(Guest writer, deluded NY Giants fan, and hard man to please KevinP rejoins us with the first installment of what may become a series.)
2013 was a high water mark for metal releases. Seemingly it would be hard for 2014 to match up. But we are already off to a damn good start. Here’s a few things that have ‘wet my whistle’ so far.
MORBUS CHRON – SWEVEN
After carving out their own identity as more than just a “Sweden meets Autopsy” via their A Saunter in the Shroud EP, I was pretty excited for their follow-up sophomore full-length. Much to my surprise, they’ve taken a left turn and kinda gone the route that Tribulation did with The Formulas of Death. A brave move by a young band that’s willing to take chances, stick its neck out, and not just be “another old school death metal band”.
Sweven is out now in Europe and will be released in North America on March 4 by Century Media.
HAIL SPIRIT NOIR – OI MAGOI
Already a contender for Album of the Year, I’d be shocked if this didn’t stay within my Top 5 by the end of the year. Eclipsing their debut, Pneuma, in just about every way, this is one of those albums where the sum is far greater than its parts. Music this different and original that works so well is quite magical and not something you’ll hear too often. Pyschedlic blackprog is just the tip of the Acropolis.
KAUNIS KUOLEMATON – KYLMÄ KAUNIS MAAILMA
You remember the clean vocals on Black Sun Aeon’s Routa and RoutaSielu’s Pimeys? Those were courtesy of Mikko Heikkila, who is featured here on guitar and clean vocals (naturally). Basically a doomy version of melodic Finnish metal, all sung in Finnish. But this goes a few steps beyond what you would expect, thanks to the utterly cavernous vocals of Olli Saakeli Suvanto (End of Aeon). Olli goes between deep and standard death metal, while Mikko interjects from time to time. I’m not normally a fan of standard Finnish melodeath, so I’m glad they added some gravitas to the mix here.
Kylmä Kaunis Maailma will be released on April 25 by Violent Journey Records.
HATRIOT – DAWN OF THE NEW CENTURION
It’s always cool when a new Exodus album is released 😉 I’ve always been a Zetro fan, always will be. And since Exodus died for me when he left (compounded further since Dukes is beyond awful), it’s nice to hear him singing to familiar sounding thrash metal. This album isn’t going to light the world on fire, but it’s a decent progression from the debut, Heroes of Origin. I dislike at least 90% of the thrash revival stuff that’s come out in the last few years, so it’s always nice to have something new and thrashy to enjoy.
Dawn of the New Centurion was released earlier this month by Massacre Records.
COPROLITH – DEATH MARCH
Another Finnish band on Violent Journey Records (along with Kaunis Kuolematon). Their 2010 debut, Cold Grief Relief was an overlooked slab of fine black/death. The new album (if you can tell by this teaser, sorry I couldn’t find an album stream yet), follows much in the same vein, with a dash of Satryicon’s black-n-roll underpinning.
Death March will be released March 7 by Violent Journey.
What’s tickled you in that special spot this year? Let us know in the comments section below.