Upcoming Metal Releases 6/19/2016 – 6/25/2016
Why do I even write things up here? Who are all you people?
Here are the new metal releases for the week of June 19, 2016 – June 25, 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 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.
Forteresse - Thèmes pour la rébellion | Sepulchral Productions | Atmospheric Black Metal | Canada
I feel a great deal of inner turmoil concerning this one. On one hand, Forteresse's discography to date has been absolutely stellar. The genre-defining, now decade-old Métal noir québécois had me hooked, and the ensuing movement (which really should be attributed to Sorcier de Glaces, but that's neither here nor there) which gave us Gris, Neige et Noirceur, and more left a really profound mark on me. I was really excited for this album, especially after the magnificently triumphant and epic Crépuscule d'Octobre and their contribution to the Legendes 4-way split, but I'm not sure if Thèmes pour la rébellion really holds up. Sure, the heavy emphasis on melody and overall atmosphere is undeniably Forteresse, which I can appreciate, but this album seems much more, I don't know, "fluffy" in comparison. The feral, raw rage which I felt truly defined Forteresse's spirit has been all but entirely buffed out and now we're left with a shiny, bronzed corpse, and I'm still not too sure how I feel about it. Granted, I felt the same way about Nightbringer's Apocalypse Sun for the longest time and now I love it, so maybe I need to let this one sit for a little bit. You decide. [I think it's pretty fucking great. Then again, I dig the power metal drum patterns. C'est la vie.-Ed.]
VIII - Decathexis | Third-I-Rex | Experimental Black/Doom Metal | Italy
With stellar releases from Pogavranjen and Virus (I'll throw the alternate format pressings of Awe's Providentia in there, to boot), this year is already more than set when it comes to seasick avant-garde metal, but there's always room for more. I was unfamiliar with Italian duo VIII prior to hearing Decathexis, and this is a dense album. Mashing lyrical, melodic but still very subdued black metal with massively clattering discord, Decathexis's intrigue is a union of the "holy duality" which defines a successful "weird" black metal album. Sure, there are loads of bands who hear Kenose and feel no need to dig further, but VIII have done their homework, as evidenced by their tasteful use of saxophone and slight, textural electronica. Having no prior knowledge, I could have been told this come out of Norway or France in the early 2000s without batting an eye.
Be'lakor - Vessels | Napalm Records | Melodic Death Metal | Australia
There isn't much in the "new melodic death metal" camp which really wets my whistle like the classics do, but once in awhile a band proves their mettle. I recall hearing Be'lakor in high school and enjoying it, but I was going through a bit of a "melodeath" phase and was pretty content with everything I found, but mid-twentysomething Jon feels a similar sort of comfort with Be'lakor's latest. Sure, some of it is a little corny, but that comes with the melodic death metal territory, and most of Vessels makes up for the brief bouts of triteness with massive, powerful songwriting. What really makes this album stand out is no matter how melodic this band gets, there aren't any of the At The Gates references which plague the genre. Be'lakor are doing their own thing, and I both respect and enjoy that.
Black Fucking Cancer - Black Fucking Cancer | Osmose Productions/Graceless Recordings | Black/Death Metal | United States
First off, I'm just going to go ahead and tackle the "name issue" which seems to be plaguing the blogosphere with this one. Yeah, it's offensive, but people didn't care when The Fucking Champs reigned supreme, right? We all write off hilarious slam death band names off as earnest, but as soon as a black metal band uses an expletive and makes reference to a disease, people start running to the hills. Come on, now. Don't cherry pick. Black Fucking Cancer is actually a fitting name for this California trio, spearheaded by former Necrite mastermind Tony Bursese, and their self-titled full-length debut follows further down the path laid by their Summoning Aural Hell demo. References can be made to the outrageous sounds of the classic Canadian Rites of Thy Degringolade and the relentless Marduk, but Black Fucking Cancer's take on blackened death metal is ultimately theirs. I definitely appreciate the occasional forays into nightmare psychedelia which make their way into the fold (mostly because they remind me of Necrite, I just can't let go). There is no trend following here - no pretty atmospheres, catchy melodies, or Ross Bay Cult aesthetic incoherence - Black Fucking Cancer is oppressive, uncompromising and absolutely devastating.
