Metalmance’s Top Releases of 2018: 40 to 31

The first instalment of Metalmance’s Top 40 Releases of the 2018.

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Welcome to my first instalment of my Top Releases of the 2018. I decided to not only have albums in the list, but EPs too, purely because of the wealth of fantastic ones released in the past 12 months. I will post 10 albums at a time, so without further ado enjoy my Top 40 to 31 albums of the year!

40

VEXESAncient Geometry

Released back in February, it feels like a long time since VEXES released their debut album Ancient Geometry yet it hasn’t lost any of its punch. The album has a shimmering nostalgic, progressive rock tinge, with a large helping of DEFTONES-esque melodies and ambiance. Featuring past members from a variety of established bands, VEXES bring all their skills and expertise together in this impressive record. Do not sleep on this album. My full review is linked below.

Vexes – Ancient Geometry

39

PSYCROPTICAs The Kingdom Drowns

Still a relatively new album as it was only released last month, As The Kingdom Drowns is the seventh album by Austrailian tech mertallers PSYCROPTIC and it’s making enormous waves in the tech death scene. It’s been a cracking year for tech death with the likes of BEYOND CREATION, INFERI and OSBCURA releasing albums, but for me, this effort by PSYCROPTIC surpasses those others as it’s the one I feel compelled to return to again. The instrumentation is absolutely stellar on this album, proving PSYCROPTIC are only getting better with each release. Cracking stuff.

38

WALK IN COMABlur The Line of Fiction and Hate

Here is the first of the EPs I have included in this year’s list. Southend’s WALK IN COMA are establishing themselves as one of Essex’s most promising metal acts with their EP, Blur The Line of Fiction and Hate. The band produce strong, in-your-face metal with good hooks and enough riffs to keep a PANTERA fan happy, but it is the second track Through Your Eyes which proves to be something very special indeed.

Walk In Coma – Blur The Line Of Fiction And Fate 

37

ORPHANED LANDUnsung Prophets & Dead Messiahs

Way back in January, Israeli progressive metallers ORPHANED LAND released the stunning Unsung Prophets & Dead Messiahs, and we need this album more than ever. The band have always flawlessly tied oriental elements in with their metal foundations and it always creates a spectacular result. Much like most of their back catalogue, ORPHANED LAND stresses the importance of equality, acceptance and love. The topics and themes feel a lot more urgent on this release, copying the state of current affairs in the world today. If you want an album where you feel you can unite with humanity, this would be it.

Orphaned Land – Unsung Prophets & Dead Messiahs 

36

TESSERACTSonder

When I reviewed Sonder, the fourth album by British prog metallers TESSERACT, back in April, I said it’s nowhere near the band’s best album but it could potentially worm its way into album of the year lists. Unfortunately the album didn’t stick with me throughout the remainder of the year, hence its low placing in my album list. Sonder has lots of good songs but it doesn’t maintain momentum or interest for me, compared to albums released by their contemporaries this year which have ranked higher. It’s still a strong album but I’m not convinced it will stand the test of time in the long run.

Tesseract – Sonder

35

WOLF KINGLoyal To The Soil

WOLF KING sound like what I always wanted TRAP THEM to become. They boast filthy, blackened hardcore along with strenuous screams that make their debut album Loyal to the Soil absolutely disgusting – in a good way! WOLF KING sound like the aural equivalent of a full day down the mines; dark, suffocating, dirty and forever plunging into the depths. An incredibly underrated debut release this year, I’m hoping Loyal to the Soil will eventually be celebrated as one of the finest slabs of blackened hardcore to date.

34

JESUS PIECEOnly Self

Speaking of filthy hardcore (oo-er!) Only Self is another breathtaking debut released this year…breathtaking in the winded kinda way. JESUS PIECE are rapidly emerging in the hardcore scene thanks to their CODE ORANGE-esque riffs and their 90s-inspired beats. This year has seen a lot of hype for JESUS PIECE’s contemporaries VEIN, but personally I think the former have the edge. The brutality, the ferocity and downright filth is both crushing and considerably impressive for a debut release. Expect big things. You can read more on what I have to say about Only Self in the link to the Roundup below.

Roundup – August 2018

33

MECHROMORPHSelf-titled EP

I couldn’t write my top 40 releases of the year list without including a quality band from my hometown. Slam metal band MECHROMORPH are the best metal band to burst out of Clacton since…well…ever. The band are proving their worth in the scene, having played shows all over the country and lighting a fire under other local bands. Their self-titled EP features old school sounds along with contemporary slam elements in the same vein as VULVODYNIA, INGESTED etc. Once the band have established their sound there is no reason they couldn’t also prove to be an unstoppable force.

Mechromorph – Self-titled EP

32

BLEEDING THROUGHLove Will Kill All

I always thought any new BLEEDING THROUGH album would be in my Top 10 albums of the year, so I’m surprised with myself for placing the band’s comeback album fairly low in the rankings. The metalcore darlings ended their career on a high with 2012’s The Great Fire and frontman Brandan Schieppati released a brilliant solo album as THE IRON SON in the meantime, but unfortunately Love Will Kill All didn’t quite live up to expectations compared to their peers ATREYU and THE AGONY SCENE who released better quality albums this year. Don’t get me wrong, this is still a solid album, and last track Life is positively stunning. Check out my BLEEDING THROUGH retrospective I wrote earlier in the year for my low-down on each of their albums.

