Holy fuck, June is off to a killer start already. There was an avalanche of awe-inspiring new releases this week and it was hard to keep up as I kept wanting to re-listen to all of them. The big one I was anticipating this week was Vallendusk’s new album, and it didn’t disappoint. Which brings me to my next point…

Often the bigger bands get all the hype. Sure, there are some newer bands or bands out of left field that get crazy amounts of praise and sometimes the hype is legit. Often times it’s not. Not to say the hyped albums are not good. More times than not they are decent. Where I tend to find my favorite albums seems to be in the hidden corners of metaldom. All of these albums this week are worth your time and some may go on to take up a lot of my listening time or be modern day classics. Yeah, some are that good. None of them (with the exception of Armored Saint, and still they aren’t that big) are off the the beaten path, even for metal. And they fucking kill it. So even within an already off the beaten path genre of music, the bands lost in the forest, or down the other end of the forked path are the ones that excite me the most. And that path rarely disappoints. Put some fucking metal in your ears this weekend.

New Releases:

Demiurgon – Above the Unworthy
Italian death metal. Not as ferocious has some of their fellow countrymen (Hour of Penance) but pretty solid. Reminds me more of Vader than other Italian death metal bands.

Dhampyr – Oceanclots
I forget how this band ended up on my radar. Probably from an upcoming release blog post or something. I was expecting this album in March and sort of forgot about it until I stumbled across it again this week. I guess this is ambient/depressive American black metal. It’s got an good atmosphere, although it’s rather meandering at an hour and twenty minutes. I’m not familiar with any of the musicians and the band has an extensive back catalog. Pretty solid, if nothing else.

A God or an Other/The Vatican – The Great Northern Split
I got this split mainly for the A God or an Other side of it. While I see a common thread of boredom with “Cascadian” black metal, I’m still hopelessly drawn to it. A God are firmly in that genre, owing much to Wolves in the Throne Room but they add a Amebix sort of crust punk/doom vibe to it. It’s like Wolves funneled through a punk approach. The other half of the split is with a band called The Vatican. It’s some crusted up hardcore. Didn’t really dig it all that much.

Chaotorynth – Axiomatic Limitation
This is like math-y, death metal by way of Deathspell Omega. Some killer riffing going on, heavy as fuck and interesting compositions.

Kalmankantaja – Muinainen
Beautiful, slow-paced, fuzzed out, depressive black metal. The song “Yon Alttarilla” is particularly moving, graceful and just plain gorgeous. For those of you that question the beauty of black metal, this one should shut you up.

Jute Gyte – Ship of Theseus
Jute Gyte, the ever prolific one-man band, is back with another cerebral black metal clusterfuck of sound. His microtone effect is put to great use and dare I say, this might be the most harmonious or melodic release to date. Don’t let that fool you though, it’s still crazy as fuck.

Akitsa – Grands tyrans
I’m becoming more and more obsessed with this “Quebecois” black metal. Akitsa, while still retaining a lot of the typical tropes of the regional genre (nature, history, etc.) add a nice 80’s Euro punk vibe to the whole thing. It dirties up the proceedings in an interesting way.

Black Tower – The Secret Fire
Classic, Tolkien inspired traditional metal meets 80’s American punk. What an awesome combination. This album fucking rips!

Clouds Collide – All Things Shining
Take the best of the light, airy, beautiful black metal bands like Alcest, Amesoeurs, Lantlos and Les Discrets, add a but of the etherial, breathtaking atmosphere of current Anathema and you get Clouds Collide. A spiritual predecessor to what Alcest left on the table before their last album. Good stuff.

Armored Saint – Win Hands Down
This is just good, fun, heavy metal. No sub genres attached. Just straight up. I’ve always like Busch’s voice even when he was with Anthrax and was kind of disappointed when they replaced him with the original singer. Controversial opinion, yeah I know (can you read sarcasm). Anywho, nothing fancy here, nothing revolutionary, just some solid, well played straight forward heavy metal.

Wilderun – Sleep at the Edge of the Earth
There’s so much going on with this album it’s surprising that it manages to be so cohesive and enjoyable. At first I was thinking this is like a folked out version of Opeth. While the Opeth influence is fairly obvious as the album progresses it gets more symphonic, more epic and more theatrical. There’s a good amount of epic doom in here and more than one part that reminds me of While Heaven Wept. It borders on cheesy but I enjoy that sort of thing. Damn enjoyable album here.

Vallendusk – Homeword Path
I absolutely loved their first album. While most black metal goes for bleak and unforgiving (which I love as well) Vallendusk seem to be championing a positive feeling through intense melody and beautiful, expansive, and transcendent music. Vallendusk have produced some of the most captivating and beautiful black metal I’ve ever heard and their new album is no different. This one is fucking amazing.

Hautakammio – Pimeyden valtakunta
Finnish black metal played excruciatingly raw and furious. Reminds me of Behexen in approach. Blistering tremolo riffing, rapid firing blast beat drumming, and to top it all off, epically Satanic. The band shares members with other awesome bands like Kalmankantaja, Azaghal and even fantastical power metal-er Amberian Dawn. After hearing this band for the first time today, I’m tremendously impressed.

My Other Jams:

Amestigon – Thier
Nåstrond – Toteslaut
Paradise Lost – The Plague Within
Vorum – Current Mouth
Membaris – Conspiracy
Empaligon – Black Dominated Annihilation
Noctes – Pandemonic Requiem
Iron Maiden – The Number of the Beast
Forest Silence – The Third Winter/Winter Circle
Orlog – Reinigende Feuer

Until Next Week…