Metalpunx – 4 Black/Speed/Punk Releases

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Reviewer: GTO

 

 

Here are a handful of full-length releases that fall somewhere in the spectrum of black/speed/punk released over the course of this year. These records are meant to played at high volume as soundtracks to destruction. Continue reading

Enisum – Arpitanian Lands (2015)

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Author: Crono

Artist: Enisum

Album: Arpitanian Lands

Label: Dusktone


Arpitanian Lands is the fourth full length album from Italian black metal band Enisum, although I believe that the first two albums were more like demos, being independently released way back in 2006. They seem to label themselves as ambient black metal, but I pretty much disagree, since this album is very clearly an atmospheric black metal album along the same lines of this year’s Homeward Path by Vallendusk. In fact, I am just going to draw that comparison right off the top. Enisum and Vallendusk are not exactly the same, of course, but their straight-forward approach to atmospheric black metal is somewhat of a breath of fresh air. The same things I really enjoyed about Homeward Path are present here on Arpitanian Lands. Continue reading

Spectral Lore- Gnosis (2015)

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Author: Crono

Artist: Spectral Lore

Album: Gnosis

Label: I, Voidhanger Records

 

 Wow has Spectral Lore ever been busy these past few years. Starting in 2012, they have released a string of monstrous pieces. Starting with their third LP, Sentinel, my personal introduction to Spectral Lore, then following with two splits, the better of the two being the mind-blowing Sol, a concept album about space where Spectral Lore and the equally space-y Mare Cognitum each wrote one track and then co-wrote a third. To follow this up, there was the brilliantly titled III, their fourth album (obviously), which was nothing short of a triumph, cutting away some of more ambient work in favor of 90 minutes of pure atmospheric black metal greatness. Continue reading

Magic Circle – Journey Blind (2015)

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Author: Dave

Band: Magic Circle

Album: Journey Blind

Label: 20 Buck Spin

 

Magic Circle are a relatively new doom metal band from Massachusetts and Journey Blind is their second full-length album. I not familiar with heard their debut, so I can’t provide any context or comparison there, but fortunately in this case, I hardly think it’s necessary. I say this because this release is easily one of the best doom metal albums I’ve heard this year and if there is any “sophomore slump” going on here, I would be quite surprised. Hearing this album is enough to make me want to pick up their debut already. Continue reading

Sarpanitum – Blessed Be My Brothers (2015)

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Reviewer: GTO

Artist: Sarpanitum

Album: Blessed Be My Brothers

Label: Willowtip Records

 

Blessed Be My Brothers was released much earlier this year, and after my first few listens I completely discarded the notion of considering it highly. It was not a bad album on my first try, on the contrary, it was extremely competent and well done but to me it felt overly technical and dependent on melodic interludes to communicate its musical fervor. Keeping it in mind, I put it aside for other death metal releases in the coming year. Continue reading

Coraxo – Neptune (2015)

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Author: Gay For Gary Oldman

Artist: Coraxo

Album: Neptune

Label: Massacre Records

 

Unsure of what record I would next dedicate the time to review, I turned to a reliable weekly list of new releases to see what genres were on offer. I passed over a doom/sludge record, a few brutal death and a speed/punk until my eyes caught upon the label ‘electronic death metal’. I felt my tongue grow uneasy in my mouth. I swallowed hard, but my throat was dry. My pupils constricted and my neck pulled backwards. Such is the reaction many of us have to Morbid Angel’s ‘Illud Divinum Insanus’. However, curiosity overwhelmed me and I followed the heresy-crumb trail to Coraxo’s official webpage, which featured glowing reviews from sources I couldn’t rate less. Continue reading

Awe – Providentia (2015)

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Author: Crono

Artist: Awe

Album: Providentia

Label: Pulverised Records
 

If you haven’t checked out this year’s Moerae yet, do so. It is a three-way split between Vacantfield, End, and today’s band, Awe. Three mega tracks around the same theme, this album is pretty crushing black metal from three relatively unknown acts. Which brings me to Providentia, the debut album from Awe. They released the Moerae split way back in March, but I’m guessing they did so as a taste of what was to come. Continue reading

Serpents Lair – Circumambulating the Stillborn (2015)

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Author: Goldensundown

Band: Serpents Lair

Album: Circumambulating the Stillborn

Label: Fallen Empire Records

 

Fallen Empire seems to have a good ear for Northern European black metal given Serpents Lair’s label mates of Axis of Light, Death Fortress, Lluvia and at one point Misþyrming among others, so it wasn’t surprising that the two tracks on Serpent Lair’s 2014 demo release were quality. A random dive into Fallen Empire’s bandcamp led me to Serpent Lair’s 2015 debut studio release and I grabbed it expecting a similar quality, and for the most part Circumambulating the Stillborn delivers on this. Continue reading

Chastain – We Bleed Metal (2015)

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Author: Dave

Band: Chastain

Album: We Bleed Metal

Label: Leviathan Records

 

Whilst David T. Chastain may not be one of the more well-known metal guitarists, his works are abundant proof that popularity and proficiency are completely independent functions in the world of heavy metal. His early albums from the eighties with Leather Leone are amongst my most played albums in my library. I never familiarised myself with his works after Leone left the band, but was pleasantly surprised to learn that she had rejoined him in 2013 for the Surrender to No One and then again for We Bleed Metal. Continue reading

Gorod – A Maze of Recycled Creeds (2015)

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Author: Bloodshot Grub

Artist: Gorod

Album: A Maze of Recycled Creeds

Label: Listenable Records

 

I’ve never bought into the notion that technicality is necessarily a trade off with expressiveness, or that the majority or even a substantial number of technical metal bands are guilty of focusing on showing off their chops rather than on writing good music. On the contrary, I find technical death metal to be one of the more emotionally engaging death metal subgenres. Gorod’s prior albums are an excellent example of what I’m talking about: virtuoso musicianship used to access a spectacular and entirely expressive approach to melody that draws from classical and jazz music. The reason that A Maze of Recycled Creeds falls flat is not because they’ve spent too much time practicing their sweep picking and not enough time on their songwriting, because the level of musicianship hasn’t changed from prior albums. It’s still top notch, and I don’t think this would be a better album if they had backed off on the technicality. More likely, it would be a worse one, because many of this album’s really enjoyable moments are also jaw-dropping displays of technical ability. For whatever reason, the songwriting just isn’t there on this one. Continue reading