METALMANCE RETROSPECTIVE: Bleeding Through

31

VALIS ABLAZEBoundless

This mesmerising debut album by Bristolians VALIS ABLAZE is the album I’ve moved around the most whilst compiling this Top 40 list. Boundless is an awesome progression from the band’s EP Insularity, but it’s an album I’ve struggled to return to throughout the year which is why I haven’t placed it higher. There are several particularly stunning tracks on here such as Lumen, Afterlight and Frequency which prove VALIS ABLAZE are one of the leading lights of British progressive metal. Choosing Paradox as their lead single might not have been the wisest choice as it doesn’t show the band at their most original, but bloody hell the potential is there for greater things.

Valis Ablaze – Boundless

Roundup – November 2018

The last Metalmance Roundup of the year.

This roundup is a tricky one because I don’t want to write too much before my album of the year list. I’ve kept it simple for this one, my usual top 3 albums of the month but I’ve also added an artist spotlight about one of my favourite bands who released their long-anticipated new album earlier in November. Check it out! There won’t be a roundup in December as you will be treated with my album of the year post. Stay tuned.


Metalmance Top 3 Releases of November

1

COLD NIGHT FOR ALLIGATORS – Fervor. Release date: 9 November 2018.

You might remember I featured these Danes in my September roundup when I chatted about their single Canaille. This track seemed a little more melodic than their last album Course of Events, but when you give Fervor a chance you discover the band haven’t lost any of their brutality, but instead sound a lot more mature and quite unique. The album boasts the band’s progressive songwriting abilities, but it is hard to ignore one of the major selling points of COLD NIGHTS FOR ALLIGATORS is their immensely talented vocalist Johan Pedersen who really does push himself with this record. Add this to the band’s forward-thinking metal and you’re onto a winner. I’ve been saying it all year, but there really must be something in the water in Denmark judging by the quality of metal bands emerging this year, now you can add COLD NIGHT FOR ALLIGATORS to the ever-growing list.

2

NIGHT CROWNED – Humanity Will Echo Out EP. Release date: 30 November 2018.

Featuring ex-members of bands such as DARK FUNERAL, THE CROWN, NIGHTRAGE and CIPHER SYSTEM, you can probably gauge the high calibre of blackened death metal newbies NIGHT CROWNED conjure. Debut EP Humanity Will Echo Out three tracks of blackened perfection. The ferocity and intensity of this incredibly short EP is astounding. It’s one of those darkly magical releases that leaves you absolutely gagging for more – three tracks is nowhere near enough. If you’re left winded after this short EP, just imagine what impact their debut full-length is going to have. Bloody hell. You can read my full review of Humanity Will Echo Out by clicking on the link below.

Night Crowned – Humanity Will Echo Out EP

3

VOICES FROM THE FUSELAGE – Odyssey: The Founder of Dreams. Release date: 9 November 2018.

Back in 2016, progressive alternative outfit VOICES FROM THE FUSELAGE released the stunning Odyssey: Destroyer of Worlds. This month the band from Northampton released the second instalment, Odyssey: The Founder of Dreams. One of the most striking elements about this album is the inclusion of more cinematic moments. The first album was quite dramatic but this album takes it to the next level and sounds positively stratospheric in places. An example being the album opener Via and its epic break in the middle. Songs like Life on Titan has a mild orchestral feel giving their music an extra kick when things lull into too much safety. What I like so much about Odyseey: The Founder of Dreams is it has a bit more oomph! compared to its predecessor. First single Nine Levels hinted that this would be so, and the album doesn’t disappoint.


Artist Spotlight

ARSIS

 This month also saw the release of the long awaited new album by American technical death metal crew ARSIS, titled Visitant, and for me personally this album has been an excruciatingly long wait. The band have always seemed a bit of an elusive entity to me. None of my friends had heard of them at school, let alone listened to them and liked them, but since the rise of online metal communities I’ve learned I’m not alone and the band’s fanbase is in fact, huge. It all started way back in 2005 when I heard their song Maddening Disdain on a record sampler released by their former label Earache Records. I hadn’t heard anything like the technical metal they wrote and it’s awesome to now see them recognised as one of the fathers of the genre. Back then you couldn’t really stream music so it took me years to listen to their debut album A Celebration of Guilt, which Maddening Disdain is featured on. It’s only until now I actually own the CD! If you know me or follow me on Instagram then you’ll know I always prefer buying physical copies of albums, but to the extreme I have to buy it in person and not online. So I always thought I’d never find A Celebration of Guilt in the flesh until by surprise I found the CD for sale at a stand at this year’s Damnation Festival. I already owned 2008 album We Are The Nightmare (I bought it on a whim in HMV when it came out as I was still pining for a copy of their debut) so now I feel like I can finally start to complete my ARSIS collection. It took a couple of spins for Vesitant to ‘click’ but I’m immensely pleased they’re back with a killer record. It’s reassuring to hear the band haven’t watered down their sound at all, and with contempories such as REVOCATION and GOROD also releasing brilliant albums this year, ARSIS have made 2018 the year of the return of technical death metal.

Damnation Festival 2018

3 November 2018. Leeds University Union.

The second I stepped out of Damnation Festival last year I already decided I would return again in 2018. The atmosphere and variety of bands for this awesome in-door festival is unparalleled and it does feel lovingly unique. Each new line-up announcement throughout the year whetted my appetite more until the day finally came where I would once again be at Damnation. As soon as doors opened, the positive energy of extreme metal’s finest punters poured into each of the venues and the merch area.

