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I wish I had more time to do this - metal seems to be a rather all-consuming thing which, as we all know, is much less of a hobby and much more akin to R.L. Stine’s Monster Blood - consuming everything it touches. Hopefully I write about nice things this week. As some of you might guess, I don’t cover all the upcoming week’s releases. That is nuts. I try to get a nice cross-section, but I do have preferences. Sorry if missing your band makes you mad.

—Jon Rosenthal

Here are a bunch of things which come out between May 31 and June 6. Don’t forget to comment and tell me how much I suck at compiling bands! Or that you think I’m good at it. Either way, y’all been slackin’ in the comment department. C’mon, friends.

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ANTICIPATED RELEASES

Fin - The Furrows of Tradition | Behold Barbarity | Black Metal | United States
Aggressive, warlike black metal with a constant melodic sense sounds like it could be watered down, maybe enough to really lose its edge, but Indiana/Chicago duo Fin prove themselves to be quite the contrary. Frontman MK’s rather breathtaking, even beautiful guitar work also functions as its opposite, slicing the listener straight to the core. Thus is the duality of Fin, whose expertly composed, some might even say technical due to the expansive, twisting nature of MK’s often single-tracked guitar, is as shimmering and glorious as it is bestial and violent. I’ve been lucky enough to see this band from the beginning, hoarding my CDr copy of their demo somewhere in my “special demo collection,” and, though lineups do change (latest drummer D.F.K.’s clean speed definitely fits like a glove), Fin only gets better with age.

Stream a BRAND NEW track, courtesy of MK, below:

Goatsnake - Black Age Blues | Southern Lord Records | Doom Metal | United States
It really was only a matter of time before Greg Anderson felt the need to riff once more, and, luckily, the years of abstract drone have not detracted from his potent, bluesy approach. The canonical lineup is back, and the Flower of Disease they watered so many years ago is in full, soulful bloom. I’m not one for groovy, stoner-ish doom metal like this, but Black Age Blues is so powerful, so fun that not even I, the elitist black metal grump, can deny it.

Pyrrhon - Growth Without End | Handshake Inc. | Experimental Death Metal | United States
The result of a misguided excision from their former home label Relapse Records, New York weirdo death metal titans Pyrrhon return, armed with a new label, with the brief Growth Without End. Seasoned Pyrrhon fans know what to expect: extremely left-field death metal - a strong rhythm section, heavy-yet-extremely-abstract guitar work, and, of course, Invisible Oranges alumnus Doug Moore’s trademark vocal performance. One song in and I am absolutely certain that Relapse was stupid to part ways with this monster of a band, but I’m glad to see an independent label like Handshake Inc. embracing them with open arms. Don’t be stupid, get on the skronkwagon and give this a solid, open-minded listen. Maybe give the band some money.

Akitsa - Grands Tyrans | Hospital Productions | Black Metal | Canada
The true kings of Quebecois black metal return, quite literally stomping out the competition with an arsenal of primitive, bludgeoning riffs. If you are not familiar with this legendary Canadian duo, do yourself a favor and immerse yourself in the short, sharp shock which is Grands Tyrans, because, as far as I’m concerned, Akitsa can literally do no wrong.

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OF NOTE

The Meads of Asphodel/Tjolgtjar - Taste the Divine Wrath | Eternal Death | United Kingdom/United States | Experimental Black Metal/ "Black ’n Roll"
A split between what could probably be defined as the “odd couple” of black metal pairings, English oddballs The Meads of Asphodel and Southern-fried Illinois solo-artist Tjolgtjar (that’s pronounced Toll-tar to all you lay people out there) go head to head in what could be the most compelling splits of the decade. Expect a full stream here later today.

Maruta - Remain Dystopian | Relapse Records | Death Metal/Grindcore | United States
Technical, angry, and fucking intense deathgrind. Everything in Floridian deathgrind Maruta’s discography has been nothing but stellar, and Remain Dystopian is no different.

Paradise Lost - The Plague Within | Century Media Records | Death/Doom Metal/Gothic Rock | United Kingdom
My relationship with, as it seems to be with many others, Paradise Lost has been a strained one. The demos and first few albums are staples of my listening diet, Gothic a true masterpiece of early British death/doom melodrama, but they certainly lost me after the Metallica-meets-Sisters of Mercy romp which is Draconian Times. I’ve tried and tried and tried, but never got anywhere after that, which is why the new single Beneath Black Earth’s traditional, extremely sad death/doom sound threw me off track. Unfortunately, this crushing sound doesn’t really pervade the entire album, just a song or two, but it definitely gives me hope for Paradise Lost’s future. That said, the editor fucking loves it.

