Welcome back to New Releases! I actually have a bit of news to share before we start talking about releases today. First of all, I plan on changing up my posting schedule. Formerly I’d post on Monday nights (or very early Tuesday mornings, I guess), and my posts would cover from Sunday to Saturday. There are some obvious problems with that, not least that I was talking about releases that could be over a week old by the point the post actually came out, but it was the only thing that worked with my schedule at that point in time. Now I’ve suddenly freed up some time during the week, so I’m going to actually start posting on Friday nights which should cover from Saturday to Friday, which is much better. Hopefully that works out for you guys as well, since I’m guessing most people have more free time to read blog posts on the weekends.
This week’s post is covering fewer days than normal since I’ve moved my posting days forward, but surprisingly there are just as many releases to be talked about as normal. This short week has yielded an impressive number of great releases and there were even a few that I was forced to leave out due to time constraints. I’m honestly really excited to write about a select few of these. I’ve been anxiously awaiting posting day for a while now, so before I spontaneously burst into flames from impatience, let’s begin.
8. Jute Gyte- The Sparrow
Here we have it: Jute Gyte’s first release of 2017. The Sparrow is an EP which, as usual, toys with microtones and music theory, making heavy use of polyrhythms and dissonance to create what is safe to call a predictably unorthodox listen. While that statement may be an oxymoron in the most classic sense, it also embodies the sound of the project–The Sparrow in its own right is not exactly something I would listen to out of pure enjoyment of the music. Rather, it is an experiment with sound and time best listened to while following along with the convenient play-by-play which accompanies the EP on its Bandcamp page. To give you an idea of what you can expect if you’re new to Jute Gyte, check out this excerpt written about the title track:
“The track opens with a D natural drone, then the other pitches of the cluster enter one at a time. The sequence of note appearances is D (0:00), D half-sharp (0:25), D half-flat (0:38), D sharp (0:54), D flat (1:13), D sharp-and-a-half (1:36) and D flat-and-a-half (2:01). The guitars alternate D natural with their other pitch. The guitars with pitches higher than D are panned successively further left, the guitars with lower pitches are panned successively further right. Each guitar has a time signature one beat longer than that of the previous guitar, starting with the D half-sharp guitar’s 4/4 (the D natural drone being effectively meterless). The guitars are spread out over four octaves, which prevents the cluster from sounding like mush. During this opening section, the bass and synthesizer fade in, playing sequences using the notes D natural, C natural and E natural, outlining the borders of the cluster. The bass and synth have their own independent time signatures.”
If you’re into really weird shit, you might like this. If you’d rather not approach music like it’s a mathematical concept, this is not for you.
7. Twilight Fauna- The Year the Stars Fell
Twilight Fauna is a one-man atmospheric black metal project by Tennessee’s Ravenwood, who writes all the music himself and is inspired by the Appalachian mountains along with other one man projects such as The Ruins of Beverast and most notably Burzum. Twilight Fauna caught my eye with The Year the Stars Fell for a number of reasons–first and foremost, the production is absolutely asphyxiating. It sounds smothered and suffocated, which is an attribute that helps immensely with getting Ravenwood’s style across. But while the production may be stifling, it finds itself punctured at intervals by a unique atmosphere likened in effect to a breath of air. The transitions between the black metal and the soundscapes or acoustic/folk instrumentation are the second thing that really drew me towards this album, mainly because it is exactly at this point that many atmospheric black metal bands quickly lose my attention by launching themselves back and forth between segments as though they’re just throwing in atmosphere for the sake of it. Twilight Fauna creatively avoids this problem in unique ways and as a result The Year the Stars Fell flows beautifully from front to back. However, the biggest drawback to this release is that the music itself is not anything eye-catching. (or ear catching…? What?) It does not have any interesting flairs that captured my attention especially. That is really the only thing that hindered my enjoyment of the album; unfortunately, it is a rather big thing.
6. Human Sprawl- Exit
Now for a change of pace. Taking a break from the trend of black metal albums, Human Sprawl have come out of the woodwork this week with Exit: a visceral sludge/stoner release out of Philadelphia. Formed in 2015, Human Sprawl really do not have much to their name in terms of discography, but that doesn’t seem to hinder them from laying down some gritty riffs with some serious authority. Exit tends closer towards the stoner side of the spectrum in a musical sense, but at the same time retains those definitive, apocalyptic sludgy tones, nurturing pure aggression within the framework of a stoner setting–a style which doesn’t normally perform well under those circumstances, but which, as this album has demonstrated, can clearly be made to do so.
