Written by Melinda, Kep, Westin, Barlovv & Ellis
I don’t know what you expect me to say in this opening paragraph anymore. We all know how months work and we’re all here for the same thing: to quickly read about a dozen or so albums our writers thought was cool out of the absurd amount of releases each month. A good bit of leftist artists in the mix, love to see it.
Transgressive – Fetus Factory
Arizona Thrash Metal
When the world is in the fucking nightmarish state that it is right now, sometimes you need a hammer instead of a scalpel, and Transgressive bring the fucking hammer down over two songs full of righteous anger and little to no interest in taking any shit from anyone. If Transgressive aren’t on your radar, they fucking should be, and with the full length coming out soon – it’s the best time to jump right the hell on board.
Municipal Waste – Electrified Brain
Crossover thrash from Virginia, USA
Straight forward old school crossover thrash where the instruments are mostly thrash metal but the vocalist has a style more rooted in hardcore punk. The fact that it doesn’t burst through any new boundaries is made up for by the reliability of the band given their experience (this is their 7th studio LP since 2003’s Waste ‘Em All). As you can maybe already tell, their primary influence is old school Metallica but with a faster high octane approach rather than a theatrical one. They are constantly in the middle of the most intense parts of Metallica tracks making for an unrelenting 33 minute runtime that fortunately isn’t afraid to have fun either with anomalies sprinkled throughout the 14 tracks to maintain attention.
Nostalghia – Au milieu de l’hiver
Black metal from Mexico
Nostalghia has come a long way since I wrote about the post-black metal project in June of last year. At that point there were two albums, and now barely over a year later there are three more, the most recent of which came out on July 1. Au milieu de l’hiver shows a solo project at its most mature point yet, ever growing and continually making subtle changes to the formula. At nearly 50 minutes it’s the longest Nostalghia release to date, yet it has the fewest number of tracks: only four, each one a masterclass in exploring deep sorrow through an expansive but focused style of songwriting. It’s heartrending stuff, gorgeous through and through, with Alex Becerra’s masterful hand behind every sound save the saxophone. “In the depths of winter / I learned within me lies / an invincible summer”.
Wake – Thought Form Descent
Death/Black/Grind from Canada
This is what I would call “headphones grindcore”. It goes against the lofi raw focus, instead opting for dense audio layering and technical atmospherics of tech death and melodic black metal. This isn’t really grindcore but that’s the feel of the band currently as they move further and further away from their original grind sound. “Swallow The Light” is one of the strongest tracks on the album, I love the black metal noise barrage performing in unison with technical guitar jabs coming in at odd intervals before it all evens out into a vocally directed peak that calls to mind new Cattle Decapitation. The songs in general have an epic proportion like you’d expect from a Rivers Of Nihil album. It’s overall a very solid album that will frequently suit my mood with it’s variety of movement.
Ashenspire – Hostile Architecture
“RABM projects are plentiful if you know where to look, and are becoming even more so as more good people make music in response to our world’s moldering morality. But even in such a rapidly expanding pool, Ashenspire stands out for their particularly experimental and moving form of avant-garde metal. Hostile Architecture is a stirring listen, one that will inspire the political left and fans of excellent music alike, and I highly recommend it.” – full review at Noob Heavy.
Stiu Nu Stiu – New Sun
Stoner/Gothic from Rome, Italy Psychedelic Sounds
New Sun encompasses one of my favorite stoner styles in that it blends together psychedelic stoner sounds perfectly with post punk/goth rock groove and aesthetic. Put this on for your next wake and bake and you’ll be starting the morning (or afternoon) dancing all slow and swamp-like. It really is a versatile sound, I managed to put tracks in both goth and stoner playlists but also in my “voidgaze” playlist with the likes of Frayle, Julie Christmas, Emma Ruth Rundle and Chelsea Wolfe. The vocals are the centerpiece of the sound with husky billowing cleans that reside over the spooky guitars that have a great instinct for stirring around her. Instrumentally it varies from doomier post metal to more mathy post rock with varying degrees of gain and fervor. A lot of the tracks on the album stand out as some of my favorite individual songs of the year such as “New Sun” and “Styx”. I think a lot of people will underestimate this one on a critical level but in my experience it’s catchy as hell and classy too, all while not letting down the technical side. There’s only a couple of slump moments overall.
Depression Quilt – (Indistinct Clatter Continues)
Indistinct Clatter from North Carolina
There is something deeply unsettling at play here in Depression Quilt‘s latest release, and while that is almost certainly the point, it does unsettle all the same. The drone/gazey elements here are extremely appealing in how off kilter they will certainly make the listener feel, it feels like the soundtrack to a sci-fi body horror, and I mean that in the best possible way. Music like this absolutely won’t be something that everyone is going to latch onto, necessarily, there is some strange and very niche work at play, but for those who do enjoy they’re music a bit more droney and a big more gazey- you’re going to want to pick this up, like yesterday. Along with the rest of Depression Quilt‘s stuff you absolute pleb.
