(This is the second part of a multi-part series by Austin Weber focusing on 2017 releases that we haven’t previously reviewed. Part 3 will follow tomorrow, and further installments are expected next week.)
In spite of what the naysayers will tell you, I’m of the opinion that there’s an absolutely ridiculous amount of good metal releases coming out all the time, many of them coming from new groups or independent groups that we’re just now catching onto for the first time.
This lengthy round-up has been in the works for awhile, but I kept adding more and more to the list of what I wanted to cover, and that delayed it until now. The focus here is on releases that dropped in 2017 that haven’t been covered at NCS yet. We’ll run through a boatload of harsh and unorthodox black metal, mountains of mathcore, death metal of all stripes, a few technical grindcore acts, a ton of different prog-metal bands, some sick instrumental metal jams, and a whole lot more. Hopefully you will find something new you enjoy in each installment.
KUUJEOJABENOJUJANOMIASHIKUSHIJA – HHEOALLE
If the name wasn’t a dead give-away, Kuujeojabenojujanomiashikushija are a strange fucking group, but thankfully it’s the good kind of weird. Avant-garde and experimental black/death is the name of the game here, and yet Kuujeojabenojujanomiashikushija’s take on the burgeoning style is fresh and uniquely eerie. At times quite minimalist and subtly psychedelic, the music on HHEOALLE has a distinctly smooth feeling in how it unfurls that I really enjoy.
The opening track is a lengthy soundscape-type piece, which is worth noting because the music often dives into dark soundscapes and film-score-sounding segments throughout HHEOALLE. In spite of largely attacking outward with slower tempos, there’s a massive heaviness it’s paired to that keeps things lively and invigorating. Likewise, although much of the music here is largely slower and oddly kinda like tech-doom in essence, when they do focus on going fast, it makes those blasting moments seem even grander due to their seldomness.
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THE HEADS ARE ZEROS – THE HEADS ARE ZEROS
I’ve been covering Baltimore’s own The Heads Are Zeros for several years now at NCS, and the band has a special knack for continually evolving into a nastier and more complex beast with each release. Their self-titled album just dropped a few months ago and offers up a punishing and intricate mathcore-fueled take on power-violence-heavy grindcore. The songs on The Heads Are Zeros are razor-sharp little slices of death, and each of them is expertly crafted and memorable. In addition, there’s more groovy riffs/passages interspersed throughout the new self-titled album which is a nice touch not present on prior works.
Since their inception, The Heads Are Zeros have delivered incredibly complex, chaotic, and heavy grind, and their latest effort is easily their finest work yet. This is the steak of grind, bold with a complex savory flavor. Be sure to indulge in a helping of some of the best grind out there right now on The Heads Are Zeros.
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EMPIRINE – REVENANT
I’ve been following Empirine off and on for a few years. This Swedish death metal duo has always brought a new twist on their sound to the table with each release, and Revenant is no exception. Empirine remind me of old school death metal heavy Opeth still, but there’s some new twists on Revenant — a heavy emphasis on Cynic-style vocoder robo-cleans, plus a hefty dose of tech-death and melo-death influences (think Amon Amarth maybe?) woven in.
Revenant is an interesting death metal release with a sense of gloom and sorrow to it that gives the music some real emotional weight. It’s taken them a few years and a couple releases, but Revenant in particular sees Empirine really coming into their own musically, and I’ve never been more excited about their music than I am now. This group definitely deserves a lot more attention, so once again, don’t skip out on checking this one out.
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