First off, a few things. Yes, you’re correct. There was no New Releases post last week, and there is a rather simple reason for that: I didn’t want to have a flood of albums in one post and then barely any at all in the other. I want to showcase these albums in a way that preserves the quality of these lists in the best way possible. For example, I would rather not make a post containing a bunch of meh albums and a couple good ones just to fill up space, so I sometimes stretch my schedule to accommodate everything in the most flattering way I can. This post will be a but longer than usual, but it does contain a good mix of genres, and every single album on this list is great, so there really isn’t a bad place to start.
10. Nidstang- Retribution Will Come
Nidstang is a Cascadian raw black metal solo project with an interesting manner of hardcore edge. And no, I don’t mean edge as in fourteen year olds making school shooter jokes and posting on Tumblr about their depression. And again, no, I’m not about to go off on that sidetrack. ‘Retribution Will Come’ is actually Nidstang’s first and only release, and it’s a really high-energy, raw album that is unquestionably black metal despite it dipping into several other areas along the way. It seems to have a mash-up of themes going for it as well, such as nature, revenge and witchcraft, which may seem slightly unrelated, but if you think about it, the combination almost forms some kind of narrative on its own. All in all, this is more than worth your time this week.
9. Insanity Cult- Of Despair and Self-Destruction
There were two things that immediately attracted me to this album: the artwork and the logo. When I’m trying to choose which albums I should listen to for these posts –I simply don’t have the time to listen to every single album that comes out, because that would be insanity–there are a few factors that I tend to go off of. Generally it tends to be the more technical factors, such as genre tags and positive/negative reviews that are what encourages me to check something out, but cases like this, the artwork is enough to stand out on its own. Sometimes that backfires and I end up listening to a turd. Fortunately for me, this album is not a turd. Insanity Cult haven’t released anything since their last full-length back in 2015, so this may or may not be something you’ve been waiting for since that year. I personally haven’t heard anything they’ve done before this, but I do know that there’s a lot of good black metal coming out of Greece and these guys are a band I would feel quite comfortable including in that statement.
8. I Am the Liquor- 7 Days of Smoke
Well, this is pretty fucking great. I sometimes find that when I listen to something I’m really into, the words don’t come right away. In fact, when this is taken to its extremes, I actually find it hard to discuss certain albums at all because I appreciate them on a level beyond words. Of course, that only applies to a select few albums which I would consider to be among my favourites of all time, but I’m definitely having some trouble thinking of a way to talk about this one, because ‘this is pretty fucking great’ sums it up really goddamn well. This is (obviously) another of this week’s amazing stoner doom releases, and if you’re someone who isn’t quite used to stoner doom yet but is looking to start exploring it, this would be a great album for you. It’s not something extremely close to the heart of stoner doom on general, but it’s not something I would advise you to lightly pass over, so make sure to take a quick look at ‘7 Days of Smoke’: the second release of the dynamic American duo known as I Am the Liquor.
7. Nemus- Wald – Mensch
‘Wald – Mensch’ is the debut album of Nemus, an atmospheric post-black one-man project from Germany. Once you manage to actually look past the artwork (because damn is that ever captivating), you’ll likely find that this album lives up to what you hoped based on your first impression from the cover, if you’re the sort that either subconsciously or blatantly forms preconceived notions of music based on the way the artist aesthetically presented it. Nemus really aren’t kidding about the atmospheric tag, and you can probably predict exactly the manner of nature sounds they use, although they aren’t done in any sort of cheesy atmoshit way. This album actually has a really cool backstory about the ‘treeman’ depicted on the cover and the various stages he goes through in his experience of literally being one with nature.
6. Chronovorus- Aphotic Mythos
I don’t believe I’ve included any black/doom in any post I’ve written yet in 2017, so this is a pretty nice annual milestone. Black/doom is my secret love (well, maybe it’s not quite a secret) and this album has been seriously fuelling that addiction over the past little while. It’s perhaps Chronovorus’ Bandcamp page that describes them best:
“[Chronovorus are] the result of Blackened Doom experimentation in small cramped rooms with members of Azerine, Suicide Forest, Casket Birth, and Moon Curser. A haunting mixture of Black Metal and Doom Metal at the pace of dying giants.”
If that description doesn’t sound like some pure magical shit to you, then I’m not quite sure what does. At that point I think it’s safe to conclude that I’ve basically lost all ability to relate to you in any way. But descriptions aside, there are absolutely ways this album could have been made better. There are moments that made me question whether or not it had a place on this list, but ultimately, I ended up overlooking that in the face of a release that truly has many more things right with it than wrong with it.
5. Ululatum Tollunt- Quantum Noose of Usurpation
Ululatum Tollunt, from Tennessee, are something a bit different from the regular ups and downs of the week, namely because they happen to feature a widely misunderstood genre tag. War metal, as they’ve been labelled, is a bit of a confusing concept for most people. Also called bestial black metal, the term has actually been thrown around quite a bit in much the same way as the term ‘viking metal’ has been; at the very least it gets misrepresented as a sketchy “subgenre” that ends up being applied to any and all bands with certain lyrical themes, which is not what it is. I’ve seen the term falsely applied to bands like Tyr nearly as often as I’ve seen them correctly applied to bands like Blasphemy or Conqueror. As someone who lives in Canada, a playground for fans of the genre, that does get old pretty fast. But I’m here to tell you that this is definitely not a scenario where the term has been falsely applied. Ululated Tollunt haven’t released anything since last year’s ‘Order of the Morningstars’, which was a mere 17 minutes in length, making it a very easy thing to miss, as I did. ‘Quantum Noose of Usurpation’ is definitely not an EP I’d recommend if you’re just trying out black metal for the first time, but if you’re in the mood for something chaotically violent or you’re simply feeling adventurous, this is definitely not something that will wind up being a waste of your time.
