This week has been all about Immolation’s superb new album Atonement. This is the first song I heard from the CD and it’s my current favourite. Destructive Currents is seismic enough to deliver on the promise of its title but it’s also delivered with confident restraint so that the twisting, blackened death metal riffs have maximum impact. There have been fun releases so far this year, like Kreator’s Gods of Violence but this stuff is serious: imposing, controlled and impressive. With Atonement, Immolation has set the bar for extreme metal in 2017.
They’re new and they’ve been released. It’s the Friday new releases!
Immolation – Atonement
New York’s purveyors of consistently excellent and uncompromising death metal are back with their new album… and their old logo! The tracks I’ve heard so far sound phenomenal: instantly engaging, monolithic bludgeon with expert pacing and some blackened strums just to top things off. The limited edition digipak CD looks like the way to go for bonus tracks as it features the re-recorded version of Immolation that appeared on one of Decibel Mag’s flexi-discs a while back. Yes please.
Sanctuary – Inception
This release is being touted as the prequel to Sanctuary’s 1988 debut album Refuge Denied but it’s basically old demos from 1986. But, either way, we’re lucky to have them as the “lost” tape was recently discovered in a barn(!) It’s excellent thrashy power prog with high-flying vocals that’ll hit fans of Queensryche right where they live. Looks like this’ll be a cool package with all the compulsory memorabilia, liner notes and stuff too.
Power Trip – Nightmare Logic
Never heard of this band so it was strange to see them pop up in the Guardian this week… how’d they pull that off? Good on them though. Any band that gets Bolt Thrower and Sacrilege into a mainstream paper is fine by me so they deserve a listen just for doing that! Sounds like this’ll be some good retro-thrash fun, although the harsh vocals might take a bit of getting used to for some listeners.
Sunless – Urraca
This is an intriguing debut release. Might have passed it by but I spotted their guitarist playing a Strat. You hardly ever see extreme metal players playing Strats! So I gave a track a go just on that basis alone and it was very impressive indeed. A dissonant, creative maze of riffs but grounded in solid death metal. Definitely one to check out on Bandcamp.
Elsewhere, we have more death metal veterans, Sinister, back with their new album Syncretism. I’m not all that familiar with this band so it’s overshadowed by the Immolation release. The cover for this is much better though! Amorphis pull an Anthrax with a “Tour Edition” of their last album Under the Red Cloud. Quite a few live tracks so maybe worth another purchase for the diehards but I don’t think these kind of releases should be encouraged. (**UPDATE** If you don’t want to buy the Amorphis album all over again you can download the extra disc An Evening With Friends at Huvila on its own, as MP3/M4A/FLAC here.) And last, but not least, there’s Siberian with Through Ages of Sleep, which sounds like an Isis/Neurosis kind of effort. I love sleeping for ages but I’m not so keen on this vocal style so I’ll pass. Fans of post-metal should give this a bash though.
And that’s the lot for another week. Some good underground releases this week. Immolation is the main must-buy for sure but plenty of other stuff here that warrants further investigation. I’m especially intrigued by Sunless. Let me know what I’ve missed and let me know if there’s anything that is particularly tickling your fancy/getting your goat. Happy hunting!
In addition to yesterday’s New Release round-up here’s one more thing you should spend some money on this weekend. The upcoming Bernie Tormé album Dublin Cowboy is available as a PledgeMusic offer and, with the offer ending on Mon 20th Feb 2017, this weekend is your last chance to get involved.
Bernie is the incredible axe wizard that played on the classic Gillan albums of the early 80s, Mr. Universe, Glory Road and Future Shock, and his playing on the Reading Festival live recordings is some of my very favourite guitar playing ever. It’s incendiary! And, if that wasn’t enough, he also played with Ozzy Osbourne and formed Desperado with Dee Snider and Clive Burr. Not to mention his excellent solo career.
And now he’s back with his latest solo album Dublin Cowboy, which is going to be a triple studio/live/acoustic release. Go to his PledgeMusic page to get your pledge in. There are a ton of options and, even if you only punt for the £12 digital version, you get access to a ton of great stuff. There are brilliant guitar playthrough videos of some awesome Gillan songs and solos. There are rare song downloads, gear breakdowns, and all sorts of memorabilia like tour itineraries and photos of him drinking Guinness and stuff like that. I’m sure the album will still be available later but it’s well worth getting involved at this Pledge stage as Bernie has really gone to town with the extras here.
Time for us to take a look at today’s new metal offerings.
Sepultura – Machine Messiah
Sepultura crack on with their fourteenth album. This’ll be good news for the dedicated fans that love the current band in it’s own right. Not so big a deal for people like me that lost interest after Roots (new track Phantom Self isn’t winning me over either). But if you’re one of the dedicated this is a big release. Top tip: the CD/DVD edition and the vinyl editions have bonus tracks. The standalone CD doesn’t.
