March is over! Spring is here and the world is coming back to life. Nothing goes better with the seasonal change then some metal and this week there was a massive amount of killer new music.

Typically how I stay on top of new albums is I have a list that I populate from websites that have release date info. I find bands I like and see when they’re dropping albums and add them to my list but there are always releases and bands that slip through my process or are new discoveries for me and this week was populated by mostly those. It’s good to expand your mind.

NEW MUSIC: (Links in titles)

Vlk – Of Wolves’ Blood
Some well made, mid-paced, european flavored black metal from Chicago. It’s got some great melodic hints and a nice, cold, disposition. Solid album.

Thunderstone – Apocalypse Again
Thunderstone are definitely doing the power metal thing. I would say they have a more current take on it, or at least, a more modern take that is prevalent with newer bands in the genre, IE it has more of a groove feel to it. It’s highly anthemic and soaring though, like all good power metal is. It borders a little close to cheese overload, Avantasia territory but what is power metal without a bit of cheese on top?

Tombs – All Empires Fall EP
Tombs is one of those bands that I really dig when they have new stuff out but then I kind of neglect them until the next release comes out. This holds true for their new EP which is all kinds of awesome. Tombs revels in their “post” black/death metal label and this EP is a mishmash of all sorts of dismal and blasting sounds. Solid EP release.

Panopticon & Waldgefluster Split EP
All you need to know is this split is fucking amazing. How could it not be? It’s Panopticon and Wadgefluster providing new songs and covering each other. The new songs are amazing, obviously, but the covers are where this is at. Amazing, amazing, release from two of the best bands around.

Almyrkvi – Pupil of the Searing Maelstrom
Those Icelanders are keeping up the metal front. Here we have a side project from Garðar S. Jónsson of Sinmara and Slidhr. It’s some dark and dismal, cosmic mind fuck of black metal. Some interesting sounds coming out of this one.

Howls of Ebb – Cursus Impasse: The Pendlomic Vows
Sometimes I come across a band that sounds like nothing I’ve ever heard before. I hard feet to pull off nowadays but they are out there. Howls of Ebb is one. I guess the base ingredients would be black/death metal but that’s just a launching pad for this dissonant, filthy, dark and wholly original band. Trust me, you haven’t heard anything like this and most likely, will not hear anything like this. The guitar playing alone is enough to qualify this as completely unique with it’s weird twangs, crushing riffs, bizarre starts and stops, but combined with the rest of the music it’s something you need to experience. It can descend into utter noise and chaos but there’s enough cohesion to make it still music, in a broad sense of the word. Put it on, get blown away.

Iotunn – The Wizard Falls EP
Hot off the heels of Howls of Ebb, I’ve found another band that has a unique sound. Whereas Ebb is making something wholly original, Iotunn is mashing multiple genres into a unique style. If I had to label it, it would be power metal at the root but there’s progressive metal, thrash, some black, and even a little death metal thrown in here. With so much going on you would think it would be a mess but they’ve found a way to make it all work together, crafting a sound that not many bands are exploring and making some kick ass fucking songs to boot. This one is a crusher!

Zhrine – Unortheta
Some more killer Icelandic metal. Zhrine is what the band Gone Postal turned into. Postal was rad but the name was ridiculous. The band consists of members from other Icelandic heavy hitters like Naðra, Svartidauði, and Ophidian I, but unlike those bands, Zhrine goes more for a murky, desolate death metal sound. There’s some black metal in there to be sure but it’s more dismal death metal to be sure. Solid release from another killer Icelandic band.

Graves At Sea – The Curse That Is
Long running doom/sludge band Graves at Sea have finally released a full-length album and they really take the full-length to heart. The album clocks it at damn near an hour and twenty minutes and is packed to the gills with murky doom. They take a page from the Eyehategod book minus the punk influence and with more long, drawn out, plodding moments, hence the run time. You expect doom of this sort to be long and foreboding and it’s certainly that. Not an everyday listen but a solid effort through and through.

Novembre – Ursa
This is a very “Peaceville” sounding, gothic/doom/death metal. It’s suiting this band is actually on Peaceville, the label that gave us the “Peaceville Three” in the form of Anathema, Paradise Lost, and My Dying Bride, who clearly are an influence on Novembre, at least those bands middle and later periods. I like this style and sound even if it isn’t something I regularly turn too. It’s not as good as the three bands mentioned but it’ll do in a pinch.

Mesarthim – Pillars EP
Believe it or not, space black metal is a sub-genre of black metal. The most notable band of this genre is probably Alrakis or Darkspace, though bands like Mare Cognitum or Oranssi Pazuzu could fall in the category as well. Labels and genres aside, Mesarthim are playing a highly keyboard and electronic (trance breakdowns) heavy version of black metal devoted to the cosmos. It’s not a grim affair or a desolate soundscape that this form of black metal revels in. The utter vastness of space isn’t depicted as a crushing force nor does the sound try to echo the destructive nature of the interstellar dance, it’s more in awe of it and the music, probably as close to uplifting as black metal gets, makes you feel hopeful about our place amongst the stars. It’s a different kind of album to be sure, but I found it rather refreshing.

Krigsgrav – Waves of Degradation

Krsigsgrav have been making a name for themselves over the past couple years by releasing some killer, melodic, folk infused black metal. It makes perfect sense this band is now on Bindrune with their uniquely american take on folk black metal, and strengthening the label even further. This album delivers all the goods from their previous works: melodic, emotional, atmospheric, and crushing black metal. It’s another example of how hauntingly beautiful this music can be. Incredible album from an incredible band on an incredible label.

Lake Of Violet –  The Startling Testimony Of Plumb Lines
Weird, experimental, jammy, ambient music with a flavor of metal from former members of Minsk and Locrain. Not usually my cup of tea but aside from the long, pointless jam sections, there’s some beautiful moments to be found.

OTHER JAMS:

Horrified – Of Despair
Woman is the Earth – Depths
Silencer – Death – Pierce Me
Alda – Passage
Infinity – Non De Hac Terra
Howls of Ebb – Vigils of the 3rd Eye
Thus Defiled – Through the Impure Veil of Dawn
Universe217 – Change
Agalloch – Ashes Against the Grain
Kafirun – Death Worship
Kafirun – Glorification of Holy Death
Absu – The Third Storm of Cythraul

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