Upcoming Metal Releases 6/5/2016-6/11/2016
Hey, so it's officially June now! It's strange how time flies. I'd comment on how it still feels like January, but my lack of an air conditioner says otherwise, especially after the thirty degree (that's in Fahrenheit) jump which happened over the last two weeks. With so many releases out this year, have there been any from the first two quarters to which you still regularly listen? I feel like people get really excited about an album for maybe two weeks before moving on, so what's stuck in your playlist? What have I missed? Hopefully some stoner/doom metal.
Here are the new metal releases for the week of June 5, 2016 – June 11, 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.
Jute Gyte - Perdurance | Jeshimoth Entertainment | Experimental Black Metal/Modern Classical Music/Electronica | United States
Disclaimer: I'm only discussing Jute Gyte's black metal albums, at least mostly. Also I've done work with Adam Kalmbach in the past, so I suppose there is that lovely element of conflict of interest. Reader beware.
Jute Gyte's descent into complete discordant madness has vexed and inspired me since I first heard Young Eagle at a friend's house nine years ago. Morphing from the Darkthrone traditionalism of Old Ways to the academic references of Verstiegenheit, Impermanence, Isolation, and Senescence, to the more familiar microtonal chaos of his more recent works, Kalmbach's progression with his solo project flows naturally and deliberately (his intent is made all the more clear when you read liner notes and see his recording timelines - he holds onto albums for at least a couple years before releasing them). I had initially made the clumsy assumption that Jute Gyte had reached a sort of "head" with last year's Ship of Theseus, whose transformative, trance-inducing buzz, as always, forged new ground for the project, but Perdurance is a special sort of anomaly in Jute Gyte's ever-expanding discography.
As it stands, I've only really spoken of Kalmbach's black metal works under the Jute Gyte moniker, but this project, much like the legendary Janus, has a second face, and Perdurance is a tangible bridge to the academic, experimental, and electronic music also released under this same name. Now we, the listeners, find that the rabbit hole down which we've been led is so much deeper, and Jute Gyte's now signature hyperdissonance meets the ever-shifting polyrhythms of IDM, Gamelan's chiming bells, and the shifting dread of early electronic music. Perdurance is a strange album whose penchant for the impenetrable verges on Dadaism, but the many moments of catchy grooves and unique twists and turns I've said this before referring to other bands - I probably even said it about this one - but Perdurance isn't for the uninitiated. I hate to use the word "advanced" when referring to music, but...Jute Gyte kind of is. Embracing such chaotic dissonance is a challenge, but such daring music cannot go unnoticed.
Sumac - What One Becomes | Thrill Jockey Records | Sludge/Doom/Post-Metal | United States
I forgot to at least reference Sumac's The Deal in my "Best of 2015" list and that was stupid. Funny how it takes five months of reflection to truly remember what albums from last year actually had some staying power, right? Sumac's debut hit me in the perfect spot which Old Man Gloom ultimately left empty (I'm sure I will catch flak for that), but I'm the opinion that Aaron Turner is at his finest when reveling in how much he can make the Earth shake beneath him. Well, if The Deal was just an earthquake, What One Becomes is the pyroclastic explosion which shattered Krakatoa. On the furthest edges of chaos and control, Sumac rides bizarre grooves into oblivion, breaking the pummeling plod with bizarre, atonal technicality and strange polyrhythms (drummer Nick Yacyshyn's dexterity and feel is unreal). It always sounds like it's going to fall apart and break under the ever-mounting tension, but this trio's hammer-like precision holds steadfast. With its five tracks hovering just under the hour mark (closer "Will To Reach"'s nine minutes and forty-eight seconds holds the title for shortest song), What One Becomes adventures through depraved, resonant sludge, cascading-yet-unsettling psychedelia, and frantic post-hardcore, marrying this hydra's skill sets with an awe-inspiring fluidity. I'll need to sit with this one for a good while longer to let it really set in, but Sumac definitely does not suffer from the dreaded "sophomore slump."
Master's Hammer - Formulæ | Jihosound Records | Experimental Black Metal | Czech Republic
This week in strange black metal is one for the books. You know how I keep bringing up black metal's history of being bizarre? Czech legends Master's Hammer transcend any oddity I have previously referenced. For those who are unfamiliar, Master's Hammer is no stranger to being...different. Initially one of the stronger examples of epic, Slavonic metal (Ritual is an incredible album), 1995 "farewell album" Šlágry's complete departure from their earlier sound for clumsy, goofy electronic music is still hailed as their Ilud Divinum Insanus (side note: isn't it funny that an album sixteen years younger than Šlágry is used as its damning comparison?). After deciding not to break up, Master's Hammer's sort of "trickster" persona was truly solidified, and guitarist Necrocock's stagename shifted from "awkward cult" to "actual penis joke." Twenty years later, Master's Hammer is back to making black metal, or at least have recorded a few albums which resembles it on the fringe. Formulæ is weird, catchy, and, of course, irreverent, but that's the point, and with each new album it seems that Master's Hammer is inching toward becoming black metal's answer to Laibach, while simultaneously being the genre's embodiment of The Residents's self-referential humor. Expect riffs, sure, but I'm in it for the dance beats and deep, volkisch voice.
