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Most of this week’s column is going to be about the 3 new E.E.E. Recordings releases. Sorry if you’re not a fan, I’m just still in shock that all these bands are back. As evidenced by the Noltem EP about which I waxed poetic just a few weeks ago, 2015 is the year of internet metal reunions, and I’m oddly okay with that.

Should I have missed something you liked (as I did pass over a lot of re-issues in favor of actual new stuff), said something disagreeable about something you enjoy, or even did something right, feel free to leave a comment. And be nice.

—Jon Rosenthal

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ANTICIPATED RELEASES

Njiqahdda - Life Will Always Go On… | E.E.E. Recordings | Atmospheric/Progressive Metal | United States
The return of Njiqahdda is like the return of an old friend. Though many have faulted this anonymous duo’s prolific nature, generally citing "oversaturation" as a means of draining one’s interest, I’ve always found Njiqahdda to be one of the pinnacles of the metal underground. After a year-long "hiatus," though any sort of reunion seemed dubious, Njiqahdda rises from the ashes in a new location and with a rediscovery of the boundless creative nature that drove them before. Life Will Always Go On… shows members E. and J. (formerly Ain and Ihr) taking a much more lax approach to the psychedelic rock/metal sound previously forged on Serpents in the Sky. Here the distortion is rolled back into a hazy fuzz, bombast slowed to a head-bobbing lull—this album is perfect for those dog days of Summer when you are too exhausted to move.


Deiphago - Into the Eye of Satan | Hells Headbangers Records | Black/Death Metal | Costa Rica
Already one of the most ridiculous live bands I’ve ever seen (with Vaz from Black Witchery on drums, no less), Deiphago continues to utilize their decades-long experience as one of the most extreme black/death metal bands in existence to throw listeners, around like rag dolls. Featuring a much rawer sound in comparison to their preceding full-lengths, Into the Eye of Satan is bound to be one of those classic "war metal" albums which will even make the most hoodie-clad-and-sunglasses-donned warrior crack a smile. As a bit of a kicker, the first minute of "Bloodbath of Genocide" has some of the most creative riffing in the oft-mimicked style since Conqueror’s liberal use of pick slides in War Cult Supremacy.

Funerary/Ooze - Funerary/Ooze | Midnite Collective | Funeral Doom Metal/Sludge Metal | United States/Italy
I always enjoy a solid cross-subgenre split. Sure, I’ve been known to use the "two sides of the same coin" argument with some splits, but, when it comes down to brass tacks, most splits like that sound like one band playing for an hour or so. Most of the time it isn’t the most exciting thing, but it’s logical and the "birds of a feather" approach makes sense for underground metal bands. However, when bands on further sides of the spectrum come together and create something oddly cohesive, that is truly exciting. This isn’t my first time talking about Funerary, whose 2014 debut Starless Aeon was just re-issued by Sentient Ruin Laboratories and vendetta records, but Italy’s Ooze is new to me. Pitting Funerary’s minimally-charged, tragic, Asunder-like funeral doom against Ooze’s violent Buzz*oven sludge metal is an exciting enough sonic pairing to keep my interest, which is honestly more than I can say for most doom splits. I wouldn’t have this sort of excitement should Funerary have decided to create a sludge metal song to fit with Ooze, or if Ooze slowed down to match Funerary’s pace. Each band worked in their own comfort zone, and it works. This is a good, zero-BS, zero-pandering split.

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OF NOTE

Clay Davis - B.C.G.C. | Grimoire Records | Grindcore/Powerviolence | United States
I’ve always been a big powerviolence fan, but have never really been given much of an opportunity to write about any bands of the style on here. Clay Davis’s vicious B.C.G.C is a burst of grinding, bass-and-drums powerviolence, coming down on the listener like a weighted baseball bat again and again in its brief existence. Man is the Bastard fans might appreciate this, but they also might get mad because "Eric Wood did it first, you guys."

Oaks of Bethel - Melethallia I & II | E.E.E. Recordings | Ambient Drone/Black Metal | United States
Part two of the tripartite E.E.E. Recordings release batch. Oaks of Bethel’s hypnotic, long-form sound is as much black metal as it is drone and doom. I hate to call things meditative, but I’ve always found myself phasing in and out of lucidity while listening to Oaks of Bethel. The inclusion of a thicker, much more enveloping low end is a welcome change.

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FOR THE ADVENTUROUS

that means things which aren’t metal

Njiijn - Eternal & Unending | E.E.E. Recordings | Ambient/Drone | United States
I guess to start I should explain exactly what Njiijn is. Njiijn and Njiqahdda are technically one in the same, existing in a sort of stylistic dualism with Njiqahdda handling songwriting-based music and Njiijn operating in the experimental, drone, dark ambient, and other esoteric genres. Eternal & Unending, no doubt a continuation of the Njiqahdda title Life Will Always Go On…, is a forty minute adventure through lush, abstract sound and calming field recordings.

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OTHER RELEASES

Crown - Natron | Candlelight Records | Sludge/Doom Metal | France
One of the few times I’ve ever seen an eight string guitar used outside of a Meshuggah-worship setting (I think the only other instance was a live video of Void Meditation Cult playing a festival I stubbornly missed). Crown, or C R O W N, performs an excessively heavy, industrial-tinged type of sludge, and Natron deals both in atmospherics and thunderous low end. Stephane "Neige" Paut (Alcest, et al) of all people makes an appearance on a track.

Eisregen - Marschmusik | Massacre Records | Gothic/Black/Death Metal | Germany
Bands like Eisregen are a bit too much for me. Lots of chugging, silly keyboard patches, and the worst kind of gothic melodrama. Marschmusik is a testament to how modern metal and gothic rock got smushed together in the worst kind of Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups parody I could ever imagine.

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FROM THE GRAVE

Funeste - Le Triomphe du Charnier | Black Element Productions | Black Metal | Canada
I wrote about this neat little demo of cold, distant Canadian black metal before. Now this demo is armed with a new title and a physical format!

Mizmor - Mizmor | Pesanta Urfolk | Black/Drone/Doom Metal | United States
I always regretted not ponying up and buying the CD version of Mizmor’s debut full-length before the 70-some-odd copies sold out. The waning Pesanta Urfolk, now known as Vale of Tears as it withers away with its final few releases, has released a deluxe cassette edition of this stunningly heavy atmospheric black metal album.

Istengoat - Atlas Shrugged | Blood Harvest | Death Metal | Chile
Spooky Chilean death metal, featuring some of the coolest bass work I’ve heard in a while.

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