It’s fucking November so it’s probably time for another new music round up. Also if you’re curious for some reason, yes I intend to get back to the exploration posts. Likely the beginning of next year. Maybe they’ll be in a different format or something, I don’t know. But until then, put some new stuff in your heads:
Kriegsmaschine – Apocalypticists
Just like Sargeist did recently, Kriegsmaschine decided they were just going to drop a new album without even a whisper, and just like Sargeist, it fucking rules so much. And incase you didn’t know, Kriegsmaschine is the members of Mgla, who also fucking rule. While they contain the same members, Kriegsmaschine is the more plodding, more evil, more progressive (using that term loosely) for ritualistic counterpart to Mgla’s straightaway black metal orthodoxy. Apocalyptics is even more so all of those things, determined to crush you under the weight of their evilness and black metal prowess. Anything this band does, or Mgla for that matter is well worth your time because it’ll be one of the best album of that time, for sure.
Dewfall – Hermeticus
Holy fuck, this was an amazing recommendation from my buddy Steve. Dewfall are an Italian death/black metal band that encompasses one of my favorite Italian metal tropes: operatic and dramatic musical elements. Few regions can be so dramatic as the Italians and pull it off and while Dewfall blasts with killer riffs and a blackened death metal punch, those operatic like moments really make this album sore. And they’re actually more subtle then you’d think. Flesh God Apocalypse this is not. Coupled with the operatics are some almost power metal like moments of sheer guitar bliss, some vaguely clean vocals and just catchy as fuck composing. This is a beast of an album and flying way under the fucking radar.
Glacial Tomb – Glacial Tomb
Glacial Tomb have been gaining some notoriety the past year or so for their overtly aggressive and nasty sludge-d up death/black metal hybrid over a handful of EP and single releases, one such release being the cover they did of Aus-Rotten’s Fuck Nazi Sympathy, which fucking ruled. The anticipation for a full-length has been palpable and said album did not disappoint. It’s all the promise of their previous EP and singles with some more nastiness thrown in and some new killer riffing. Fucking Denver metal just slaying it.
Striker – Play to Win
Another year must mean another new Striker album, which is fine by me because I’m always in need of fun, heavy metal driven power metal, and that is exactly what Striker delivers every time. They get a little ballad-y on this one, a little poppy, but they balance it well with the heavy drivers. On the version I have the do a cover of “You’ve Got Another Thing Coming” obviously by Judas Priest and I’m wondering “why?” It’s likely the most overplayed Priest song, not even one of their best songs, and it’s been covered to death. Striker doesn’t offer much new here, but overall the album is fun, heavy metal, played enthusiastically.
Bloodbath – The Arrow of Satan is Drawn
Unsurprisingly, this new Bloodbath album fucking rules. Everybody is out there creaming themselves over all these OSDM bands like Tomb Mold, and I’ve just been patiently waiting for this new Bloodbath because they’ve been doing this homage to the old school death metal ways for 16 years and nailed it out of the gate. All these new bands are just chasing Bloodbath’s coat tails if’n you ask me. Nick Holmes is crushing it on vocals and it’s chalk a block full of all the old school death metal sounds and riffing you can fucking handle. Bloodbath rules!
Unleashed – The Hunt for White Christ
Unleashed have been holding the viking infused, death metal hammer high for damn near 30 years and Amon Amarth swooped in and everybody wants to pretend like they’re the first mix the two ideas. Certainly there are some similarities between the two bands but fuck Amon Amarth, Unleashed rules, and does it better. That being said, Unleashed are not ones for experimenting or progressing their sound any so you know what you’re going to get with and Unleashed album, that being killer fucking death metal riffs and songs about Vikings. Likely some killer album art as well, and wouldn’t you fucking know it, that’s exactly what you get with the new album. No complaints. Except for maybe that title, but based on the lyrics is seems it’s about hunting down and killing the White Christ, so, awesome.
Hate Eternal – Upon Desolate Sands
Hate Eternal is really hit or miss with me. Aside from their debut, which is a fucking ripper, the subsequent releases I’ve heard are either forgettable or pretty good. One thing for sure, Erik Rutan knows how to produce a death metal album and write some killer riffs. And that’s what this album is, a well produced, slick, well written death metal album. Solid as fuck, if not anything to light the world on fire.
Skull Fist – Way of the Road
Canadian, traditional/classic metal done the right way, which is super fun, super catchy, and super driving. Nothing serious here, just some good times heavy metal.
