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Hey guys, been avoiding these introductions because I find them largely unnecessary. That being said, I won't be around next week, so expect a new installment from our favorite backup bro Clayton Michaels. You guys liked him last time, and he offered up a killer column, so I hope to see some happy faces in a few weeks

Here are the new metal releases for the week of September 18, 2016 – September 24, 2016. 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.

send Jon your promos at jon@invisibleoranges.com. Do not bother him on social media.

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ANTICIPATED RELEASES

Alcest - Kodama | Prophecy Productions | Post-Rock/Black Metal | France
Alcest? At the absolute top of a column? Hell is certainly freezing over, but with good reason. Namely, this is...a surprisingly good album. I fell out of love with Alcest shortly after the release of Écailles de lune. It just kind of felt thrown together, taking the last of the "black metal" main songwriter Neige had leftover and hiding it amidst a sea of post-rock songs. What followed didn't help, but Kodama is what I've always really wanted from Alcest - a nice balance between the two far ends of the spectrum which was the project's intent after Le Secret. Though Neige still resorts to his "bag of tricks" (standardized chord progressions, certain melody types and song structures), the album itself is still an enjoyable listen.

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Simulacro - Echi dall'abisso | Third-I-Rex | Avant-Garde Death/Black Metal | Italy

From Joseph's premiere of the album:

"Simulacro dwell in the same evil black metal universe we’ve grown to love, but don’t sound as if they’ve abandoned hope entirely. There’s some evidence in my corner, as well: If you want to buy a download of their new album Echi Dall’Abisso now, you’re going to have to fork over 777 Euros. The black metal arrogance of old is recast with a more holy number, and a little nod to Blut Aus Nord.

Not that I expect Simulacro to save my soul. Far from it. The juxtaposition of Satya Lux Aeterna’s crisp classical melodies and Fabrizio “Xul” Sanna’s bellowing growls serves to make the opera more uplifting, and the growling more menacing. In the same way, the scattered straight-up rock bits only make the jazzy drum rolls elsewhere on Echi Dall’Abisso more chaotic."

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Battle Dagorath - I - Dark Dragons of the Cosmos | Avantgarde Music | Black Metal/Ambient | United States/Switzerland/Italy

From my premiere of the album:

"Chief songwriter and founding member Black Sorcerer Battle's songwriting draws from a spiritual vein - his music is monolithic and lumbers at an ancient pace. Even at its most resplendent and active, I - Dark Dragons Of The Cosmos is a slow awakening, with Battle Dagorath shaking layers of frost and stardust from their corporeal form. Though Black Sorcerer Battle's songwriting is magnificent and awe-inspiring, Battle Dagorath's main selling point, at least since Ancient Wrath (Cold Dimensions, 2011), was the inclusion of black metal legend Vinterriket handling keyboards. It's with these icy tones that the "mysticism" I love shines through, and Vinterriket's efforts enshroud the Black Sorcerer's music in a thick, icy haze. This constant, dense, cold atmosphere which is a powerful reminder of the seat of my initial black metal obsession - what set black metal apart from everything else. Battle Dagorath exudes a distinct spirituality - cold, ancient, and devout."

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Odal - Geistes Unruh | Eisenwald Tonschmiede | Pagan Black Metal | Germany
At long last, a new Odal album. Black metal's obsession with paganism and "folkish melodies" can be so overwrought and cartoonish, but Odal consistently remains a high point: epic, triumphant and pure. Geistes Unruh, or at least what I've heard of it, is yet another success point in Odal's seventeen years of existence.

