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Current UMR writer Jon Rosenthal is experiencing some type of Life Event which prevents him from writing this column. Something about a “business trip” which undoubtedly involves sordid activities like rubbing up against random women in hotel bars, having security called on him, and then masturbating furiously into the hotel bed’s pillows.

Anyway, his “business trip” has occurred at precisely the worst possible week this year...if you don’t like my exceptional taste in music. So really, this is his fault, and you should all hate him. He owes me for covering in his absence. He’ll soon discover that I have less scruples when it comes to Getting Mine than a Hutt has. Hope you like metal bikinis, Rosenthal.

—Richard Street-Jammer

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ANTICIPATED RELEASES

Huntress - Static (Napalm Records)
Here are two totally factual facts: Huntress is one of my favorite bands, and Static will be released this week. A related fact, which is also factual, is that I’m super fucking pumped for Static. Based on, well, everything about “Flesh,” I can guarantee that if you didn’t like Huntress’ previous two albums, this one won’t change your mind. And that’s ok, I respect your right to be wrong about Huntress being awesome, just like you respect my right to be right that funeral doom, drone, and Electric Wizard are all bollocks.

I should probably say something about the song. Jill Janus’ vocals are as powerful as ever: piercing highs, strident mids, and occasional screams. The lyrics are goofy and sort of, uh, sexy? Is it sexy when a lady sings lyrics that are about banging or murdering or bang-murdering another lady? Musically, Huntress has always been a fast band, trading in speed metal, US power metal, and Painkiller type material that’s nearly thrash. “Flesh” is midtempo, closer to ‘80s trad metal than to the aforementioned bands and genres.

Down in the Also Of Note section, I included a bunch of stuff that I don’t like. It’s a peace offering of sorts.

A Sound of Thunder - Tales From The Deadside (Mad Neptune)
The East Coast queen (of hell) and kings of record label-less power metal keep on keepin’ on with their fifth full-length album, which is based on the Shadowman comic book series. This is my most anticipated record of the week and maybe of the year. A Sound of Thunder’s 2013 release, Time’s Arrow, was my favorite album of the year. The follow-up, The Lesser Key of Solomon, was strong but not nearly as good as Time’s Arrow. To be blunt, I’m worried that the band has stretched themselves thin by releasing so much material in so little time: five albums and two EPs in seven years. Nevertheless, Tales is my most anticipated album.

“Tremble” is an interesting track, featuring some of the harshest vocals Nina Osegueda has yet laid down, with certain lines almost turning into pinched sounding screams. The backing music is a mostly mid-tempo stomp, but we shouldn’t assume it’s representative of the rest of Tales given that A Sound Of Thunder jumps genres as they see fit. “Tremble” strong stuff though, and I’m pumped to hear the rest of the album.

 

Gloryhammer - Space 1992: Rise of the Chaos Wizards (Napalm Records)
There are space wizards and the singer is the Green Power Ranger and the guitar player is a ghost and JUST LOOK AT THIS FUCKING VIDEO.

Black Breath - Slaves Beyond Death (Southern Lord Recordings)
I’ve only heard this one song, and it’s more death metal, and less thrashy and crusty/D-Beat-y than the tracks from Sentenced to Life. I actually do like Black Breath, but even if I didn’t, they’d make the Anticipated section because they get our esteemed editor’s genitalia rock hard. Harder, even, than Battlecross and Skeletonwitch do. [That’s why we’re streaming the album on the site this Wednesday!- Ed.]

Horna - Hengen Tulet (World Terror Committee)
We’ve heard two tracks from Hengen Tulet so far, and both feature a fuller, less trebly production than previous Horna efforts. Coincidentally or not, they sound much more like Taake songs than Horna songs. I’ve always found Horna records disappointing. They’ve seemed like a band that could release modern classics, but continually fall short, and other Shatraug efforts like Behexen and especially Sargeist have produced much better music. Another thing: Every song on MGLA’s Exercises in Futility is better than the preview songs from Hengen. [We’re also streaming this record in its entirety on Thursday! So, as you can see, Street-Jammer knows how to toe the party line!-Ed.]

 

Mord’A’Stigmata - Our Hearts Slow Down (Pagan Records)
So after I kind of pooped on Horna even though I also kind of like them, here’s a black metal(ish) band whose record I really, really am excited for. You’re warned, though, that “The Mantra of Anguish” takes a while to get moving, gets really powerful around 4:20, and then kinda jazzy, jammy, and weird at at about 7:25. The record falls just short of 30 minutes, so maybe it’s more of an EP, and it’s certainly priced like one on the band’s Bandcamp. MGLA have defeated all contenders to the 2015 black metal record of the year throne, but they’ve still got to put down Mord’A’Stigmata to keep it . . . and they might not succeed.

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OF NOTE

The Arcane Order - Cult of None (Massacre Records)
The Arcane Order play the kind of flashy melodeath/thrash that can only exist in the post-2000 environment. When this stuff works, it succeeds because it’s memorable and because it picks the best aspects of its donor genres and channels them into superior songs. When it doesn’t - I’m thinking about certain Darkane records - it’s dull and lifeless, with bland melodies and pointless shred. I’m hoping that the rest of Cult of None is better, because “Ahab” is dull. The Arcane Order’s first two records have stellar reviews, so there’s hope.

