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I am currently out of town, far away in the heart of the land of cheese, so I wrote this one far, far ahead of time. Business trips are weird, guys. I don’t want to feel like a young professional.

Metal stuff. The week? September 9th through September 12th. The place? Your ears. Questions? Comments? Anger? Comment! Oh, and don’t be that guy who just comments with an album title. You sound like one of those guys who orders coffee without greeting the cashier. Be nice!

—Jon Rosenthal

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ANTICIPATED RELEASES

Howls of Ebb - The Marrow Veil | I, Voidhanger Records | Experimental Black/Death Metal | United States
I mistakably wrote about this EP near its intended release date a few months back. Silly me, I should have done a little more research before making that mistake. The Marrow Veil, California death metal trio Howls of Ebb’s follow up to last year’s stellar and frightening Vigils of the Third Eyeis a bizarre one. Lengthy for an EP, its three tracks approaching the 35 minute mark, The Marrow Veil brings about a solid marriage between nightmarish psychedelia and old school death metal. It’s peculiar and jarring, often shifting between the two without warning, but it’s HoB’s (yes, not HoE) sonic schizophrenia which makes them all the more exciting. It’s as if Morbid Angel took some bad ayahuasca and found themselves deep within the pit.

Sabbath Assembly - Sabbath Assembly | Svart Records | Doom Metal/Hard Rock | Finland
I was never really sold on Sabbath Assembly, as I tend to be with most "throwback" bands, doom or not. The rehashing of sounds just seems like a novelty reminder of whoever happened to invent or create them to begin with. However, the news of prolific multi-instrumentalist Kevin Hufnagel’s presence on guitar happened to pique my interest. Though Hufnagel has apparently played with traditional doom titans While Heaven Wept, though I have yet to hear any material they might have recorded with him, I couldn’t quite hear the Gorguts and Dysrhythmia guitarist fitting in with Sabbath Assembly’s witchy traditional metal. In the end, Sabbath Assembly is a pretty fun album. Maybe not my cup of tea, but Jamie Myers’s voice is undeniable and there happens to be some rather catchy, tight musicianship found therein.

Though not the album ‘proper,’ listen to "Risen From Below" and "Ave Satanas" below:

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OF NOTE

Speedtrap - Straight Shooter | Svart Records | Heavy/Speed Metal | Finland
Okay, so first off: these riffs rule. They rule hard. Thrashy, intricate, reckless guitar abandon fueled by either cocaine, way too much alcohol, or maybe (probably) both. On the other hand, these semi-traditional/pseudo-cock rock vocals kind of kill it. Wasn’t it IO alumnus Doug Moore who made the point that bad harsh vocals are forgivable, but bad clean vocals can ruin a whole band? I might have to import this into Cubase and do a karaoke-style mix so I can listen to the killer backing band without any issue.

Acid Death - Hall of Mirrors | 7Hard Records | Progressive Death/Thrash Metal | Italy
What a horrible disappointment. Longtime Piece of Time-era Atheist worship band Acid Death seems to have gone the way of most "technical" bands and turned into yet another Meshuggah clone. Doesn’t the world have enough unimaginative "djent"? Good job, you can pick a strange pattern on a super detuned string while your drummer hits his hi hat in a simple meter so your fans will know when to headbang. My advice to you, dear readers? Skip this one and instead listen to Pieces of Mankind. You’ll thank me later.

Nightfell - Darkness Evermore | 20 Buck Spin | Black/Death Metal | United States
I really want to like Nightfell, I really do. The idea of Todd Burdette of Tragedy and Tim Call from Aldebaran coming together and making blackened death metal seems too good to be true. Unfortunately, as it is with most things which are too good to be true, The Living Ever Mourns confirmed that suspicion. It was okay, though it came off more like Burdette found a few previously shelved Tragedy riffs and played them at half speed for his more doom inclined bandmate. There’s nothing really wrong with that, it’s just that I kind of expected more from two very talented musicians. Unfortunately, Darkness Evermore suffers from the same sort of former-band-contrivedness, though there seems to be at least a slightly pronounced The Silent Enigma-era Anathema influence, which spells hope.[I just need to point out that I loved this thing-Ed.]

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FOR THE ADVENTUROUS

that means things which aren’t metal

Low - Ones and Sixes | Sub Pop Records | Slowcore/Indie Pop | United States
I have such a huge bias when it comes to Low. I honestly, 100% think they are the best band in the universe. Though they might not ever truly approach the perfection in dismal, minimal indie rock found in their first four albums (any self-respecting doom metal fan should probably listen to them), the odd, semi-electronic, Neil Young-infused version of strange, gloomy pop niche the trio of Alan Sparhawk, Mimi Parker, and Steve Garrington seem to have carved for themselves is an effective one. Though the pop direction has still been paved enough for regular listeners to essentially expect what Ones and Sixes should sound like, Low definitely pulled a few left turns here and there. After hinting at being a Burning Witch fan for years, "No Comprende" happens to house a pretty intimidatingly loud doom metal-like section. Lots of sub-bass. It hurts. It hurts so good.

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OTHER RELEASES

Slayer- Repentless | Nuclear Blast Records | Thrash Metal | United States
The fact that the Kerry King-spearheaded Slayer tribute band decided to move forward without Dave Lombardo and Jeff Hanneman is a sad one. Also, Kerry King didn’t realize "Repentless" wasn’t really a word, which should probably speak to the album’s quality. Either way, we all know the real Slayer died in a horrible plane crash in 1989.

Stratovarius - Eternal | earMUSIC | Melodic Power Metal | Finland
I’m lactose intolerant, so I can only digest Stratovarius in small doses before getting violently gassy.

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WHAT WE MISSED

Fuck the Facts - Desire Will Rot | Noise Salvation | Grindcore | Canada
Apparently I missed this! Shame on me!

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