The bars were already heaving with battle-jacket-clad metal fans as I wandered down to the Tone MGMT Stage to witness LEECHED opening the festival. The band’s debut album You Took The Sun When You Left is a gritty and dark affair, so it was no surprise their set was equally as suffocating. Backlit and shrouded with smoke, the hardcore metallers from Manchester were an intense group with their gruff vocals, blackened riffs and power violence elements. It’s hard to keep your eyes off drummer Tom Hansell; one because of his impressive myriad of tattoos and two, because it becomes clear he’s the secret weapon for LEECHED with his ferocious drumming and hardcore vocals. An excellent start to the day.

It would have been rude not to catch progressive darlings CALIGULA’S HORSE on the Eyesore Merch Stage as they did come all the way from Australia, but also because they’re one of THE most exciting progressive metal bands on the planet right now (they’re better than LEPROUS, there I said it). Starting their set with Dream the Dead off last year’s In Contact, the Aussie troupe mesmerised and stunned the crowd with their majestic set. On record they can sound quite soft, but in a live setting they’re surprisingly heavy. It’s clear they made new fans this afternoon judging by some of the expressions of delight in the curious crowd.

I sneaked off before the end of CALIGULA’s HORSE’s set to make my way to the Cult Never Dies Stage to get a good spot to witness MØL strut their stuff. The venue was already packed full with people, endorsing a one in, one out policy when the set started. I was close enough to see frontman Kim Song Sternkopf scream in the faces of the people down the front, in his madman-godlike state throughout the set. The Danish blackgaze group have rapidly gained a fanbase this year after the successful release of their debut album Jord and judging by the volume of people in the room, it proves there is a real buzz about this band right now. Having seen them at their debut London show earlier in the year supporting SVALBARD, I knew what to expect but their intensity and sheer blackgaze perfection still astounded me. It’s just a shame the fire alarm interrupted the set…

Once all the fuss (and annoyance) of the fire alarm had died down I headed to the Jagermeister Stage to see NE OBLIVISCARIS absolutely tear up the room with their extreme progressive metal. Their tight sound cut through the room like a knife; they were absolute perfection. The guitars sung and clean vocalist and violinist Tim Charles could do no wrong. The professionalism of the band resonated round the room, proving they were masters at their craft. Clearly owning the biggest stage in the students’ union, I wouldn’t be surprised if the band headline a few years down the line.

Having said this, I’m surprised Birmingham’s ANAAL NATHRAKH are yet to headline a Damnation as their set is always a killer. Easily whipping up the most brutal crowd of the day, the black metal veterans prove their worth with their stellar set of songs old and new. Forward! off new album A New Kind of Horror sounds equally as punishing as older classics Forging Towards the Sunset and Depravity Favours the Bold. The fighting pit in the middle of the room showed the fans’ appreciation of the band’s unforgiving music. Throw in a pair of knickers on the stage and you got yourself a legendary Damnation performance.

If I wanted to find something a bit more soothing then I was never going to find it with CELESTE on the Tone MGMT Stage. The French experimental metallers hypnotised the crowd with their unique aesthetic. Lit only by a red light strapped to each member’s head, it created an eerie – heck- celestial atmosphere which superbly suited the dissonant tones of their music. A severely underrated band, I was especially pleased to see a large turnout for them.

It was truly special to see death metal legends ENTOMBED A.D. tear up the Jagermeister Stage. They sounded bigger and more badass as ever with frontman L-G Petrov pacing up and down the stage commanding the crowd with his epic growls. Death metal never sounded so good but I needed to hop along to the Tone MGMT Stage to get a decent spot to see BATUSHKA deliver their sermon. I wish I hadn’t bothered and gone to see MONUMENTS instead as the room was absolutely packed to the brim for BATUSHKA. The majority of people couldn’t see the stage, let alone move and the band came on late so a lot of the crowd were getting agitated and impatient while people pushed past to try and find a better viewing position. The set was a prime example of the wrong choice of stage for a band, but from what I could see (very little) the black metal band from Poland were visually stunning. I’ll try and see them another time when I’m also not being crushed slowly to death.

To recover, I went back to the Jagermeister stage to see the mighty IHSAHN play an utterly mesmerising set. A legend in the black metal scene and a respectable solo artist in his own right, IHSAHN proved his worth tonight playing the best selection of songs from his albums. Songs from new album Amr sounded fuller live than they do on record, but a personal highlight for me was hearing Celestial Violence from 2016’s Arktis resonate around the room. His black metal vocals have always been perfection but tonight his clean vocals also got the recognition they deserve. A stellar set of magical proportions, IHSAHN just keeps getting better when it wasn’t thought possible.

I regrettably missed THE OCEAN’s set but before I stumbled back to the hotel I couldn’t leave without seeing grindcore legends NAPALM DEATH smash some skulls and rip up the Jagermeister Stage. Excluding the fire alarm earlier, today has truly been a fantastic day of metal. The festival already promise their biggest band yet for next year and I can’t wait to see who will be announced first. Damnation is a festival I’d recommend to everyone. See you next year.

Night Crowned – Humanity Will Echo Out EP

Label: Black Lion Records. Release date: 30 November 2018.

When you think you’re safe from the darkest of extreme metal for another year, NIGHT CROWNED emerge and launch their debut EP, Humanity Will Echo Out, to drag you to the depths of Hell. This EP is only three tracks long but it is enough to pack a punch and leave you fearing the dark. NIGHT CROWNED are a blackened death metal band hailing from Sweden. This terrifying troupe of shadow consists of members from various bands of the underground, including DARK FUNERAL, THE CROWN, NIGHTRAGE and CIPHER SYSTEM, proving NIGHT CROWNED have grown from the darkest of roots.