Ebonillumini - Arktos | Wicker Man Recordings | Experimental Black Metal | United Kingdom
What a ridiculous album. I had a few drinks in me when I listened to Joseph Schafer’s premiere of their song “
Lusca (Bahamas)
” and I just… don’t get it. Sound designs which literally mimic a vacation gone wrong (“Lusca” actually contains a sound design comprised of happy cheers behind steel drum, followed by harsh, cresting waves and frightened screaming), I can’t help but envision Tom Hanks frantically shouting for his fallen volleyball comrade over this. It’s goofy, rife with circusy synths, odd, chugging guitars, and sultry female vocals, but “goofy” might be the intent, as Ebonillumini shares members with known “trolls” The Meads of Asphodel. Arktos certainly isn’t my cup of tea, but it certainly is… unique.

Possession - 1585-1646 | Iron Bonehead Productions/Invictus Productions | Black Metal | Belgium
This Belgian horde blends primitive production and historical storytelling. Expect a stream later today.

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FOR THE ADVENTUROUS

that means things which aren't metal

Ulaan Passerine - Light in Dust | Worstward Recordings | Experimental Folk | United States
Multi-instrumentalist Steven R Smith is a force to be reckoned with. An entirely library of music to his name, from the treated field recordings of Tomes’s The Dreadful Gift to the blown out psychedelic rock of Ulaan Kohl, Steven R Smith’s creativity is as boundless as his prolific nature. With a double album and lengthy EP already under its belt, Smith’s latest project Ulaan Passerine acts as a bit of a central focal point to all of Smith’s work. A swirling mix of abstracted guitar and banjo thoughts, droning, looped violins, and beautiful electronics all decaying into a beautiful, solitary sound. This is one of those releases which showed up in my inbox and I instantly bought it without hesitation. He’s just that good.

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OTHER RELEASES

Infernal Sacrament - Ritualistic Abandon | Behold Barbarity | Black Metal | United States
You like Blasphemy, goats and Satan? Cool. Featuring MK from Fin on guitar and bass.

Skinless - Only The Ruthless Remain | Relapse Records | Brutal Death Metal | United States
Brutal NY slam/gore nasties return on Relapse. Word has it they killed at Maryland Deathfest.

Throaat - Black Speed | Invictus Productions | Speed/Thrash/Black Metal | United States

Vallendusk - Homeward Path | Northern Silence Productions | Post-Black Metal | Indonesia
Surprisingly pretty, multi-faceted black metal from Indonesia of all places. While a nice listen, the band tends to jump between styles without really letting themes develop, which was my chief complaint about their debut, Black Clouds Gathering.

Tuatha de Danann - Dawn of a New Sun | Independent | Folk Metal | Brazil
This band takes me back to when I first got into folk metal and thought “Oh wow, Celtic folk metal from Brazil?! That’s just silly!” And it was, but in a fun/silly sort of way. Tuatha de Danann still carries the torch.

Nuclear Assault - Pounder | Sidipus Records | Thrash Metal | United States
I actually posed the question, “Does the world really need another Nuclear Assault release?” in conversation the other day. Apparently we do.

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FROM THE GRAVE

Horn - Jahreszeiten / Die Kraft der Szenarien | Northern Silence Productions | Atmospheric Black Metal | Germany
One of Germany’s most unique contributions to underground black metal, Horn’s almost bizarre approach to harmonious, folky black metal has garnered almost unanimous praise from the metal underground. Northern Silence has been kind enough to re-press the long-since-sold-out debut and sophomore efforts into a nicely-packaged 2CD.

Knokkelklang - Kalg & aske | Terratur Possessions | Atmospheric Black Metal | Norway
One of my favorite releases on the now-defunct Fossbrenna Creations label, this time on vinyl...with what appears to be completely remastered audio. Dense, melodic, mournful black metal. Stream the 19 minute opener “Ned i den tørstende jorden” here.

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WHAT WE MISSED

Clandestine Blaze - New Golgotha Rising | Northern Heritage Records | Black Metal | Finland
So I apparently slept like a rock on this one. My bad. Finnish black metal supergod Mikko Aspa’s latest album under the Clandestine Blaze moniker is as putrid and foul as it is memorable. Fitting that the vinyl version made its way onto shelves last Friday.

Askeregn - Monumenter | Terratur Possessions | Black Metal | Norway
Old-school black metal from the heart of Nidaros. Not so much “primitive” as it is “orthodox,” and that’s in the performance sense...not the weird pseudo-religious sense people seem to use it for in black metal.

Cultes des Ghoules - The Rise Of Lucifer | Terratur Possessions | Black Metal | Poland
The Polish horde returns with their most Polish-sounding vocals to date. The riffs sure are fun, too. Pretty sure this sold out from the Terratur USA store (Via Blood Music) within minutes.

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