Upcoming Metal Releases 8/20/2017-8/26/2017
Awful lot of solipsists out there. Your homework assignment is to write this on the chalkboard one hundred times: "Other people can like stuff even if I dislike it."
Here are the new metal releases for the week of August 20, 2017 – August 26, 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.
Akercocke - Renaissance in Extremis | Peaceville Records | Progressive Black/Death Metal | England
Giants walk once more. A decade past the masterful Antichrist, Akercocke finally adds a new chapter to their larger body of work. Now with original guitarist Paul Scanlan returning to the ranks, Jason Mendonça and David Gray's long-standing project continues to fight black and death metal standards and create something wholly unique. Renaissance in Extremis is a much harder, sharper record than its adventurous predecessor and sees the band moving back toward their death metal roots. It's nice to see Akercocke back in action -- Voices and The Antichrist Imperium only partially filled the void left in their wake.
Drudkh/Paysage d'Hiver - Somewhere Sadness Wanders/Schnee (IV) | Season of Mist/Prophecy Productions | Atmospheric Folk/Black Metal / Ambient Black Metal | Ukraine/Switzerland
Suddenly, I am a teenager again, fawning over Drudkh and losing myself in the wintry night of Switzerland's Paysage d'Hiver. Check back later this week for something special.
Ehnahre - The Marrow | Independent/Painted Throat Music | Experimental Black/Death/Doom Metal/Modern Classical | United States
Pure, modern classical metal madness. Ehnahre's progression has been linear, but spread horizontally. Casting off even more metal trappings, The Marrow's horrific lurching and pure ugliness further assumes the shape of a manic chamber ensemble. With each new release, Ehnahre, without fail, redefines musical disgust. This will be a difficult listen for the uninitiated. Hell, it's a difficult listen for me, but that's the point.
Exocytosis - Endogenous Organism | Independent | Experimental Death Metal | United States (but now Sweden)
On the opposite end of avant-metal madness is Exocytosis. Jazz? Death metal? Weird progressive rock riffs? Ambient? It's all there, but in a quantum sort of sense: it all happens at once.
When you listen to a song by The Haunted, you don’t have to guess what part of the song matters the most. They let you know. It’s crystal clear which section is the chorus, which is the verse, and when they are going to open the form up for solos. Part of this comes from Aro’s rare and sneaky difficult ability to not lose diction when doing harsh vocals, but that’s just the icing on the cake of Englund’s songwriting. Not only do you know what’s happening at all times, but The Haunted know that you know. This gives them the room to doodle in the margins without ever diverting attention away from the essential message.
Lofty, emotive black metal, driven by otherworldly noise-walls and grand climaxes. Sad and beautiful, but not without aggression and power. Melodic, and worthy of eyes-closed listens; introspective and collective. This describes German band Der Weg Einer Freiheit and their upcoming fourth full-length Finisterre.
Sinmara - Within the Weaves of Infinity | Terratur Possessions | Black Metal | Iceland
So I generally avoid the whole Icelandic scene, save for a few, because… they all kind of sound the same. Such are things when all the bands are essentially five people in different creative arrays. Sinmara, though, have been an exception, and Within the Weaves of Infinity avoid the scene's standard of "here are some murky, dissonant riffs with the occasional folk-inspired melody" in favor of more rhythmic intrigue. I'm still not fully convinced (and am more of a Wormlust fan), but this is pretty neat.
Pagan Altar - The Room of Shadows | Temple of Mystery Records | NWOBHM/Doom Metal | England
Listening to this album is hearing a voice from the other side. Terry Jones passed in 2015, and The Room of Shadows is his final testament, and maybe the final act in the play that is Pagan Altar. The NWOBHM style was never really something I was into, but there is an eerie, profoundly sad atmosphere to this album which is totally its own.
Leng Tch'e - Razorgrind | Season of Mist | Grindcore | Belgium
The title isn't too far off - Leng Tch'e's first album in seven years is most certainly sharp, at least as sharp as it is fast. If you're not careful, it might cut you a thousand times.
FOR THE ADVENTUROUS
because only listening to metal is dumb
Orthodox - Kréas | Dreamsheep | Drone/Doom Metal/Avant-Jazz | Spain
More lurching, angular doom from the heaviest jazz duo to ever exist. If Ehnahre's latest album is a metal band on the precipice before falling deep into post-modernism, Orthodox is what comes out on the other side.
Sannhet - So Numb | Profound Lore Records | Post-Rock | United States
Anyone looking for Sannhet to prove their metal credentials on So Numb is going to be sorely disappointed. Everyone else, you’re in for a treat. The Brooklyn instrumental trio’s third album keeps their honed use of blast beats and teeth bared aggression, but working with seminal producer Peter Katis (Interpol, The National, Mercury Rev) has revealed their true identity as a post-punk band. This means more than just adding in some chorus laden guitar lines, although there are plenty of those; Sannhet have become a more patient and reserved act overall. Take lead single “Salt” which holds back for half of its runtime, or “Secondary Arrows” which starts like a long lost Have A Nice Life b-side before unleashing its full firepower. The real winner of the batch is “Fernbeds” a heartfelt power ballad featuring lead guitar from Planning For Burial’s Thom Wasluck. When I spoke to bassist AJ Annunziata (more on that soon), he told me that he feels like Sannhet are spiritual siblings to Planning For Burial. Before I would have cast a side eye, but So Numb makes a pretty compelling case.
FROM THE GRAVE
Xanthochroid - Of Erthe and Axen I |Erthe and Axen Records | Melodic Black Metal | United States
Xanthochroid's first album tastefully melded the newfound progressive elements of Emperor's IX Equilibrium and first-era Opeth's medieval eeriness. I suppose their second album holds those qualities, but there are these "Disney"-esque symphonic interludes which are far too saccharine and completely take the listener out of what would otherwise be a great album. "...And so it goes."
One Tail One Head - Firebirds b/w Prowess | Terratur Possessions | Black Metal | Norway
Seven years separate Nidrosian black metal troupe One Tail One Head from their last EP, and, while it might be a little while until we hear their next album, this new single certainly re-cements them as one of the better examples of no-frills, sinewy black metal rage in the new century/
Bloodlust - At the Devil's Left Hand | Caverna Abismal Records | Blackened Thrash Metal | Australia
Here's some Destroyer 666 worship from fellow countrymen, which is great if you're like any of us at Invisible Oranges who can't stand to listen to them anymore.
13th Moon/Ritual Death - Mors Triumphans | Triangulum Ignis/Terratur Possessions | Black/Death Metal | Spain/Norway
There was a period in time in which I legitimately liked 13th Moon -- I think I even own some luxury tape box of theirs -- but all this murky "orthodox black metal" stuff very quickly turned into a blur.
Morbid Evils - Deceases | Svart Records | Sludge/Doom/Death Metal | Finland
As it turns out, Rotten Sound vocalist Keijo Niinimaa can actually play slow music, and let me tell you, Morbid Evils is disgusting in the best way.
Brendon Small - Galaktion II: Become The Storm | Independent | Progressive Metal/Rock | United States
Remember how fun Metalocalypse was before Adult Swim cancelled it? Kind of.