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Jupiterian (Brazil) – Terraforming (Atmospheric Doom/Sludge Metal, Transcending Obscurity Records)

Appearing from the swirling mists of pre-history like monolithic giants of ancient myth, (or something), this mysterious doom/sludge four piece seem to have appeared from nowhere and released a colossally heavy album of occult magnificence. Combining atmospheric sludge metal with death/doom intensity and post-metal texture, Terraforming is an expansive and emotive blend of good songwriting and exceptional delivery. With no wasted opportunities or substandard moments, the lack of filler on this release is gratifying, as is the resultant concise playing time of under 40 minutes. This makes for a satisfying listen without it becoming overly drawn out. Having said that, of course, I could easily have taken another song or two, such is the quality of Jupiterian’s material. A heady listen. ~ Nigel Holloway

 

 

 

 

Converge (United States) – The Dusk in Us (Epitaph Records)

What can you say about a new release from this mighty band? I mean, it’s Converge; anything they put out is pretty much essential. This is the band’s ninth album and their first in five years. Has it been worth the wait? Well of course it has, how could it not be? I mean, I believe we have established that this is Converge, after all! In all seriousness, no band’s new release should be judged on anything other than its own merits, but even after a single listen to The Dusk in Us it’s clear that the usual high standards of the Converge Quality Control Department have been strictly upheld. There’s 13 tracks on this release and there’s not a dud among them. This is a violent, atypical, intricate mix of hardcore, punk, and metal. With the usual intoxicating mix of savagery and beauty, The Dusk in Us is an album that just demands your attention. ~ Nigel Holloway

 

 

 

 

Cryptodira – The Devil’s Despair (Metal, Good Fight Music)

Just when I thought I wouldn’t get any more truly original material this year, The Devil’s Despair came crashing down. These guys not only possess impressive abilities within a number of styles, but also the knowhow to arrange them seamlessly a la Between The Buried and Me mixed with Opeth and The Dillinger Escape Plan. There are certainly recurring themes and an overarching architecture, but one can never anticipate what will happen next. And that’s only beginning to scratch the surface. Cryptodira just get patience. They are willing to show restraint on the very next song with a beautiful and atmospheric instrumental interlude, waiting until the very last minute to erupt with djenty destruction. This mastery of listener anticipation makes every moment pop that much more. Suffice it to say that The Devil’s Despair is an album that you need to hear for yourself asap. ~ John Man

 

 

 

 

Chepang (United States) – Dadhelo – A Tale of Wildfire (Grindcore, Nerve Altar Records)

The US-based “immigrant core” band, Chepang, sent ripples in the underground last year with the release of their EP, Lathi Charge. The impressive debut release was hailed by webzines around the world including this one. Dadhelo, their first full length album is a more complex and intense listen compared to Lathi Charge. The dual vocals and angular riffs ensure that it is definitely not your run-of-the-mill grindcore release. Easily one of the albums of the year for me. ~ Peter Kotikalapudi

 

 

 

 

Ayat (Lebanon) – Carry On, Carrion (Black Metal, Moribund Records)

Billing themselves as the #1 Arabic metal band, Ayat make a case for being just that! They also play what is simultaneously the filthiest and most engaging black metal I’ve heard in a long time. Unrepentantly anti-religion of all sorts, Ayat put the phenomenal in blasphemous. If you are offended easily (or basically at all), don’t read the lyrics. Instead, pay attention to the ripping thrashy riffs, bang your head, start a pit by the water cooler, or do whatever else it is you do to celebrate killer music. Only a duo, Ayat plays fast and loose with vocals that sound like a demon vomiting, guitar lines that shred like a cheese grater, bass lines that thump like a mallet to the kneecap, and drums that pepper you with sonic shrapnel. May this, their second full length, not be their last! ~ Rick Jackson

 

 

 

 

Coscradh (Ireland) – Of Death and Delirium (Black/Death Metal, Invictus Productions)

With a different take on filthy extreme metal, let me take you to Ireland and the Invictus Productions signee, Coscradh. Following up their initial full length with a three song EP of brutal violence, the Irish quartet have sunk even deeper into the pits to excavate the nastiness they present here. Of Death and Delirium spends three tracks creating a dense, chaotic, down tuned hell in which the listener resides for twenty or so minutes. Really the EP feels longer than that. The riffs are slow to mid-paced, but violently brutal. The atmosphere created is probably reminiscent of the inner mental turmoil of a serial killer. Never pretty, this horrific soundtrack is utterly engaging. ~ Rick Jackson

