. It just doesn’t reach the mastery of their first five. AFM’s releasing it again with three bonus tracks. Information’s sparse at this stage. I don’t see this as a critical reissue, but hey, now you know it’s happening.

While you enjoy the Iron Savior track below, a fact for you: We Butter The Bread With Butter, who are a shitty annoying deathcore band and possibly the worst thing in human history that doesn’t involve actual deaths, are on AFM Records. AFM Records is a power and heavy metal label. I don’t get it.

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