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I feel the urge to write this week. It’s nice, but I suppose I tend to feel really motivated during manic periods. I semi-frequently use a few variations on the word nightmare this time around, so expect to hear some spooky stuff.

Did I miss anything? Are you mad that I called a purportedly classic band nu-metal? Have you noticed I have a proclivity for covering American metal bands yet? Am I so wrong that it hurts your soul to read my opinions? Leave a comment and tell me things.

Also none of you correctly answered the bear question I posed a few weeks ago. Sorry!

—Jon Rosenthal

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ANTICIPATED RELEASES

Gnaw Their Tongues - Abyss of Longing Throats | Crucial Blast | Black/Doom Metal/Noise | Netherlands
Gnaw Their Tongues has always been special to me. I think "The Behemoth Crawls Ashore" was actually my MySpace profile song for a few years (remember those?). Sole member Mories’s complex, layered hellscapes have made Gnaw Their Tongues a microcosm, but with microcosms come extreme factions. I can attest to some Gnaw Their Tongues being near unlistenably oppressive works, but that was always what drew me back with each installment in Mories’s seemingly endless catalog. After a lengthy bout of silence, Gnaw Their Tongues returns with a complete about face. The clarity and musicality found within Abyss of Longing Throats will definitely catch the seasoned fan of the band off guard, but as one myself, I find the shift as refreshing as it is gratifying. With Abyss of Longing Throats, Mories has found a way to re-define the project on a superficial level while still maintaining the oppressive terror which made Gnaw Their Tongues such a special project. Starring intricate bass work (guitars, if they make an appearance at all, are pushed far into the background), vocals which aren’t buried beneath endless layers of distortion, and an almost progressive/technical drum approach (Mories is an extremely adept drummer, but most of these are programmed to capture the classic "industrial" feel), Abyss of Longing Throats finds Mories flexing his musician’s muscle.

Throaat - Black Speed | Invictus Productions | Speed/Thrash/Black Metal | United States
I’ve always appreciated a good riff, but, most of the time, newer thrash and speed metal kind of whiz by me without much resistance on my part. I know, I know, allow me to adjust my scarf and push my horn-rimmed glasses up a bit. The styles, at least to me, had done what they needed to in the 80s and the rest just never really clicked with me. With that being, I will be the first to throw in the towel and assume the worship position when a new band proves me wrong. Throaat’s catchy, razor-sharp, catchy brand of Venom-meets-Motorhead metal truly has no competitor on the "current thrash/speed metal" market. A mere two listens through the aptly named Black Speed and I already know the choruses by heart and have plans to break my neck (or at least make a solid effort to) when I see them with Zemial in September.

No streaming tracks - take my word for it!

Krallice - Ygg huur | Independent/Gilead Media | Experimental/Technical Metal | United States
I about had a minor heart attack when I saw Krallice had uploaded their new album to bandcamp and I was too far away from a stable internet connection to listen to it. First off, this is not the Krallice you remember. Yes, the melodic intrigue and complex structuring is there, and, yes, it is that same stellar lineup who brought you Dimensional Bleedthrough and Years Past Matter, but here we see Krallice shed the "black metal crutch" to make something truly great (not to discredit their already stellar discography). A vinyl edition is slated for a Fall release on Gilead Media.

Black Earth - A Cryptic Howl of Morbid Truth | Graceless Recordings | Atmospheric Black/Death Metal/Noise | Spain
As evidenced by my love for Gnaw Their Tongues’s idiosyncratic style, I tend to gravitate toward the "nightmarish" end of things. There’s something so invigorating about being terrified - the hair raising on the back of your neck, your heart racing, your skin slightly damp with stress sweat. Sure, happy and emotional music make you feel a certain way, but the unique qualities of pure, unadulterated terror are hard to fake. Black Earth’s suffocating, grating blend of murky black metal with industrial music and harsh noise occupies that niche genre occupied by bands like Gnaw Their Tongues, Senthil, Möevöt and the like - the embodiment of absolute terror. A Cryptic Howl Of Morbid Truth (what a cool title) will engulf you with the immediacy of a cheese grater to your ear, and you will lovingly accept it.

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OF NOTE

Black Fast - Terms of Surrender | Entertainment One | Progressive Thrash Metal | United States
So I’m going to come clean and let all of you know that I am a very, very recent thrash convert. The genre and I never really clicked. No, I was never a Megadeth fan, nor did I get into heated arguments about Dave vs. James, it just didn’t happen. However, within the past few months I’ve found myself absolutely losing my mind over a solid thrash riff. Black Fast worships at the altar of the solid thrash riff, armed with extremely precise musicality and sharp aggression. Terms of Surrender only furthers my descent into a genre I should have liked a long, long time ago. Listen to the lengthy (and really fun) "The Coming Swarm" here.

Brulvahnatu - Frozen Obscene Deliverance | Independent/Digital | Experimental Black Metal/Ambient | Canada
When Tristan "Kib Sreng" McLelland, otherwise known as Antediluvian’s Nebucadnosor, speaks, you listen. It has been a long time since we’ve heard from Brulvahnatu, I honestly though the project was dead and buried, but Frozen Obscene Deliverance might be McLelland’s most harrowing release yet. Four lengthy, putrid offerings of cavernous, heavy black metal from one of underground metal’s most unique minds.

