February is upon us and will be over before you know it bringing winter’s icy grip that much closer to ending. February is generally considered a slow month for new releases but there are quite a few on my list that I’m looking forward to. This first week was a bit slow, giving me time to reflect on some other newer releases and check out some older stuff. There were some gems hidden in the rough.

New Releases

Agos – Irkalla Transcendence EP
The Greek extreme metal scene has always been fairly prolific. Case in point, this new EP from Agos. This duo plays a blackened up for of death metal. Pretty straight forward, well played and reminiscent of other bands from the region. Solid at twenty minutes.

Solefald – World Metal. Kosmopolis Sud
I’m not too familiar with Solefald. I have one of their previous albums and I’m a fan of some of the other bands the members (and ex-members) play in. From what I recalled their sound is a bit experimental and often times labeled “avant-garde” black metal. That seems appropriate. The new album is black metal, but not nearly in the strictest sense. They are all over the place with sound, pace, vocals and rhythm. It’s a weird collection of sound. Not so chaotic that it’s unappealing, it’s just one of those things that you need to hear to understand. Overall, I enjoyed this album. It’s a bizarre, heavy, and interesting all at once.

Dead in the Manger – Cessation
Another new band for me. This is a quick little slab of some crusted up, grinned up black metal. Some really interesting guitar riffs and sounds going on here. It’s not in the same league as Nux Vomica or Agrimonia but it’s a little nastier.

Negura Bunget – Tau
Hello prog. Negura are musically all over the place on this one. For the most part they tend to swing to the prog side with black metal fused in. Then out of nowhere comes the polka, folk metal track “Impodobeala Timpului.” Negura has always been on the folky side of black metal, as well as experimental but this album left me a little bored. I’m guessing that Om is still the album to go with with these guys.

Helrunar – Niederkunfft
I have their previous album Sol but I have to admit, I don’t listen to it very often. It’s a double album and the run time is incredibly long, especially for this kind of pagan, nature oriented, atmospheric black metal. I figure with their new album, at a shorter run time, I might get more into this band. The album is solid, not bad by any means, it just didn’t really grab my attention. Maybe another spin through. Seems a shame when Germany is putting out such top quality black metal bands like The Ruins of Beverast and Thulcandra.

Heaving Earth – Denouncing the Holy Throne
I have a bit of a weakness for Czech Republic extreme metal. I especially have a weakness for overly blasphemous and anti religious metal so Heaving Earth seemed like a perfect fit. This is my first encounter with the band and their brand of death metal. Solid through and through, nothing ground breaking but some damn well played death evil death metal.

The Rest of the List

Thulcandra – Ascension Lost
Calabrese – Lust for Sacrilege
My Dying Bride – The Dreadful Hours
Jute Gyte – Vast Chains
Grimoire – A La Lumiere des Cendres
Grimoire – L’aorasie des spectres rêveurs
Judas Iscariot – To Embrace the Corpses Bleeding
Judas Iscariot – Dethroned, Conquered and Forgotten
Asunder – Works Will Come Undone
Judas Iscariot – Moonlight Butchery
Napalm Death – Apex Predator – Easy Meat
Marduk – Frontschwein
Blut aus Nord – Memorial Vetusta 1 (Fathers of the Icy Age)
Ahamkara – The Ember of the Stars
Count Raven – Storm Warning
Panopticon – Roads to the North
Revenge – Scum.Collapse.Eradication
Death Penalty – Death Penalty
Confessor – Condemned
Visigoth – The Revenant King
Orden Ogan – Ravenhead
Anathema – Serenades
Manilla Road – Open the Gates
Mare Cognitum – Phobos Monolith

Until next week…