The seeds of menace are sown with first track No Room For Hope. The song delivers what it says on the tin. The suffocating, blackened complexity of the music smothers the listener and diminishes all hope. The opener crashes in, taking no prisoners with its symphonic air and ferocious drumming. The devilishly swift pace whips you up and spits you out in a flurry of polished guitar solos, demonic screams and epic instrumentation.

Second track Nocturnal Pulse provides the main core of the EP; the blackened riffs gallop with full force obliterating foes in its wake. The brilliant production ensures a massive sound, enabling the atmosphere generated by the band is a spectacular one. The commanding vocals are relentless, adding oodles of malice to the madness.

EP finale All Life Ends provides a horrifying conclusion. With its eerie instrumentation at the beginning, the song erupts into pure black metal perfection. Channelling their inner EMPEROR and CRADLE OF FILTH, NIGHT CROWNED demand your stamina keeps up with their unforgiving pace. Regardless, you’re left winded from the blistering close.

The intensity of Humanity Will Echo Out is unbelievable. It’s hard to accept this is a debut EP, as it sounds like the epitome of their genre. If this is what NIGHT CROWNED achieve with their first release, then what the hell are they going to conjure up for their debut album? All I know is I want to be there to witness the Armageddon. Brilliant stuff.

Unwill – Can’t Kill Me

Release date: 16 November 2018. Self-release.

Considering New York rock n roll trio UNWILL have played Warped Tour, shared stages with the likes of VANNA, LETLIVE and HE IS LEGEND, they’ve yet to make any ripples here in the UK. I very much enjoyed their rock-tastic debut album Past Life released last year and I also admire their punky/gothy edge. However, they’re far from original but that doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy their catchy and ballsy tunes. New album Can’t Kill Me is a bit edgier, a bit cockier and a hell of a lot groovier than its predecessor.

Opening with the confident Keep It Gold, UNWILL are flaunting their simple, yet sexy style with riffs-a-plenty and gang vocals-galore. Getaway boasts licks and riffs that MOTLEY CRUE would blush at, yet UNWILL still boast a kind of innocence about them that makes the trio more cheeky than debauched, which could work to their advantage.

Fault is a bit of a slow burner with its acoustic stance and slower pace. It shows an unexpected side to UNWILL and this unplugged song is oddly charming. We’re back in business with Say What? which is a flamboyant anthem and one of the heavier tracks on Can’t Kill Me, making it stand out. The dramatic ending is the highlight of the album and comes as a big surprise. I’ll say no more.

Album finale I’ll Be Damned begins like a 90s DEFTONES track and the grungy retro feel continues throughout. The rumbling bass and tempting vocals create an epic foundation of rock for their pop sensibilities. There’s something a bit BULLETS AND OCTANE and AVENGED SEVENFOLD-ish about UNWILL that would appeal to heavier fans of rock and the metal crowd in general. The crossover appeal cannot be ignored and is sure to play to their strengths.

UNWILL don’t threaten to push the boundaries of rock but they do threaten to push the boundaries of your record collection. In complicated times it’s good to have a fresh band playing unashamedly ballsy and catchy rock music, leaving you at risk of shaking your hips and banging your head along to the music. Don’t be afraid to indulge.

Roundup – October 2018

After a much needed break I am back and ready to share all the kickass metal that I was enjoying in October. I know I’m a little late, but better late than never eh? In this roundup I feature my top 3 releases from last month and other notable releases I’ve been particularly fond of for the past few weeks. See you throughout November for more awesome music and my Damnation review!


 

Metalmance Top 3 Releases from October

October saw awesome releases from the likes of VOLA and BLOODBATH but it also welcomed records from lesser known bands, some of which are featured below. The nights are drawing in and music is also getting darker. I’ll also be thinking about my AOTY list. Stayed tuned!

1

AVAST – Mother Culture. Release date: 26 October 2018.

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You may remember Mother Culture by Norwegian blackgaze metallers AVAST was my last full review on here. It is also the album I am still heavily rotating since my review and a definite contender for my album of the year. This is one of the most stunning debut albums of 2018, with its intense black metal riffs and blissful releases of shoegaze and melody. On the more ferocious end of the blackgaze spectrum, Mother Culture is a relentless work of art, with its title track and Birth of Man being two of its standout songs. The atmosphere is suffocating throughout, making for an fierce listen. Read my review below for a better insight into this phenomenal debut.

Avast – Mother Culture Review Link

 

2

MYCELIA – Apex. Release date: 12 October.

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Describing a band as ‘djent’ these days results in the rolling of the eyes. However, Swiss metallers MYCELIA somehow avoid being pigeonholed as a bog-standard djent band as so much happens in their fifth full length, Apex. If you dig SIKTH, BETWEEN THE BURIED AND ME and DILLINGER ESCAPE PLAN then this band is for you, as the mix-mash of elements creates a thrilling experience which is also downright heavy. The instrumentation is extremely impressive, especially the blistering riffs and jazz flourishes. This band are not afraid to be ambitious and it pays off. Tracks such as the single Eight Milligrams and the brilliant Slip-Along Jack McTravis, boast the talent on display. There are a few amusing moments in the same vein as CARNIVAL IN COAL and the theatrical moments of DILLINGER, but nothing is more surprising than Cromulon and the absolute beast of a track it is. You could do a lot worse than check MYCELIA out.

 

3

AS EVERYTHING UNFOLDS – Closure EP. Release date: 19 October.