4. Strange Broue- Seance – The Satanic Sounds of Strange Broue
Stoner doom is always something I make sure to pay attention to when I’m choosing new releases. It’s something I’m admittedly very heavily biased towards. But as any of my friends here could tell you, I’m also very deeply obsessed with Québécois black metal, ergo, I have a bit of a fondness for anything originating from Québec (or Canada in general, really. Gotta represent the homeland), black metal or not. Strange Broue, being both from Québec and a stoner doom band, definitely caught my eye right away. In all honesty, that’s ‘how to catch Sma’s attention 101’ level shit right there. And yes, it did pay off. ‘Seance’ isn’t necessarily an album that brings forth any new or shocking elements. It simply doesn’t need to. Strange Broue have these old-school formulae down so well that it would be redundant. If you’re looking for something really spacey and full of tried-and-true ideas exploited to their fullest, accompanied by some really well-selected samples, look no further, because ‘Seance’ has you covered.
3. Vomit Kult- Demonic Art
Lately Cirsium Kollektivet has been an object of my interest, since I’m kind of in a phase right now where all I seem to listen to is obscure tape demos, and when this came out on the label I was pretty happy to find it. By nature these kinds of releases do tend to be quite raw. That is pretty much an expectation of the medium at this point. But what you can also expect from this release is a decent level of disorientation and chaos. This demo often crosses over into the realm of bestial black metal and it’s definitely not something to listen to if you’re trying to calm your mind, mostly because there’s so much going on in this release that it may well take some processing. Every time I’ve listened to this I’ve had it on with little or menial distraction and I think that’s really the better way to go with something like this. It lends itself nicely to full concentration. This isn’t for everyone, as is the case with most raw black metal, but for those of you who do appreciate the style, you’ll probably find this to be a pretty interesting listen.
2. Cranial- Dark Towers/Bright Lights
Atmospheric sludge? That’s not quite something you tend to see every day. Part of the reason why I thought it would be a good idea to combine this week and last week into a single post is that while last week was almost purely black metal, this week seems to be almost purely doom, and it may have been a bit more work to get this done, but the only albums I’mm including here are the ones I find to be brilliant. This is one such album. Sludge is one of my favourite things on its own, but when those conventions are stretched and tested, it’s a genre that has the potential to be a game changer. This is definitely a really creative album. Sometimes it can be hard to find originality within sludge, but this isn’t one of those times. This is dark, powerful and it honestly just sounds huge. Cranial may only have one other release, but they already seem to have outdone themselves.
1. Weigedood- De Doden Hebben Het Goed II
–Jointly written by Transilvanian Hangover and I–
Weigedood are an atmospheric black metal band from Ghent, Belgium, and while their debut release–De doden hebben het goed, released in 2015–received some well-deserved attention, their latest, De doden hebben het goed II, didn’t seem to generate much discussion at all (if any). After hearing this, it’s very unlikely that the lack of hype is due to any sort of missing musical substance. Listening to this back to back with their debut, clear stylistic differences begin to emerge, with part II taking a much more aggressive approach than the more atmospheric debut. However, that doesn’t necessarily mean it’s altogether different. This is clearly a Weigedood album in the most classic sense–in fact we would both go as far as to say that this is better than their first in most ways. Three of the album’s four tracks have a much more mature feel to them. In most areas it almost feels as though Weigedood are growing into their style much more rapidly on this release than they have in previous years, and they’ve made a lot of progress in very positive directions with this release, although some flaws that were present on the debut have persisted, including what we would consider to be their largest issue: a lack of virtually any diversity in terms of the drums. Because of that, their use of long repetitive passages really comes across as a negative in places where it wouldn’t otherwise need to be. Though it does have its drawbacks, this album is a highly recommended listen–doubly so if you at all enjoyed Weigedood’s first effort (and let’s admit… If you didn’t, it’s probably just because you haven’t heard it yet).
• • •Summary• • •
These past two weeks have been busy and slow at odd intervals, but there have been some truly interesting releases between this post and the last post I wrote. What’s definitely noteworthy is that last week’s releases were primarily black metal while this week’s releases were almost entirely doom metal, which is another reason why I decided to combine these two weeks into one post. Variety is nice.
The second week was definitely slower, but it really picked up near the end. Aside from Friday, which is almost always the most popular day for releases, the second week of February broke some trends by having a particularly successful Thursday and a really shitty Monday. That’s pretty unusual and since I’m a nerd with nerd hobbies I’m including that absolutely unnecessary piece of information. Anyways, this has been a long post, but I’m quite tired and finally glad to be finished even though I was in a writing mood today. Thanks for reading!