New Releases: 12-18/02/17

Well, hello again, and welcome to the third week of February (or fourth I guess, since the week I’m about to write about is technically over). This week has really been a banner week for new music. A couple released which received considerable hype finally saw the light of day, and an even greater number of releases came out that didn’t receive any hype at all but should have. We also had two holidays in one week (Valentine’s Day and Louis Riel Day/Family Day).

Now it’s time to actually start with the post. Although I should maybe warn you–I’m not quite in the mood for writing for ages tonight, so this may run a bit short, even though I have a pretty stacked list this week, so bear with me here.

8. Wolfrost- Spirit of the Seasons

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This week has seen plenty of firsts, whether that’s debuts or just first full-lengths, of which this album is the latter. Wolfrost is a one-man project from the UK, and ‘Spirit of the Seasons’ is a concept album featuring one of my favourite tales from Greek mythology: the kidnapping of Persephone. As such, ‘Spirit of the Seasons’ is really a very rolling listen with a feel that is undeniably manifold.

7. Haxxan- Loch Ness Rising

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‘Loch Ness Rising’ is the debut from Ohio’s Haxxan, which began as a duo consisting of guitarist Shawn Slusarek and Necrophagia’s Killjoy DeSade, which is definitely a potential point of interest. The album itself is actually a tribute to Alestair Crowley, which is admittedly a very attractive theme. On top of all this, Haxxan are committed to an old-school style of black metal with “such influences as Beherit, Archgoat, and Blasphemy with hints of Candlemass and Mercyful Fate”.  Are you listening to it yet? Need I say more? This album is hypnotic. It also features a wide range of unconventional instruments on certain tracks, giving it a really unique and refreshingly creative feel.

6. Nemesis Sopor- MMXL

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This week has been pretty lacking in black metal, although the few black metal releases we have had have been really worthwhile. Nemesis Sopor are a post-black from Germany, and ‘MMXL’ is their third full-length album. The best way I could describe this would be to say that it’s very good thinking music. There are a lot of things going on–deep layers of sound and an implied complexity. Vocals are present but minimal, which really allows the music to shine where it needs to. Overall this is just a very well-written album and a captivating piece of art that is a staple of the week.

5. Hymn- Perish

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There is a lot of doom on this list today. It doesn’t stop here, either. Hymn are a stoner doom band from Norway, but that designation is a very loose one, because they’re sort of all over the map as far as doom goes. Their main focus definitely seems to be delivering some hawt, fuzzy riffs, but they’re clearly not afraid to break down the walls between different styles of doom beyond what is a normal. There are points on this album that resemble sludge or even funeral doom (among others), and that really makes for something very intriguing. This is Hymn’s first full length album which very much leaves me wondering where they’ll be in a few more years when they grow into their style a bit more, because I’d be willing to bet money that it’ll be something brilliant.

4. The Good Kind of Mushroom- Matsutaken

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This album title really amuses me to no end. At first I didn’t really understand what it meant, but if you skim through TGKOM’s Bandcamp page, you’ll find that the title of this released was derived through the combination of two words: matsutake, a kind of mushroom, and taken–as in abducted by aliens. It’s very obvious to deduce that this is a stoner doom album, even if you’re just looking at the cover art. But if you actually listen to the music you’ll find a spacey blend of Sabbath worship with some odd mood changes that will definitely take you on somewhat of a mental field trip.

3. Frowning- Extinct

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This is definitely one of those albums that we have been waiting for this year. I was looking forward to this for quite some time before it released, and while I did very much enjoy it, I found it somewhat lacking. Given how great ‘Funeral Impressions’ was, I expected a little bit more out of ‘Extinct’, not least because the album itself features guest vocals from the likes of SG of Suffer Yourself and Hekjal of Ad Cinerem. That aspect definitely has the effect of driving hype to a maximum for any fan of funeral doom. The bottom line is that this is a very enjoyable album, although it does have a certain repetitive feel to it which takes away from the overall impact. One very pleasant surprise, though, was the final track–a funeral doom cover of a Chopin piece, Marche Funèbre, which closes the album out on a perfect note.

2. Grim Ravine- The Light is From Below

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A T M O S P H E R I C  S L U D G E. Need I say more? In last week’s post I talked about Cranial–another amazing atmospheric sludge band–and this week, Grim Ravine have delivered to continue the streak. Atmospheric sludge isn’t really a genre you hear often since it walks a very fine line on the edge of post-metal, but it’s a very worthy phenomenon, especially when you have releases like this to back up its existence. This is only an EP but it’s quite easily one of the more interesting things I’ve heard all year, and with plenty of changes of pace, it rises and falls in a way that feels very emotionally natural. If you like thick riffs, messy fuzz-laden tone, and aggression with just the right touch of movement and sensitivity, you need this in your life. Ignore Grim Ravine at your own risk.

1. White Death- White Death

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So, this leaked quite a while ago, and I’m for whatever reason only getting around to listening to this now. Don’t ask me why I waited. I don’t quite have an answer. Time after time I’ve been told by people whose opinions I hold in high regard that this album kicks some serious ass, and now that I’ve finally heard it for myself, I can confirm that everything that was said about it is absolutely true. This is simply a brilliant black metal album with some nauseatingly good riffs that is absolutely an essential listen for 2017, so definitely hop on this if you’re a lazy fuck like me and you haven’t already listened.

• • • Summary • • •

Unfortunately, I’ve been busy all weekend with all manner of different things, such as helping my relatives make maple syrup on the farm (no I am not bullshitting you, and yes, it is a very long and tedious process) and driving up north. I’ll spare you the rest of my life story, but I wasn’t able to actually compile the data I need to make charts for this week, so I’ll either include them on next week’s post or in the monthly summary for February. Sorry about that. All things aside, this was a great week, and I was much busier with listens than I usually am. There were some good releases that didn’t even make the list because of the sheer quality of the ones I’ve written about today, so I’m sure that no matter who you are there’s something here for you. Thanks for reading!

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