(In this post Dan Barkasi continues his monthly series recommending music from the previous month.)
June is long gone, but alas, there’s music that needs some light shed upon it!
Apologies for the delay on this one. Life finds a way – to get in the way of my getting this done faster. Thanks, Dr. Malcolm, for the line!
How good was June? It was loaded like a politician’s rhetoric, but not vomit-inducing. In other words, lots of audible goodies! A lot of styles represented, too, possibly being the month with the most diversity thus far.
Let it begin!
Abyssal – Antikatastaseis
Chaotic as they are potent, Abyssal’s third album displays a band who continue to hone their craft to devastating effect. This sublime combination of black, death, and doom metal is so crushing that it gives a dinosaur a run for its money. There’s also a little bit more melody than the previous two discs, which is used to great effect.
Blaze of Perdition – Near Death Revelations
Sophisticated black metal is the name of the game with Blaze of Perdition. Why sophisticated? This is complex, on-point, and refined as hell. Yet it also holds primitive and crushing qualities that equal the smoothness. This is a landmark release that has a huge helping of everything.
Dew-Scented – Intermination
One of the most consistent death/thrash bands out there, these Germans are back with album number ten. It’s heavy, it’s fast, and it’s overflowing with riff goodness. Exactly what’s expected from Dew-Scented, and they yet again deliver. Turn this one to eleven.
Encyrcle – Encyrcle
This band came straight out of nowhere. Well, Denmark, to be precise. Nevertheless, Encyrcle offer no fluff – just flat-out ridiculous old school speed metal done more than right. It’s that simple, and it’s that damn good.
God Is an Astronaut – Helios/Erebus
Yeah, it isn’t metal, but so what? Quality is what we’re about here, and this is oozing with it. Intricate, haunting, and an emotional roller-coaster is what you’ll get out of God Is an Astronaut’s latest. Best described as post-rock with gobs of ambience and crafty song-writing. Give it a go!
Graveworm – Ascending Hate
The Italian melodic black metal troupe is out with another disc, and it’s the best they’ve done in quite a while. True that it’s no Scourge of Malice, but this is tight and well-crafted stuff that is super-catchy in a good way.
Midnight Odyssey – Shards of Silver Fade
This is a monster in every sense of the term, both in quality and in sheer length. This is a two-disc release that clocks in at well over two hours. A one-man ambient black metal project, Midnight Odyssey has always been on the bold side. For as great as Funerals From the Astral Sphere was, this is a step up in every way. Give this time – literally – and it’ll suck you in like a black hole. There’s so much depth that even my wordy self is struggling to properly describe it adequately. For those who dare, this is loaded with rewards.
Neurotech – Stigma
The best industrial metal entity that most don’t know about, the ever-productive Neurotech is back with another full-length. If you enjoyed the superb Infra Versus Ultra, this will be right up your alley. As with every Neurotech release, this sucker is a free download. What does one have to lose? Nothing, so grab this puppy. Wulf can do no wrong!
Pale Chalice – Negate the Infinite and Miraculous
Very eerie black metal from California, Pale Chalice don’t offer the listener much innovation. What they do offer up, however, is dark and soul-sucking black metal done how it was meant to be done. These dudes have churned out a winner.
Shape of Despair – Monotony Fields
The Finnish masters of atmosphere-loaded funeral doom, these fellows are back with their first album in 11 years. It’s been way too long, and they haven’t missed a beat. Downtrodden and gloomy as ever, Shape of Despair are one of the best at what they do. Prepare to have your hopes shattered, while enjoying every second of it.
Sorrowful – In the Rainfall
Continuing on the doom front, Mexico’s Sorrowful come in with a crunchy debut that brings as much death metal as it does the slow stuff. The riffs are the real ear-catcher. Everything else comes together to complement, naturally, rounding out a more-than-solid debut that deserves some attention.
Sunset in the 12th House – Mozaic
From the brilliant minds that brought you the real Negura Bunget (pre-hostile-takeover) and the current Dordeduh comes Sunset in the 12th House. With these Romanians, there’s a ton of confidence in their ability to craft unique and timeless music, so there wasn’t any doubt about this one. They delivered, of course, with a progressive piece of psychedelic rock/metal with more twists and turns than a European mountain road. Awe-inspiring, to say the least. Settle in and let Mozaic paint a tapestry for the senses. Yeah, that was cheesy, but zip it and listen now!
Temple of Gnosis – Mysterivm Magnvm
Freaky, ambient, and trippy death/doom with an uber-creepy vibe that makes this debut EP stand out like a T-Rex in San Diego. Yes, another Jurassic Park reference. Freaky and undeniably potent, this is certainly for the types who enjoy something different.
Theoktony – Loss
U.K. mastermind Anil Carrier is back at it again, this time with Theoktony’s first release since their first – a long seven-year hiatus. The wait was worth it, though, with Loss being a ripping death metal juggernaut that’ll swallow you whole, spit you out, and gobble you up again. The vocals are punishing, the drums in your face, and the riffs oh so smashing. It’s so nice when it happens good!
To/Die/For – Cult
I never thought I’d be writing about this band again, but they somehow continue to rise from the ashes. The result is another solid release, offering up incredibly catchy and hook-laden gothic metal with a ton of soul. Jape Perätalo never quits and is one of the most determined guys around, and the band’s hard work pays off with Cult.
Vallendusk – Homeward Path
Atmospheric black metal with bite, all from an unlikely locale – Indonesia. Homeward Path is an engulfing album that has a high level of craftsmanship and execution, as well as being just plain fantastic. If lush and frequent melody mixing with your black metal sounds appealing, Vallendusk is in need of your attention!
Vattnet Viskar – Settler
Post-metal merged with black metal is Vattnet Viskar’s bag, and it’s quite the solid combination. Following up the underrated Skyswallower, Settler picks right up from where the band left off, with a relentlessness that’s simply infectious. This stuff gets stuck in the cranium awful easily, especially the phenomenal guitar work.
We’re now halfway through the year, and it’s been loaded thus far. Will it measure up to how full 2014 was? Time will tell, but as you’ve heard, there’s been a ton of phenomenal stuff thus far, with June being one of the best months out of the first six for this guy.
What did you like from June? If there’s something cool that you think should have been included, spit it out! I promise to be nice if I think it stinks. Maybe.
Thanks again for checking this out, and prepare for July. Could be interesting.