We have the new metal.

Burial Invocation – Abiogenesis
I’ll check out whatever Dark Descent Records puts out and if I didn’t know already I would have guessed Burial Invocation was on Dark Descent. Combining the murky, dismal, Finnish style of death metal with the more hook driven, 90’s Florida death metal sound, Burial Invocation fit in with Dark Descent and further prove what the label is good at. I don’t think this is the strongest release from Dark Descent this year but it’s solid at the very least.

Skeletonwitch – Devouring Radiant Light
I say it with each new Skeletonwitch album that each one is the best yet and with Devouring Radiant Light this isn’t just the best Skeletonwitch album yet, but it might be one of the best albums of the year. They don’t even skip a fucking beat with the new singer Adam Clemans (from the killer Wolvhammer and underrated Iron Thrones) replacing long term singer Chance Garnette. Clemans fits right in as Skeletonwitch blasts through their tried and true amalgam of death metal, black metal, melodic riffing and catchy song writing. On Devouring they’ve upped the melodic aspect and added, what I think, is some power metal guitar dynamics is a soaring, uplifting kind of quality. It fits perfectly and adds a whole new level of intrigue to the band. Skeletonwtich was already one of the most re-playable bands and this is them firing on all cylinders and moving them up the list of my favorite bands. So fucking satisfyingly good.

First Aid Kit – Ruins
Leave it to some Swedes to fully capture that Americana folk sound so captivatingly. First Aid Kit write beautifully warm and mesmerizing folk songs with some added pop influences but each song is unique and interesting on it’s own. What a great duo and release.

Obscura – Diluvium
I follow Obscure more out of curiosity than anything else since I do remember greatly enjoying one of their earlier albums but I can never remember which one. Regardless, every time I hear a new album by them I end of enjoying it for the most part. They do seem to blend together in their tech death noodling and I couldn’t tell you which song is on which album but they’re oddly satisfying and fun. This new one, which may either be the end of the band, or this album series cycle (whatever) is probably their most accessible. It’s less over the top wanky and more melodic with seriously catchy riffing. Probably influenced by their guitarist who does double duty in Thulcandra which is a Dissection clone/homage band so melodic catchy riffs is right up his alley. But whatever, I like the scaled back technical aspect and they’ve got a good balance here so this one is another enjoyable album from the band, maybe their most.

Oubliette – The Passage
Oubliette’s first album Apparitions was an album I took a complete chance on after stumbling randomly upon and was captivated by it’s  majestic, sorrowful, and highly melodic black metal. Couple with the tremendous vocal performance by Emily Low and they quickly became a band I was interested in. Longing for a new album for 4 years, they’ve finally released their sophomore album and it’s every bit as beautiful as I’d hoped. Those melodic riffs and black metal atmospherics got a boost and it’s a much more well rounded album because of it. More sorrowful and inflective. More catchy, more melodic, more dramatic. Just awesome all around.

Black Fast – Spectre of Ruin
I’m not sure why I listened to this album. I thought their previous album wasn’t very good, even for generic thrash and even seeing them live I wasn’t that taken with them. For some reason I clicked on the preview for this one and thought it sounded rawer, or nastier than the last one. Heavier even. And it is, but it’s still rather generic. The added grit does help and it’s miles ahead of the last album but it’s still just so basic. Not for me. Your mileage may vary.

Mesarthim – Coma Wall EP
Well, it’s been almost a minute since Mesarthim has released something so here they are with a 16 minute song utilizing all the parts of their cosmic entity. Spacey, distant, ethereal electonics/atmosphere coupled with black metal riffing and vocals. It’s Mesarthim so if you like their electronic, dance friendly black metal take you’ll like this. I feel like the black metal aspect gets pushed further back with each release but hey, I’m still enjoying this for what it is.

Finnr’s Cane – Elegy
Finnr’s Cane shows up rather quietly after five years to follow up on their neo-folk, atmospheric, black metal sound. “Beautiful” is the first word that comes to mind when I think of Finnr’s Cane and true to course with all the folk instruments and stylings, coupled with the ambient, black metal atmospherics they’ve stuck to that beauty. They do seem to get “heavier” then expected, if that’s the right word for this band as we’re not talking about brutality here but there’s an added weight and speed at times that makes this feel much more metallic in instances. Finnr’s straddles that line between post and metal very tightly so to hear them venture right into some brief metal blasts is interesting. However, I’m a sucker for this stuff and Finnr’s Cane hits me right in the fucking sweet spot so I’m all about this.

Antisoph – Antisoph
We’re at the point where there’s so much new metal that is redundant or intentionally made to sound like older, classic bands or styles that whenever I get the vaguest fucking hint of something that is eschewing that path I get excited. Whether or not it’s any good is almost irrelevant as I’m just so excited to hear something different. that I instantly give it a listen. Antisoph, hailing from Germany, throws a lot of diverging styles of music together to come up with a weird, progressive, jazzy, fusion of black metal and avant-garde aesthetics. It reminds me of Mutoid Man’s bombastic approach that is both metal and not metal at the same time, though if it was rooted in black metal. It’s interesting for sure and sometimes gets lost in itself but it has some tremendous moments of sheer brilliance and it’s striving for something different, which is so fucking refreshing I can hardly breath.

Khanus – Flammarion
If you take the dismal, evil, dark Finnish death metal and meld it with the weird occultism black metal of Czech bands like Root and Master’s Hammer, you’d have an idea of what Khanus are going for. Of course weird and swirling occult death metal is what I, Voidhanger Records does so very well and Khanus fit in perfectly with their stable of unique and captivating bands. So yeah, equal parts death, black, and weird, Khanus is worth going in your ears if you like that sort of thing, because it’s fucking killer.