Accept – Restless and Live
2014’s Blind Rage was a disappointingly patchy affair so… time to whip out the classics with a live album and video! The band can certainly deliver live and has a glorious catalogue to draw from so this is bound to be fun. That said, I can’t help feeling that I’d probably listen to/watch this once and then forget all about it.
Emperor – Various Reissues
In the Nightside Eclipse, IX Equilibrium, Emperial Live Ceremony, Prometheus – The Discipline of Fire & Demise, Live Inferno and Live at Wacken Open Air 2016 all get new CD and vinyl reissues today. Doesn’t seem like much here to warrant buying them all over again but vinyl collectors and anyone new to this legendary band will want to check these out. I had hoped for more reissues along the lines of the expanded In the Nightside Eclipse 20th Anniversary Edition that was released a couple of years back. Ah well.
Grave Digger – Healed by Metal
I’m going to have to confess to being fairly ignorant of this band. I checked out the new track Call for Arms and it sounded pretty stock to me: trad metal with a bit of the old beer-tent singing for the power metallers. I know this band has a long history though, so if I’m missing out feel free to point me in the right direction.
Bubbling away in the underground, we’ve got some Norwegian blackened death from Shaarimoth and their new album Temple of the Adversarial Fire. Getting some great reviews that one. And from Italy, there’s a new EP Rite of Inverse Incarnation from Fides Inversa. That sounds pretty decent too: I like the crazed Jason Medonca-like vocals.
Not a bad roster of releases today but nothing particularly standing out for me. Them’s the breaks! Let me know if there’s anything here that floats your boat or if there’s anything awesome that I’ve missed.
Greg Lake’s passing has cast a right pall over the HMO Mission Control this week. There’s only one thing for it… some retail therapy. Get some music down ye!
Terra – Mors Secunda
UK black metallers Terra release the follow-up to their debut Untitled. Two dark and atmostpheric epics with some uplifting crescendos but mostly dank, raw, dirty and rhythmic. I singled their drummer Luke Braddick out for praise last year and he excels himself again here with a dynamic and intense performance. Worth checking out if you’re a fan of bands like Wolves in the Throne Room.
Deep Purple – California Jam 1974
The film of Purple’s legendary headliner restored for a new release on Blu Ray and DVD. If you don’t have it, this is a totally essential performance. Blackmore’s climatic solo is the stuff of rock legend, both in terms of music and antics. As well as the restorative spit and polish this version has supposedly been re-edited with different camera angles and stuff like that. Not sure that’s enough for me to buy it again but this is worth getting if you’ve never seen it, or if there’s a big Deep Purple fan in your life that you need to buy a Xmas gift for (cough).
Isengard – Traditional Doom Cult
A new Darkthrone album, then an archive release from them and now this! Fenriz fans (and that’s everyone surely?) really are getting spoiled rotten these days. Here are two unheard recordings from his old Bathory-esque side project on a sexy 7” single. Might be a bit of a barrel-scraper but I’ll bite. I’ve got this pre-ordered and if all this Fenriz-related activity keeps up I might have to just arrange a direct debit straight into his bloody bank account.
Root – Hell Symphony
Root’s new album came out recently and I said that, because I only have their debut, I’d rather get more of their older stuff first. Well, the Eternal Death label, were apparently paying attention because here’s a reissue of their second album (on CD and vinyl) with extra live tracks. Bugger. They went to all this bother so I’m going to have to buy this now aren’t I?
The Doors – London Fog 1966
Fog! This week’s over-egged and over-priced award goes to the new release from The Doors. Fog fog! It’s a recording of a very early show called London Fog 1966 and the set has both the CD and LP in it FOR NO REASON WHATSOEVER and all sorts of trinkets and tat just to pop the price up. Fog Fog Fog! It’s also got a track on it called Tuning. I’m sure that’ll be exciting.
And on top of all this there’s also the new Gnaw Their Tongues album Hymns for the Broken, Swollen and Silent. I didn’t really “get” their last album so I’ll probably pass but I do feel like I’m maybe missing out on something. Shape of Despair’s album Monotony Fields had a buzz about it last year. Seems like it might be up my street but I still haven’t got round to checking it out. And now here’s Alone in the Mist, an album of their old demos from when they were called Raven. I’m sure I’ll catch up with all this stuff eventually… when Fenriz gives me some time off.
And that’s the lot for this week. Let me know if there’s anything cool I’ve missed and if there’s anything you’re rushing out to buy today. Happy hunting!
