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Happy Monday, read away. Oh, and don't be awful people.

Here are the new metal releases for the week of May 22, 2016 – May 28, 2016. 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/bands get impatient. Blurbs and designations are based on perceived buzz and 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.

send Jon your promos at jon@invisibleoranges.com. Do not send them to his Facebook.

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ANTICIPATED RELEASES

Withered - Grief Relic | Season of Mist | Experimental Black/Death Metal | United States
Withered is back, but they are also...different. To be fair, the last time I heard from this Atlanta-centered extreme metal troupe was with 2008's Folie Circulaire, whose Today Is The Day-meets-Autopsy intensity had left a lasting mark, so this sudden shift was...surprising. A good kind of surprising, but, aside from project mastermind Mark Thompson, this is an entirely different band, so change was inevitable. The base of dazzling, hardcore-influenced blackened death metal is the same, but the inclusion of one Colin Marston, who seems to have joined every band in existence this year, has resulted in a bizarre, mesmerizing, technical fragmenting of Thompson's vision. New vocalist Ethan McCarthy, who you might recognize from Colorado's Primitive Man and Vermin Womb, makes this new lineup sound all more feral, his voice resembling an anthropomorphic bear. This isn't the Withered I remember, but I can certainly get used to this.

Darkestrah - Turan | Osmose Productions

From my full premiere a few weeks ago:

"[In] “kui” music, a narrative sort of instrumental folk ballad native to Kyrgyzstan, performers use visual cues and large, dramatic gestures to visualize the epic’s plot arc. With the inherent drama of Darkestrah’s larger than life music, Turan is performed with those dramatic gestures in mind, the band performing wave after wave of memorable, hair-raising climaxes which build and flow. These are the stories of the ancients made new, and the spirit flows with an awesome power."

El-Ahrairah - El-Ahrairah | Underground Soundscapes | Black Metal | United States
A long-silent bastion of the extreme underground returns with their first proper full-length after a myriad of home-dubbed demo tapes. Check back later today for a little more than just this two sentence blurb.

Thy Worshiper - Klechdy | Arachnophobia Records | Folk/Black/Death Metal | Poland
I won't be the first to admit that folk metal can be on the more especially corny end of the music spectrum. Don't deny it. Even the most enjoyable moments of Ulver's Bergtatt can espouse hilarious images of fat guys in foam armor on the grumpiest day, but it's still enjoyable. Thy Worshiper seem to be outliers on the whole "folk metal" thing, drawing influence from the complete opposite end of the whole "post-industrial" genre. Neofolk? Hardly - these guys seem to worship at the altar of Dead Can Dance's Brendan Perry instead of Sol Invictus. Klechdy's ethereal harmonies make a point that folk metal's point of evolutionary branching predates neofolk and goes deeper into the gothic music spectrum.

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OF NOTE

Lord Vicar - Gates of Flesh | The Church Within Records | Doom Metal | Finland
I haven't heard this yet, but I hear we're streaming this album sometime this week. All I know is anything Reverend Bizarre/Kimi Karki-related has my full attention.

In Twilight's Embrace - Trembling | Arachnophobia Records | Death Metal | Poland
Contrary to popular belief, Polish death metal branches out beyond the boundaries set by Vader and Behemoth. Trembling's catchy mixing of At The Gates's rhythmic bounce with the epic melodies of mid-90s black metal prove that Poland's underground makes for a formidable breeding ground for future extreme metal.

Ulcer - Heading BelowArachnophobia Records | Death Metal | Poland
As opposed to In Twilight's Embrace's utilization of black metal's atmosphere, Ulcer takes death metal all the way back to 1992. I hear Entombed is reuniting with their classic lineup, but what's the point of hearing middle-aged washups trying to relive their glory days when new blood is executing it so well?

Sektemtum - Panacea | Osmose Productions | Black Metal/Hard Rock | France

From my premiere of "Ebony Grand Master":

"Clad in leather and sunglasses, Sektemtum takes the traditional ancient, melodic trappings of the classic Black Legions sound and turns it on its head, or, rather, takes it back to the ’80s. Panacea shows this black metal trio taking on a surprisingly “rocking” energy, hiding rank and melodic evil in the midst of catchy rhythms and traditionalist-enraging pop hooks."

