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This week is a little light on releases - going to take it a little slow for now after a few 10+ pagers.

Here are a handful of metal and related releases slated for release between May 1st and 7th, 2016. There are probably things missing - tell me about them in the comment box below.

—Jon Rosenthal
send Jon your promos at jon@invisibleoranges.com

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ANTICIPATED RELEASES

Pyramido - Vatten | Halo of Flies Records | Sludge/Doom Metal | Sweden
Though I'm more familiar with Pyramido's earlier material, which was generally Grief-worship sludge/doom metal with the occasional psychedelic flourish, it would appear that these Swedes pulled a bit of a Dischord Records about face during my mental absence. The sludge-by-way-of-post-hardcore sounds of Vatten, melding thoughtful melodic hooks with the underlying current of bottomed-out doom punk, shows a strong maturation of a once very conservative band. Pyramido was definitely good at sounding like Grief, sure, but Vatten shows them becoming their own band and defining their own sound.

Vektor - Terminal Redux | Earache Records | Progressive Thrash Metal | United States
Vektor is a band I've never really been familiar with, but I've also never really been a thrash guy, and, beyond that, a Voivod fan. Yeah, there are the legions who sing the praises of Vektor, but, in the end, they do sound remarkably like Piggy-era Voivod, which I can appreciate. The bizarre instrumental acrobatics and alien screams certainly paint a much more Kubrickian picture of space in vibrant technicolor, and I will definitely give credit where credit is due. These guys are good at what they do, and Terminal Redux will tickle your fancy

Astral Path - An Oath To The Void | Avantgarde Music | Atmospheric Black Metal/Ambient | Canada
As opposed to the very colorful view of deep space seen in Vektor's newest album, Astral Path's keyboard-laden black metal is cold and monochromatic. However frigid and mechanical the performance may be, Astral Path's brilliant melodies prefer expanse over psychedelics - the majestic sound of the tranquility and awe of deep space.

Glorior Belli - Sundown (The Flock That Becomes) | Agonia Records | Black Metal | France
Glorior Belli's lengthy foray into the Delta sounds of blues-tinged black metal was an exciting, catchy new twist in the genre's history. Sure, "They Call Me Black Devil"'s near radio rock levels of catchiness was a point of contention, but Billy Bayou was really onto something, and, as the sound evolved, so did my appreciation and enjoyment. So what happened? In a surprise near-backward step, Sundown is a rather conservative bout of melodic black metal in the "French" tradition. I mean, it's perfectly fine, and I'm certainly a sucker for anything reminiscent of Vlad Tepes and Mutiilation, but I expected something more, or at least different, from this once innovator. Sundown is one of those rare situations in which a perfectly competent, even enjoyable album, is ruined due to context.

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OF NOTE

Coffin Dust - Everything is Dead | Unholy Anarchy Records | Death/Thrash Metal/Crossover | United States
Oh hey, this reminds me of Razorback Records back in their heyday. Fun, energetic, and still pretty gross.

Near - Own Sun | De Tenebraum Principio | Black Metal | Italy
When Italy gets black metal right, it gets it right. Near has always been a minor favorite, it's actually hard to believe The Opening of the Primordial Whirl is already six years old, and Old Sun picks up where its predecessor left of. Near's black metal is traditional and cold, maybe a little on the cookie cutter side, but it is certainly well executed and enjoyable if nothing else.

Grave Miasma - Endless Pilgrimage | Sepulchral Voice/Profound Lore Records | Black/Death Metal | England
I was kind of hoping Grave Miasma would continue in the atmospheric vein of Odori Sepulcrorum's closing track "Ossuary," but Endless Pilgrimage is an unfortunately flat, uninspired EP of traditional "new old school death metal" with no identifying factors. What happened to being adventurous? Grave Miasma has proven they like experimenting with the avant-garde, so the sudden bout of traditionalism comes as both a shock and disappointment.

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FOR THE ADVENTUROUS

Alaric - End of Mirrors | Neurot Recordings | Post-Punk/Deathrock | United States

From my premiere of "Mirrors":

"Though I had previously asserted that Alaric had achieved their peak with their contribution to their 2012 split with fellow gloomers Atriarch, “Mirrors” sets the bar higher. Alaric is night music for aging punks – the sound of the last call at an emptied, dimly lit bar slowly purging its last denizens. To quote a song from a previous Alaric release, “the sadness goes on,” and it certainly does."

Xasthur - Subject to Change | Disharmonic Variations | Folk | United States
Known recluse Scott "Malefic" Connor's decision to return to the Xasthur moniker has been a point of contention to many due to his continued abandonment of the unique black metal sound which made Xasthur, well, Xasthur. The bluegrass sound Connor explored with his Nocturnal Poisoning project, a style the band called "Doomgrass," echoed the singular, gothic tonal shades of his previous band's work, but with a distinct Appalachian edge. Now armed with a semi-full band, Xasthur's sonic return is a striking change, and a definite shock for those who wouldn't expect the reuse of such a legendary name, but the misery is all the same. Xasthur is back.

Term Fix - The Surgeon's Dog | Independent/Digital | EBM/Industrial Rock | Australia
I'm not very well-versed in EBM - must have missed the Skinny Puppy bus when I was a young teenager or something. Term Fix's rubber fetishism by way of monstrous, catchy industrial beats and hidden pop hooks makes a strong argument that I might just have to try harder.

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OTHER RELEASES

Khanus - Rites of Fire | I, Voidhanger Records | Death Metal | Finland
This is one of those situations in which an I, Voidhanger Records release hasn't left me with some sort of superlative emotion. It isn't bad, but Khanus isn't really great, either.

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WHAT WE MISSED

Quercus - Heart With Bread | Solitude Productions | Funeral Doom Metal | Czech Republic
Solitude Productions can be pretty hit or miss, essentially becoming the "Depressive Illusions" of doom metal, but there are a few gems which work their way into the fold time to time. It had been a long time since the name Quercus had crossed my mind. My last experience with them was a 2007 split with underground funeral doom master Mistress of the Dead, but in those nine years it is obvious that Quercus had harnessed a powerful sound. Echoing the great Skepticism, Heart With Bread's organ-led, morose, plodding doom metal crawls and weeps over its hour's length.

Hadak Ura - Ten Arrows from the Sky | Dread Records | Black Metal | United States
Strong, traditional black metal from Middle America has become a rarity. What was once home to bands like Judas Iscariot, older I Shalt Become, and Sarcophagus has made a very drastic transition to post-rock and shoegaze with blast beats. Wisconsinite Hadak Ura's epic, atmospheric sound, reminiscent of the Slavic and Blazebirth Hall scenes, is a reminder that black metal is still alive and well where corn grows.

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