Upcoming Metal Releases 7/2/2017-7/8/2017
So Jon is off somewhere in middle America (yep, that’s a Counting Crowes reference), which means the parsing of this week’s new releases once again falls to me. Quite a few things to get to this week—some more interesting than others—so let’s get to it, shall we?
Here are the new metal releases for the week of July 2, 2017 – July 8, 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.
Vancouver’s Seer might be sludge/doom’s answer to Coheed and Cambria (and that’s not a dis – I love me some C&C, and I’ve long maintained they’re basically Rush for the Hot Topic crowd) in that their recorded output thus far is all part of one long, somewhat convoluted sci-fi/fantasy narrative. It’s also insanely catchy for the style, sounding at times like Khemmis with the odd bit of black metal thrown in for good measure. Vol. III & IV: Cult of the Voidis essentially split in half, with the first four tracks being longer, heavier songs and the latter half comprised of more reflective, acoustic numbers. Both halves, however, are uniformly excellent. This one’s well worth getting to know.
In the five years since their last full-length, Vancouver’s Bison have dropped the B.C. from their name and parted company with Metal Blade. No idea whether either of those things had any bearing on the songwriting process for their new record—honestly, I doubt it—but You Are Not the Ocean You Are the Patient just might be the best thing they’ve ever done. Whereas their previous albums were all but indistinguishable from the Black Tusks and Zoroasters of the stoner/sludge world, this new album sounds like they’re playing around a bit more with post-metal and hardcore influences. The more expansive arrangements on tracks like “Tantrum” and “The Water Becomes Fire” coupled with some drier production has them sounding a bit more like themselves this time around.
Death metal + Dark Descent = usually worth checking out. Heresiarch might be a little blacker than some of the label’s other offerings, but the album’s claustrophobic atmosphere is right in line with what the label generally releases. There’s an interesting push/pull thing happening with some of the tempos on the record as well that creates some unexpected tension between the guitars and drums, particularly during the introductory section of “Iron Harvest.”
Continuing their recent trend of every album having some sort of gimmick, A Walk With Love and Death is Melvins' first ever double album, featuring two distinct releases in one package: Death, which is described as a ‘proper Melvins release,’ and Love, the score to a short film called A Walk With Love and Death by Jesse Nieminen. It’s also their first full recording with current touring bassist Steve McDonald of Redd Kross/OFF! The preview tracks seem promising, especially the Beatles-ish “What’s Wrong With You?,” but the pattern with Melvins releases since The Bride Screamed Murder has been to have a few solid songs and a whole lot of phoning it in. It’s frustrating, too, because the phenomenal Crystal Fairy album Buzz and Dale did with Omar Rodriguez-Lopez (At the Drive-In, The Mars Volta, Bosnian Rainbows) and Teri Gender Bender (Le Butcherettes, Bosnian Rainbows) earlier this year shows how good they can still be with the right collaborators. Maybe at some point we’ll get another album with the Big Business lineup.
From Ian’s premiere of “Turbid Fog”:
"White Halo, their third album, is the kind of record that puts names on maps. It’s an ambitious take on a familiar form. If you’ve listened to much modern screamo, you know the basic steps of this dance, but Heaven In Her Arms don’t settle for just meeting expectations. They sprawl out, making room for organ interludes, electronic drums, and ornate lead guitar that suggests they’ve spent plenty of time studying British heavy metal. Even without extra musical context, this is memorable stuff, but the band’s perspective on their new record is illuminating."
Outside of Portal and Psycroptic (and Thy Art is Murder, I suppose), I have a very limited knowledge of the Australian metal scene. If Contaminated are any indication, the current revival of old-school death metal is thriving in the southern hemisphere as well. Strong riffs and relatively clean production help elevate this one above the rest of the OSDM pack.
This EP’s been available digitally and on cassette for a couple of months, but gets an official release on CD this week. The Hammerheart influence is strong on this one, but the international duo bring enough of their own personality to the mix that it comes off as more than just Bathory worship.
FOR THE ADVENTUROUS
Imagine a Venn diagram where Chelsea Wolfe, Jarboe, and Subrosa overlap, and that’s a pretty good starting point for A Stick and a Stone, the folk/doom project featuring composer/bassist/vocalist Elliott Harvey and viola player Myles Donovan. Harvey, a trans male, has a haunting, emotive voice whether he’s whispering or screaming, and the minimalist musical accompaniment gives the whole record an otherworldly feel. The Lost Art of Getting Lost is a gorgeous, moving album that proves it’s possible to make heavy music without cranking up the distortion.
FROM THE GRAVE
If you’re into the black stuff and aren’t yet hep to Fólkvangr Records, it’s definitely time to correct that. A boutique black meal label that specializes in cassette reissues of albums that may have originally flown under most people’s radars, they have been absolutely killing it this year with records from Afar, Selvans, Varmia, Sovereign, and Chiral. Their latest release is a compilation of the first two EPs from Arizona-based one-man outfit Suicide Forest, and it’s an absolute gem of anguished, lo-fi DSBM. Worth checking out for “Woods of Indifference” alone.
This one sits a bit closer to the aggressive end of the atmospheric black metal spectrum than the pretty one. I actually enjoyed this album quite a bit when it came out last year, so it’s nice to see it getting a cassette reissue from Graven Earth. If you slept on it before, don’t make that mistake again.
Hands down, the worst part about most progressive metal is the vocals. Kylver solve that problem by not having any, instead allowing the odd time signatures and classic Hammond keyboard tones to take center stage. This record is more than a little nerdy, in the best of all possible ways. If you ever wished Pelican had more of a Gabriel-era Genesis influence, definitely check this one out.
I know quite a few people who really dig this band, and there are a lot of interesting things happening musically on this two-track EP. The oddly melodramatic vocals kind of kill it for me, though.
Pretty good as far as symphonic black metal goes (i.e. it doesn’t sound like Dimmu Borgir), but a little too slick on the production to really be satisfying.
I have pretty much the same complaint about this Ereb Altor as I did about Cave of Swimmers. I’m into what’s happening here musically, but the viking Bruce Dickinson vocals don’t entirely seem to fit with the music.