Holy crap, it’s been a few weeks since I’ve done my weekly list. It’s partly because most of November was a bit bare on the new release front, and because of the Thanksgiving holiday here in the states. Last week proved to be insanely jam packed with new metal and this week was no fucking slouch either.
We’re gearing up for “best of” season and like always I’ll be posting my picks for the year so I’ll be devoting more time to that and with the Holidays coming up, vacations and what not I’ll do my best to stay on top of the site otherwise, but it might be sparse until the new year. But for now, here’s a three weeks worth of metal jams!
NEW STUFF: (Better click those titles)
Mavradoxa – Sojourners
Just a look at the cover of this album gives you a pretty good idea of what it’s going to sound like. Moonsorrow/Agalloch, nature oriented atmospheric black metal, and yeah, it’s totally that, but with some post flairs thrown in on top. Good if you’re into this sort of mostly mid-paced, atmospheric black metal.
Necropanther – Necropanther
I caught the last half of their opening slot recently but liked what I heard so I grabbed the album from the band, and yes, it’s pretty good stuff. Reminds me of a thrash-ier, death-ier, Skeletonwitch, if such a thing can exist. Good riffs, good songs, good fun.
Metallica – Hardwired… to Self-Destruct
In the name of fairness I gave this new Metallica album a listen today… And I wasn’t wrong. It’s pretty bad. It’s totally Re-Re-Load. They tricked all of you with those three “thrash” songs and failed to tell you the other 60 minutes (yup) are all Re-Load left overs. It’s not even as good as that last one, and that one was pretty bad as well. Oh well, good thing there’s no lack of killer metal out there for everybody willing to branch out past the Metallica confines.
Distant Sun – Into the Nebula
These guys are just so fucking fun and consistent. Their mash up of thrash/power is so fucking infectious and they craft just wonderfully contagious songs that they’re always worth checking out. This one is heavier on the power metal side, which I won’t complain about, and less progressive then the last one, but the songs are all fucking rippers and the cover art is just metal as fuck. Good fun, solid head banging.
Aenaon – Hypnosophy
I remembered this band name more so than the music. I vaguely remember some greek styled black metal that was pretty interesting. This, however, is fucking awesome. Super eclectic, fun, avant-garde, black metal with the weird ritualistic and experimental overtones that make good greek black metal so fun. Damn, this is a good one.
Cross Vault – Miles to Take
I fucking love this band. Everything this man touches is great and Cross Vault is no exception. Cross Vault is one of the doom projects N.(Horn, Latitude Egress) is involved
with, which is more traditional in some aspects. It’s more on the beautiful, introspective, big open, grand, dreary side of things, and it’s fucking amazing.
Mosaic – Samhain Celebration
Ritualistic, mystical, swirling, engaging, captivating german black metal. Huge soundscapes and relentless black metal. This one is only an EP but it’s a fucking doozy.
Adaestuo – Tacent Semitae
Creepy as fuck, dismal black metal. But what else would you expect from a band made up of members from Nightbringer, Sargeist and Horna. A quick EP with some downright chilling black metal.
Root – Kargeras – Return From Oblivion
You know I fucking love Root but claiming their new album is a follow up or related to the original Kargeras is a bold statement, even for the band that made the album. Root’s earlier career is unfuckable with and recent Root is more a traveling band of rotating musicians led by Big Boss, whose past couple albums have not been as stellar. This, however, is pretty fucking good. Not a full return to form, (if Root ever had a true form) but a decent continuation of the original Kargeras. Big Boss sounds fucking amazing and the band sounds awesome, getting that cool, epic cultish sound that Root is known for. Maybe only for the Root fan but awesome.
Ecferus – Pangaea
One man black metal band from Indiana. This is some furious black metal, that changes direction on a dime, is chaotic, swirling, sweeping, and grand, which is what I’d expect from a concept album about Pangaea.
