Things got a little crazy last week, huh? It’s too bad we can’t talk about productive things anymore like how much we enjoy things. Oh well, that’s life in 2015 for you!

Below are a handful of releases which are being released between 8/23 and 8/29. I definitely missed a couple things. Want to tell me I missed those things? Was I wrong about something? Are you mad at me for something I said? Do you need a hug? Tell us in the comments!

—Jon Rosenthal



Shaidar Logoth - Chapter II - The Ritualist | Sol y Nieve | Black Metal/Ambient | United States
An absolute blizzard of an EP, which is a pleasant mental departure from the flesh-melting summer I’ve been experiencing in Chicago. In comparison to Shaidar Logoth’s first effort, Chapter I - The Peddler, which was a solid, yet problematic demo, with frontman Adam Clemans’s vocals dominating some stellar, but much quieter songwriting by multi-instrumentalist Steven Henningsgard, Shaidar Logoth finally meets somewhere in the middle. Clemans’s voice is still grating and horrific, but masterfully blended with much more ethereal, nearly shimmering instrument tracks. The Ritualist is a dark, foreboding trudge into Minnesota forests in midwinter - harsh, washed out, terrifying, but absolutely stunning. Give this one a proper listen and really let it sink in (especially "The Blight"). Headphones on. Volume up. Lights out.

Hate Eternal - Infernus | Season of Mist | Death Metal | United States
If you recall, I had lamented how problematic the "modern death metal" sound could be. Polished, inoffensive, and mechanical, I personally find most "modern death metal" bands to be a failed attempt at capturing the intensity which made death metal so appealing to me in the beginning. With that in mind, I approached Hate Eternal with a slight dread - I did happen to enjoy I, Monarch upon its release, but I felt so jaded concerning this sort of death metal that I never really gave Fury & Flames or Phoenix Amongst the Ashes a fair chance. I understood and appreciated Erik Rutan’s talent, it just… didn’t quite click with what I was looking for. Enter Infernus, and suddenly I can’t stop air drumming while on the train to work. Don’t get me wrong, Rutan isn’t re-inventing the wheel with this one, featuring his signature slow, melodic guitar work acting as a foil to constant, ridiculously-paced drums, but Infernus is just so potent and well-executed that it could (and probably should) be considered a benchmark to be met for any modern death metal band. This is the album to listen to should you believe John Gallagher killed death metal.

Stream Infernus here.

Jupiterian - Aphotic | Caligari Records | Death/Doom Metal | Brazil
This is a big surprise. I guess I’m so used to thinking of Brazil as the home to clumsy, awesome thrash bands that I was honestly taken aback when Aphotic’s thick, old school British death/doom metal worship poured out of my speakers. Normally, pointed stylistic emulation like what is found on Aphotic, Jupiterian’s debut full-length, would get written off as a nice attempt at capturing a certain era (and ultimately makes me want to listen to the albums which defined it), but Jupiterian brings a heaviness to the table which most bands in this style tend to avoid. Though the "sludgy" nature of their sound does bring about a diminishing in the gothic rock flair which made "British 3" so special, Aphotic’s palpable despondency and memorable songwriting make for a special album with lasting power.





Heavydeath - Dark Phoenix Rising | Caligari Records | Death/Doom Metal | Sweden
Nicklas Rudolfsson’s death/doom metal pedigree runs deep. The mastermind behind Runemagick and The Funeral Orchestra was relatively quiet for about a decade before resurfacing last year with his newest means of crushing eardrums - the minimal, trudging Heavydeath. Already armed with eight demos, an EP, a single, and a full-length, Rudolfsson clearly made up for lost time. A mere five months on the heels of Eternal Sleepwalker, Dark Phoenix Rising is yet another album-length descent into live-tracked death/doom misery. Don’t expect any flowery overdubs or general studio magic(k) - no, Heavydeath opts for power in minimalism, and it definitely works in their favor.

Raein/Ampere - Raein/Ampere | No Idea Records | Screamo/Post-Hardcore / Screamo/Hardcore | Italy/United States
Friends, today is the day you learn about screamo. First off, no, the swoopy hair and tight pants aren’t indicative of actual screamo. I could go into a long-winded explanation as to what "actual screamo" is, and why it sucks that I have to make the "actual" designation, but I’m just going to send you to this link - please be sure to stop reading after the "Origins" subsection of the History section.

Anyway, it really was only a matter of time until Italy’s Raein paired up with American legends Ampere. Though both bands are heavily rooted in melody, Raein’s jangly, near indie rock approach to the "post-hardcore" sound acts as a pleasant foil to the intense, violent Ampere. Chances are Ampere guitarist and Orchid alumnus Will Killingsworth has done studio work on one of your favorite albums, to boot.

Putridity - Ignominous Atonement | Willowtip Records | Technical Brutal Death Metal | Italy
Okay, so I’ll be honest with you guys, I don’t listen to a lot of brutal death metal. A lot of it is just too ridiculous and toilet-y to really get my attention. That being said, there is a sort of a "ridiculousness event horizon" where, should a band transcend the standard levels of technicality and brutality I might associate with being "comical," I suddenly can’t stop listening. For instance, and my taste is pretty obvious, I think Defeated Sanity is one of the absolute pinnacles of death metal, but you wouldn’t catch me dead listening to most other technical bands. With Ignominous Atonement, Putridity definitely transcends the standards of technical brutal death metal and leaves me with a pretty solid impression of Origin’s Echoes of Decimation album cover. Rarely straying from a machine gun’s pace, that, is, unless they are slamming (which they do. Oh, does Putridity slam.), and almost mindlessly technical in that special, hammer to the skull sort of way which I’ve grown to love so much, Putridity has released the brutal death metal album to listen to this year.