ClosureHigh Wycombe post-hardcore/alternative outfit AS EVERYTHING UNFOLDS have dropped the storming Closure. A record so full of emotion and energy, the potential of this young band oozes out of each track of this glorious EP. Vocalist Charlie Rolfe carries the band with her fantastic warbles, I really hope they don’t get lumped with the PARAMORE tag based on there being a young female vocalist in the band, because AS EVERYTHING UNFOLDS absolutely slay with a ferocious energy. Songs such as 17:10 and Divided (featuring Sam Stolliday from THECITYISOURS) prove the band can hold their own with their melodic songwriting and their metallic stance. If they keep releasing fantastic material such as this, then they run the risk of becoming Britain’s next big thing.


 

On the playlist…

Just a short section this month as I’m catching up with a lot of music but below is another notable mention from October and an album which I have discovered and fallen head over heels with…

SOUL DISSOLUTION – Nowhere EP. Release date: 18 October.

artwork - cover

Post black metal is really thriving at the moment, and after two full length albums, Belgian experimental metallers SOUL DISSOLUTION released new EP Nowhere in October, and it is a brooding and crushing delight. Only featuring two songs, this EP is a beautiful and chilling affair with many spectacular moments of sheer intensity and ferocity which erupt into euphoric passages. First track Road to Nowhere has some glorious black metal moments which are perfect for these dark, wintery nights. Second track Fading Darkness is a slower affair that creeps along in an eerie oscillation of blackened goodness. The soaring black metal riffs resonate from the rich depths of the music. Influenced by bands such as AGALLOCH, ALCEST and KATAONIA, you can get the idea of the brooding black metal paradise the band aim to create. Spectacular stuff.

 

THE SHIVER – Adeline. Release date: 4 April 2017.

ShiverIn October I saw my childhood favourites THE RASMUS play in Norwich and beforehand I wasn’t holding out much hope for the support bands. How I was wrong. One band in particular, THE SHIVER, an alternative rock band from Italy, completely blew me away. Their last album Adeline is a spectacular mix of hard rock, shoegaze riffs, metallic moments and sheer brilliance – I’ve been left wondering where this album has been my whole life! Featuring some strong storytelling (the title track sometimes reminds me of LEPROUS) and MY VITRIOL-esque riffs, I feel like I have discovered one of the most underrated European bands of all time. Confident, talented and full of passion, everything THE SHIVER play feels like a genuine outpour of love. Couple this with the fact that they’re very nice and approachable people and you’ve got yourself a band that have captured my heart.

Roundup – September 2018

This month has seen a plethora of awesome album releases (see below) but September has also been an outstanding month for new singles. So much so I have decided to dedicate the second half of this roundup to September Singles. A bit of alliteration is nice innit. Hope you enjoy this roundup, see you next month! (Hopefully before that as I’ve got a lot of bloody good reviews in the pipeline…)


Metalmance Top 3 Releases from September

It’s been hard to choose just 3 releases to include, as this month also saw blistering releases from the likes of PIG DESTROYER, REVOCATION and ABORTED but I have finally settled on a Top 3 and I’m very happy with it. Seriously, every month I say this but what the hell is going to happen with my album of the year list in December?! 2018 has been a killer year for releases and we still have 3 months to go! Help!

1

ANAAL NATHRAKH – A New Kind of Horror. Release date: 28 September.

A New Kind of Horror

Based on the atrocities of the First World War, this was never going to be a cheery listen. If you follow my blog you will have already read my little review of the album preview show at the Black Heart (link below) but listening to it again properly is just another mindblowing experience. If you know me then you’ll know I think the band’s 2012 album Vanitas is perfection, so you will understand how good A New Kind of Horror is once I’ve told you I think this is the band’s best material since 2012. Songs like The Reek of Fear and Forward! boast the classic beefy riffs and intensity ANAAL NATHRAKH are so well known for. It’s reassuring to hear they haven’t watered down their sound now they’re further along in their career. In fact they sound ballsier and more terrifying than ever. This album is a must-listen.

Anaal Nathrakh + The Atrocity Exhibit Live Review

2

SKYHARBOR – Sunshine Dust. Release date: 7 September.

Sunshine Dust

I’m surprised to see Sunshine Dust hasn’t been making the waves I was expecting it to, because I think this album is absolutely stunning. A major factor of this album’s appeal is the warbles from new frontman Eric Emery. Before this album was re-recorded and released, we had already been treated to Out of Time and Chemical Hands (now Synthetic Hands) so this album has been an extremely long wait. It was all worth it though as Sunshine Dust boasts a wealth of beautifully progressive and emotive songs. Tracks like Ugly Heart, Dim and the title track all tug on the heart strings yet still pack a punch. Definitely a contender for album of the year, don’t be surprised if you see Sunshine Dust high up in my list at the end of 2018.

Skyharbor – Sunshine Dust Review

3

FROM INSIDE – When I’m Breathing Without You EP. Release date: 14 September.

From Inside

At the tail end of 2016 I reviewed FROM INSIDE’s first EP The New Era (link below) and I predicted big things for the band and named them as possible game-changers down the line. This statement still stands as this new EP is a major jump in both confidence and quality. Opener Helpless has an irresistible European tinge to proceedings (think ANNISOKAY and DEAD BY APRIL) and You & I reminds me of THE USED and ISSUES, so you can probably gauge the high calibre metal on offer here. Still an unsigned band, the Liverpudlians are doing just fine continuing as an independent band, playing oodles of shows and building their fanbase. If this EP is anything to go by, when FROM INSIDE do release a debut album it’s going to be absolute killer.

From Inside – The New Era Review


September Singles

Normally this section is dedicated to other albums I’ve been listening to in the past month, but September has seen an influx of stupidly good singles, ahead of album releases. So I thought I would use this opportunity to share my favourite ones of the month and shed light on the bands in the lead up to their records dropping.