A Diadem of Dead Stars – Kingdoms Bathed in Golden Light
I saw this band come by a while ago and I thought it was rather ballsy (and gimmicky) to name themselves after what I consider (and many others it seams) a classic album. It also implies that the band (well, one man Greek band) is a Wolves in the Throne Room worship band. Worship bands are nothing new and if you’re going to worship a band, you could do worse than Wolves. One might say that Wolves is a Weakling worship band, but that’s beside the point. I fucking love Wolves (and Weakling) so you better be bringing something to the table when you name yourself after their best album. And… they don’t, really. I mean, it’s fair enough atmospheric black metal. Total Wolves, worship but with a bit of a Greek flair to it which separates them enough from Wolves, but that worship is clearly on display. That’s fine if that’s what you want to do, but I’d just assume listen to Wolves.
Cultes Des Ghoules – Coven, Or Evil Ways Instead of Love
This band has been garnering so much praise over the past couple years and it’s easy to fucking see why, especially with their new album. Cultes Des Ghouls are a Polish black metal band, shrouded in mystery (of course) that play ritualistically evil black metal. On this new album they take it to the next step with a concept album that is supposed to be seen as a play, with different scenes/acts. I mean, there’s a cast of characters and everything. Aside from that, the music is FUCKING beastly. Ghoules knows how to develop some truly evil songs, while still maintaining a structure that is both pummeling, vile, and catchy. The mastery on this album is stunning, and nothing short of the excellence this band has quickly become accustomed to.
October 31 – Metal Massacre 31
I’m such a fucking sucker for Deceased covers that it follows suit that I would be with October 31 as well. This album, made entirely of covers from the various Metal Massacre comps from the 80’s is yet another King Fowley tribute to the metal of old, the 80’s to be exact, and it sounds like it. 80’s classics down by October 31 is like being magically transported back to that time of shear aggression, creativity and metal power. This album is just a ton of fucking fun and will be a good hold over until October 31 (or Deceased) manage to make some new music.
Quicksand Dream – Beheading Tyrants
All I really needed to know about this band is that they’re on Cruz del Sur Music, home to fellow epic heavy metal bands like Twisted Tower Dire, Darkest Era, Pharaoh, Atlantean Kodex, and Dark Forest (who put out a killer album this year as well). Quicksand Dream is very much in the vein of traditional “epic” heavy metal, and they just blast through a little over 30 minutes of killer, soaring, thematic heavy fucking metal. This type of metal has been making a comeback this year and I’m just a fucking sucker for it.
Martyrdöd – List
Not content with dominating metal, Sweden is taking crust punk in to the fold and giving it the Swedish metal treatment. Recent Swedish bands like Agrimonia and the featured Martyrdod are doing something incredible with the genres, taking Crust and making sound dirty without sounding horrible, fusing it with some sweet melodic death metal to form a whole new beast. Martyrdod keep more of the punk influence, throw in some post-metal flairs and come out with a fucking tremendous album, like always. This band just gets in your head and you can’t shake it. So fucking infectious.
Witchery – In His Infernal Majesty’s Service
Witchery doing their blackened thrash/speed thing. I’ve only previously heard their first album, this being their 6th, and it seemed right in line with the first. Well crafted, fun horror/satanic, speedy black metal. Bang those heads!
Attacker – Sins of the World
I was recently introduced to this bands first album Battle at Helm’s Deep and I fucking loved it. Fantastic 80’s American power metal. I caught wind almost accidentally that they had a new album out so I figured why not hear what they sound like nowadays. They still fucking rule. They have a different singer, whose voice also fits the music perfectly. Like a mix of Tim Ripper and Harry Conklin of Jag Panzer and Satan’s Host fame. The later would be suiting as the new Attacker is a little more rough around the edges, less fantastical sounding and more pummeling. Still sounds like 80’s power metal but with a modern era bite. Fucking dig it.
Setentia – Darkness Transcend
It’s going to be hard to not compare Setentia to Ulcerate seeing as they both exist in the technical side of death metal, and are both from New Zealand. This being Setentia’s first album and not a well oiled machine like Ulcerate the comparisons seem unfair, yet, they are similar. To my ears, Setentia’s sound is a bit more hopeful, less dismal. Maybe not as technical as Ulcerate. There’s a lot of open spaces on this album used for atmospherics and a lot of melody as well, which is refreshing after Ulcerate’s latest pummeling. I maybe be getting turned to enjoying tech death after all.
