When it comes to black metal, there are plenty of bands offering their own take on different variations of the genre but it’s a bit rarer to find groups that feel truly unique. Some have done this through complicated song structures and atmospherics, while others have accomplished a different sound by using unconventional instruments. Los Angeles’ Wreche is the latter, as the duo has written black metal with piano and drums as the only instruments. Piano has often played a role in this genre, particularly when it comes to the symphonic variants, but the way it’s used on this group’s self-titled full length feels genuinely different and delivers a rollercoaster ride of emotions. With the album set for release on May 26th from Fragile Branch Recordings, today we’re excited to bring you a premiere of the song Fata Morgana.
Three years have passed since we last heard from Vancouver’s BISON with their 2014 EP “1000 Needles.” In that time, these stoner/sludge metal veterans have made a few notable changes, including recruiting ex-3 Inches of Blood lead guitarist Shane Clark to handle bass duties, as well as deciding to record new material in their hometown instead of abroad. This introspective decision has resulted in a natural progression of their sound that doesn’t undermine what they do best. Now, with the band all set to release their fifth album, “YOU ARE NOT THE OCEAN YOU ARE THE PATIENT” via Pelagic Records, we are pleased to present the album’s walloping opening track, Until The Earth Is Empty.
Until The Earth Is Empty kicks off with a melodic stoner-doom hook that pulls you in like a swiftly ebbing tide. The melody repeats, following up with a meatier version that’s complemented by a midtempo backbeat. Thick, muscular riffs carry you forward through a headbanging verse, as dry shouts shift to hoarse, bestial roars for the chorus — a surging storm of crash cymbals and guitar-hammering quarter notes like boats crashing into jagged rocks. You’ll hear variations on subsequent repeated parts, adding flavor and replayability, ensuring you’ll find something new with each listen of Until The Earth Is Empty, like when the guitars pull back at the start of the second verse in order to let the bass shine. BISON knows how to write a song with stunning momentum, proven by an aggressive palm-muted bridge that leaps into a thundering downbeat solo section that crackles with retro fuzz. The chorus crests up again — all riffs, no vocals, seeming even more primal in its power — before crashing into you with an energetic downbeat version of the mammoth intro melody. Whew!
Until The Earth Is Empty shows that BISON’s return home was not misguided, as it’s shaping up to be among their strongest releases yet. You’ll still get vibes of U.S. stoner/sludge titans High on Fire or even early Mastodon, but these young bucks (calves?) aren’t content to simply imitate — BISON’s honest, authentic songwriting approach has enough inherent heaviness to crush cars into cubes without being reliant on the genre’s tropes. As the release of their fifth album comes ever closer, BISON will be charging full-speed ahead toward what’s sure to be a landmark release for the genre this year.
“YOU ARE NOT THE OCEAN YOU ARE THE PATIENT” releases June 23rd in Europe and July 7th in North America via Pelagic Records.
Vials of Wrath’s second full length ‘Days Without Names’ first saw release independently on CD and digital formats in September of 15th, but Fragile Branch Recordings has decided to give the atmospheric black metal album a cassette version with modified artwork and a bonus track. Based out of Maryville, Tennessee, this one-man project has been releasing material since 2011 that has incorporated the atmospheric and melodic influences of bands like Agalloch and Panopticon aside some of the more traditional black metal styles. In advance of the cassette reissue, today we’re excited to run an exclusive stream of the bonus track Within the Grey to give you an idea of everything this project has to offer.
Atlanta’s Death of Kings has had plenty of time to perfect their blend of thrash and heavy metal, as they’ve focused on short form releases like demos and EP’s since forming in 2009. Last month the group released the single ‘Hell Comes to Life’, and now they’re finally set to put out their debut full length ‘Kneel Before None’. Set for release June 2nd via Boris Records, it’s clear that the amount of time Death of Kings has spent honing their craft has been put to good use, as the album is full of blisteringly intense riffs and soaring vocals that blur the lines between abrasive thrash screaming/singing and falsetto heavy metal singing. Today we’re premiering the album opener Shadow of the Reaper so you can hear just why these guys are one of the more promising bands to come out of Atlanta in recent memory.
When I think of metal and rock from Romania, one of the first words that come to mind is “atmosphere”. Each band has branched off into a different path in their respective genre, but sweeping melodies and a hint of mysticism and the unknown has often permeated metal from the country. This holds true for The Thirteenth Sun, a progressive rock/metal band that hails from Transilvania. Formed in 2011, the group released their debut EP ‘Genesis’ a year later and have been hard at work on a full length ever since. A few lineup changes and years later, the results of their efforts are about to be unveiled on May 12th when Aural Music releases ‘Stardust’. Comprised of seven songs, today we’re excited to premiere the second track Pathways to give you an idea of just what these guys are capable of.
It has been a little over a year since U.S. atmospheric black metal band Ghost Horizon released their debut EP ‘Astral Possession’. Formed by Daniel Stollings in Phoenix, ‘Astral Possession’ found Stollings handling guitars and bass with vocals and drums performed by Uræus. In the time that has passed Ghost Horizon has gone through a lineup change, with Uræus departing and new drummer “Frog” Magus stepping in. For follow-up EP ‘The Erotics of Disgust’, Stollings has chosen to handle vocals himself, which has brought a change to the group’s sound. With even more of an emphasis on darker textures and emotions and raw intensity, today we’re excited to premiere the EP’s closing track Whispers ahead of its April 7th release date so you can hear for yourself.
2017 seems to be the year for quite a few long-running bands to release their debut full length, as February saw French death metal group Ritualization put out their first full length record. Fellow Frenchmen Necroblood are set to put out their debut full length ‘Collapse of the Human Race’ on March 31st as a co-release between Iron Bonehead Productions (vinyl) and Amor Fati Productions (CD), and they’re another group where the fairly lengthy period of putting out demos and EP’s has allowed them to finely hone their craft. Formed in 2010 by ¾ of Evynkar, Necroblood plays the type of claustrophobic, hellish black/death metal that’s taken notes from bands like Beherit and Von alongside some of the more prominent old-school death metal bands. Today we’re excited to premiere the second song from the album, Through Limitless Abysses, so you can experience for yourself how dense and calculated the group’s raging attack truly is.
Black Bow Records continues to be a great source for sludge and doom bands that I hadn’t come across before, as much of the label’s early 2017 roster are groups that are fairly new. One of their latest finds is Serbia’s Nula, who formed in late 2013 and released a two-track demo in 2015. On February 24th Black Bow will be releasing their newest three-song EP ‘Kenoma’, which finds the band offering an intriguing mix of sludge/doom with some gothic and groove metal influences seeping into the mix. It doesn’t quite sound exactly like what you’d expect from any of those genre tags though, and today we’re excited to exclusively premiere the second song Silazak U Prah so that you can discover Nula’s sound for yourself.
Austin’s Of the Sun released their debut full length ‘A.M. Radio’ way back in 2009, and now the group is preparing their sophomore effort ‘Before a Human Path’ for release on April 14th. With a sound that they’ve dubbed “Southern progressive metal”, they channel a sound that falls somewhere between groove metal and death metal with a noticeable progressive flair. Though it has been over six years since the release of their debut, it’s clear that Of the Sun hasn’t been resting on their laurels and has utilized that time to further hone their ideas. Today we’re pleased to offer you a first taste of what ‘Before a Human Path’ has to offer with an exclusive stream of the second track, Nebulamorphous.