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For some odd reason writing and me aren’t really clicking this week, so I’ll be brief. Maybe I shouldn’t have pushed to do two premieres in one week and my usual bear of a column. I’m going to take it easy this week and try and calm down a bit. There are a lot of really neat independent releases coming out this week - try your best to look into them if you can.

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—Jon Rosenthal

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ANTICIPATED RELEASES

Noltem - Mannaz | Independent | Folk/Black Metal | United States
The long-awaited return of the now Connecticut/Ohio duo. Read more here.

Angel Eyes - Things Have Learned To Walk That Ought To Crawl | Independent/Digital | Atmospheric Sludge/Post-Metal | United States
Technically, formerly Chicago-based Angel Eyes has been dead for a long time. These worshipers of "Van Fucking Cleef," at least according to their former website domain, crafted some of the best "post-metal" I’d heard, so it was with great dismay that I learned of their disbanding after the Midwestern album. With this posthumous album, released almost four years after the fact, we see Angel Eyes moving back into the aggressive territory found on their earlier albums. Those who are familiar with the atmospheric sludge/"post-metal" genre should know what to expect. Lots of soaring heights backed with solid, bass-heavy rhythm sections and absolutely chaotic, throat-ripping vocals (which was always my favorite aspect of Angel Eyes). From what I can understand, Things Have Learned To Walk… has been recorded for a long time, it just also happened to take Angel Eyes a long time to figure out...just what to do with it. They haven’t been a band for almost half a decade, anyway. Why rush?

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OF NOTE

Shroud of the Heretic - Unorthodox Equilibrium | Iron Bonehead Productions | Death Metal | United States
If Grave Upheaval’s self-titled album took the sparseness of this new "cavernous" school of death metal’s atmosphere to an absolute, Shroud of the Heretic definitely places a hefty emphasis on the style’s minimalist tendencies. Unorthodox Equilibrium’s concentration on the space between the notes creates a particularly agoraphobic atmosphere, like being lost in a vast, flat desert with no discerning landmarks.

Barshasketh - Ophidian Henosis | Blut & Eisen Productions | Black Metal | Scotland
The New Zealand-gone-Scottish four-piece return with their third album of oppressive, absolutely ripping orthodox black metal. I wish I could really say more about Barshasketh, and they are perfectly good at being black metal, but… that’s really about it.

Perversor - Anticosmokrator | Hells Headbangers Records | Blackened Death/Thrash Metal | Chile
Pure South American bestial filth. Sloppy and unpolished, but wholly fierce and uncompromising. The opening groove in "Venomous Madness" had me air drumming especially hard at my desk. You should have seen the looks I was getting from my coworkers

Monument of Urns - Broken | Hand Hewn Timbre | Drone/Funeral Doom Metal | United States
The heaviest band you’ve never heard of very quietly released a new album on his own Hand Hewn Timbre imprint. Monument of Urns’s oppressive, thick, murky brand of funeral doom is a perfect vision into the depths of Hell, and only gets better with each new release. Broken’s twenty two minutes scrape across your ears like a dull blade, and I find myself crawling back for more with each listen. Do yourself a favor and dig into Monument of Urns’s discography. Neither Monument of Urns nor Hand Hewn Timbre have much of a web presence, but, luckily, the mystery man behind both unloads all his releases at Aquarius Records, so be sure to direct all research there.

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FOR THE ADVENTUROUS

that means things which aren’t metal

Ricardo Donoso - Machine To Machine | Denovali Records | Ambient/Drone | United States
Though most people in metal circles might know Ricardo Donoso as avant-doom metal band Ehnahre’s drummer and piano player, but Donoso actually has quite the solo discography. Machine to Machine, Donoso’s latest effort, is a lengthy collection of warm synth ambiance which leaves the listener awash in a sea of comforting sound. This is definitely quite the departure who never really dug into Donoso’s works outside of Ehnahre (who supposedly finished recording a new album somewhat recently).

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OTHER RELEASES

Anarchus/Disrotted - Open Your Eyes | Rigid Records | Grindcore / Sludge/Doom Metal | Mexico/United States
The legendary Mexican Anarchus pits their fast-as-Hell grind against Chicago’s fortunate sons Disrotted’s exceedingly heavy Corrupted-worship sludge/doom in the biggest speed-difference pairing this side of Corrupted’s split with Enemy Soil.

Year of the Goat - The Unspeakable | Napalm Records | Doom Metal/Rock | Sweden
I managed to avoid writing about any throwback bands for a few weeks, but… man… Come to think of it, I actually enjoyed Year of the Goat’s first EP, but everything else seems to be on a slippery slope thereafter. I might as well be listening to a Jefferson Airplane cover band. Sorry, guys. Maybe next time.

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FROM THE GRAVE

Insulter - Blood Spits, Violences and Insults | Nuclear War Now! Productions | Death/Thrash Metal | Chile
The mid-'80s Brazilian death/thrash cult born anew.

Õxxö Xööx - Nämïdäë | Blood Music | Gothic/Doom Metal | France
Well, this certainly is strange. I kind of get a "Devin Townsend making gothic doom metal" vibe from this, which isn’t necessarily my style, but I definitely give Õxxö Xööx credit for inventing their own language. Not too many bands try to tackle that feat nowadays.

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