Upcoming Metal Releases 4/22/2018-4/28/2018
Hopefully you've returned to reality after flying on a puff of smoke to your favorite record store and spending all your money. Here are more reasons to spend money. Record Store Day is every day. Remain a part of this economic machine. Bow to your master.
Here are the new metal releases for the weeks of April 22, 2017 – April 28, 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.
Aura Noir - Aura Noire | Indie Recordings | Black/Thrash Metal | Norway
The progenitors of the black/thrash metal genre venture deep into blistering strangeness and sharp obscurity once more. Of course, this is no chore for the perennially creative mind of Carl-Michael "Aggressor" (or "Czral") Eide, who also gave the world Ved Buens Ende and Virus (among many other things). Aura Noire, itself, turns thrash metal upside down in the classic avant-garde fashion once championed by Voivod's Piggy or Tom G Warrior on Into the Pandemonium, but, in its own way, Aura Noir avoids the failure of sounding dated. It is easy to sound like "the thrash metal band" when paying homage to riffs and speed, but Aggressor's entire music career has been one of denial and approaching some sort of singularity. As is the case, Aura Noire strays from the style which homogenized in the band's wake, choosing to sound… like Aura Noir, or like Aggressor. Uniqueness is key -- uniqueness creates a greater legacy.
Sweden’s Grá hearkens back to that classic age of atmospheric clarity as an end-game and not necessarily a single element (here’s looking at you, hyper-raw black metal bands). The band’s fourth record, Väsen, finds themselves embodying black metal’s intended brackish purity. A hypnotic affair in and of itself, Grá’s multiple parts fit together like a mystical equation which results in purely sumptuous black ambiance. Listening to this is akin to rediscovering black metal all over again.
Varathron - Patriarchs of Evil | Agonia Records | Black Metal | Greece
As they return to their classic "Hellenic" sound (remember: there was a great period of time when Varathron sounded rather Norwegian), Varathron grows in melodic might. This classic Greek band's newest effort exercises a melodious spirit and impassioned center without losing the inner "heavy metal" identity which truly separates the Hellenic scene from all other sects of black metal.
Cruachan - Nine Years of Blood | Trollzorn Records | Celtic Folk/Black Metal | Ireland
Part three of what has been a masterclass in "celtic black metal glory." Much like Primordial and Celtachor, Cruachan exists outside the cartoonish portrayals of Irish culture and music in folk metal, instead concentrating on a long, tragic history as inspiration.
Shrine of the Serpent - Entropic Disillusion | Memento Mori | Sludge/Death/Doom Metal | United States
I understand what is supposed to make this album heavy. The instruments are thick and slow, the voice bellows from the deepest tar pit, but it doesn't really… sound thick. I expect albums like Entropic Disillusion (what a title, by the way) to knock me off my ass and down a flight of stairs, but it kind of falls flat.
CHRCH - Light Will Consume Us All | Neurot Recordings | Sludge/Doom Metal | United States
Though sludgy (very sludgy), CHRCH's true identity as a funeral doom metal band fully reveals itself on this three-song mammoth.
Daemonheim - Widrwelt | Naturmacht Productions | Black Metal | Germany
Simple, yet powerful black metal. No frills, but Widrwelt's dark, pastoral sound doesn't really need to have anything added to it.
FOR THE ADVENTUROUS
The music on this album came from a sad, tragic place. As the band tells us, “The inspiration behind this album is about our seven-year old cousin who died under tragic circumstances. As a family, it’s been very traumatic and left us personally feeling a sense of helplessness, despair and dread over this tremendous loss. The music was our way of dealing with this.”
They also add that it’s their most personal album compared to any other album they’ve made. “Its objective is not to transport you away but to bring you to the moment.” Production-wise, they went for a vintage approach. “We wanted to keep the album dark and the sounds more lived in. We decided on analogue mastering so it’s more reminiscent of earlier records rather the current trend of loud polished glossy records,” they said.
Pharaoh Overlord - Zero | Ektro/Hydra Head | Krautrock/Psychedelia | Finland
Krautrock masters Pharaoh Overlord (containing members of Circle) collaborate with members of Faust and, if you can believe it, Demilich to add as much density as possible to their classically minimal take on rock music. Rinse, drain, repeat. Rinse, drain, repeat. Nod your head and lose yourself in the glory of repetitive sound.
Funerary Descent - Ov Chasms Beyond | Fólkvangr Records | Black/Doom Metal | United States
First off, I haven't seen "ov" used in earnest in a really long time. It makes me feel weird. The music found here is ghostly, and slow, almost at times reminding me of the very earliest recordings by Elysian Blaze. However, Funerary Descent has a bit of work to do in order to crawl from the pit of "our sound is dark on a cartoonish level." Church bells are fine, but the sound of crows heralding a fuzzy, doomed chapter? I understand the intent, but I just can't take that kind of sampling seriously. There is a lot of potential here, and a lot which feeds into my nostalgia for the "depressive black metal" era of the mid-2000s, but Funerary Descent needs to find their identity outside of stock darkness.
Voices - Frightened | Candlelight Records/Spinefarm Records | Progressive Death Metal | England
There was a period of time when Voices was posed to usurp the throne once left empty by Akercocke, their bizarre, boundary-pushing death metal essentially picking up where some of their members left off on Antichrist. Sadly, a lot of the intensity found on London is sorely absent on their third album. At least Voices managed to avoid the troublesome "sophomore slump."