Upcoming Metal Releases 5/20/18 – 5/26/18
This is a release-heavy week. I needed some help.
Here are the new metal releases for the weeks of May 20, 2018 – May 26, 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. This week: Striborg - Blackwave
Mysterious international trio 夢遊病者‘s (otherwise known as Sleepwalker for those of us who can’t read kanji) strange music certainly seems to appear out of thin air and so suddenly vanish once more. On paper, music like this -- the unlikely, joyous union of krautrock, black metal, and psychedelia -- shouldn’t make sense. In practice, black metal psychedelia hasn’t made sense, either, instead concentrating on one side or the other, seemingly alternating between identities but never finding agreement within its own practice.
What is found here, though, is simultaneous, an instantaneous density of sound both aggressive and distant, airy and full of rage. Music like this is the type of sound found in a fleeting reverie, forgotten before ever fully making sense to this odd thought’s beholder. Somehow acting upon their own ephemeral inspiration, 夢遊病者 seizes the uncapturable before it disappears for eternity.
Vastum/Spectral Voice - Split | Dark Descent Records | Death Metal / Death/Doom Metal | United States
Two "modern" (though certainly not in execution) death metal heavyweights link putrid, riffing arms on this incredibly heavy, albeit brief 7" release. Vastum's dark, Bolt Thrower-inspired war sounds find their perfect match with the emanations from Spectral Voice's ancient, waterborne caverns.
Over 30 years after their classic debut Epicus Doomicus Metallicus, Candlemass are still churning out evil, slowed-down riffs and ripping fiery solos. Current vocalist Mats Levén’s howl suits the song perfectly. If you like classic Candlemass (or if you’re unfamiliar but you like anything from Black Sabbath to Pallbearer), you’re gonna be pleased with this song.
Banking on the success of 2016’s Devoid of Light, Uada have taken a well-lit route revamping and tweaking past techniques under the same identifiable aesthetic. They’ve retained their groove -- that ascending, chorus-driven oomph -- while leaning and tightening their attack. Unashamed of its easy-to-follow song structure, “Snakes & Vultures” also prides itself on desaturated riffing and crisply straightforward drumming, which Uada executes well. The song would find itself quite comfortable at home on Devoid of Light, actually -- a testament to Uada’s consistency.
Their years away from the genre haven’t left a mark on “A Grotesque Reflection.” Their touch for weaving inventive riffs through high speed traffic hasn’t aged a day. The band write riffs that sound like they’re cross stitching while sitting on the top of a moving car. Light This City don’t change the genre’s melodic template, but they make each chord change fresh by syncopating their phrases and darting in and out of the song’s steady rhythm. Nichols’ rasp is in terrific form too, if anything the time spent harmonizing in Heartsounds sounds like was a extended rest for her vocal chords. Having returned with the full force of the band behind her, Nichols uses the images of Greek mythology to detail how the living carry the potential for sudden death with them at all times. Even on the verge of their mortality, Light This City have never sounded more alive.
Vorpal Sword - Deformer | Rising Beast | Black Metal/Noise/Shoegaze | United States
The overwhelming, noise-filled dream returns -- Vorpal Sword's first tape since 2016's Pain marks a return of Horus's distinct blend of the harsh shoegazing blast which defines this unique project's brief blasts of existence.
Extispicium - Belomancy | EEE Recordings/Quest For Fire | Black Metal | United States
Raw black metal of the highest order, balancing an extracorporeal dreaminess with pure, high-grit fury. Grok and Husk of Elohim fans might want to check this one out.
FOR THE ADVENTUROUS
Michael Vallera - All Perfect Days | Denovali | Ambient/Drone | United States
Drone guitar connoisseur Michael Vallera (Cleared, Coin) crafts a sunset of shimmering sounds and regal colors on this new record. All Perfect Days rises above the standard of "guitar-based drone," possessing a very obviously composed structure and slow, warm momentum.
The best hardcore records are half sparring partner, half motivational speaker. In one breath they will knock the wind out of you, in the next they'll give you the strength to stand back up. Svalbard don't pull any punches on their second full length, singing unapologetically about issues of gender with the bluntness of a drill sergeant. Serena Cherry doesn't sugar coat her message here, in part because she shouldn't have to but also because she doesn't need to. Svalbard play with stirring conviction, never faltering into reverb soup or forcing their songs into awkward arrangements. You couldn't ask for a better record to have in your corner when stepping into the ring with the world's bullshit.
Split Cranium - I'M THE DEVIL AND I'M OK | Ipecac Recordings | Psychedelic Hardcore/D-Beat | International (United States/Finland)
America's fabled sludge sons and Finland's mythical masters of psychedelia find a happy medium through the unexpected lens of strange, Discharge-inspired hardcore. Come back tomorrow to hear the bizarre album in full.
The Mystery of the Bulgarian Voices - BooCheeMish | Prophecy Productions | Folk/Darkwave/Choral | Bulgaria
As someone who wrote an undergrad thesis on the Westward movement of Roma music from India through Eastern Europe and all the way to the tip of Spain, hearing this album fills me with wondrous emotion and nostalgia. Combining these "gypsy" melodic and harmonic mentalities with a greater world music and neofolk sense, The Mystery of the Bulgarian Voices's (featuring Dead Can Dance's Lisa Gerrard) first album in decades evokes an otherworldly mystique, pulling the world's furthest reaches together into one.
Look, I could tell you a lot of things about the new Baptists album. I could tell you about how it exemplifies producer Kurt Ballou's ability to create clarity in hardcore and not just overwhelming power. I could tell you that Baptists' songwriting is a great mix of classic punk restraint and modern aggression. I could tell you that the sudden drop in tempo at the end of the record is as delightful as it is expected. But that's not what you want to hear. You can here from the drums. You want hear about those sweet, sweet fills and that impeccable sense of time. Well, I've got good news to tell you, too: Nick Yacyshyn delivers.
FROM THE GRAVE
Yahar'gul - Yahar'gul | Night Rhythms Recordings | Melodic Black Metal | United States
Epic, melodic black metal in that special Memoria Vetusta style, but centered around… Bloodborne? I don't know if I've ever played that video game. Purportedly recorded over a weekend, yet another project by John Kerr only further proves this man's serpentine talents.
Carnifex - Pathological Rites | Xtreem Music | Death Metal | Finland
Yes, this is the Carnifex from Finland, and this collection of their early demos is high octane 1990s Finnish death metal. Definitely worth checking out if you're a Finnish death metal fanatic.
Micawber - Beyond the Reach of the Flame | Prosthetic Records | Death Metal | United States
Though some of the riffs on this album certainly come off as death metal, Micawber more adequately fits in the same box as the more metallic "tough guy" bands from the mid-2000s. It's fine, and this might be a good pick for future gym sessions, but I don't really catch the "casual listening" vibe from this one.
Djevelkult - Når Avgrunnen Åpnes | Saturnal Records | Black Metal | Finland
These Finnish legends help carry the torch for their country's special sort of sharp, melodic black metal, but not in a particularly heralding or special way.
Ritual Necromancy - Disinterred Horror | Dark Descent Records | Death Metal | United States
Ritual Necromancy has always been one of the better examples of that dark, "scary" end of the old school death metal spectrum, which makes sense as Rites of Thy Degringolade's Jay Wroth exists amongst their ranks.
Valgrind - Blackest Horizon | Everlasting Spew Records | Death Metal | Italy
There haven't been many bands to fill Nocturnus's shoes (not even Nocturnus AD, let's be real), but Valgrind does a pretty convincing, albeit modern take of the keyboard-laden space death metal sounds of The Key.