ARSIS – Tricking the Gods

The best news this month was hearing technical melodic death metal legends ARSIS are finally releasing their sixth album Visitant on 2nd November. I grew up listening to albums Celebration of Guilt and We Are The Nightmare, so ARSIS have been pivotal in my extreme metal history. This single is by far the best thing they’ve ever done, so if the new album is anything like this then we are all in for a little treat. The band haven’t lost any of their intensity or brutality, if anything it sounds like they’ve become even more technical and ambitious. This accompanying video is very fitting and not for the faint hearted. All the lyrics of the forthcoming album are apparently about different horror movies so be prepared for a blistering and terrifying release.

LASTELLE – This Cage I Built Myself

Who the hell are LASTELLE? I just so happened to stumble upon them on a Youtube channel and I’ve been besotted with this song ever since. It appears the band are only just starting out but have already sold out a gig in their home city of Oxford. LASTELLE have the knack of writing spine-tingling melodies with their drummer stealing the show with his melodic vocals (ATREYU vibes are strong with this one) but they seem to have penned the perfect post-hardcore track for the contemporary scene. Be prepared to feel all the feels. And be prepared to hear a lot more of this talented band.

COLD NIGHT FOR ALLIGATORS – Canaille

Danish progressive metal band COLD NIGHT FOR ALLIGATORS have been on my radar for a little while, so when I saw they had now been signed to Long Branch Records I was very excited. After hearing new single Canaille my thought was confirmed that the band are only going to get bigger and receive more recognition. A little bit more melodic than their previous material, this single is an absolute belter. There are a lot of interesting elements to Canaille, including jazz and djent and emotive rock. I am curious to hear how forthcoming album Fervor (out 9th November) will sound as a whole. Refreshing, fun and talented, COLD NIGHT FOR ALLIGATORS are sure to warm the coldest of reptiles with their forward-thinking metal. Expect to hear more about these guys.

DECAY THE OCEAN – Oizys, Beneath Me

Fed up with being labelled as just another 4/4 metalcore band, Kings Lynn DECAY THE OCEAN have fought back at critics with this promising new single, Oizys, Beneath Me. Starting with a beefy riff, this new track has got more grit, guts and determination than any of the songs on their debut EP Mirror City. Clearly stepping in the right direction to prove their doubters wrong, it’s good to see this young band eager to mature their sound and constantly improve. The love of playing music is clearly there and will hopefully continue to ooze out in the material they release later down the line.

VOICES FROM THE FUSELAGE – Nine Levels

Following on from 2016’s Odyssey: The Destroyer of Worlds, British progressive champions VOICES FROM THE FUSELAGE dropped the news this week they will be releasing their next album, titled Odyssey: The Founder of Dreams later in the year. Along with the news of the forthcoming album, the band also released their first single off it, Nine Levels. I feel this song has a strong COHEED AND CAMBRIA vibe at the beginning before it erupts into the classic emotive metal the band is known for. Vocalist Ashe O’Hara is a little gem in the metal scene and absolutely shines on this single, and the soaring melodies heard in Nine Levels are truly something else. A band to watch for sure, this album is definitely geared up and set to stun.

ABORTED – Vespertine Decay

Another sexy gorefest of a video this month, Vespertine Decay by Belgian death metallers ABORTED is the blistering new single from new album Terrorvision. This song shows the metal legends going down a more blackened route. Arguably more ‘melodic’ than their other material, this suggests the band are pushing the boat out and pushing their own boundaries in turn. One of the heaviest singles of the year so far, it has the potential to rip your face off. The ferocious brutality and intensity is suffocating and makes for an incredibly compelling listen.

VOLA – Ghosts

VOLA were one of the first bands I featured in Metalmance, I labelled them as a ‘Band to watch’ and I reviewed their debut album InMazes and since then I’ve watched them explode. Now on the brink of releasing their second album Applause From A Distant Crowd 12th October, the band have released two singles from it so far. Ghosts is the second of the two singles and quite a stark contrast to Smartfriend, the first single to be released. Ghost is a beautiful, tranquil track which makes good use of electronics, but it’s one of those calming tracks which gets stuck in your head for days. A dangerous combination! Hopefully the album will boast more diverse tracks, as the singles so far have featured less of the djent which featured heavily in their debut album.

Avast – Mother Culture

Release date: 26 October 2018. Label: Dark Essence Records.

2018 is certainly the year of blackgaze. The strong love for the style has really come to the fore this year as well as love for the bands of the genre; ALCEST, DEAFHEAVEN and more recently MØL who released their stunning debut album back in April. October sees another debut blackgaze album, this time from Norwegian blackgaze/post-black band AVAST. What sets AVAST apart from the rest is the inclusion of their native country’s style of black metal. They use this to their advantage to give their music an extra bite but Mother Culture is an absolutely stunning beauty. What I enjoy most about blackgaze is the feeling and emotions I get from the shoegaze riffs and the extreme intensity, AVAST are already masters of this and the album speaks for itself.

AVAST’s lyrical content lean towards the philosophical and poetical stance on social and environmental issues. Mother Culture is a concept album which examines the myths upon which modern civilisation is based and there is a looming sense of an impending catastrophe. Based on the philosophical novel Ishmael by Daniel Quinn, you know this going to be an intelligent and thought-provoking listen.

The album begins with the mesmerising title track. Building a wall of sound, the band erupt into a WINTERFYLLETH-esque black metal cascade. The pace and intensity of this song is spot-on, grabbing the listener in at the first chance and latching on for a post-black assault. When the shoegaze riffs kick in it’s a stunning switch to light and triumph, like when the sun rises after a frightful night. Absolutely beautiful.

