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HAPPY BIRTHDAY, AMERICA.

Oh, and we're holding an open call for "stand ins" who can do this column on weeks when life keeps me from being able to. Shoot an e-mail over to joseph@invisibleoranges.com and copy me at jon@invisibleoranges.com if you feel up to the task.

Here are the new metal releases for the week of July 3, 2016 – July 9, 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.

send Jon your promos at jon@invisibleoranges.com. Do not bother him on social media.

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ANTICIPATED RELEASES

Vanhelgd - Temple of Phobos | Pulverised Records/Dark Descent Records | Death/Doom Metal | Sweden
I had vague memories of Vanhelgd's previous work being of a thrashier, more "blackened" vein, so imagine my surprise when I heard this monolithic, emotive and heavy slab of death/doom metal. I suppose the whole "contains members of Ocean Chief" selling point should have been a solid indication of what was to come, and yet my stubbornness prevailed until the last second. A departure from Dark Descent's usual stylistic inclinations, Vanhelgd's latest is a meeting of the melodic and tragic with the monolithic and crushing. Think Asphyx's The Rack (Mattias Frisk's hoarse howl is surprisingly similar to classic-era Martin van Drunen) through a Turn Loose The Swans lens - bridging classic, old school heaviness underlying surprisingly magnificent melodies.

Also - concerning Dark Descent, have you pre-ordered your Blood Incantation LP, CD, or cassette yet?

Ecferus - Shadow Projection | Foreign Sounds/Children of the Night | Black Metal | United States
The ever-changing Ecferus dazzled with the technical, devastating Pangaea just a few months ago, and now we see the mysterious "Alp" making a quick return, donning a new mask in the process. Though retaining the now trademark mix of atmosphere and technicality, the brief Shadow Projection shows Alp setting his sights to the 80s. It's not very often we see a black metal band without a history of being "thrashy" suddenly taking on an overt thrash influence, but this new EP's mix of modern atmospheric black metal with classic, Mustaine-school thrash metal is surprising. Alp is always adventurous, and he always manages to maintain a sense of identity with Ecferus through all his strange experiments.

Anicon - Exegeses | Avantgarde Music/Gilead Media | Black Metal | United States

From Ian's premiere of "In Shadow And Amber":

Placing so much emphasis on such a well-worn trope is just as much of an act of showmanship as the vicious blast beat onslaught that closes out the song. Anicon have demonstrated that the tried-and-true methods will start work like gangbusters when in the hands of capable writers and performers, and Anicon themselves are more than capable.

Inter Arma - Paradise Gallows | Relapse Records | Blackened Sludge/Southern/Post-Metal | United States
What an interesting formula. Post-Metal + Pink Floyd + southern rock + black metal? Something like that. Inter Arma has always been difficult to lock down, and I wasn't truly able to get into them until 2013's Sky Burial, but that and the extended Caverns really hit the spot. All those elements melded together in equal parts and performed with a palpable passion made for a special experience. Paradise Gallows is good, but doesn't quite hit the same levels of transcendence as its predecessors - the elements seem to be separating and becoming more distinguished from one another. Still better than most stuff, though.

Void Omnia - Dying Light | Independent/Vendetta Records | Black Metal | United States
The post-2010 West Coast black metal movement as a whole can be broken into two factions: 1) pretty, longform, pastoral, and nice (think Fauna), or 2) gross, likes Profanatica, and minimal (think Urzeit). I'm sure it's not intentional, but there doesn't seem to be any sort of middle ground. Don't get me wrong, I actually like both of those styles, but bands like Void Omnia fill that sort of stylistic void which seems to be left in the dust. Drawing influence from bands like Nagelfar (the one with an E) and Judas Iscariot, Void Omnia's astral black metal builds their specific, classic sort of atmosphere with large melodies and blistering speed. This isn't your "usual" atmospheric black metal from the "West side of the Pond," there is a nice sort of mid-'90s Germanic vibe to this, if you catch my drift.