Denouncement Pyre - Black Sun Unbound | Hells Headbangers Records | Black/Death Metal | Australia
I cringed as I approached this one. War metal? No! Not at all! I love corny dual guitar leads above corny blackened death metal, and Denouncement Pyre certainly knows how to do this. I wish there was more beer in my apartment so I could start breaking stuff while listening to this. I wish labels like Hells Headbangers, Nuclear War Now!, and Iron Bonehead would pay more attention to this sort of melodic, catchy, riff-based black metal as opposed to attempting to rehash the "abandoned demo abandoned in the back of a closet" era of the early 90s. A man can hope.

(EchO) - Head First Into Shadows | BadMoonMan Music | Melodic Death/Doom Metal | Italy
Wonderfully dreary melodic death/doom metal, performed in the vein of early Katatonia but with a distinctly gothic "pop" edge. Not to make generalizations, but Italian bands who subscribe to the more gothic end of the metal spectrum tend to be a little on the "clean"/antiseptic side of things, but (EchO)'s music stands alone: organic and real.

Behexen - The Poisonous Path | Debemur Morti Productions | Black Metal | Finland

From my premiere of "Umbra Luciferi"

"Utilizing a surprisingly cleaner sound than 2012’s Nightside Emanations, the power of Behexen’s music which was once projected through a caustic lens finds itself transformed and performed with an equal potency. [...] This is the Devil’s music, far beyond the feared Crowley-inspired hard rock controversies of decades past, exploring the depths of evil with a keen ear for strength in memorability."

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FOR THE ADVENTUROUS

They Mostly Come Out At Night - Scorched Upon This Earth | Independent/Digital | Atmospheric Post-Rock/Sludge | United States
Cara Neir mastermind Garry Brents might actually be a genius. The last time I heard from this project of his was when I was a freshman in college (you decide what year that was), and this revitalization of his long-since-dead post-metal vision is just as powerful, if not even more memorable. I don't really listen to much music in the "Neurosis-worship" vein, especially since ISIS called it quits almost exactly six years ago, but They Mostly Come Out At Night remind me that there are still compelling, atmospherically intriguing bands who continue to push the envelope and thrive to push the envelope further toward the impending new decade.

Muscle and Marrow - Love | The Flenser | Art Rock/Doom Metal | United States
There's a lot of witchy darkness going 'round these parts, but no one does it quite like Muscle and Marrow.

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FROM THE GRAVE

Barghest - Into Weeping Firmament | Underground Soundscapes | Black Metal | United States
This Louisiana horde's return to a more traditional black metal sound, now available on cassette.

Feral Mind - Force & Flux | Underground Soundscapes | Black Metal | United States
I went into this expecting something more on the "atmospheric" black metal side, and, though Feral Mind's sole demo is certainly atmospheric, the primitive stomp of Force & Flux speaks to USBM's formative years. You like Profanatica?

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OTHER RELEASES

Lacuna Coil - Delirium | Century Media Records | Gothic Metal | Italy
I vaguely remember listening to Lacuna Coil when they first hit the US market maybe thirteen years ago, but my relationship with gothic metal has always been strained and concentrates on a select few bands. This new album shows that, while Lacuna Coil is still talented, pop goth metal is still...not for me. I wouldn't mind hearing Christina Scabbia in a doom metal band in the classic Peaceville style, though.

Illdisposed - Grey Sky over Black Town | Massacre Records | Melodic Death/Groove Metal | Denmark
Illdisposed is perfectly competent melodic death metal, if a little on the "modern" side (in a negative way)...but what's going on with those vocals? Why are they so much louder than everything else?

Vainaja - Verenvalaja | Svart Records | Death/Doom Metal | Finland
Svart is putting out another album which doesn't rehash the '70s occult rock scene? Can they do this more?!

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