 

 

 

 

The Last of Lucy (USA) – Ashvattha (Tech Death/Mathcore, Independent)

I either love this thing or I hate it. I don’t think there’s an in-between. Ashvattha is so damn tech-y (definitely not my usual style). How do you headbang to this? You just start getting into a good groove and then the band takes a wild left turn, or you get hit by a freight train of completely out-of-the-blue sonic madness. The Last of Lucy have created something truly bizarre by way of a traditional metal band set-up, but also saxophone in parts and some serious synth work. Sometimes light and breezy, sometimes full of shred, sometimes heavy as an anvil, Ashvattha is hard to pin down. Alright, I admit it. As much as I generally like to just lie in the musical grit and filth of those bands that focus on passion and atmosphere, The Last of Lucy has created something special here. Against my better judgment, I love it. ~ Rick Jackson

 

 

 

 

Daeva (USA) – Pulsing Dark Absorptions (Black/Thrash Metal, 20 Buck Spin)

Daeva aren’t doing anything special, but they are doing so in a special way. This sort of black thrash combination has been around for decades. The Philly trio absolutely hit the nail on the head though, as far as what it should sound like. The guitar work absolutely rips with riff after riff of filthy madness. The drums pummel with the pleasure of chaotic madness. The bass hums like a high voltage undercurrent. The vocals are attacked with a destructive pomposity. Pulsing Dark Absorptions is all around violent fun for the whole family. Get you some! ~ Rick Jackson

 

 

 

 

Lady Beast (USA) – Vicious Breed (Heavy Metal, Cruz Del Sur Music)

My generation of metal is definitely the 80’s. Those are the years where I discovered heavy music through my tween and teen years. Though my tastes have evolved significantly (as has metal), there still something about that sound that still moves me (often literally…head banging…fist pumping). Lady Beast, hailing from Pittsburgh in the United States, absolutely nails the sound. They could easily have shared a stage with classic era Judas Priest, for example. With dueling guitars, a solid driving rhythm section, and a vocalist who can really sing, they have it all. Pushing the line between heavy and speed metal, as many of my favorites do (or did), Vicious Breed really moves along, keeping the energy high. Raise those fists and prepare to sing along to the chorus! ~ Rick Jackson

 

 

 

 

Tetragrammacide (India) – Primal Incinerators of Moral Matrix (Iron Bonehead Productions)

Recommended to me by my good friend Rick Jackson, I had to have a chuckle when I read the name of this band. Needless to say with my usual rambling style and utter disdain for doing things the normal way he suggested that I try not to commit Grammacide on this one. Ha-ha he knows me well, Love it. Anyhoo, these three dudes from India certainly have no regard for grammar either if you read the song titles. Some of them sound like fucking technical manuals, I kid you not. The music itself starts off sounding like ‘Fear Factory’ took some bad acid, and then becomes pure fucking chaos. My advice would be to not even attempt to put this on if you have a headache, and it should possibly also carry an epilepsy warning. The funny thing is though that once your brain gets over the initial shock and stops saying ‘what the fuck’ it starts to make sense. I have no idea what I would label these fine fellows but it’s bordering on the extreme side of an extremely huge extremity to put it bluntly. Coming across like some sort dystopian nightmare, Tetragammacide possess enough grunt to put a giant wild boar to shame, and make his family shun him for all eternity. They also exhibit enough weirdness to make you question your own sanity. I’m already insane so it didn’t hurt me a bit. I like this, just be prepared to have your ear canals shoved up your backside folks. Hearty stuff indeed. I do believe I probably have committed Grammacide on this one but to hell with it I say, enjoy the ride! ~ Andrew Cook

 

 

 

 

Svartidauði (Iceland)- Untitled (Self Released)

