Upcoming Metal Releases 9/17/17-9/23/17
Hey, I'm back. Okay. Looks like "release season" is upon us, in which every album recorded back in January is suddenly unleashed on the market. Here we go.
Here are the new metal releases for the week of September 17, 2017 – September 23, 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.
From my premiere of "Red Circle":
Urarv is strange. There are elements of the band which seem familiar on the surface level: the black metal-esque riff-work, the harsh vocals, the rhythmic intensity. It all feels like black metal, but there is this air of avant, or at least progressive, rock which takes the band into a completely separate territory. Aldrahn, Patricia, Sturt, and the surprising addition of Ynleborgaz (Make a Change, Kill Yourself…, Angantyr) take the initial separation of black metal approached by the second wave stalwarts in the late 1990s to early 2000s — what was initially called post-black metal — and twist it into a jagged, uncanny valley version of itself. It resembles black metal on the surface, and yet there is something “off” about it, something unsettling which suddenly becomes glaring and upsetting. Of course, upsetting seems to be the root of Urarv’s inspiration, first conceived by Aldrahn’s meditations on modern ego during a stay in a mental care facility, and Urarv itself seems to separate from black metal’s definition-obsessed ego.
From my premiere of "Deep calleth upon Deep":
A progressive, textural monster, Deep calleth upon Deep fuses Satyricon’s early complexity and obscurity with their eventual anthemic power, but reaches so much further. Playfully toying with odd harmonies, rhythmic shifts, technicality, and additional instruments (the saxophone on “Dissonant” is brilliant), Deep calleth upon Deep has a self-referential character, noting the plateau of their last few albums and completely denying it in favor of doing something completely different. This isn’t the Satyricon you know, but, in some ways, it is. There are the powerful rock riffs which defined their second era, and the poetic, eerie atmospheres of their early days, but it transcends the performance tropes to which they clung within their two identities. Enter era three of Satyricon. It’s going to be one hell of a ride.
From Rhys's interview with Lee Dorrian:
With The Dead takes everything you recognize about doom metal and turns it up past 11 into the thousands. Huge riffs, titanic drums, and Dorrian’s trademark vocals blend brutally to craft a singular doom sound that towers far beyond what most of their contemporaries have even considered possible.
Wolves in the Throne Room - Thrice Woven | Artemesia Records | Atmospheric Black Metal | United States
Grumpy old man Jon likes a Wolves in the Throne Room album? It's true, and it's been about a decade since I've really confidently said that. Diadem and Two Hunters were pretty important albums in my teenage years, but I kind of fell off thereafter. Too ambitious but without the riffy substance which made their music so dense early on. Thrice Woven shows this trio (now featuring Kody Keyworth from l'Acephale and Fall of the Bastards [what?!]) returning to their roots...for the most part. There are riffs, there is majesty, there's even a guest spot from Steve von Till (!), but they still stumble a bit. Simply put, they still try too hard to incorporate different styles of music they haven't quite mastered. "Mother Owl, Father Ocean"'s lengthy foray into New Age music, featuring Anna von Hausswolff, seems unfocused and poorly transitioned, and the thrashy elements of "Born of the Serpent's Eye" (likely Mr. Keyworth's addition) don't really fit with the more meditative elements which define their music. Otherwise? This is a nice album, a more "folky" addition to the post-Weakling era of US black metal which reigned in the 2000s. Parts still feel like an anachronism, but I guess black metal doesn't really like to age.
From Andrew's and my premiere of "Strangers":
Immediately evoking the spirit of ICS Vortex-fronted Arcturus, “Strangers” flows with vocal charisma and persistent rhythm, leading toward an enthralling climax. Vocalist Bjørnar Nilsen’s impassioned belting (an amplified vibrato) gives haunting character to an already stirring musical performance, courtesy of Øyvind Madsen (guitar), Eivind Huse (guitar), Tor Helge Gjengedal (drums), and Kyrre Teigen (bass). There’s symphony in negation, much like the intent behind the infamous “post-black metal” tag (e.g. Solefald, Ved Buens Ende, and Sigh), and — by hammer, by chisel, by resolve — Vulture Industries helps build the tag’s momentum toward the impending new decade.
Acephalix - Desecration | 20 Buck Spin | Death Metal | United States
So, more old school death metal. Members of Vastum want to let you know they like Dismember just as much as they like Bolt Thrower. It's perfectly fine, but it doesn't really grab me. I guess that can be said of all "new old school death metal."
Ufomammut - 8 | Neurot Recordings | Psychedelic Stoner/Doom Metal | Italy
You like Sabbath riffs? How about a lot of effects pedals? There are a literal ton of bands to check out, but feel free to give Ufomammut's latest a spin. I tend to avoid psychedelic and/or stoner doom metal, but I also cannot deny how fun Snailking is.
