(In this post Dan Barkasi continues his monthly series recommending music from the previous month.)
Here we go again! With May long behind us, there was a lot of material to sift through, along with a hell of a time at Maryland Deathfest to remember. All good things!
Overall, May wasn’t the best month this year, but that doesn’t mean there weren’t some gems to uncover. Quite a good amount, actually, with the selections coming from a broad spectrum. Hey, that’s why I’m here – to give you the goods from all over! I try to deliver. Maybe not as exciting as the pizza delivery guy bringing carb-loaded goodies, but I do what I can!
Amestigon – Thier
So much for the saving the best for last theory! Amestigon’s sophomore album is a blend of everything that makes black metal great, with more turns than a Formula 1 race. The songs are long and all over the map, but one never loses interest, as every millisecond is oozing with quality. Give this multiple listens, and let it soak in.
Antigama – The Insolent
Antigama have always maintained a sound of their own, and this continues with “The Insolent.” Catchy grind with some electronic moments and a lot of punch.
Cult of Endtime – In Charnel Lights
Simply put, another top-notch concrete slab of doomy death metal from Finland. In Charnel Lights is a hell of a debut, which ticks all the boxes of what one would want from this style of music. Heavier than the boulder Indiana Jones narrowly escaped from.
Destruktor – Opprobrium
Thunderous death/thrash from down under. No, not the Thunder from Down Under. That’s more up KevinP’s alley. This is tear your face off, searing metal that doesn’t put on a pretty face. Blast and enjoy.
Doomed – Wrath Monolith
Doom/death that packs an undeniable wallop, Doomed have definitely released their best with Wrath Monolith. The low, sinister vocals mesh well with the bleak atmosphere and crunchy riffs that make this album what it is.
Entrails – Obliteration
Sometimes, one wants something loud and heavy. No frills – just face-smashing fun. Entrails do nicely at providing such a necessary distraction with their latest. Obliteration is one of their most potent offerings, and is a definite step up from Raging Death. Almost heavy enough to turn one into a gigantic green rage monster. Hulk smash!
Feral – Where Dead Dreams Dwell
Feral is an appropriate term for describing these Swedes’ music – primitive death metal is the name of the game. A tad grimy, but focused and crunchy at all the right moments. Feral have a huge winner with Where Dead Dreams Dwell, which thus far is one of the better death metal albums to come down the pipeline in 2015.
Ilsa – The Felon’s Claw
Death/doom with some crust riffing and a super-fat production. This is Ilsa, and their fourth album to date, The Felon’s Claw. Abrasive and potent, this album packs some serious, brick-smashing, heavier-than-something-really-heavy quality. In other words – it’s heavy. Never expected that word usage from a metal site, right? Despite my abuse of the word “heavy”, give it a go!
Leprous – The Congregation
“Progressive” is a term that’s tossed around way too liberally these days, but for Norway’s Leprous, this is the most fitting descriptive term. Their oddball, trippy style of metal is one of their own, and one that is undeniably infectious. The Congregation is another worthy addition to an increasingly impressive discography.
Öxxö Xööx – Nämïdäë
Keeping the weird vibe going, these Frenchies take the proverbial cake. Doom with gothic influences is the simple way to attempt to describe them, but it doesn’t really do the job. Avante garde fits, too, as this is all over the place. This is also a record that requires a time investment, but when it clicks, bask in the sheer bliss. Put in the time, keep the mind open, and reap the rewards!
Paradise Lost – The Plague Within
Definitely a divisive band since seemingly forever, but this guy is one who has liked every album the band have done to some degree. One Second was masterful. Yeah, take that. With the last few, however, the band have been going back to their doom/death roots. The Plague Within is certainly the grimiest thing they’ve done since the early ’90s, while still maintaining a little bit of the sensibilities of their more melodic work. A great album that should please on multiple levels.
Secrets of the Sky – Pathway
The best description I can muster for these fellows is progressive doom with some black thrown in to spice it up. The heavy portions are destructive, the clean ones somber, and the whole package is blissful. Some definite Downfall of Gaia similarities here, minus some of the crushing bleakness. This is great chill-out music, so sit back and soak Pathway in.
Teethgrinder – Misanthropy
Grindcore with teeth! Pun most definitely intended, naturally. In all seriousness, Teethgrinder have put together a serious piece of ferocious grind with Misanthropy. It’s not often that this guy is going to find two phenomenal albums of this ilk in a month, but we’ll take it. This is well-written and potent, with a mixture of influences ranging from crust to even a tad bit of black metal.
Vargnatt – Grausammler
Downtrodden and depressive black metal seems to be a “thing” now. However, when done right, it’s one of the most immersive subgenres going. Vargnatt do the style justice, which is putting it mildly. This is an opus of an album, and it’s the band’s first full-length. The arrangements are sublime, the clean segments are mesmerizing, and the collective sum of its parts is a serious achievement. Prepare to be blown away, not by my ridiculous adjective use, but by a band who deserve a load of attention.
That’ll do it for the grand old month of May. Almost to the halfway point, and there will be plenty of interesting tunes to delve into for June. There’s a few that are already pretty damn incredible, so it’s shaping up well so far.
As an aside, Bolt Thrower are coming up in less than a week, and it will be a doozy! Hope to have some NCS readers there in London, Ontario.
Per always, did I miss something? Probably. So let me hear about it below!
Thanks eternally for reading!