Snail - Feral (MeteorCity Records)
I am not into this. It’s psychedelic doom metal with a guitar tone that ranges from ultra-crunchy to droning and tripped out. The vocals are subdued, not a lot of melody going on.

Deathcode Society - Eschatonizer (Osmose Productions)
Loud, punishing, beefy symphonic black/death metal. Similar to Dimmu Borgir’s post Puritanical Euphoric Misanthropia efforts, and also to bands like Anorexia Nervosa or Hollenthon. If you like your black/death metal with extra keyboard drama, then this is for you.

Dark Buddha Rising - Inversum (Neurot Recordings)
Warm, speaker rattling fuzz with an artsy, occult bent. Not the kind of thing I like; consider its inclusion as a mea culpa for having Huntress as Anticipated.

Division Speed - Division Speed (High Roller Records)
High Roller typically puts out quality, but finding a good rethrash band means fishing in some very shallow, very polluted waters. That said, this isn’t typical pizza-thrash crossover goonery. I wracked my brains for forty-five minutes while driving to try and remember who this track reminds me of, and I failed. So maybe that’s good?

Praise The Flame - Manifest Rebellion (Memento Mori)
The following things about this record scream SUPER CEREAL Orthodox black metal: band name, album title, artwork, certain song titles. Fortunately or not, you choose, Manifest Rebellion is not at all Orthodox or black metal. It’s more a mix of black/death with a beefy production, with coherent riffing and songwriting so that it’s not radio-static war metal. You can stream the entire album via Bandcamp, so that’s a fortunate thing.

Alda - Passage (Bindrune Recordings)
Passage is morose, midtempo black metal with slightly folksy feel. It’s on Bindrune and it’s similar to older Falls of Rauros or maybe to Ifing. You can actually listen to the entire album, which is probably the best and the intended way to take the record in. It’s likely a grower, and METAL BLOGGER STEREOTYPE WARNING, it’s perfect for the upcoming fall weather.

Nihil Kaos - Noxkult (Death Knell Productions)
Hot damn, this is some furious 2nd-wave style black metal. The drumming is ridiculous! I don’t have much else to say than to give this piece of punishment a listen or two.

Todesstoss - Hirngemeer (Traumorgane-Kreationen)
I’ve never been a fan of Todesstoss, but they’re the kind of band I’ll always pay attention to because holy shit, their music is weird. Hirngemeer features bizarro vocals, wacky riffs, and just generally strange. Unique, even, which is rare and important. This song’s not doing anything for me, though. No Clean Singing debuted this track.

Valkenrag - Twilight of Blood And Flesh (Art of the Night Productions)
Amon Amarth fell off a cliff with their last two albums, which was disappointing but inevitable; few bands could match or maintain a run as great as that from Versus The World to. Valkenrag have their sights set on Amon Amarth’s sound and no doubt their Viking crown as well, and Twilight Of Blood And Flesh is their opening swordstroke. Twilight has been years in the making, so that ought to bode well for its quality.

VI - De Praestigiis Angelorum (Agonia Records)
Like the Nihil Kaos record, this is some furious, punishing black metal.

Rebellion - Wyrd bið ful aræd - The History of the Saxons (Massacre Records)
Being a power metal band, Rebellion are probably not well known to Invisible Oranges’ readers. So: they’re a German power metal band formed by ex-members of Grave Digger, who are a better known German power metal band. Some of Rebellion’s older records are well reviewed, but they seem to have fallen off recently. They’re known for having deep, bellowing vocals rather than the smoother sounds of stereotypical Europower singing. Some of the vocals on “Hengist” are outright death grunts, so, yeah. Also, Rebellion’s known for concept records, and this one’s about the Saxons. Previous concepts were Vikings and, I think, the Romans.

Vampire - Cimmerian Shade (Century Media Records)
Vampire’s back with an EP. “Harvest of the Pyre Queen” is way more melodic and death metal oriented than I remember their debut album being. It’s solid stuff. The EP is only be released in physical format as gold or silver colored vinyl, in extremely limited quantity. It’s probably sold out already! The release is digitally available, though.

Windfaerer - Tenebrosum (Independent)
“Celestial Supremacy” is a highly impressive piece of black/folk metal. Fans of the Alda album up above are advised to check out Windfaerer. So far, this album sounds similar to the last, which I remember as having an 808 bass drop in one of the songs. Sounds crazy, but I swear, that happened.

Movimento d’Avanguardia Ermetico - Torri del Silenzio (Avantgarde)
Typing this band’s name was punishment enough for including Huntress on this post. Listening to this band, however, is not punishment. At least not for a metalhead. It’s long-winded, primarily midtempo black metal, the kind that gets praised for artistry and for being super serious. If you don’t believe me, the band’s name is Italian for “Hermetic Avantgarde Movement.”

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