Fifth Angel – The Third Secret
Holy fuck, after a damn near 30 year hiatus, old school power metal-ers Fifth Angel come storming back with a righteous blast of traditional power metal so authentic yet fresh you’d think it was recently unfrozen. The liven up the sound a fresh and modern production helps bring Fifth Angel into the 21st century but all the power and straight ahead rock power of the band remains. Guitarist Kendall Bechtel steps in to take over vocals and there’s definitely a Dio like quality to his voice, and it might be a little to similar at times but for the most part it’s a power house performance and a reminder of how classic metal can be. For fuck’s sake, the cover is a an armored angel with flaming wings and a fiery sword about to smote some monsters coming up from hell. Metal all the way!
Shelton Chastain – The Edge of Sanity
After Mark Shelton’s unfortunate passing I saw an article saying that he had worked with David Chastain in the 80’s and the the pair had produced some demos and they were recently working on getting them ready for release. “Cool” I thought, “I’d like to hear that.” Then all of sudden here they are. It literally sounds like Manilla Road with super crazy Chastain riffs and solos and it’s fucking awesome all over. The highlights would be the eleven minute long “Orpheus Descending” and the “extended” version which clocks in at twenty one minutes of the pair of American metal legends just cutting loose. An awesome rarity that I’m excited got to see the light.
Paths – In Lands Thought Lost
Paths transition from a more psychedelic oriented black metal project to a more atmospheric one has been seamless and now with his new album landing at Bindrune Recrodings, he’s at the perfect place for this album to exist. Intensely emotive, burningly atmospheric, Paths effortlessly navigates the black metal terrain. Maybe his best album to date.
Them – Manor of the Se7en Gables
To be honest I wasn’t all that excited about this new Them album. The last one was decent and a damn fine Mercyful Fate/King Diamond homage band, from the voice, to the concept, to the imagery, but that’s what I have The King for. Similar to Gruesome, who I don’t like because why not just listen to Death? Anyway, I was expecting more of the same but to my genuine surprise Them upped their game and made a seriously kick ass album. Yes, of course the King stylings are there but this time their used more as influence as opposed to worship. This is full on power metal as well, along the lines of Satan’s Host more evil tinged power metal fury. It’s overly dramatic and it is a concept album, much like King but it works as it’s own idea and a loving tribute to The King. I can only compare it to how Judicator sure do love Blind Guardian but still have their own thing as well. So fucking color me surprised and shocked, and fucking excited for another killer power metal album.
Whitey Morgan and the 78’s – Hard Times and White Lines
I personally like Whitey’s slower, more ballad-like, country crooning, so good thing he put a lot of those on this new album. There’s still plenty of his kickin’ and spittin’ outlaw, country rocking but I think he really shines with the more introspective songs, but overall another excellent album from Whitey and another prime example of criminally overlooked, country music.
Druid Lord – Grotesque Offerings
My buddy Steve has been telling me about this band for a while and seeing as it is Halloween (as the time of this writing) some death/doom was called for. This came out WAY the fuck back in January, and as far as horror themed death/doom, Hooded Menace ran off with the torch that month and left Druid Lord in the dark tomb. The similarities between the two are close on paper but Druid Lord’s death doom hybrid is more grisly and grimy and pussing than Hooded Menace’s catacomb landscape. Druid Lord borrow from the Autopsy realm of death/doom and their more campy horror love make the band more unique, in my opinion. Also, the super fucking excellent blend of death and doom metal. It’s almost a traditional style of doom with the death metal kick but never does either overpower the other. I dare say this might even be better than that Hooded Menace.
Witherfall – A Prelude to Sorrow
Witherfall’s last album Nocturnes and Requiems took me by complete surprise and ended up being one of my favorite albums of that year. It was a perfect blend of power metal, heavy metal, and tasteful prog styles. Featuring Jake Dryer from Iced Earth it also proved that I like all the Iced Earth side projects more than Iced Earth, but now with their second album they’re proving that they’re damned committed to bringing excellent heavy metal to the world. It’s much along the same lines as the first one. Killer songs, killer vocals, killer album art. Just as good as the first in my opinion. Best of the year album right here.
Wretched of the Earth – Collapse //Rebirth
Highly politically charged, self described “Anti-Colonial” d-beat crust hardcore from Oregon that doesn’t skip on the highly emotional, melodic punk fury. So fucking good and catchy and important.