The triumphant riffs and ambiance continues with the phenomenal instrumental track The Myth. It’s more post-rock than post-black, along the lines of MAYBESHEWILL and PELICAN but it just makes Mother Culture that little more spectacular. As the last guitar note rings, the song shifts suddenly, but seamlessly into the blistering Birth of Man. This track steamrolls through, obliterating everything in its wake. The atmosphere and depth of the sound are absolutely crushing, yet a calmness does descend for an IHSAHN-esque break during the intensity.

The World Belongs to Man is a bewitching track of ambitious proportions. There is a heart wrenching element to this song and the desperation and pain spills out into your ears. The rich textures of sound provides a massive tapestry for AVAST to project their philosophical woes creating an exceptional experience. An Earnest Desire is a more laidback affair which somehow amplifies the yearning. It deceives you into a false sense of security with its delicate and brooding instrumentation, but it bursts into blackgaze perfection. It’s another example of the songwriting prowess of AVAST and the true potential of their craft.

The impeccable Mother Culture needs an equally remarkable finale to do the album justice. Luckily Man Belongs to the World provides a fitting conclusion to this devastating blackgaze showcase. This track is a bit more modest compared to other songs on the album in terms of pace, but this somehow magnifies the components of AVAST and allows you to appreciate the timbre of the riffs and emotion of the vocals. The reduction in tempo and textures towards the end could imply the forthcoming catastrophe. Each component is wiped out until there is only feedback, then silence.

An absolutely breathtaking debut record, AVAST are sure to be accepted as one of the new blackgaze greats. The ambition, ability and intelligence of this record is profound. After listening to the intensity on the record I am eager to experience Mother Culture live. This is only the beginning.

Chronicles – Breathing New Life

Release date: 22 September 2018. Self-release.

The metal scene in France is really starting to pick up. You have of course GOJIRA, HACRIDE, SCARVE and now more recently you got EXOCRINE and IGORRR, but now you can add CHRONICLES to the growing list. This progressive metal group have just released their new record Breathing New Life and they’re not messing around. Mastered by Acle Kahney of TESSERACT fame, Breathing New Life is a fantastic sounding album. At first I was concerned they might just be another TESSERACT-by-numbers band but I was wrong. Yes there is a strong influence there, but CHRONICLES have enough of their own sound going on to easily differentiate between the two.

First track The Lost Wanderer begins with delicate piano and eerie atmospherics. The guitar work sounds promising from the off and I promise you it is the guitars which steal your attention all the way through Breathing New Life. The vocals aren’t outstanding, but they sometimes make a refreshing change from ultra polished vocals like every other neo-prog band.

The title track is full of djent-style riffs and twinkly guitar notes, but it is the drumming and effects which capture my attention here. At times CHRONICLES remind me of the later-era TEXTURES, but I kinda wish the band would go full-on heavy, sometimes they sound like they’re on the edge of just going mad but never quite reach the madness. Having said this Ghost of the Past starts with a GOJIRA-esque riff but it calms right down for the verse. The djent kicks in after a couple of minutes and things get tense, but it is the solo towards the end which makes for an awesome climax.

Desperate & Down has an elegant beginning and a rich sound but it lapses into much of the same. What’s happening in the background is the most interesting; the whirring riffs, the drum fills and atmospheric guitars take this song to a new level. It seamlessly transitions into Run which has hints of dissonance amongst the djent, creating a darker dynamic.

Dead Man’s Insight has lots happening. Djent, tech, melodic…all the progressive styles are here and it’s the song which flows the best on the album, but it is the final track Sanctuary which contains all of the components used throughout the album. To me the songs get significantly better as Breathing New Life goes along. Sanctuary is a fitting conclusion for the album as it’s an ambitious track full of interesting elements and progressions. The music ability is there to launch the band to new heights, CHRONICLES just need to focus and nurture their sound in order to push boundaries and carve their own niche in the scene.

PREVIEW: Danish Demolition Tour

A look at the four bands on this phenomenal tour.

I swear I start every blog entry with this statement nowadays, but believe me when I say there is something in the water in Denmark. The top quality bands that the country is exporting are threatening to lead the world of heavy music. Four examples of such bands will soon be invading our shores; DEFECTO, HELHORSE, SIAMESE and APHYXION. Each band sound entirely different to the other, ensuring the Danish Demolition tour has something to please all heavy music fans! The Danes will be storming the stage at Boston Music Rooms, London 24th September, and in preparation for this historical night I have shared my thoughts and suggested tracks for each band as well as the bands’ own words on their music, crazy tour stories and what they’re looking forward to most on the tour.


APHYXION

Aphyxion

Suggested track: As We Blacken the Sky. This track off the album Aftermath sounds like a cross between INSOMNIUM and PARKWAY DRIVE and it’s got such an epic feel to it.

The heaviest band on the Danish Demolition tour, APHYXION claim notable bands ARCHITECTS and SOILWORK as influences which explains how they gloriously mix melodic death metal with kick-ass tech metal for a signature sound. Last album Aftermath released back in 2016 is still absolutely crushing. This tour finally sees the band playing London for the first time and going by what the band have talked about below, London should expect a fantastic show!

Q. Describe your band in 3 words.

Hard-working, determined and hungry.

Q. What can fans expect from your live show?

We always deliver an extremely tight show with a lot of beautiful Jutlandic dancing.