From Andrew's premiere of "Velvet on the Horns":
Although any notion of subtlety goes bye-bye when you see Yellow Eyes perform live: foreboding, dark, climactic, raw… but above all else, shockingly present. Not that Sick with Bloom was desperately lacking it, but that performative energy/spirit has been of great use to Yellow Eyes on their upcoming fourth full-length Immersion Trench Reverie. The new album sees a renewed invigoration and aptitude for experimentation for the band, but they’re just as surefooted and aware as always.
Archspire - Relentless Mutation | Season of Mist | Technical Death Metal | Canada
Supremely sharp, technical death metal with absolutely zero soul whatsoever. Vocalist Oli Peters's rhythmic, almost rap-esque "shotgun vocals" would be interesting in a Necro or Ill Bill song. Make it happen.
Vacivus - Temple of the Abyss | Profound Lore Records | Death Metal | England\
It's "new old school death metal," so... it's fine, and it's dark, and it's riffy, but there isn't much substance to it other than pure emulation. You've heard Onward to Golgotha how many times at this point?
Cradle of Filth - Cryptoriana - The Seductiveness of Decay | Nuclear Blast | Extreme Gothic Metal | England
This is excellent. I know, I know: "How many crushed velvet capes do you own, Jon?" but bear with me. Cradle of Filth's early career was impeccable. Sure, Dusk and Her Embrace, Midian and Cruelty and the Beast were overwrought and super dramatic. Fine. However, was it bad? No! It seems like Dani Filth and crew felt inspired by last year's public release of the first studio recordings of Dusk and Her Embrace (The Original Sin) and returned to their earlier, more black metal-oriented approach. Now? Cryptoriana is melodic, impassioned, spooky, and, yes, super melodramatic. I wouldn't take Cradle of Filth any other way.
From Ian's premiere of their unlikely KISS cover:
Monarch don’t budge an inch toward the song’s gravity, instead they force the material to come to them. “Diamant Noir” like the rest of Never Forever is a cavernous and minimalist doom trudge. The only connective tissue comes from singer Emile Bresson, who maintains the original song’s vocal melody but stretches it out into a ghostly recitation. Even more chilling, and somewhat mystifying, is the band’s addition of lyrics from Outkast’s “Aquemini.” Taken in concert, the two groups of lyrics are a memento mori. “Even the sun goes down, heroes eventually die… Darkness will fall on the city.”
FOR THE ADVENTUROUS
because only listening to metal is dumb
Kauan - Kaiho | Independent | Post-Rock | Ukraine
For a band who has considered themselves post-rock for the past six or so years, it's taken Kauan long enough to actually make a proper post-rock album. For the most part, Kaiho is inoffensive and very carefully emulates the genre, but there is the occasional moment in which the band delves into the folk-tinged Peaceville 3 sound which initially made them great.
Chelsea Wolfe - Hiss Spun | Sargent House | Aesthetic Goth (fuck if I know, it changes every album) | United States
I can't figure out Chelsea Wolfe. Each album is supremely different from the last. It's never explicitly bad, per se, but I just want a new Mistake in Parting (which will never happen). Wonder when she will stop hopping around different goth-y styles. Also, remember when she covered a Burzum song?
Process of Guilt - Black Earth | Bleak Recordings | Post-Metal | Portugal
Process of Guilt was really onto something for a long time -- no one really attempted the fusion of death/doom metal and sludgy post-metal quite like them, and they mastered this mashup back in 2006 on Renounce. I guess they're just a post-metal band now. Bummer.
Five the Hierophant - Over Phlegethon | Dark Essence | Experimental Black Metal | Norway
If a band shares members with the legendary Manes, expect an oddity. Over Phlegethon manages to sneak elements of jazz, various types of world music (right now I can discern West African and Roma), and modern music into their very, very heavy, doomed black metal. How bizarre.
From Andrew's premiere of "The Great Leveller":
Vanitas, to its benefit, isn’t always an eyes-closed, headphone listen — there’s a lot of invigorating power to be extracted from this album via sheer volume pumped through large space. Luckily, they’ve taken clarity into consideration, as each track has a bell-like ring when it comes to nuance — but, occasionally, the downs break and In Twilight’s Embrace pours out abstractly (and delightfully) powerful walls of sound.
The Chasm - A Conscious Creation from the Isolated Domain | Lux Inframundis Productions | Death Metal | United States
Breaking my "I haven't heard this" rule because… dude, it's The Chasm. You should love this band already.