Hello and welcome back to New Releases! After a two week break from the series, it’s time to pick up where we left off. For certain weeks, it’s more beneficial to cram two weeks’ worth of releases into one post than it is just to write about each week as it happens, as is the case now. The end result is better overall quality–the only drawback is that these sort of posts are far more work, which is why I reserve them for slower weeks. It’s a rare occurrence. This time, however, it seems to have been well worth the effort. There are a ton of great releases on the list this week and I am very excited to discuss them.
Let’s begin, shall we?
7. Merchant- Beneath
One of the more well-known releases of the week, Beneath, from Australian sludge quartet merchant, is an album that will definitely be appreciated by Eyehategod fans everywhere; it is a vicious display of feedback-drenched riffing which, while it does not necessarily break down conventions or stray beyond what is expected of a sludge release, certainly makes great use of a well-known template. Unfortunately, it is rather short. If you have less than half an hour to spare and you feel like exploring something new, Beneath is a great option.
6. Wormwitch- Strike Mortal Soil
Wormwitch are an up-and-coming black/crust band from Vancouver, Canada. Having formed in just 2015, Strike Mortal Soil is the band’s first full-length and third overall release, preceded by 2015’s The Long Defeat as well as the 2016 single Coffin Birth. A high-energy release, Strike Mortal Soil boasts a collection of surprisingly sophisticated riffs set into a frame of black-tinged crust, punctured by sections dynamic enough to prevent the pace from veering out of control.
5. Samsara Blues Experiment- One With The Universe
Samsara Blues Experiment are well-known for their psychedelic, mystical brand of stoner doom. This week, these three Germans are back with some more trippy magic, exuding positivity at every turn on the aptly named One With The Universe. Their first LP since 2013, Samsara Blues Experiment have adopted a dirtier, uncompromising approach, sacrificing some elements of psychedelia and forging a seriously heavy album in turn. As usual, Samsara Blues Experiment do not disappoint.
4. Battle Hag- Tongue of the Earth
Finally following up their 2015 demo, Sacramento’s Battle Hag have come out of the woodwork this week with Tongue of the Earth: an ominous trip through the occult underbelly of stoner doom. Don’t get too many ideas, though. Stoner doom is a genre that lends itself perfectly to occult imagery in what often comes across as a more lighthearted, vintage vibe, but Battle Hag represent none of that. Occasionally venturing into the death/doom side of the tracks and making use of dense layers of instrumentation, the vibes found on Tongue of the Earth are much more menacing in nature than can be found elsewhere.
3. Nephilism’s Howl- Through The Marrow of Human Suffering
The debut release of Finland’s Nephilism’s Howl, Through The Marrow of Human Suffering is a contemplative black/doom release about questioning existence. According to guitarist VJR, the album “focuses on individual’s place among the ages, the sensation of withering away like the glory of times past, but also thriving on the strength to be found from all of it in reflection to our history, piercing through what keeps us from our potential“. Sonically, the album grazes melancholia at times, but largely remains a black/doom album with a unique and captivating eeriness. With this release, Nephilism’s Howl have managed to capture the feel of a chronic weariness–a slow, constant ache that gradually grows stronger as the album progresses.
2. Steingrab- Mystik
A one-man project from Germany, Steingrab is the brainchild of multi-instrumentalist Mahr. Mystik, the project’s second full-length, is largely an atmospheric black metal odyssey through the realms of solitude and self-contemplation. Drowning in a dense, despairing atmosphere with a slight touch of DSBM influence, Mystik is an album that will seek to drag you out of reality and onto an isolated, nightmarish plane.
1. Loss- Horizonless
After six long years, Nashville funeral death/doom artists Loss have finally released Horizonless: their first LP since 2011’s legendary Despond. This album is one I’ve been anticipating for quite some time now, though I often wondered if they would be able to top the masterpiece which is Despond. The short answer, astoundingly, is yes. Comparing and contrasting the two, it is clear that Loss have come a long way since 2011. In almost every aspect, Horizonless sounds more well-rounded than its predecessor–it is more mature, more expansive, more potent. And yet, the group’s style has not truly changed in any significant way. In fact, Loss are sounding more despairing than ever, as well as coming across more confidently in their execution of it.
• • • Summary • • •
Doom metal has definitely expressed a clear dominance these past two weeks, easily encompassing the vast majority of this list. Although that doesn’t seem to have prevented a few black metal gems from getting through, there has been an elevated level of variety even amongst the subgenres of doom represented here, so there is definitely no need to be concerned about the lack of diversity. Fans of other genres than doom metal will definitely be able to find something interesting between these seven releases.
Thanks for reading!