(Another month is in the history books, and so it’s time for KevinP to name the releases from last month that most impressed him.)
As I prepared to write this month’s column, my initial thought was: the lack of releases in July as compared to the rest of the year. I quickly realized that I had listened to 30 albums, and what a ridculous notion that was. If I “only” listened to 30 per month (normally it’s somewhere in the 40+ range), that would equate to 340 per year, which is borderline insane. Ok, on with the festivities….
5. Shroud of the Heretic – Unorthodox Equilibrium
Continuing the theme of things that first pop into my head, when I saw the band name I just assumed they were gonna be some hipster trending Portland or Denver band, trying to mix prog death metal and new age whatever. Little did I know they already had an EP and full length already under their belt. So as soon as I gave it a spin I was like, “wait, what’s going on here?”, and did a little more… okay, ACTUAL research (hey, at least I nailed the Portland thing).
Any release by Iron Bonehead Productions is going to give some instant credibility in my eyes. That’s not to say they don’t deserve it on their own, since based on the quality of the music, they very much do. So what does this sound like? I don’t think the band will be irrirated with me saying they sound like Incantation, as that’s the overiding theme here. But they do add some nice mellow and hypnotic passages to balance out the “thick as molasses in January” brutality.
4. The Negation – Memento Mori
Blistering, never slow down for more than a moment or two, balls-to-the-wall Frenchie black metal. Not French in the Deathspell Omega or Blut Aus Nord sense, it’s just I like using the term “Frenchie” (it tickles me silly for whatever reason). This is fairly inside-the-box when it comes to black metal, no reinvention of the wheel, but what I especially like is the thickness of the guitars and overall production. Gives the hyper-speed assault that extra punch a lot of bands lack. And even with all the madness flying by at breakneck speeds, they still find time to grab your attention with catchy riffs.
3. Indesinence – III
Wanna take a giant guess as to which album number this is for the band? Well, you’re wrong, I’m gonna be technical and include their EP, so that makes it four. And thus concludes my witty remarks for the month.
So we have another band who fit some of the running themes this July: quality label (Profound Lore), not looking to try and be original (death doom in the vein of their past material). Strangely enough, when I first heard this album I was fairly dismmisive of it, feeling it didn’t come close to the their prior work, Vessels of Light and Decay. But slowly this wormed its way into my cortex. I went back to Vessels, and it’s probably a toss-up which one I like better at this point. Ilia Rodriguez and Andy McIvor, both of fellow UK band Binah, are also on vocals/guitars and bass duties here.
2. Turbocharged – Militant
The most fun release of the month. Not from a comedy perspective, but a “you know what you get from this band by looking at their name” thing. I
‘m kinda ashamed I never heard of them before since this album just scratches an itch that needed scratching. There’s no mystery here. It’s thrashy death metal with a bit of punk flavor thrown into the mix. Song titles include: “Popecleaver”, “Where the Sodomites Never Burned”, “Massive Worldwide Armageddon”, “Extreme Dechristianization”, and the cleverly named “Left Hand Psychopath” (get it?). These Swedes have been kicking around since 2000, with other album titles such as Area 666 and Christ Zero. And yes, it does have the old-school Sunlight Studios Swedish death metal production, but it’s done with such a don’t-give-a-fuck conviction, it’s hard not to be won over. Which makes sense, since Go Fuck Yourself Productions is handling the release.
1. Barshasketh – Ophidian Henosis
Finally, another band who are brand new to me. What caught my attention was this being released by World Terror Committee (a label known for nothing but high quality black metal). Actually, to give credit where credit is due, this is a joint release with Blut & Eisen Productions. Ophidian Henosis is the third full-length album from this “New Zealand and we decided to move to Scotland” black metal quartet. And like most bands on the W.T.C. roster, there’s just something about their method of attack that makes them stick out from the pack of every other band trying to be all evil and kvlt. It runs the gamut of modern day black metal music (production, melody, song structure, etc., etc.). My meager brain can’t really think of anything else whiz-bang to say. It’s just damn good and high-quality, make sure you give it a listen.