It is no secret that Iceland is currently a hot bed for the metal scene, spewing out music like lava flow from a volcano. It has been quite sometime since Svartidauði has released new music and while this is not a full length ‘Untitled’ is a two song EP that is filled to the brim with that familiar psychedelic tinged Black Metal. It immediately transports the listener on a twisted journey through the realms of madness.. Everything you could possibly want to descent in the void. From the reverb of the guitars to the shrieks of the vocals this comes highly recommended! ~ Ashley Gould

 

 

 

 

Antigama (Poland) – Depressant (Grindcore, Selfmadegod Records)

Poland’s self-described “cybergrind” aficionados have returned with an EP of killer material. Their sound hasn’t changed much since 2015’s The Insolent, as they still sling a style of incredibly tightly wound and intense technical deathgrind. True to form, their riffs often seem so precise that they could be spat out of a computer. They are also catchy, propulsive, and memorable. The band starts out at the redline with the one-two punch of Empty Paths and Anchors blasting the earwax out of the unprepared listener. The midsection of the album sees them incorporate more of the head-nodding grooves and unexpected twists that have defined their unusual sound. Title track Depressant is an atmospheric, doomy crawl that creates an uncanny sense of disorientation before blistering closer ‘Shut Up’ brings back the pyrotechnics. A short, rampaging release by a band with a finely honed sound. ~ Wyeth Holman

 

 

 

 

Chaos Moon (USA)- Eschaton Mémoire (Blood Music)

After listening to this album I found myself at a stand still. This is one of those releases that resonates deep, and I was instantly drawn to replay the whole thing over again. This is meant to be listened to in one sitting as the songs flow together with dark fluidity. Combining all the elements familiar with Atmospheric/Avantgarde Black Metal Eschaton Mémoire portrays it in a way that is fraught with emotion. The mixture of the music and the prominent vocals gives off a desolate vibe that grapples with inner turmoil. There is a lot that can be said about this release and I cannot recommend it enough. Prepare to be taken on a trip! ~ Ashley Gould

 

 

 

 

UR (Germany) – Grey Wanderer (Doom/Drone/Post Metal)

With their second album “Grey Wanderer” UR from Leipzig/Germany not only demonstrate again their skills in creating atmospheric soundscapes, they also improved in everything and elaborated their personal style.
They combine Drone, Doom, Sludge heaviness with Post/Black Metal elegance in four songs and an overall playing time of about 44 minutes.

Melodies of cold bleakness, and paralyzing fear permeate massive walls of heavy droney Doom. The growled vocals are sparsely used, but to great effect. They set structural accents and provide time and space for the lyrics they convey to unfold their metaphorical powers.

Everything is layered carefully in climactic build ups and evolves into dense and emotional atmospheres to get lost in. ~ Ulla Roschat

 

 

 

 

Throne of Heresy (Sweden) – Decameron (Blackened Death Metal, The Sign Records)

Sweden. Fuck it I’m moving there tomorrow. Not only do they produce some of the finest Death Metal in the fucking world, they also produce so many other wondrous acts that one cannot help but want to go and bask in their glory. Throne of Heresy bring us a tale on this release of plague and despair based on a book titled The Decameron that for want of not giving you a lesson in historical literature, is basically a bunch of stories about the Black Plague and those affected by it in the 1300’s. This is some seriously heavy shit, reminding me in parts of an certain Irish band named Primordial (whom I happen to love so much I have their entire collection), and with similar subject matter to boot. The difference between the two can be easily explained by their geographical location, being that these fuckers come from Sweden. I find it hard to believe that a land that had a potato famine could ever be beaten by a bunch of dudes that live in a country renowned for the happiness of it’s people, but there it is. These people also survived the Black Death, and have been churning out Death and Black so well done that I feel charred by their very existence. This album is so fucking good, and contains all the right elements to keep you free from disease for all of eternity. it’ll practically flay the germs from your very soul. No heresy here, and they deserve a throne indeed. Now please excuse me while I go and adjust my end of year fuck that was awesome list yet again Rick Jackson. Why do you hate me so, aaaarrrggghhhhh! Superb. ~ Andrew Cook

Author:

Kunal Choksi Kunal Choksi runs the show. He decides most of the content on this platform, signs bands and even promotes them. He's also a budding artist, guitar as well as a drum player, and is into fitness. He's had his bout with spirituality as well, which has altered him for better or worse. Life is a bitch but music is his saviour.