This is a huge month for metal. (See calendar here. Use “Agenda” view at the upper right, and click on entries to expand and collapse them.) The highest profile releases are Burzum, Triptykon, and The Dillinger Escape Plan. (You can see “Farewell, Mona Lisa,” the first video from DEP’s album below.) Landmine Marathon and Immolation have long-awaited records out. At the Gates and Primordial unveil DVD sets; I’m particularly excited for the latter.

Apostle of Solitude – December Drives Me to Tears
Hooded Menace – As the Creatures Ascend

Labelwise, Relapse and Profound Lore score big this month. Relapse has two 16 reissues and two doom nuggets in an EP by Culted and a reissue of Cephalic Carnage’s mighty Halls of Amenti (which you can download from Amazon for $.99.) Profound Lore has releases by Ludicra, Apostle of Solitude, and Hooded Menace. You can hear clips from the latter two above. Apostle of Solitude features a former Gates of Slumber member and has a similarly soulful take on doom/heavy metal. Hooded Menace‘s clip also shows more classic doom leanings, a tasty twist on their doom/death sound.

As for releases I haven’t mentioned yet, my picks are Daughters’ self-titled record on Hydra Head (hot!), Flourishing’s A Momentary Sense of the Immediate World on The Path Less Traveled (Wetnurse member goes avant-death metal), and Abscess’ Dawn of Inhumanity on Peaceville. The latter record has a mini-website here with sound clips and an interview. How about that sick Dennis Dread artwork? May metal this month make you poor in wallet and rich in spirit.