Ommadon/Legion of Andromeda - Crumbling Existence | At War With False Noise | Sludge/Doom Metal / Industrial Death/Doom Metal | Scotland/Japan
Here's a bit of a surprise split - I actually wasn't aware of it until Legion of Andromeda's Renzo was nice enough to send a promo kit my way. To celebrate their imminent tour, drone/doom duo Ommadon meet face to face with Japanese industrial death metal chaos provocateurs Legion of Andromeda in a really strange split. Ommadon's half, titled "Fundamentalist Drone" is just that, conservative and loud guitar. If you like Sunn O)))'s ØØ Void or more traditional "amplifier worship/no aesthetic" drone/doom metal, Ommadon is par for the course this time around, which makes the latter half of this split all the more jarring. Legion of Andromeda's harsh, industrial take on old school death metal is the complete opposite end of the spectrum from their split pairing. Their minimal approach - one constant beat per song, single-layered guitars, and repeating vocal motifs - speaks to industrial music's public impetus with Throbbing Gristle's 20 Jazz Funk Greats, but performed in Mortician's clothing. How strange!
Neige et Noirceur - Les Ténèbres modernes | Sepulchral Productions | Atmospheric Black Metal | Canada
More Quebecois black metal! I had grown so used to Neige et Noirceur being more "wintry" and naturalistic, but this new album's war-based approach shows a shift in style to something much more Norse. It's jarring to go from icy northern winds to something a little more Marduk-y, but Les Ténèbres modernes ultimately ends up another powerful chapter in Neige et Noirceur's mammoth discography.
Head of the Demon - Sathanas Trismegistos | Invictus Productions/The Ajna Offensive | Black/Doom Metal | Sweden
Eerie, blackened Bobby Beausoleil-styled psychedelic doom metal?? I'll take it. Apparently one of these guys is in black/death metal stalwarts Ofermod, which makes this all the more intriguing.
Sheidim - Shrines of the Void | Dark Descent Records/Me Saco un Ojo | Black/Death Metal | Spain
If you're like me, you take your metal with a strong sense of pomp whenever you can. Sheidim's debut full-length Shrines of the Void fulfills that desire so well. Rife with stately melodies, massive chord progressions, and a varied, grand sense of atmosphere, Sheidim's larger-than-life take on black/death metal is proof that there's more to the genre than goats and conservatism. Oh, and these guys definitely do Ascension better than Ascension did on their last album, for what it's worth.
Cloak - Cloak | Boris Records | Black Metal/Rock | United States
It is no secret that black metal and gothic rock go together like bread and butter, but Cloak's Sisters of Mercy-tinged rock arrogance really raises the bar for "black n roll" bands.
Sivyj Yar - The Unmourned Past | Avantgarde Music | Pagan Black Metal | Russia
Two very long, beautiful songs from this varied Russian atmospheric metal band. Weaving a tapestry of black metal, jangling shoegaze, and Russian folk melodies, The Unmourned Past is equal parts pride, depression and beauty. Of course, with so many elements working together in 10+ minute songs, the issue of imbalance arises, and there are moments in both of these songs which sort of feel lost and ultimately patched together.
FOR THE ADVENTUROUS
Kayo Dot - Plastic House on Base of Sky | The Flenser | Progressive Synthpop? | United States
I grow weary of the whole "synthwave" thing. It took me a very long time to warm up to Kayo Dot's post-Choirs of the Eye career, but the one-two punch of Hubardo and Coffins on Io rekindled the love I felt for Toby Driver's body of work. I guess I should have seen a full shift into "'80s mode," given Coffins on Io's avant-rock-meets-'80s-prog catchiness, but the "Blade Runner OST" aesthetic on Plastic House on the Base of Sky irks me in the same way that stoner/doom metal does. There is so much more the average musician can do with it, let alone the incredibly creative Toby Driver, so why go for the bare minimum?