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OF NOTE

Wreck of the Hesperus - Sediment | Existentiell | Sludge/Funeral Doom Metal | Ireland
New Wreck of the Hesperus? Okay! Their most abstract and challenging work to date, Sediment is lurking mass of horrific, maddening dissonance. I'm not quite sure if this is a free improvisation or carefully composed, but this amorphous, noisy nightmare screams Derek Bailey as much as it does Evoken.

Nocte Obducta - Mogontiacum (Nachdem die Nacht herabgesunken) | MDD Records | Avant-Garde Black Metal | Germany
The weirdest black metal band you've never heard of are still at it. Dig into their back catalog, why don't you?

Monolithe - Zeta Reticuli | Debemur Morti Productions | Funeral Doom Metal | France
I've been trying to get into these newer Monolithe albums, I really have, but this new, more progressive approach pales in comparison to the original trilogy. Give me suffocating, massive funeral doom metal or give me death.

Mephistopheles - In Reverence Of Forever | Willowtip Records | Technical Death Metal | Australia
Part of me grows really tired of the, "hey guys we're in outer space playing technical death metal" craze, but part of me also really missed hearing Chalky's extremely disgusting voice in a death metal setting.

Acanthropis - Twilight of the Vanquisher's Reign | Independent/Digital | Melodic Black/Death Metal | United States
Members of some of Milwaukee's finest extreme metal bands (Hadak Ura, Ara, Northless, Concentric, et cetera) join forces to make some intriguing, infectious black/death metal. Most bands don't seem to follow the whole "Dawn"-school of black metal, which is a shame as Slaughtersun is a fine album, which makes Acanthropis's debut so special.

Defiled - Towards Inevitable Ruin | Season of Mist | Technical Brutal Death Metal | Japan
So much brutal death metal in the new era sounds so...dialed in. Literally, it seems like everything is sampled and placed. Defiled reminds me of Blasphemy Made Flesh or None So Vile, but with more practice and less concentration on "putridity." For such an organic brutal death metal album, Defiled never falls victim to the sloppiness which comes with the territory.

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FOR THE ADVENTUROUS

Big Business - Command Your Weather | Joyful Noise Recordings/Gold Medal Records | Heavy/Sludge Metal/Rock | United States
It's funny. As you all know, I'm not very into The Melvins, but Big Business hit a soft spot. The first time I heard this sludge rock duo was when I saw them open for Tool ten years ago. Classic sludge rock, you know, the grunge-meets-bottomless-heaviness sort of stuff, never clicked with me, but the sugary pop of Big Business hits the spot.

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FROM THE GRAVE

Cradle of Filth - Dusk… and Her Embrace - The Original Sin | Cacophonous Records | Symphonic Black Metal | England
There was a period of time in which Cradle of Filth was undeniably good (I'm sure this will be met with criticism [And those critics will be incorrect. All the 90's stuff is great, and I hear their latest was decent as well... - Ed.]). Of course, that time has long since passed, but from within that..6- or 7-year period came legends of "lost" or discarded albums. Though Goetia is essentially lost to the ages, the fabled early version of Dusk… and Her Embrace has finally managed to work its way out of obscurity. This original recording of the now classic album was shelved due to "complications" and ultimately re-recorded with a different lineup, so this glimpse into the past will hopefully be a refreshing one for those who have only heard (and been disenchanted by) the last decade or so in Cradle of Filth history.

Boris - Pink | Sargent House | Various (Post-Metal/Stoner Rock/Doom Metal on this one) | Japan
Pink is my favorite Boris album and I will fight anyone who disagrees. Tell me you can keep from smiling while listening to the album's title track. Though I'm not sure if the $40 for this box set, which features a prodigious amount of demos and outtakes, is within my budget, but this is still an exciting re-release.

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OTHER RELEASES

Deadlock - Hybris | Napalm Records | Melodic Death Metal/Alternative/Groove Metal | Germany
Make it stop. Make it stop. Make it stop.

Loudness - Samsara Flight | Nippon Columbia | Heavy Metal | Japan
I can't find a sample of this, but at this point any Loudness fan should know what to expect. Classic Japanese metal of the highest order.

Spellcaster - Night Hides The World | Prosthetic Records | Heavy/Speed Records | United States
The musicianship and songwriting chops are all here, but goddamn if this album doesn't sound lifeless and ridiculously polished.

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