One day I’ll have something more to say in these posts than “metal is awesome and here’s some awesome new metal and you should be awesome and listen to it” but today is not that day…

Mutilation Rites – Chasm
Mutilation Rites plunge deep into the nasty as fuck black metal this time around leaving less of their hardcore and mild sludge influence in a rotting, moldy casket. Their rotten take on black metal is still uniquely their own and they push it to the musky limits. Always intrigued by what this band is doing.

Phantom – Death Epic
I, Voidhanger Records means to me I’m going to get something metal and unique/weird/avant-garde/totally worth hearing and Phantom is definitely that but it might be the most accessible album of their catalog. Phantom are going in for a death/doom/black metal thing with a romantic gothic layering with some funeral doom around the edges. Essentially is sounds similar to the older albums of the Peaceville Three but with way more black metal tendencies. I like it. I think it works and I’m always taken with this kind of gothic infusion but it’s not as out there as what I’ve come to expect from I, Voidhanger.

Twilight Fauna – Where Birds Sing My Name
Try not to make a Panopticon comparison, try not to make a Panopticon comparison, try not to make a Panopticon comparison…

Twilight Fauna is a one-man, atmospheric black metal band that adds in a heaping amount of American folk/country/bluegrass like a certain band you may know… oh fuck it. It’s like Panopticon, though Twilight Fauna is adding the blue grass style as atmosphere as where it informs Panopticons music. Twilight Fauna is more “black metal” I want to say, and it uses the folk elements well which make for a pretty damn good listen.

Into Eternity – The Sirens
The only Into Eternity album I’d heard was The Scattering of Ashes which I’ve always remembered fondly as a solid progressive styled death metal album so when I saw a promo for their new album in my email I was interested enough to give it a shot. Maybe I’m remembering the band wrong but on this go around they’ve veered much further into power metal. Maybe it’s the righteous vocals of new vocalist Amanda Kiernan who’s pipes are fucking killer, but the music is much more in that lofty power metal vein, albeit a progressive and sometimes “blackened” style. It’s not un-similiar to Satan’s Host and their extreme guitar riffing with power metal vocals they’ve mastered so well but Into Eternity couple that with a theatrical cheesy vibe of bands like Nightwish with the back and forth female/male vocals and melodic death metal sounds. It’s quite a hodgepodge of styles and while it’s mostly fun it’s nothing that sticks with me.

Inexorum – Lore of the Lakes
Will I ever tire of melodic black metal? Likely not, especially when there are new bands like Inexorum playing it just so fucking well. And it’s that flavor of melodic black metal that is oh so satisfying. Inexorum’s massive riffs are mixed with a classical style making them undeniable. And it’s sheer black metal. No fucking around with other genres, though I could here some of these riffs translating well to other genres, they aren’t meant to be used that way in their composure. Just fucking hyper melodic black metal mastery with riffs for fucking days. Unreal awesome.

Neckbeard Deathcamp – White Nationalism is for Basement Dwelling Losers
A completely in your face and clever send up of all those NSBM shit black metal bands with the most insanely spot on and viciously mocking lyrics. Also, these guys can actually play their fucking instruments. A scathing shot right at a bunch of vile fuckers and something I instantly supported, and on top of that it’s good jams.

Aorlhac – L’esprit des vents
Furiously infectious and melodic, medieval/pagan French black metal. The French get overlooked when it comes to this kind of metal but they have so many bands just fucking killing it left and right: Darkenhold, Belenos, Suhnopfer etc. This album is among the greats of French black metal, for sure. So much energy and spirit.

Red City Radio – SkyTigers
I always equate Red City Radio with Nothington as both play (played) a nostalgia driven, Bruce Springsteen, story telling styled pop punk. Nothington veered away from that but Red City Radio doubled down and on this new album (EP) they explore how they tell those stories through the music as well as the lyrics as this is their most diverse sounding album. Way more rock and roll that isn’t all to different than The Gaslight Anthem’s rockier moments. Maybe not as catchy as their previous two albums but still a damn good listen from a band I thoroughly enjoy.

Lucero – Among the Ghost
One of my absolute favorite and well worn bands so I’m sure this won’t be a completely biased, gushing review. Well, I guess I spoiled that. So…

The new Lucero album is fucking fantastically awesome. After the amazing All a Man Should Do and it’s surprisingly post rock bend, I wasn’t sure what the band would do next. Over the past four albums they’ve grown larger with their composition and bombastic, soul infused, outlaw country, and that original alt country, punk attitude sort of took a backseat. A little bit it did. And I loved the soul flavor. Maybe not so much on Women and Work where they went all in on the soul and horns section but on Among the Ghosts the boys stripped it down to just the main band. It reminds me greatly of Tennessee, my unquestionably favorite of there’s. That is to say, Ghosts is more focussed, darker, and all those sad love song stylings. But it’s not just a throwback. It’s more of a maturity and it’s modern production combined with Nichols life experience and matured songwriting make it sound like a new, refreshed band. But it is more basic, but I think that’s where the band truly shines.

I think this is easily one of their best albums and seeing as they have nothing but great albums, that’s saying a lot.

Void Ritual – Death is Peace
Man, keep giving me intense melodic black metal and I’ll keep loving it. And that’s Void Ritual in a nutshell. Super melodic, massively intense. A slight folkish bend with some minor folkish interludes. Simple and awesome and a very full sounding album for a one-man band.

Mongrel’s Cross – Psalter of the Royal Dragon Court
Some pretty thrash-tastic black metal here, going on in on the intensity. A fun listen through and through.