Martröð - The Transmutation of Wounds | Fallen Empire Records/Terratur Possessions | Atmospheric Black Metal | United States/Iceland/Italy
I frequently reference the oversaturation of "orthodox"/dissonant black metal, but what really irks me about that style of music is the self-indulgence of it all. It's like this mass influx of bands mashes their hands on their relative instruments until they find the ugliest chords possible, which is fine, but structure and composition trumps ugliness. Take, for example, Schoenberg and Babbitt - these guys made some of the most terrifying, completely detached music possible, but there was structure. Schoenberg wanted to emulate the classic German and Austrian composing schools but in a much more "modern" way (read as: atonal). There were subtle hints at melodies and greater, more compelling motif-based composition, which set the stage for Berg's "Wozzeck," eventually leading to the completely formless, dissonant chaos found in the '50s. Why do I bring up all this academic, Modern Classical nonsense? Martröð is posing as the classical question which led to the seemingly mindless dissonant worship - The Transmutation of Wounds, the union between members of Chaos Moon, Skaphe, Wormlust, Misthyrming, Leviathan, Aosoth, and more, builds upon the tension of massive dissonances and achieves explosive fruition with magnificent climaxes. People forget to let tension break - that's what tension does - and Martröð's long-awaited debut (A. Poole referred to it as "The sounds of 2014, now" in private correspondence) is that perfect mix of horrific disgust and spine-tingling resolution. It is very obvious that there was more thought put behind this than the trappings of "well, these two chords sound really ugly together. Neat!", which is something I appreciate. The Transmutation of Wounds is the necessary context which bridges second and third wave black metal's initial sensibilities with the discordant indulgence to which we've become more recently accustomed.

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OF NOTE

Winterfylleth - The Dark Hereafter | Candlelight Records | Atmospeheric Black Metal | England
The word "elegant" gets thrown around quite a bit in reference to Winterfylleth's body of work, but I think "inoffensive" is a more apt designation. The Dark Hereafter is a perfectly fine example of modern atmospheric black metal, but there really isn't much to it beyond its genre classification. Aren't we owed at least a little innovation?

Unyielding Love - The Sweat of Augury | Sentient Ruin Laboratories | Black Metal/Grindcore | Northern Ireland
I've spent the last ten years searching for the spiritual successor to Watchmaker's chaotic grindcore opus Erased From The Memory Of Man, and now my quest has come to a close. Grindcore doesn't interest me like when I was a teenager, but Unyielding Love has reached that perfect peak of indulgent chaos and strength that I can't help but yield.

Negură Bunget - Zl | Prophecy Productions | Progressive Folk/Black Metal | Romania
I'm still mildly miffed this band still goes by the Negură Bunget name, and I highly doubt we'll ever get another Om, but Zl (and that's Z + L, not Z + I) is a big step in the right direction when compared to everything else released past the great "lineup schism" which gave us planetary offshoot Dordeduh.

Ordo Obsidium - A Crooked Path to Desolation | Eisenwald Tonschmiede | Black/Doom Metal | United States
This album was digitally released a few years ago and then promptly forgotten until now. Allow me to refresh your memories: Ordo Obsidium masterfully pit newer, more atmospheric black metal against Brave Murder Day and Dance of December Souls-era Katatonia's big, gothic melodies.

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FOR THE ADVENTUROUS

Opeth - Sorceress | Nuclear Blast | Progressive Rock | Sweden
Is it any surprise the new Opeth album is a clunker? The best progressive rock albums were made by creative people who brought distant pieces of their musical taste together, not people who listened to progressive rock.

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FROM THE GRAVE

Vpaahsalbrox - 14 Sovereign | Pale Horse Recordings | Black Metal | United States
Pure, devotional Chaos. Vpaahsalbrox was a short-lived Texas black metal band, the union of minds who would eventually give us a library's worth of music (Senthil, Nivathe, Absonus Noctis, Erraunt et al), and 14 Sovereign is a fountain of mammoth dissonance and pure, unadulterated rage. The three songs which defined Vpaahsalbrox's brief existence were only available on a long-sold-out demo tape limited to 50 copies, but 14 Sovereign is now, quite astoundingly, available on vinyl. Don't miss out on this.

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OTHER RELEASES

Epica - The Holographic Principle | Nuclear Blast | Symphonic/Power Metal | Netherlands
Operatic, symphonic gothic metal doesn't carry the same kind of novelty in 2016 than it did in 2005 (the first time I heard Epica). Simone Simons is a perfectly capable singer, but there is a much bigger metal world beyond the Tim Burton-esque atmospheres found here.

Cryfemal - D6s6nti6erro | Osmose Productions | Black Metal | Spain
Cryfemal's "necro mental" was always something I avoided, but the melancholic, mid-paced, powerful black metal found here makes a strong case for me to make up for lost time.

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