Big release week (last week), we had some big albums like Converge & Chelsea Wolfe which Melinda covered in full, and also Swallow The Sun which she will surely cover soon. Why is she talking about herself in the third person? Well, below are release day highlights from various members of our team and you can follow them all by clicking the links just above this paragraph. Between us, we have covered nine fantastic new albums so if you were too busy last weekend to delve into the music pool, catch up with these high quality recs.
Cara Neir – Pain Gel Of Purification
Erratic. A fitting term for anything Cara Neir releases, but here I feel they’ve taken it to a new height with this new album chock full of absurdity and many “fuck you” paced tracks. Previously this year they released Phase Out which took more of an outright video game inspired approach, but on Pain Gel Of Purification they’re taking the gloves off and have some shit to say.. I think? This is an album to burn down a scene to, but also, an album to get some late night munchies to – due to the amount of food references. And, an album to fuck ghosts too? Totally unhinged. The brightness of their sound has been replaced with an unrelenting sardonic blackened hardcore sound, and the themes are an odd mix of anger, humour and indulgence. This is what I imagine you’d get if Horse The Band made a black metal record. Long time fans of mathy post hardcore will find a lot to love here, it’s one of the darkest incarnations yet and another high quality name your own price release featuring Gary from Sallow Moth and Gonemage.
FFO: Portrayal Of Guilt, Horse The Band, ??????
Pathology – The Everlasting Plague
Gore-fuelled Death Metal from San Diego, California, USA
If you’re a fan of speed-slamming drums, skin-shredding riffs, and throat-bloodying vocals then you’re in for a treat. As a Cannibal Corpse passerby, Pathology fits a similar sound but comes out amplified as a faster, harder, and heavier than I ever thought imaginable. I was impressed by both the speed and skill in their 11th Studio Album, with shocking solos that break through the heaviness at perfect intervals. If you crave a full-on Zombie-stomping rampage, this puts you dead center surrounded by blood, battle, and endless adrenaline. It’s the gore-fuelled zombie-killing spree that your sensitive ear holes have been waiting for.
FFO: Mortal Decay, Blasphemer, and Sever the King.
Civerous – Decrepit Flesh Relic
Blackened Death Metal from Oakland, USA
Ever since their split with Stygian Obsession, I myself have been obsessed with both Civerous and the other half featured on said split. A year later, Civerous is back with their debut full-length, and it does not disappoint. Varying from crushing, heavy sections to skull-splitting riffage, this effort from the group will leave you gasping for air one moment and riding upon a gentle wave of sound the next. There is something in here for absolutely everyone, touching upon multiple metal subgenres throughout the tracks. We are given a treat of doom metal, then prog metal, then death metal, then black metal, and some of these all in a single track. These boys did not let me down with their debut LP, solidifying themselves as a favorite among my playlist and filling me with excitement for whatever they decide to do next.
FFO: Tomb Mold, Valdrin
Our Common Sense – Harbinger Of Calamity
Doom/sludge from Belgium
I didn’t know what to make of this one at first, is it doom? IS it gothic doom? DID I JUST HEAR HARDCORE VOCALS? Oh.. It’s that really good kind of SLUDGE that’s thick with atmosphere and has melodic death kind of growls and all sorts of nice vocal performances. Sometimes they’re crushing disgusting vocals and sometimes they are majestic semi disgusting vocals. I was really impressed with this one and found the variety to be pretty spicy. I had never heard this band before, they cite various stoner sludge influences and have the stoner aesthetic but the sound here is so dense and dark. It feels more in the death doom realm but has the groovy riffing of stoner metal. They’re kinda crossover with it too. Sorely underrated album with no current Bandcamp supporters, not sure how this one was kept lowkey.
FFO: Golden Core, Windhand.
