It’s been helluva year so far, and even though it’s only been half a year, there have been many good releases, both from genres that I love and from genres that I hardly listen to. As well, there have been quite a number of disappointments. Below we shall list a couple of noteworthy releases over the past six months (in alphabetical order):
Albatross/Vestal Claret – The Kissing Flies/Black Priest (Heavy/Doom Metal)
What a release. Albatross‘ debut EP, Dinner is You was quite a hard one to get into, but this, this captivates the listener right from the beginning with its powerful riffs, vocals and absurdly good songwriting. And what better way to end off the split with Vestal Claret‘s Black Priest, blasphemous and occult, made even more beautiful with the vocals of Phil Swanson.
Anhedonist – Netherwards (Death/Doom Metal)
Death/doom never sounded so beautiful until Anhedonist‘s debut full length album, Netherwards. Absolutely crushing, it sucks all sense of light and hope out from the listener, leaving him to fall into complete darkness and desolation as the album progresses, further displaying the amount of thought that has been put into the release.
Belligerent Intent – Seven Are They (Black/Death Metal)
Seven Are They is a natural progression for Australia’s Belligerent Intent from their 2010 EP, Descending to Abaddon. Same intense, blasphemous lyrical contents and vocal works of Craig, yet more brutal and technical than ever, with the introduction of axe-wielding duo Mike and Luke. And how can one ever miss the battery of Matt?
Binah – Hallucinating in Resurrecture (Death Metal)
This young UK death metal trio bursts into the scene with their debut full length album, Hallucinating in Resurrecture, barely 1 year after their formation. But the songwriting that is present here is mature and complex, and the crushing music and oppressive atmosphere would easily leave one in smithereens in no time.
Essenz – Mundus Numen (Black/Doom Metal)
Germany black/doom metal trio Essenz releases their follow up to their 2010 debut this year, Mundus Numen and easily displays how black/doom metal should be done. Equally captivating and haunting, the band manages to fuse elements of both genres into one seamless one that they can easily call their own. As if black metal or doom metal weren’t hopeless enough in themselves.
Hexen – Being and Nothingness (Progressive/Thrash Metal)
Following the many other excellent modern thrash metal counterparts such as Vektor, Hexen shows that they are also equally capable with their new album Being and Nothingness, and boasts a faster, more complex and overall more satisfying listening experience. Listen out for the neo-classical elements that the band has put into this release.
Nephelium – Coils of Entropy (Brutal Death Metal)
Nervecell has certainly become the face of UAE extreme metal. But Nephelium are here to tilt the equilibrium, and Coils of Entropy boasts some of the most technical and brutal performance out of the region so far and is easily one of my favourite brutal death metal releases, a genre that until this year I have consciously avoided.
Pseudogod – Deathwomb Catechesis (Black/Death Metal)
Until this album, metal from Russia has been something of a mystery to me. But everything on Pseudogod‘s debut, Deathwomb Catechesis is perfect. The monstrous vocals, the crushing guitars, the spacey atmosphere, down to the creepy yet somewhat majestic album artwork of Antichrist Kramer.
Revenge – Scum.Collapse.Eradication (Black/Death Metal)
War metal masters Revenge returns with their long awaited follow up to Infiltration.Downfall.Death with Scum.Collapse.Eradication this year. The departure of Pete Helmkamp was certainly a bummer, but nothing was gonna stop James Read from doing what he had to do. Scum.Collapse.Eradiccation follows in the steps of its predecessor, so if you liked Infiltration.Downfall.Death, this one won’t be a disappointment.
Sigh – In Somniphobia (how-the-fuck-should-i-classify-this metal)
And of course, how could one forget Mirai and co.’s new release, In Somniphobia? In typical Sigh fashion, this album once again sounds nothing like its predecessors. After the overly dark Scenes from Hell, In Somniphobia presents a somewhat light-hearted feel, with the indulgent usage of Dr. Mikkanibal’s saxophones, though evident from the album artwork, the mind of the band is still as sick and twisted as ever.