Nechochwen – The Ancient Pulse
Nechochwen is one of the more unique “atmospheric” black metal bands so a compilation of olde and updated songs is a must grab album. Focussed more on their acoustic and tribal sounds, The Ancient Pulse excellently showcases the bands diversity in songwriting skills and tremendous sound. I have no preference between the folk songs and the metal songs because they’re both so good. They throw in two covers as well. The firs is Rotting Christ’s One with the Forest which they expertly handle, and the other seems like an odd choice but given how well member Pohanasin handles traditional styled metal with his other band Ironflame, their take on Ozzy Osbourne’s Over the Mountain is pretty well done and the only instance where I’ve enjoyed this song. Well done, Nechochwen.
Eneferens – The Bleakness of Our Constant
Eneferens has only been releasing material for the past two years but this one-man project has been killing it more and more with each subsequent release. On his newest album, Eneferens uses the familiar blue print of his highly emotive, atmospheric black metal style expands it to an almost ethereal plain of existence. There’s so much, well, atmosphere and emotion on this album, which is really Eneferens calling card at this point. Simply beautiful and captivating this may be his best release yet.
Atrament – Scum Sect
Fucking crushingly nasty blackened crust with one of the dudes from Necrot, maybe? I don’t fucking know, but this shit is killer.
Sylvaine – Atoms Aligned, Coming Undone
Sylvaine captures a lot of that whimsical and lush, uplifting soundscape style black metal that Alcest left on the table years ago. I’m glad she’s playing in that arena because it’s a style of black metal I thoroughly enjoy but one that isn’t done well all that much. There’s also a folkish quality to her voice that makes the music even more grand. Atoms may not hit as hard as some of the moments on her previous album Wistful but I think it’s overall more cohesive.
Anal Trump – The First 100 Songs
The joke from this band is so perfect it’s almost criminal. Maybe the joke is better than the band but the music is ridiculous as you’d expect. All based around Trump quotes and insane grind, the album is 100 songs long and 11 minutes in length. It’s probably the only thing the Cattle Decapitation dude has done that I’ve liked.
Cult Leader – A Patient Man
Cult Leader just fucking crush through nasty as hell hardcore, with all the weight of an anvil. Not reliant on homage to other hardcore or metal that inspired hardcore, Cult Leader take it to another place with the addition of beautifully sorrowful yet melancholic slowed down, doom-like post parts. But the heaviness we’ve come to expect is still in full force. Killer fucking album here.
Anomalie – Integra EP
Anomalie has been quietly killing it with their post-ish black metal style. Some would say maybe atmospheric. On this new EP they keep all that but also go for a rhythmic, drum heavy pounding black metal that reminds me a lot of later era Rotting Christ. Ain’t no complaints from me on that.
Evoken – Hypnagogia
I dare you to find a bad album in Evoken’s catalog. You can’t do it, just give up. Thus we find the new album, awesome as always, fitting right in with their lineage of top-notch funeral doom. On Hypnagogia (which is is the experience of the transitional state from wakefulness to sleep according to wikipedia) they’ve stuck fairly close to their tried and true sound but not without some exceptions, like that full on death metal, almost black metal burst from out of nowhere, and a lot more focus on atmospherics and soundscapes, thought that’s always been a part of their sound, they seem to be way more up front about it this time. Evoken simply fucking rule and any new music from them is cause for celebration.
Nanowar of Steel – Stairway to Valhalla
I know a lot of “trve” metal tough guys have zero sense of humor about metal but I think a healthy sense of humor is essential for being able to enjoy extreme metal, hence why I can’t resist a good comedy/spoof band, especially one like Nanowar of Steel who is working in such a niche genre already, but fucking nailing the humor with deadly precision. Power Metal, a genre that is ripe for the mocking, but also a genre that is almost mocking proof. I mean, these guys are already singing about dragons and rainbows, but Nanowar spoofs the genre in such a delicious way. I mean the name alone is already a hilarious joke, one that Rhapsody of Fire seems to be in on because they lent singer Fabio Lione for vocals on “Barbie, Milf Princess of the Twilight” which is so Rhapsody it’s heart crushingly funny.
But why stop at Rhapsody when you can deliver such razor sharp and perfectly played spoofs of other metal bands like Judas Priest and 3 Inched of Blood with “Heavy Metal Kibbles”, Manowar with “In the Sky” where most of the lyrics are about soaring in the sky (I’m fucking dying here) or even a cock rock parody song, un-subtly called “Uranus” which manages to mix the fucking Bee Gees in as well. But the show stopper has to be the Blind Guardian parody of their song “Quest for Tanelorn” which in Nanowar’s hands becomes “Quest for Carrefour” which is a French chain of grocery stores prevalent in Europe and oh my fucking god my side hurts from laughing so hard.
That’s it, if you get the joke you’ll likely find this hilarious. If not, listen to more power metal.