Feb 192014

I’m still in alliteration mode, though I’m not completely happy with today’s title. Given the bands’ names, I probably should have gone with “The ABCs of Metal”. In alphabetical order, here are six new songs from five forthcoming albums that I discovered over the last 24 hours, all of which come highly recommended.


We’ve been closely following the progression of UK-based Ancient Ascendant, with very positive reviews (by Andy Synn) of both their 2011 debut album The Grim Awakening and their 2012 EP Into the Dark. Last month we reported the very nice news that the band had signed with Candlelight Records for the release of a new album (with Dan Swanö again handling the production). Now we’ve got the album title — Echoes and Cinder — and the album art (above), plus a new song that premiered yesterday.

The song’s name is “Riders”, and you can hear it next. It will give you a hell of a blistering, black-thrashing ride, something like being snagged by a giant red-eyed bat horde flying from their cave for a night on the hunt. Damned infectious, too — you’ll want to limber up your neck muscles before listening because heads will bang.






Animals As Leaders have a new album named The Joy of Motion coming our way on March 25 via the Sumerian label. Thanks to a post by MetalSucks, I discovered that they premiered a new song yesterday afternoon entitled “Tooth and Claw”. I’ve come to expect great things from this band since seeing them in Seattle on their first cross-country tour, and they’ve again met expectations with this jolting, swirling, typically acrobatic jaunt. And holy hell, the new drummer (Matt Garstka) gives the departed Nauvene K a run for his money. I can hardly wait for their return trip to Seattle on their forthcoming tour.






I’ve been following Vancouver’s Archspire for a long time — since December 2010 to be exact, when I came across their debut EP in one of my MISCELLANY excursions. Their 2011 debut album All Shall Align kicked a lot of ass and it landed them on a bunch of Canadian and European tours. And then in 2013 they signed with Season of Mist and began recording their SoM debut (and second album overall). The album is finally approaching its release — April 25 in Europe and April 29 in NorthAm. The title is The Lucid Collective and it features an album cover by one of my favorite metal artists, Ken Sarafin (click that image to double its size).

This morning the band released the new album’s first advance track — “Lucid Collective Somnambulation” — which is lyrically intended to be a sequel to the song “Rapid Elemental Dissolve” from All Shall Align. After a quirky, dissonant opening, the song explodes in an eye-crossing frenzy of technically immaculate, turbo-charged death metal. In this song there’s also a really big dog barking at super-speed, when he’s not trying to tear your throat out. It’s thoroughly explosive and thoroughly impressive.






I’ve been really excited about this Romanian band since learning that it includes the wonderfully talented graphic artist Costin Chioreanu (whose work you can see, for example, in that new Mayhem lyric video we posted yesterday) as guitarist/vocalist. They’ve recorded a five-song EP named Sunstone Voyager And The Candestine Horizon, which will be released by the phenomenally tasteful I, Voidhanger label on February 27. I would buy this CD simply to have the inside booklet, which will apparently feature multiple narrative images by Costin Chioreanu.

But having now heard two songs from the EP, I have even more reason to want this. The first song is “The Skeleton Key” and the second, which debuted yesterday via an official video, is “Free Ends”. The music rages like a black storm, slams like an avalanche, and spins off into space in hallucinatory digressions. Melodies, both dissonant and ethereal, writhe through the mayhem while bloody-minded vocals howl malignantly or chant ominously. The songs change course unpredictably (both in their pacing and in their musical styles) and they are marked by genuinely impressive instrumental performances by all of the musicians.

I don’t know what you would call this. Something like progressive post black metal sludge psychedelia. Or you could just call it excellent. And the video for “Free Ends” is a feast for the eyes (you can guess who created the artwork).








Coltsblood are yet another recent Candlelight Records signee from the UK. We first mentioned them in an enthusiastic show report by Andy Synn in December 2013. Their debut album is entitled Into the Unfathomable Abyss and it’s scheduled for release on March 25. I really dig the album art by Eric C. Harrison (Grief). I really dig the new song that Candlelight has made available for streaming on Bandcamp, too.

Its name is “Beneath Black Skies” and it’s a 14-minute monster of cold, crushing, glacial doom, inflicted with titanic fuzz-bombed chords, gut-punching percussion, and, from somewhere in the middle distance, the agonized screams of a tortured soul. Slithering through the music’s congealing tarriness are echoing serpentine melodies that do more to raise the hairs on your neck than to divert the band from their mission of pounding you completely flat.




  1. I like the sounds of Ancient Ascendant. Animals As Leaders is always good, and they remain one of the few bands who can make that djent guitar tone not boring. That Archspire track was a little disappointing, production-wise, although I hesitate to judge from a Youtube feed (especially one that sounds like such a low bitrate).

  2. the Ancient Ascendant track is a monster, can’t wait to hear the whole album!

  3. Damn. Candlelight has got a great bunch of albums coming out soon. Coltsblood probably takes the cake for me in this post though, ’cause DOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOM!!!

  4. Ancient Ascendant cover art made by Rotten Fantom, check it out, crazy stuff…

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