Maybeshewill – No Feeling Is Final
Post-rock from the UK
Returning post-rock heavyweights Maybeshewill certainly possess the kind of capabilities required to adequately capture the gravity and scope of the destruction of our planet under global capitalism. With the exception of a few spoken samples, No Feeling Is Final is an instrumental record which laments against exactly that over 50 minutes of wide-screen and emotive post-rock. It sounds absolutely massive, with richly detailed strings and electronics woven into the band’s more traditional core of guitars, bass, drums and keys. Each mood and movement is as stirring as the next, the album’s ten tracks going from mournful to hopeful to devastatingly heavy, sometimes all within the same song. A triumphant return from one of the genre’s all-time finest.
FFO: 65daysofstatic, We Lost The Sea, MONO
Dakhma – Blessings of Amurdad
Blackened death metal from Switzerland
Arriving in what might be the strongest week of releases in 2021, I don’t know that anybody, myself included, had Dakhma on their radar as a potential AOTY list contender. After seeing a number of tweets raving about it, though, I bumped Blessings of Amurdad way up my list of things to check out, and I’ll be damned if I’m not blown away. This Swiss duo has crafted a powerhouse record of murky, horrifying blackened death riffs that are flavored with mystical vibes. It’s extremely esoteric stuff, but it’s not inaccessible, and it hits on the very first listen. This is beastly stuff, and every track will transport you straight to the windswept dunes of some barren desert where a priest invokes unholy rites at dusk, but it you’re looking for one track to get an idea what’s up I recommend playing standout “The Cry of Filth (Agerept)”.
FFO: Grave Miasma, Smouldering in Forgotten, Teitanblood
Stillbirth – Strain Of Gods
This is a huge brutal death metal EP, like there’s plenty of death metal bands who have less ideas and riffs in their LPs. It’s good all the way through and it’s 20 minutes long so it’s fodder for replay. It combines two of my favorite things thematically and that is surf grind and weed. The blast beats are just fucked and the pig squeels are some of the best I’ve heard this year. I’ve listened to a lot of brutal death and deathcore, much of which hits the genre technically but lacks spirit where Stillbirth has a vibrant energy that plays well with speed without overwhelming you to the point of not caring. There’s build ups and random ass segments like a really chill lead guitar and bass passage
FFO: Fulci, Unfathomable Ruination, Summoning The Lich
The Temple – The Temple
Blackened death metal from New Zealand
My first listen of The Temple’s self-titled debut effort was a blind one. The artwork caught my eye, the subgenre seemed up my alley, and I can’t think of the last time I was disappointed by a band from New Zealand, so I figured I’d check it out. As it played I was struck by several things, including the sheer level of fury emanating from the vocalist, who gave me strong Ulcerate vibes, and the way the riffs moved in and out of delicious dissonant passages and vicious tremolo-picked black metal attacks, also a lot like Ulcerate. I loved it. And wouldn’t you know it, once I read some background info on the band, I learned that The Temple is made up of Paul Kelland (bass/vocals in Ulcerate) and James Wallace (ex-vocals in Ulcerate) and is produced by Jamie St. Merat (drums/production in Ulcerate). Moral of the story? If you like Ulcerate you’ll like The Temple, because the similarities are as remarkable as they are logical.
FFO: Ulcerate (duh), Gorguts
Der Weg einer Freiheit – Noktvrn
Progressive Black Metal from Germany
This stunning new album from Der Weg einer Freiheit took me on a journey of various emotions, giving me moments of pause to cry, moments of anger to scream in frustration, moments of complete earnestness to look inside myself and question every bit of who I am and why. It’s being sold as a black metal record, but it’s so much more than that. “Progressive black metal” was the best way I could think of to describe it, but even that doesn’t really do it justice. I thought about calling it “post-black metal” or “blackgaze” instead but this album is truly beyond simple genre labels. Opening up with a gentle intro, it carries you delicately into its arms and then sweeps you around through instrumental landscapes ranging from harsh vocals over soft melodys to clean vocals over thundering instrumentation. “Immortal” was a standout track in particular. The vocals fluctuate between incredible cleans and intense harshes, giving the listener moments to ponder and then moments to release every negative thought that creeps into their brain. This album is a mastercraft of black metal beauty.
FFO: Lantlôs, Lascar