Haunter - Thrinodίa | Independent/Red River Family Records | Black Metal | United States
The fact that I slept on Haunter's debut demo last year should be considered criminal. The category of American black metal bands who delve into the strange world of experimental dissonance are slim pickings, and the few who do (ie. the above offender) take discord to its furthest extreme. Though I definitely appreciate (and even relish in) such chaos, sometimes I yearn for composed restraint. Misanthropy Records got it right in the early '90s - I mean, they released "Written in Waters," "Wolf's Lair Abyss," the classic In the Woods… trilogy, and countless other genre-redefining classics. There was this fleeting era of strangeness in black metal and it was undoubtedly considered canon, only to splinter into conservative traditionalism or complete abandonment of metal's harsh extremes. Even now there is a dichotomy between adventurous boundary pushing on both ends of the spectrum, which is what makes Austin black metal trio Haunter so unique. Lost somewhere between the special sadness of early 2000s American black metal (I believe I cited Xasthur elsewhere) and the seasick avant-garde of Misanthropy Records' golden age, Thrinodίa deftly navigates through hazy atmospheres and profound, enraptured despondency, controlling their chaos and transforming it into a greater uneasiness. These guys are hitting the road next month and I'll be seeing them in Chicago with Ashbringer. Scroll all the way down to the bottom of this column for their full tour schedule - do not miss them should they visit your city.
Ghoulgotha - To Starve The Cross | Dark Descent Records | Death/Doom Metal | United States
A lot of "new old school death metal," much like '70s psych stoner doom revisionism, rubs me the wrong way. However, anything Wayne Sarantopolous touches makes a strong case that embracing the old can be done in such a refreshing way. The doomed, putrid death metal of To Starve The Cross sounds traditional, at least at first, but the bizarre harmonies and constantly changing rhythm unveils a much more progressive, unique beast. Never judge a book by its cover.
Wederganger/Laster - Wederganger - Laster | Ván Records | Atmospheric Black Metal/Black Metal | Netherlands/Netherlands
I always dread the "imbalanced split" which occasionally graces my inbox, but sometimes the better half makes it all worthwhile. When placed on a scale, Laster outweighs fellow countrymen Wederganger, both in songwriting skill and execution. Both play atmospheric black metal with admitted skill, but Laster's adventurous spirit, simultaneously looking back to Emperor's pomp and forward to more hardcore-influenced mania, outshines Wederganger's perfectly capable but unfortunately lacking bout of middle-of-the-road mid-paced black metal.
Nevoa - Re Un | Avantgarde Music | Atmospheric Black/Sludge Metal | Portugal
I rather enjoyed last year's chiming, almost positive The Absence of Void, and was actually pleasantly surprised to hear Portuguese duo Nevoa was entering the studio again earlier this year...but Re Un is such a sudden shift in sound that I'm actually left a little disappointed. Going in expecting the atmospheric black metal of its predecessor, Re Un shows a drastic change to a much sludgier sound, bringing about more metal comparisons to Neurosis than, say, the Weakling I was expecting. I suppose further listens might change my mind.
Dakessian - The Poisoned Chalice | Independent/Digital | Sludge/Doom Metal | United States
St. Louis doommonger Kenny Snarzyk has been a busy guy this year. Along with the seemingly endless stream of new Fister splits, it looks like he's teamed up with Lumbar mastermind Aaron Edge to make even more sludge. Given Snarzyk's past works, it goes without saying that Dakessian's debut is in a similar vein of Grief-influenced sludge (which is how I prefer my sludge as opposed to the bluesier/poppier end of the spectrum). However, Fister this is not, and Edge's mark is made in the form of some very tasteful lead work and the occasional foray into strange, stylistically unexpected dissonance. I really didn't see this album coming, and it is a pleasant surprise. It doesn't look like a physical version is in the cards right now, but if you head on over to Holy Mountain Printing, they have a pretty nice shirt which comes with a nifty download card.
Gloomy Grim - The Age Of Aquarius | Symphonic Black Metal | Finland
The "Symphonic Black Metal" tag is sure to sour a few readers, but hear me out. I haven't had the best time with Gloomy Grim's discography, it gets a little on the hokey side, but The Age Of Aquarius is a surprising success. Why? Well, as much as it sucks to base one's enjoyment of an album solely because it sounds like another...this sounds surprisingly like Old Man's Child's Born of the Flickering. Unfortunately, there isn't a ton more I can say about this, but kudos to Gloomy Grim for emulating a super unappreciated sound.
FOR THE ADVENTUROUS
Spires That In The Sunset Rise - Beasts In The Garden | Hairy Spider Legs | Avant-Garde | United States
I had always known Spires That In The Sunset Rise as a bizarre psychedelic folk band, at least until I saw the duo of Kathleen Baird and Taralie Peterson perform live in late 2014. It would appear that, having spent a few years entrenched in the Chicago avant-jazz scene, Spires That In The Sunset Rise had very quickly shed the "folk" tag. Resembling a shimmering, kaleidoscopic Stravinsky, Baird and Peterson's fluttering flute and saxophone lilt and loop in endless beauty. As opposed to the dark, moody works of their previous sound, the lively, lush sounds of Beasts In The Garden are proof of this duo's mastery of two very different, strong emotions and their fragile, ephemeral sensibilities.
Matt Christensen - Your Other Hope | Hairy Spider Legs | Psychedelic Folk/Slowcore | United States
More widely known as the frontman and guitarist for local dreamy psych band Zelienople, Matt Christensen has very quickly built up quite the arsenal of solo recordings. Though other albums like Coma Gears and Someday I Won't Matter Anymore showcase Christensen's mastery of haunting, minimal, folky songwriting, Your Other Hope is a bit of a departure. Though built on the slow decay of delicately fingerpicked chords, Your Other Hope blossoms into beautiful, sunlit psychedelia, perfect for the hazy, muggy Summer ahead. I've gotten used to Matt adventuring into deep psychedelia like this in more of a full-band setting, so hearing a gorgeous, isolated instance of his input is surprisingly fulfilling.
Bat - Wings Of Chains | Hells Headbangers Records | Heavy/Speed Metal | United States
Snotty, pissed-the-hell-off metalpunk. Go figure the crazed minds behind Municipal Waste and Parasytic would make something so furious.