Nile - What Should Not Be Unearthed | Nuclear Blast Records | Technical Brutal Death Metal | United States
It’s been a good while since I’ve truly enjoyed a new Nile album. How long has it been since Annihilation of the Wicked? Ten years? I will fully own not enjoying Ithyphallic, Those Whom the Gods Detest, and At the Gate of Sethu, but it looks like the Egypt-bent South Carolinans have rediscovered their vitality. The musicianship found therein is undeniable, figureheads Karl Sanders and Dallas Toler-Wade’s exotically brutal fretboard mastery a defining characteristic essentially found solely within Nile, and their over the top performances on What Should Not Be Unearthed are by far their most impressive in a decade. Hearing a new Nile song and enjoying it is a good feeling. I am more than okay with this.

Bladecatcher/Njiqahdda - Bladecatcher / Njiqahdda | E.E.E. Recordings | Technical Death Metal / Progressive/Atmospheric Metal | United States/United States
It isn’t a stretch for E (Njiqahdda, Oaks of Bethel, et al) to release a split between two of his own projects, though they’ve all been similarly related up until now. With the release of Bladecatcher’s Obverse EP earlier this year, signifying E’s return to music after a brief hiatus, many were surprised to see the master of atmospheric black metal and esoteric ambiance enter the world of technical death metal. Pitting these two against each other - Bladecatcher’s dizzying, harmonically challenging death metal and Njiqahdda’s newfound opium den progressive rock calm - is definitely a bizarre union, but it makes sense.



that means things which aren’t metal

Lycia - A Line That Connects | Handmade Birds | Darkwave | United States
The masters of dramatic, ethereal darkwave return with a reunited lineup and their strongest work in almost two decades.

Stream album opener "The Fall Back" here.

Hail/Thoabath - Hail/Thoabath | Graceless Recordings | Industrial/Power Electronics/Noise (both of them, even!) | United States/United States
Go figure that members of two of my favorite West Coast black metal bands (L’Acephale and Sutekh Hexen, respectively) would release a split of heavy, harsh industrial music together. Hail might have been known as the oddball experimental black metal project of Carl Annala, but, as of late, we see Annala distancing himself from black metal and meditating on the deep, churning noise sounds of early Cold Meat Industries releases. In its thirteen minute existence, Hail’s "Cut The Blood" weeps, creaks, and moans in amorphous, chilling form. Thoabath’s distant, cavernous electronic beats and A.C. Way’s sinister rasp slowly make way for extremely harsh digital noise. This is a peculiar split, and maybe not my favorite type of music overall, but I can definitely appreciate the singular atmospheres each project creates.

Laughing Eye, Weeping Eye - Once Was You | Moon Glyph | Psychedelic Folk/Drone | United States
The dreamy haze of the dog days of Summer. Chicago duo Laughing Eye, Weeping Eye’s brand of vocally driven experimental folk is a meditative listen, built on subtle instrument drones and sonic ebbs and flows. While listening, I find myself rocking back and forth, eyes closed.

Theologian - A Means By Which To Break The Surface Of The Real | Redscroll Records | Industrial | United States
After however much money I’ve given them over the years, I never realized Redscroll was anything more than a Discogs marketplace shop. They’re a label, too? And they’re putting out a Theologian album? Neat! The latest incarnation in Lee Bartow’s solo works, who had previously performed under the names NTT (Navicon Torture Technologies) and Leech, and currently runs the Annihilvs label, Theologian’s output is equal parts volume and oppression. A Means By Which To Break The Surface Of The Real only furthers Bartow’s sound assault: the synthesized drones are deeper, the noise harsher, the rhythms more crushing. Somehow, lost within the audio sandstorm, there is a sort of harmonic bliss, slowly meandering through the stark landscapes. Theologian does it again.



Ēōs - Ēōs | Graceless Recordings | Funeral Doom Metal | United States
This is how I like my funeral doom - slow, minimal, and despondent. So many bands go for the overwrought, heavily layered, romantic sound, without the deep understanding as to the importance of a solid base. This is that solid base, and it doesn’t need anything more, nor is it really missing anything. Rumor has it one of the Vestiges guys is in this band, which makes me wonder about that band’s future.

Pentagram - Curious Volume | Peaceville Records | Doom Metal | United States
I honestly didn’t even know Pentagram was still around! And… yeah, this is a Pentagram album. The heavier bass presence is particularly nice, but these guys peaked and fell a long, long time ago.



Belkètre - Ryan Èvn-a | Kaleidarkness | Black Metal | France
If you had told me ten years ago that infamous black metal hermit "Vordb Dréagvor Uèzvréèvb" would re-emerge from distant anonymity and create new music, I’d probably laugh in your face. Now who’s laughing at who? Listening to new Belkètre material in 2015 is definitely surreal, and, with almost twenty years separating this from the Ambre Zuèrkl Vuorhdrévarvtre demo, the aging has definitely manifested. Missing seminal bandmate Aäkon Këëtreëh’s melodic sense, Ryan Èvn-a shows a much more minimally-bent Belkètre, occasionally showcasing Vordb’s unique, creepy approach to harmony. Is it good? I certainly enjoy it, but this is definitely a singular release. Those who have enjoyed Belkètre might(?) enjoy it, but only time will tell.

Lluvia - Eternidad Solemne | Fallen Empire Records | Atmospheric Black Metal | Mexico
For a band who damned Cascadia and Wolves in the Throne Room in the liner notes of their first album, Lluvia definitely sounds like those things. Moving from Portland to Mexico doesn’t take the Portland out of your veins, I guess.


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