Morgue Whore – Morgue Whore
Hey look, another awesome Denver band. This one is more in the vein of a melodic death/black and roll vibe where they give each style moments to shine as well as combine them all. There’s some creepy atmosphere, some vast production quality, but overall this is a fairly solid debut. Dig it.
Wędrujący Wiatr – O turniach, jeziorach i nocnych szlakach
This album is absolutely stunning. Based on who incredible their previous one was I had high hopes for this and it didn’t disappoint at all. This year has been no slouch for atmospheric black metal with plenty of incredible entries but this one, oh man, this one just nails that style of black metal on the fucking head. Perfectly crafted and beautiful through and through, this band has now produced two classics of the genre.
Planes Mistaken for Stars – Prey
Not my usual cup of tea as I don’t spend much time in the post hardcore/post punk side of the pool, but I recall seeing these guys around town a lot like 10 years ago or so and thinking they were pretty good. Well, they’re reunited and it still sounds good to me. Punk at the core but “post” everything to be sure.
Ash Borer – The Irrepassable Gate
Ash Borer is a name that for me is synonymous with amazing black metal and true to form, this new album of theirs is another massive entry in to their catalog. Ash Borer may be one of the gold standards of American black metal, surely one of the most unique, swirling together the force of old school black metal with more introspective atmospheric qualities and some desolate, dreariness. I’ve heard Ash Borer referred to as “thinking man’s black metal” and while I find that a bit condescending, there is more below the surface here and I think that’s one of the things that has always worked in the bands favor. Incredible album.
Ranger – Speed & Violence
Ranger is a love letter to all things 80’s speed metal. Like a speed metal band was cryogenically frozen at their peak and thawed out in the two thousand teens and just jumped up on a stage unaware that anything has changed. These Finnish players steadfast admiration of the genre is so infectious and so headbanging-ly good, who cares it’s not all that original. It’s just fucking speed metal awesomeness.
Mystik – Af Herrens Mystik… (Kapitel II)
Fucking awesome black metal from the Beketh Nexehmu dude. I posted a full review of this album on the site.
Sarkom – Anti-Cosmic Art
Rip-roaring, balls to the wall, fun, straight up, nasty black metal/black n’ roll, from a mashup of Norwegian metal band members. Good variety to the songs without sacrificing the drive. Solid.
Waldgefluster – Ruinen
God fucking damn this band just keeps getting better and better. As if they didn’t already blow my stupid brain apart with their split with Panopticon from earlier in the year, they’ve taken all that passion and beauty and turned out a phenomenal album. The blend of melodic, uplifting guitar work, acoustic sections, and fierce, evil black metal has always been this bands strength but this time around they’ve just crafted it so fucking well. It’s amazing hearing this band grow and change and still top themselves with each release. Criminally underrated as this band should be held up there with all the current crushers.
Freedom Call – Master of Light
Front Beast – Black Spells of the Damned
Lunar Aurora – Of Stargates and Bloodstained Celestial Spheres
Spiritus Mortis – The Year is One
Bolzer – Hero
Fermenting Innards – Myst
Asphyx – Incoming Death
Baptism – V: The Devil’s Fire
Dead Congregation – Sombre Doom
Liege Lord – Master Control
Blood Ceremony – Lord of Misrule
Blood Incantation – Starspawn
Downfall of Gaia – Atrophy
Evoken – Antithesis of Light
Invoken – Distance | Collapsed
Blood Incantation – Starspawn
Blood Incantation – Inter dimensional Extinction
Sonata Arctica – Silence
Mizmor – Yodh
Fleshcrawl – Impurity
Master’s Hammer – Jilemnický okultista
Leatherwolf – Leatherwolf
Vektor – Terminal Redux
Blood Incantation – Starspawn
Khemmis – Hunted
Witherscape – The Northern Sanctuary
Until next time, make mine metal.