5. Corpusculum- Bagabi Laca Bachabe
Corpusculum is the solo project of none other than Consanguineus–a Dutch raw black metal project formed in 1991 and re-established in 2012. Corpusculum has not released any full-lengths but rather a stream of demos and several splits; the most recent, of course, being Bagabi Laca Bachabe, newly released on the 19th. The demo features a brand of raw black metal with strong influences from the first and second waves–the roots of the genre–while also expanding outwards into territory more reminiscent of the modern age in small flashes throughout its 23 minutes. What you can expect from Bagabi Laca Bachabe is a barrage of aggressive and gripping riffs pierced by distant, vicious vocals and woven together at the seams with light touches of ambient. Overall, this is an animalistic, highly recommended and thoroughly enjoyable demo.
4. Attalla- Glacial Rule
There has been a great number of black metal releases in this post so far, but what about the doom? Attalla have arrived just in time to keep up the doom streak this week with their latest (and second ever) full-length, entitled Glacial Rule. This is a straightforward stoner doom release with some obvious influence from Sleep, among various other fuzzy doom giants. There are some great riffs on this album, as well as some that seem a just bit too familiar already. Nevertheless, this is precisely the type of music that begs to be turned way up. It’s heavy and yet laid-back; these guys have somehow managed to sound like complete professionals while at the same time capturing those jamming-in-the-garage vibes that give stoner doom so much of its character.
3. Huldrekall- What Else Will Fade?
This post’s stoner doom streak is not quite over yet, although I guess it partially is at the same time, because this is not straight-up stoner doom; this is also not sludge/stoner or any related fusion genre within doom metal. Branded depressive black metal by the Metal Archives, Huldrekall actually seem to play a mash-up of styles–a very precarious blend of stoner doom and black metal, in which each facet of their sound becomes apparent at different intervals. This is truly one of the most innovative and interesting fusions I have heard in quite some time, so if you’re in the mood for something a bit different, be sure to give this a listen. Now, as for the music itself, Huldrekall leave little to be desired; the black metal elements are fiendishly dark and crushing, while their affinity for groove and dirty riffs comes across in a manner that will leave you wondering at times whether this should really be considered a black metal release at all. In fact, the blend of genres is seamless and very natural on this release–they are a sort of mythological musical creation: a chimera of sound.
2. Rebirth of Nefast- Tabernaculum
Rebirth of Nefast was originally from Ireland, but later on moved to Reykjavik, Iceland, and the project is a dismally chaotic style of black metal that does not shy away from dissonance. That fact should not come as a surprise to those familiar with the Icelandic black metal scene, which is world renowned for its vicious, high calibre black metal while at the same time infamous for the level of Deathspell Omega worship involved with creating said black metal. Rebirth of Nefast, however, is slightly more melodic than its counterparts, although not exactly by a wide margin. In any case, Tabernaculum is a sweeping listen in which Wann (a current member of Sinmara and Haud Mundis as well as having worked with Wormlust in 2009)–the sole mastermind of Rebirth of Nefast–will drop you into the middle of an unsettlingly stark landscape and push you towards insanity and utter, dizzying confusion.
1. Pallbearer- Heartless
Well, here it is: one of the most anticipated albums of the year. From the moment the Arkansas quartet released the first single from this album and in many cases even before that, there have been masses of eagerness and speculation surrounding this release. And now that the air has been cleared and all speculation has been put to rest, it is obvious that we now have a masterpiece on our hands. Heartless is an album destined to become one of 2017’s biggest highlights. Demonstrating not only musical but also emotional versatility, the album continuously evolves, meandering languidly through loneliness and despair and even happiness at times. It is mesmerization in its purest form. 2017 has doubtlessly witnessed its first heavy-hitting contender for Doom Album of the Year. In short, Heartless will quite simply take your breath away.
• • •Summary• • •
This was a short but stacked week. Though every single album here falls into the categories of either doom metal or black metal, one thing this week has not been is diverse. In combination with the previous two weeks we seem to be hitting a sweet spot in terms of the sheer quantity of good releases coming out. Honestly, even with the shortened week it was a bit hard to keep up and to make decisions about which albums deserved a spot in this post and which did not, but that is really not a bad problem to have. Anyways, thanks for reading!