Grima – Frostbitten
Black metal from Russia
Grima are one of those bands where you don’t have to speculate on the quality of an upcoming album; it’ll be very good at a minimum every single time. Frostbitten, their fifth overall LP and the follow-up to 2021’s excellent Rotten Garden, is far better than very good. True to its name, Frostbitten feels chillier and bluer than last year’s effort, and it feels bigger too, with an atmosphere you can get lost in. The folksy charm of the accordion remains a delightful layer in their sound, and it shows up in greater measure than ever before. Their sound is a beautiful balance of harrowing wind and ice and the warm underpinnings of melody and rustic heart, and their songwriting prowess makes the nearly 50-minute runtime fly by as you journey through the frozen forest, elden gods all about in the whip of the wind and the screeching of the birds. This is one of the absolute best black metal albums that 2022 has to offer.
Chat Pile – God’s Country
Life Ruining Sludge Noise from Oklahoma
There is usually a few listens involved before I start writing a full review, but Chat Pile is something I needed to start writing about immediately, and as often as possible. This is one of those albums that instantly sets itself apart as being important in some way. Good enough that it made me feel physically ill in a way that I needed to repeat. God’s Country is a relentless and brutal ride, in a way that bands that focus on shock and gore can only dream about. Jesus Christ.
Alternate review: *sounds of Barlovv crying while God’s Country plays on repeat in a stone basement*
Conjurer – Páthos
“At the end of the day, and whichever way you cut it, Conjurer are a remarkable band – quite possibly the UK’s finest in fact – so it’s no great surprise that Páthos is another remarkable record. Most people probably won’t need much convincing to check this one out already, but if for some reason you are still on the fence then the sheer power of these eight tracks could well be enough to knock you off it for good.” – Full review at Noob Heavy
Human Cull – To Weep for Unconquered Worlds
I don’t know about you but I love it when a band decides to just punt me in the fucking head with a steel-toed boot and then finish the job with a sledgehammer while I’m down, and that’s exactly what Human Cull does here. Relentlessly violent grinding audio beatings is what To Weep delivers, over the course of 20 tracks in less than 23 minutes and each one out to pummel you sideways. These UK boys bring a full-throated ferocious energy that’s downright monstrous, and the production quality backs it up with a mix that never once feels lighter or thinner than a multi-ton block of granite. It’s like standing at the bottom of a mountain when a rockslide hits; you’re not coming out unscathed, and you’ll be bloodied and bruised by impact after impact after impact. You’ll survive if you’re lucky, and you’ll go back for more. Get this punishment in your ears ASAP.
Wormrot – Hiss
Grindcore from Singapore
“Like tidal forces ebbing and flowing, Wormrot shift effortlessly between vintage and modern, between accessible, effective simplicity and walls of cacophony that threaten to drown you. There are whirlpools of pure grindcore throughout the album, like the aptly named “Unrecognizable”, or “Shattered Faith”. These act as the anchoring point upon which all of the other musical elements are built, grounding Hiss definitively in grind, so that as we drift further out we still get flashes of these moments to remind us of the core of the band. The death metal adjacent tracks are a welcome reprieve from what could be an overwhelming amount of noise that create groove and rhythm, fresh when executed well as on “Seizures”. However, sometimes these breaks can feel like they lack an identity or purpose, some songs feeling extraneous or like they were simply too similar to others without adding enough on their own or being tight enough to simply stand strong.” – full review at Noob Heavy
Thvmos/spaceseer split – The Course of Empire
Instrumental Metal from Utah and also somewhere else
A really cool little split from two bands I’d never run across before. spaceseer, a band from Utah who appear to be aiding in extraterrestrial communications, and Thvmos, an instrumental metal band making work based on Plato’s teachings. The two come together in nearly as strange and perfect way as you might expect. There is an epic sound to the entire piece and its really interesting to see two groups with their own clear and well defined voices merge into something that really works. There is no question this won’t be my last interaction with either group, and I strongly recommend that you jump on board if you’re not familiar with either yet. A genuine pleasure and you should give it a listen.
Northless – A Path Beyond Grief
Sludge/Post metal from America
Clean vocals and soaring sludge guitars that occasionally descend into utter unchecked madness (hear the closing of the title track). It’s an album that will easily win you over to it’s side with it’s musical narrative and performance charisma. This is less of that time wasting progressive post rock sludge and closer to the kind of sludge you’d hear accompanying a far-too-difficult boss fight slapping around. It’s more bravado than I’d typically enjoy but sludge is a genre that is really well suited to it and it comes from a more druid like sense of manliness than it does incel death metal. It gets quite folky at times like on “Carried”. Good album
KANINE – Karnage
Slam/Death from France
“Karnage absolutely fucking rules and I won’t hear any contrary opinions. Is it a genre defining masterwork? No. Is it a 29 minute “Slamdeathcore” album with a three headed bear on the cover that genuinely brings me joy? Fuck yeah it is.” – full review at Noob Heavy
Liminal Shroud – All Virtues Ablaze
Black Metal from Vancouver Island
Hypnotic Dirge Records
Lets look to the future at this August 5th release from Liminal Shroud. Some rock solid black metal from my stomping grounds in Victoria BC. The album gets a lot done in 4 songs and it’s one to keep your eyes on without question. Some soaring and brutal instrumentals and vocals. It’s early enough in the month that I don’t want folks to miss it by saving it for the August round up. It should absolutely get some attention, and hey there’s a vinyl to pre-order so you don’t want to miss out on that.