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.

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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.