Schammasch’s Triangle is high-concept stuff. The Swiss group divide their latest album into stages with three themed CDs (The Process of Dying, Metaflesh and The Supernal Clear Light of the Void). The three discs each run to 33 minutes and all signify a stage of a spiritual journey. The concept is enhanced by the wonderful box set package and its eye-catching, symbolic imagery (by the talented Ester Segarra). It all screams masterpiece! Well, apart from the music. The album has a befittingly grand production but the music of Triangle is a chore. The first disc is a sub-Behemoth slog and the third disc, while it has a pleasant cinematic ambience, goes nowhere fast: five tracks where the final two would have had the same effect. The second disc is more successful. Its Monotheist-style evil, glassy prog and mysterious chants offering up the album’s hookiest passages. But there’s just too much padding throughout. And treating each disc as a separate album doesn’t help either when two of them are such a slog. The scale of the project keeps me returning to it, hoping it will finally click, but after coming away from another listen feeling nothing I have to finally accept that Triangle is just overlong and unrewarding. It looks and sounds incredible but there are not enough engaging moments to justify an hour and 40 minutes of my time.
It’s finally Friday, time to spend all your hard-earned cash… but what on? Well, the HMOverlord is here to help, telling you what’s new and exciting in the world of metal and rock. And I had to tear myself away from the live stream of Banger TV’s “Essential Power Metal Albums” debate to do it too, so I hope you’re grateful. There’s not much doing in the way of reissues this week (the XTC Skylarking set does look nice though) so it’s all new music. And first off, we’ve got one of the most anticipated albums of the year.
Darkthrone – Arctic Thunder
With its simplified artwork and the handing of all vocal duties to Nocturno Culto, it looks like it’s all change with Darkthrone’s new release. Advance track Tundra Leech suggested a more misanthropic approach, following the bullet-belted romp of The Underground Resistance. I loved that album but I find the prospect of a less chummy Darkthrone thrilling. I’ve got my orange vinyl edition pre-ordered and I’m hoping for “Album of the Year” material here.
Hobbs’ Angel of Death – Heaven Bled
The Australian metal legend returns to tide all you thrash fans over while you wait for the new Testament and Metallica albums to land. But, if the track Son of God is anything to go by, I might just stick with this. It’s Show No Mercy-era Slayer stylings put a proper smile on my face. If the whole album is like that, this could be a total winner.
Anciients – Voice of the Void
I haven’t heard this band at all but Season of Mist have been releasing a lot of great stuff lately and I’ve read some intriguing reviews of this new album. Anciients have got a great proggy sound, like a less-sludgy Mastodon but the song I heard (Ibex Eye) took a wee bit too long to get going. Still, there’s definitely promise here so I’ll be checking this one out. Awesome cover too.
Blasphemer – Ritual Theophagy
Italians’ Blasphemer return after a six-year absence to rip out some old-school death metal. It’s chaotic and evil but with a blasting, technical edge. It reminds me a bit of the very early Akercocke stuff, actually. And if song titles like Jesus Rapes and Crucifix of Shit are anything to go by, sounds like these guys are Blaphemers by nature as well as by name. Released on Comatose Music.
Sons of Balaur – Tenebris Deos
Another Season of Mist release, here’s the fictional black metal band Sons of Balaur. Fresh from starring in the graphic novel, and soon to be animated movie, ‘Realm of the Damned’. They’ve definitely got a publicity angle at least. It’s all good fun I suppose, but I haven’t been impressed by what I’ve heard so far. And it’s all a bit… silly.
The Dillinger Escape Plan – Dissociation
I can pretty much cut-and-paste my coverage of last week’s Meshuggah album here. Just change the names (and all the stuff about breakfast). DEP are a well-regarded band that just never really caught me. But I was pretty impressed by their new track Symptom of Terminal Illness so I’m sure this album will hit the spot with their fans. And they’ll have to make this most of it, since it looks like it might be the band’s last.
Elsewhere, we have the return of Singapore’s Wormrot with Voices, an album that also marks Earache’s return to grindcore. But, in typical grindcore fashion, you wait years for it… and then only get 26 minutes worth. Anyone cowering in a corner at the mere suggestion of grindcore can take solace in the new Tyketto album Reach. I’m sure that’ll be manna from heaven for AOR fans. And fans of Europe might want to check out their former guitarist Kee Marcello and his new album Scaling Up. Great guitar but sounds like the vocals might be a weak link here. Both those are out on Frontier Records. And rounding things off, we’ve got the DVD/CD set of Extreme’s Pornograffitti Live 25 (kick it Kevin!) and Sonic Syndicate’s Eurovision pomp of Confessions. Not for me!
Not a bad batch of albums today then. A few that I’ll definitely be looking into but, let’s not kid ourselves, this week is all about the unholy Darkthrone! Hope you enjoyed my wee round-up. Let me know what you’re after today, anything crucial I missed? Until next Friday, happy hunting. I’m off to see if I can catch the end of that Power Metal debate…