Kinit Her - As Magi | Cloister Recordings | Experimental Neofolk | United States
Kinit Her has got to be one of my favorite bands of all time. Fusing modern, academic electronic and chamber music with avant-garde neofolk makes them unique, but it's their seamless blending of style and conviction in songcraft which makes them special and memorable. As Magi is an earlier work by the duo of Troy Schafer and Nathaniel Ritter, more earnest in performance and composition, but a brilliant stepping stone to what we've been lucky to hear in Storm of Radiance, The Poet And The Blue Flower, Hyperion, The Cavern Stanzas, and the upcoming The Blooming World. This cassette reissue is a must-have for any neofolk enthusiast who missed the initial release on Living Tapes.
FROM THE GRAVE
Witch In Her Tomb - Meditations | Crippled Sound | Black Metal | United States
After releasing a cassette, 7-inch EP, and a contribution to the SVN OKKLT compilation in rapid succession, anonymous black metal troupe Witch In Her Tomb seemed to fade into infinite obscurity. To mark an end to this "first era" and herald a new age for Witch In Her Tomb, one which hopefully promises new material, is this vinyl-only remastered collection of all ten canonical Witch In Her Tomb songs. The 27 minutes of Meditations are a frantic blur, Witch In Her Tomb's raw, powerful, aggressive black metal/punk hybrid evoking shadows of Ulver's Nattens Madrigal, old Carpathian Forest (I will defend Through Chasm, Caves and Titan Woods to the end), and even Ildjarn at moments.
Völur - Disir | Prophecy Productions | Ambient Folk/Doom Metal | Canada
Beautiful, sprawling folk/doom metal psychedelia from this Canadian trio, now available on vinyl and CD. A real selling point for me was definitely the inclusion of legendary post-rock band Do Make Say Think's drummer Jimmy P. Lightning - it's funny how worlds collide like this.
Arche - Undercurrents | Third-I-Rex | Funeral Doom Metal | Finland
Massive, epic, despondent funeral doom in the classic Finnish style heralded by the mythical Thergothon. Initially released on cassette by Graceless Recordings, this two-song EP is now available on CD.
Hell - MMXVI 4CD Box | Pesanta Urfolk/Cloister Recordings US | Blackened Sludge/Drone/Doom Metal | United States
We all need to make time for some Hell in our lives. 220+ minutes of it, in fact. This box features the canonical "trilogy," as well as previously released material from splits with Thou, Amarok and Mizmor and more. That's a lot of heavy, sad doom metal.
Lords of the Drunken Pirate Crew - Loaded to the Gunwhales | Independent/Digital | Folk Metal (Pirate Metal) | United States
Pirate metal? Pirate metal. I saw these guys once and their mosh pits feature foam noodle "sword fights."
Front - Iron Overkill | Iron Bonehead Productions | Blackened Death/Thrash Metal | Finland
Metal-Archives claims Front is thrashy, but I hear less of that genre's frantic choppiness and something more relentless and impenetrable. Nowhere near war metal, but definitely cut from a similar cloth.
Gjendød - Gjendød | Hellthrasher Productions | Black Metal | Norway
Beautifully ferocious, melodic black metal in the classic late-second wave Norwegian style. Not much to say concerning the "freshness" of this style, but Gjendød does it well.
WHAT WE MISSED
Reproacher - Nature's Bastard | Crown and Throne Ltd | Neocrust/Sludge/Doom Metal | United States
This is neocrust just how I like it - a little more laid back in the tempo department, which leaves room for bigger atmospheres and more potent expressions. The title track's references to the post-grunge phenomena from the late 90s is an especially big surprise, even more so since they perform it so well.