(Here’s the first of KevinP’s monthly selection of releases for 2016, naming his Top 5 favorite albums released or scheduled for release during January.)
Writing these little “intros” for the monthly picks are by far my least favorite part of what I have to do. I always try and keep it pithy even on the off chance I have something profound to say. So on that note, here we go……
5. Just Before Dawn – The Dead and Those About to Die (EP)
Much in the same way you know Islander will update the site 67 times per day without fail, Sweden’s mid-paced Bolt-Throwing death metal machine, Just Before Dawn, continues churning out the same material release after release. I’m not saying that either one is bad, quite the contrary. It’s nice to have that kind of consistency and expectation (and free time on your hands). The third full-length album is due later this year.
4. Chthonic Cult – I Am the Scourge of Eternity
I’m convinced that Iron Bonehead Productions has some secret underground lab where they churn out bands to sign. There isn’t a month that goes by where my inbox doesn’t have some new band that IBP is releasing material from. Which brings us to this Polish/German band and their debut release of viscous black/death mayhem. Raw and bestial enough to fit what you would expect from this label, but not too much where it comes across as a sloppy, unpolished affair. Normally music of this ilk doesn’t reside in tracks ranging from 8 to 14 minutes, but somehow it works.
3. Latitudes – Old Sunlight
I don’t listen to much progressive metal, so I’m not going to go into detail on the specifics, except that rarely does this type of music have such an immediacy to it. For the most part this an instrumental affair with a few scattered vocal parts in a couple of songs. Musically this really grabbed me and demanded attention. No pointless noodling or meandering sensibilities for the sake of self-reflection, just straight-up quality prog with some dashes of black, death, and sludge to round it all out.
2. Affliction Gate – Dying Alone (EP)
Back in November when we premiered a track from this EP I stated that I really didn’t care for the idea of this being coined old school death metal or using another band to describe what these Frenchies were doing, and I still stand by that. This is DEATH METAL. You don’t need to quantify it with any other adjectives. This is what death metal sounds like, not old, new, modern, it just IS.
1. Fifth to Infinity – Omnipotent Transdimensional Soulfire
I can already see the eyes rolling into the back of some of your heads based on the band name, album title, and label releasing it. It probably doesn’t help matters that I’m gonna tell you this is atmospheric dark metal with elements of melodic black and death metal to it. Oh, and Martin Lopez (Soen, ex-Opeth/Amon Amarth) is the drummer. Are you still with me? Good, now remove your SurgicalBrute panties from your orifice and stay with me here.
Scrap any preconceived notion you may have about anything I’ve said and give the album a listen. It’s fresh, heavy, dark, and will be one of the better things you’ll have heard in 2016, even when December rolls around.
And if you require a more thorough analysis, you can read Andy Synn’s review of the album here.