Q. What’s the craziest thing that’s ever happened while you were on tour?

When we were on our first European tour, only 17 years old, we were invited to sleep at the place of one of the guys who attended the show. His parents were out and of course we completely wrecked his house and had a great party. We all got insanely drunk. The morning after we woke up only to find out, that we were in the house of an extremely Christian family, and that the guy who invited us to sleep over, never really had been drunk before. His parents got home – it was on his mothers birthday, obviously – and they weren’t exactly happy. And off to the next gig we were…

Q. Which other band on the Danish Demolition tour are you most excited to play shows with?

SIAMESE. Their frontman Mirza is amazing. Have you ever watched him dance? If not, make sure to be there when they start to play their songs. Beautiful as hell.

Q. What other Danish bands should people check out?
Everybody is talking about BAEST these days, and with good reason. If you’re into old school death metal, these guys will rock your boat. Go check ‘em out.


SIAMESE

SiameseBand

Suggested track: Soul & Chemicals. I’ve probably mentioned before but this song is incredible. THAT chorus just rocks and there is an epic core to their sound.

A little while back I featured SIAMESE in a monthly roundup and also in my review of their Tech Fest set, so you have probably already guessed I think this band are bloody awesome. Exciting times are ahead as this month saw the release of their new single Animals which will be on their forthcoming album, and also the announcement they have signed to Long Branch Records! You better get to know this band quick!

Q. What can fans expect from your live show?

BANTER. All depending on how drunk I am, it can be fun or really cringy. But it’s how we do it I guess. Furthermore we are pretty decent musicians. Oh and clapping to 2 and 4 (not 1 & 3 you cheeky c***). Some sweat too.

Q. When did you first hear/meet the other bands on the tour?

APHYXION we’ve known since 2011. I met them when they were only 17 years old. HELHORSE grew up with SIAMESE. We started at the same time. And DEFECTO I know because I am their manager. I’m actually the manager of all the guys.

Q. Which city on the tour are you most excited about playing and why?

There is something totally exciting about the London show. I think that we will have a special night at Boston music room.

Q. What other Danish bands should people check out?

Easy. MØL, CABAL, ODD PALACE, DAZE OF JUNE and UNSEEN FAITH do a very good job if you are into core.

Q. If your band was a food, what would it be?

You know that candy that pops in your mouth? That’s SIAMESE.


HELHORSE

Helhorse

Suggested track: Among the Wolves. There’s something very CLUTCH-esque about this song. The awesome groovy riffs and catchy lyrics make this a standout track on their self-titled album.

Compared to the polished beats of SIAMESE, HELHORSE are a gritty, punky and raw beast entirely. Since their first album For Wolves and Vultures, released in 2011, the band have supported the likes of AC/DC, RAMMSTEIN and SLAYER, proving they’re Danish heavyweights and a force to be reckoned with. The band describes their sound and live show in their own amusing way below.

Q. Describe your band in 3 words.

Gritty, hard rocking and no fucks given attitude

Q. What are the band’s musical influences?

HELHORSE is truly a bastard child of influences. We mix punk, classic rock, heavy and great melodies.

Q. What can fans expect from your live show?

An explosion of energy. We thrive on our live performances and it’s something we take great pride in. We’re the kind of band that won’t stop until the whole room is bouncing, dancing, headbanging and going nuts. So expect a great party, huge riffs and a hell of a good time.

Q. What’s the craziest thing that’s ever happened while you were on tour?

Shit a lot of stuff has happened to us, but luckily no accidents (knock on wood). Once we played a showcase in Berlin (a Danish expo thing) and we partied really, really hard. So when it came to the time to go home and our ferry had reached Denmark, the other band had forgotten their bass player (whom had hangovers nearing a deathlike state) on the damn boat. None of them realised this until we asked if they were missing someone! Needless to say he spent 24 hours in Lübeck with no money, no phone and barely any clothes. I was also stand in for another band at a tour where they forgot me in a Chech town that looked like it was the location site of the Hostel Movies! That was only for 30 minutes – thank fuck!

Q. Which city on the tour are you most excited about playing and why?

We always love coming to Hamburg, that city has become a home from home for us. We are really excited about the places we haven’t been before like Harlem (NL) and Leipzig. It’s gonna be some great nights – so show up and party with us.


DEFECTO

Defecto

Suggested track: Nemesis. The title track of their second album released last year, Nemesis has a gloriously dramatic start and continues to be an epic masterpiece.

DEFECTO are becoming something of a massive deal in Denmark. Since releasing their debut album Excluded back in 2016, the band have played sold out tours across their native country as well as supporting the likes of METALLICA and RAMMSTEIN! Their classic melodic metal sound is flawless and fun! The band sum it all up in their own words…

Q. Describe your band in 3 words.

Heavy fucking metal.

Q. What can fans expect from your live show?

Besides rainbows and unicorns, you can expect mesmerizing guitar solos, epic choruses and kickass riffs.

Q. What’s the craziest thing that’s ever happened while you were on tour?

Without going into details we had one crazy ass night in Tokyo last year. The evening involved lots of Jack Daniels, Japanese showgirls and a fistfight with a tourist.

Q. When did you first hear/meet the other bands on the tour?

APHYXION I think we met for the first time when we started collaborating with Prime Collective a couple a years ago. I’m not sure… maybe because it was at the Prime Christmas Party. We knew SIAMESE from back when they were still called SIAMESE FIGHTING FISH. Can’t remember when… maybe because Mirza is soooo old. We met the first time when we supported another Danish band HATESPHERE back in 2012.

Q. If you could have one superpower what would you choose and why?

I’d choose the guts to say no to these stupid ass interviews… Because the clock is 21.19 and I’d much rather fuck my wife!