Upcoming Metal Releases 5/21/2017-5/27/2017
Who else has spent the last few days listening to Superunknown like me? What a huge bummer.
Here are the new metal releases for the week of May 21, 2017 – May 27, 2017. 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 Friday 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.
Khashm - Asmodeus Rising | Iron Bonehead Productions | Black Metal | Russia
For all the minimal, aggressive, brutal black metal on Iron Bonehead's roster, it's the punctuated bouts of strangeness like Khashm which truly define it as one of the cutting edge labels in extreme metal. Though raw and plodding, Khashm is woozy with seasick riffs and groaned vocal incantations. The lengthy Asmodeus Rising occupies a very interesting middle ground between Written in Waters and Si Monvmentvm; compelling through and through.
Suffering Hour - In Passing Ascension | Blood Harvest | Blackened Death Metal | United States
From Andrew's premiere of "Procession to Obscure Infinity":
"Suffering Hour nail the precise midpoint between black and death metal — the overlay of death metal constructions on black metal intensities — carried on continuously varied guitar licks which return to catchy hooks for maximum excitability. There’s even a breakdown-esque moment that substitutes slamming rhythms for a high-pitched breakaway."
Comity - A Long, Eternal Fall | Translation Loss Records/Throatruiner Records | Hardcore/Sludge/Doom Metal | France
Buckle up, Comity's here to take us on another wild ride. Always hard to pin down, this French group's far-reaching hardcore makes strong appeals to doomy plod, twitchy grind, and brackish endurance. Much like falling down the eternal pit, A Long, Eternal Fall quickly reaches terminal velocity and refuses to loosen its grip.
Jordablod - Upon My Cremation Pyre | Iron Bonehead Productions | Black Metal | Sweden
Whereas the aforementioned Khashm's music was strange in a murky, obscured sense, Jordablod's own unique presence dates back to the early days of Masters Hammer. Though, again, blasting and harsh, the brief moments of colorful, psychedelic NWOBHM inject just the right amount of "fun" into Upon My Cremation Pyre's otherwise monochromatic color palette.
Varmia - Z Mar Twych | Fólkvangr Records | Folk/Black Metal | Poland
Polish black metal tends to err on the side of quality. Following in the footsteps of Behemoth's early days, Varmia's black metal is folkish and grandiose, but surprises with a unique sort of death metal brawn.
Wreche - Desert | Fragile Branch | Black Metal (but on a piano?) | United States
One of the many examples of "let's do black metal but...different. Sort of.", Wreche keeps the atmosphere and relentless nature of their home genre but replaces all non-drum instruments with piano. Desert chimes and writhes but doesn't quite work. I am reminded of the piano screamo band My Own Private Alaska who attempted something similar and received very brief praise.
Norska - Too Many Winters | Brutal Panda Records | Sludge/Doom Metal | United States
If you didn't know Norska shared members with Yob, the sound influence is definitely there. Luckily, Too Many Winters adventures a little further into the heavy metal and noise rock influence which manifested on previous releases. As a result, Norska might not be as "heavy" in the traditional sense this time around, but they definitely make for an energetic, oppressive listen.
Corpse Light - Mother of God | Angry Love Productions | Sludge/Doom/Post-Metal | United States
Much like their previous album Without Form, Corpse Light's take on "post-metal" succeeds solely due to its weight and gait. Mother of God comes off more like as if Grief made an attempt to appeal to negative emotions other than pure rage.
Norse - The Divine Light of a New Sun | Transcending Obscurity Productions | Blackened Death Metal | Australia
A lot of these "dissonant" black metal bands end up sounding like The Dillinger Escape Plan but with harsher distortion. I do, however, greatly prefer Greg Puciato's voice to the heavily effected screams found on this album.
FOR THE ADVENTUROUS
Future Faces - Revolt | Throatruiner Records | Post-Punk | Switzerland
An unexpected turn for the more aggressive Throatruiner label, Future Faces appeals more to my "sensitive goth" side. Sounding more like a dimly-lit club and lace-adorned dancing, Revolt's grey tones masterfully echo the despondency of the French coldwave scene.
Sólstafir - Berdreyminn | Season of Mist | Post-Rock | Iceland
I'm still trying to figure out if I like any Sólstafir material past Masterpiece of Bitterness. Sure, post-rock is cool and, sure, Vikings are alright, but the whole spaghetti western vibe seems so out of place.
FROM THE GRAVE
Erraunt - The Portent | Pale Horse Recordings | Atmospheric Black Metal | United States
Two years ago, the hermetic Oneiric's public unveiling as Erraunt made waves in black metal's underground. The four tracks which comprise The Portent were sweltering, muggy, mysterious black metal which traversed black metal's various timelines without fully encroaching on other artists' territories. Much like the album's eerie artwork, Erraunt's jangling, bizarre idiosyncrasies evoke a certain shade of swampy green. For those who missed the limited tape edition, or prefer to avoid tapes altogether, Pale Horse Recordings's lavish LP edition is gorgeous and fully encompasses Erraunt's magnificent opening statement.
Alestorm - No Grave but the Sea | Napalm Records | "Pirate Metal" (Folk/Power Metal) | Scotland
You like pirates? I don't.
Nocte Obducta - Totholz (Ein Raunen aus dem Klammwald) | MDD Records | Avant-Garde Black Metal | Germany
The unsung masters of bizarro black metal in the old way (read as: long, unstructured riffs and lots of epic keyboards) still go hard after 25 years. Consistency is key, and I'm a sucker for anything Nocte Obducta.
Soulskinner - Descent to Abaddon | Xtreem Music | Death Metal | Greece
Unholy, evil death metal which isn't afraid to veer into catchy, melodic territory. I went into this expecting it to be another "hey at least we got Mark Riddick art, right?" joke of a death metal band (no disrespect to Riddick, that guy rules), but Soulskinner is by no means bad. Maybe not something I'd revisit, but I can't complain.
Canvas Black - Destructive Herd Mentality | Independent/Digital | Progressive Death Metal | Norway
Progressive death metal which is a little closer to the "modern" side. Crisp, clean performance and an unrelenting, constant vocal presence does not bode well for these ears, but I can definitely see these guys garnering positive attention.