Auroch - Seven Veils | Graceless Recordings | Death Metal | Canada
Now this is what I’m talking about. Excessively heavy, well-thought out death metal. A lot of the bands who attempt the pseudo-Gorguts school of neck-breaking, jagged, abstract death metal don’t really do the style justice - I can’t really even say I truly enjoyed Auroch’s Taman Shud due to a few drum issues - but Seven Veils shows this Canadian trio at their most vicious and instrumentally focused. Seven Veils will be released on pro-cassette in a nicely printed O-card for now, with promises of a 7" edition in the very near future.

Pissgrave - Suicide Euphoria | Profound Lore Records | Death Metal | United States
I’m not sure I truly understand this one. The musical performance itself is pretty great, with Pissgrave performing a bloated, gaseous form of old school death metal, but I’m not quite sure about the vocals. Yes, those vocals which seem to lift everyone’s pants a little higher, revealing still-untanned ankles like my own. Maybe I’m old fashioned, but pitch shifted vocals with super metallic-sounding effects don’t quite match the perversity and disgust of what is otherwise well-executed death metal album. I hear these guys have a split with TRTRKMMR coming out on Graceless Recordings later this year. I’ll have to hold out hope. The soup-person album cover is a nice touch.

Plutonian Shore - Sphere of Geburah | Pale Horse Recordings | Black Metal/Ambient | United States
Powerful, vitriolic US black metal in the old way. Don’t expect any meandering melodicism or hints at post-rock crescendi—Spheres of Geburah is an exercise in strong, blasphemous aggression, and an adept capturing of the innate evil which propelled the US scene at its impetus.

Hivelords - Tapered Limbs Of A Human Star | Anthropic Records | Black/Doom/Sludge Metal | United States
Hivelords seem to be caught somewhere between black metal, creepy psychedelia, and heavy, washed out sludge. Normally, if I read something like that, I’d kind of shrug and write it off as a band who can’t make up their mind and partition off each song into "genre sections," but Hivelords bring a solid cohesion to the table. Frontman Kevin North’s performance is especially haunting when paired against Sadgiqacea frontman Evan Void’s green-tinged fuzz.

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FOR THE ADVENTUROUS

that means things which aren’t metal

Aderlating - Gold Streams From The Angel’s Throat I | Fall Of Nature | Experimental/Blackened Drone/Power Electronics | Netherlands
Mories’s tentacles extend deep into the pit. The Gnaw Their Tongues mastermind (see the first blurb in the article) exercises his prowess in improvised, terrifying experimental music as half of Aderlating, a long-running collaboration with Mowlawner’s Eric Ejispaart. With Gold Streams From The Angel’s Throat I, a slight krautrock influence slink its way into the mire. Like a heavily abstracted, nightmare hallucination of a warped Popol Vuh, delicate samples distort, stretch and malform, turning what was once calm and inviting into something invoking a deep sense of dread.

Teeth Engraved With The Names Of The Dead - Above//Below | Sol Y Nieve | Ambient/Death Industrial | United States
Subterranean synthesizer Hell. A complete deconstruction of musicality and a reversal of the traditional "kosmiche" ambient krautrock sound (wow, did I reference Popol Vuh twice in a metal column?). A heavy, grating, black-as-pitch descent, but from below one gets a perfectly clear view of the brilliant brightness from above.

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OTHER RELEASES

Fear Factory - Genexus | Nuclear Blast Records | Groove/Industrial Metal | United States
Fear Factory was one of those bands which never quite clicked with me. Yes, even the death metal era. There are definite moments peppered throughout Genexus, as Dino Cazares definitely has a strong grasp of the groove. That being said, I can’t help but feel if this was any other band, people would just write them off as nu-metal. Sometimes band name context is all you need.

Krisiun - Forged In Fury | Century Media Records | Death Metal | Brazil
This is the first time I’ve actually mildly enjoyed anything Krisiun’s done, but, at the same time, they still fall back on the chunky groove they perfected with "Bloodcraft" back in 2006 with shocking regularity.

Cattle Decapitation - The Anthropocene Extinction | Metal Blade Records | United States
This is the same band who wrote and recorded Human Jerky? Are you suuuuuure? It passes off as perfectly fine modern death metal, if not a little on the hokey side. However, given my personal experience with Cattle Decapitation (I even stuck around for and still enjoy Humanure from time to time), this just seems like an entirely different band. [Contrasting opinion: a much, much better band. I love this thing - Ed.]

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FROM THE GRAVE

Cianide - Death, Doom, and Destruction | Hells Headbangers Records | Death/Doom Metal | United States
If you haven’t listened to this album before, you’ve made a horrible mistake. Luckily, you can buy it again! Revel in the ridiculous heaviness.

Décombres - Décombres | Graceless Recordings | Black Metal | Canada
Freezing cold black metal from the woods of Quebec, brought to you by the man behind the drum kit in Chthe’ilist (say that five times fast) [He’s also in Beyond Creation, making that band officially the most kvlt thing on Summer Slaughter this year- Ed.].

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