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Back from the grave! This series has been sorely missed (by me) not so much for the recommendations themselves, but the inevitable comments pointing out all the impossibly obscure nuggets of blackened gold that so many of us would miss otherwise. So here it is, presented purely out of shameless greed: the new and unimproved UPCOMING METAL RELEASES. Had I any clue how much work this would entail I might have reconsidered, but too late for that now. Preorder links have been included where available, so get out there and pump some green blood into our precious metal economy’s tireless veins.

— Aaron Lariviere

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SHOULD RULE HARD

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Old-timers rediscover the fine art of songs and youngsters learn how to write them. The winner: your ears (the loser: your neck). The new Cannibal Corpse is unnaturally awesome–bands this old hardly ever make records this good. Songwriting wins out over unmitigated brutality resulting in some of the most memorable brutal death in forever. Black Breath get it, too, as they work in melodic solos and more thrash than ever before. Wizard Rifle are a pair of weird children, seemingly, (see their promo photo), but their marriage of Lightning Bolt skronk and thick stoner riffs succeeds entirely on the strength of fluid arrangements and willpower. Killer stuff.

Black Breath – Sentenced to Life (3/27) [Preorder]

Cannibal Corpse – Torture (3/13) [Preorder]

Meshuggah – Koloss (3/27) [Preorder]

Pharaoh – Bury the Light (3/6) [Preorder]

Wizard Rifle – Speak Loud Say Nothing (3/13) [Preorder]

LISTEN

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Black Breath - "Mother Abyss"

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Cannibal Corpse - "Demented Aggression"

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Pharaoh - "Castle in the Sky"

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MIGHT RULE HARD

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Old bands, arisen! Sleepy Hollow—about as obscure as they come, playing traditional heavy metal ala Manila Road—are back with their first album in 21 years. The old stuff is surprisingly rad, and what little I’ve heard of the new stuff seems worthy in its own right. Fester are a little-known Norwegian black/death/whatever band releasing their first album in 17 years. The track “I’ll Hunt You Down” (see 1:52 in this clip) seems oddly anthemic for its subject matter, making this the potential feel-bad hit of the spring (if we can ever find it in its entirety). And Angel Witch return after 26 years with their 4th album, this time on Metal Blade. It’s a good time to be old, apparently.

Syphilitic cock-demons feeding on the nether regions of a rotting, female Jesus? Why not. Lord Mantis bring the creepy evil on their latest, suitably titled Pervertor. Unrelenting blackened sludge that matches the cover art perfectly. And we see French bands from both ends of the death metal spectrum: Gorod bring another dose of clean, precise tech-death while the obscuritans in Manipulator scrape the opposite end of the barrel, with cavernous vocals and raw, blasting guitars. Worm Ouroboros offer some respite from the noisier releases of the month with their dark chamber-rock, featuring journeyman drummer Aesop Dekker. A little something for everyone.

Angel Witch – As Above, So Below (3/26) [Preorder]

Enthral – Obtenebrate (3/19) [Preorder]

Fester – A Celebration of Death (3/20) [Preorder]

Formloff – Spyhorelandet (3/12) [Hear] [Preorder]

Gorod – A Perfect Absolution (3/12) [Preorder]

Lord Mantis – Pervertor (3/13) [Preorder]

Lunar Aurora – Hoagascht (3/13) [Preorder]

Manipulator – Voidbound (3/20) [Preorder]

Sleepy Hollow – Skull 13 (3/23) [Info]

Unsane – Wreck (3/20) [Preorder]

Vattnet Viskar – (March) [Bandcamp] [Preorder]

Windhand – S/T (March) [Preorder]

Worm Ouroboros – Come the Thaw (3/20) [Preorder]

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LISTEN

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Enthral – "Fields of Death"

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Fester – "A Celebration of Death"

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Gorod – "Birds of Sulphur"

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Lord Mantis – "At the Mouth"

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Lunar Aurora - "Beagliachda"

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Sleepy Hollow - "Midnight"

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Worm Ouroboros - "Withered"

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PLAYING CATCH UP

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February offered an embarrassment of riches, of which you’re probably well aware. But in case you missed them—hell, I didn’t realize Napalm Death was out already—here are a handful of the best:

Asphyx – Deathhammer [Buy]

Iron Mask – Black as Death [Buy]

Napalm Death – Utilitarian [Buy]

Pallbearer – Sorrow & Extinction [Buy]

Terrorizer – Hordes of Zombies [Buy]

Zombie Inc – A Dreadful Decease [Buy]

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