It seems I’ve embarked on a bit of a writing marathon these past few days, since most of my time has been spent catching up on new releases and writing posts about them. The good news for me, at least, is that after this post I’ll pretty much be caught up, and then I can maybe focus my time on other blogging projects I’ve been thinking about lately (such as exploring the history of QCBM). While I do enjoy writing these posts, they take quite a while to finish, and writing three of them in a row is a big task.
This week was definitely one of the busier weeks this year–perhaps the busiest yet, not counting the New Year’s releases. That spike on the 27th actually represents the busiest release day all month, even taking into account New Year’s Day. Thank god it was offset by the relatively low number of releases on the other days of the week, because I’d probably have some sort of aneurism if I had to listen through the amount I went through during the New Year’s rush in just two days. But hey, it’s a hobby.
I don’t think I can put this off any longer so let’s begin.
7. Deadlife- Where Life Ends
Deadlife are back at it again with the newest full length since June’s ‘Porphyria’–which was not a far cry from the title of DSBM album of the year–but unfortunately with this release, as is not so uncommon for them, they’re their own worst enemy. The Swedish one-man project is quite notable for the endless string of releases that seem to spring out from oblivion every so often, and while Deadlife produces a legitimate gem every once in a while, in far too many cases, there’s not enough time and care invested into the releases to make them genuinely stand out. If Deadlife had focused their time after the release of ‘Porphyria’ solely on ‘Where Life Ends’ instead of putting out four separate EPs in between, I have no doubt that this album would have been fantastic. But that is unfortunately not the case, and while this is still a good release, I don’t feel that it at all lives up to the potential I know Deadlife is perfectly capable of.
6. Hour of Penance- Cast the First Stone
Italian technical/brutal death metallers Hour of Penance have returned with their first full length since 2014’s ‘Regicide’. And speaking of ‘Regicide’, if you haven’t heard it, I think you’d be capable of enjoying their newest work a lot more than you would otherwise. This album really isn’t anything too earth-shattering, but it’s worth checking out if you’re a fan of the genre.
5. The Great Old Ones- EOD: A Tale of Dark Legacy
The Great Old Ones, from Bordeaux, France, are HP Lovecraft fanatics, if you couldn’t tell, and this album definitely does not try to hide that fact. I have admittedly not listened to The Great Old Ones prior to know, but one of the reasons why I like doing this series is because it often introduces me to great music that I didn’t know I was missing. Such is the case with The Great Old Ones, based on this album. If you enjoy HP Lovecraft-inspired themes set to some stunning black metal, I don’t imagine there’s any way this album would disappoint. It’s unmistakeably dark, completely enthralling and full of moments that will definitely keep your attention firmly chained to the music.
4. Analepsy- Atrocities From Beyond
This is an album that’s definitely been on the receiving end of some high praise as of late. I actually can’t say that it doesn’t deserve it. In most cases, album hype is far too over the top and exaggerates everything about the album to the point of being ridiculous, but this is genuinely a very good album that has generated hype for a reason. If you’ve not already heard, Analepsy are a brutal death metal band from Portugal, and ‘Atrocities From Beyond’ is their second full-length release (and third overall release), following up to 2015’s ‘Dehumanization By Supremacy’, which I admittedly have not heard. As such I can’t really compare and contrast this album with any of their other releases, but I have a feeling this album speaks for itself anyways.
3. Ordos- House of the Dead
Not to be confused with the Czech Ordos, this Ordos is from Sweden and has just released their first full-length since 2013. ‘House of the Dead’ is a very interesting collection of music. It features a remarkably odd brand of stoner doom with very dark themes and vocals not particularly reminiscent of any specific genre. That’s not to say they don’t work–in fact, they fit very well with all facets of the album. In general, ‘House of the Dead’ is littered with a patchwork of different musical ideas that blend together with no jagged edges. It’s definitely something that pleases my inner doom nerd.
2. Au champ des morts- Dans la joie
Here’s another great release from France. Au champ des morts have definitely taken a lot of influence from Anorexia Nervosa (which is honestly unsurprising), as can be seen in their soft inclusion of symphonic elements. But that’s where, for the most part, the similarities end. ‘Dans la joie’ is a post-black album among a mess of influence from other genres, all blended together into a very well-thought out and maturely written package clocking in at just over 50 minutes. It’s interwoven with an impressive amount of detail and is definitely something I plan on coming back to over the course of the year.
1. Weltesser- Crestfallen
These past few weeks have definitely been excellent for doom, and Weltesser have arrived just in time to keep up that streak. I’ve actually been eagerly awaiting this album since I first heard their 2015 demo, and ‘Crestfallen’ is far from a letdown. At 33 minutes, it really isn’t much longer than that demo, but that clearly is no roadblock to delivering some high quality Floridian sludge worthy of many revisits. The riffs are chaotic, the vibes are hairsplittingly dissonant and the album is 100% pure apocalypse.
This week has definitely been a mixed bag of things, but I’d go as far as to say that it’s been the best week of the year so far in terms of the pure quantity of great releases. In almost every case, these albums were close enough in quality that I’ll probably change my mind about the rankings a few times after I post this, and while that’s frustrating for me, it’s good news if you’re just looking for some great new music.
All weekdays except Friday have generally been well-balanced in terms of the number of releases they’ve seen, but Tuesday and Thursday were definitely the slowest points of the week.
Now that I’m mostly caught up, I’m not quite sure when my next post will be, since I haven’t decided whether I want to divide this week into a January segment and a February segment, but I guess that remains to be seen. Thanks for reading!