A month low on bigger releases finds the force strong in many smaller ones.
Abyssal – Antikatastaseis
by Nathan Hare
Antikatastaseis, is one ugly hybrid of death, black, and doom. Abyssal’s third album is an extremely dense, almost experimental, album that still has a dread-inducing atmosphere and memorable songs.
Part of the reason Antikatastaseis‘s songs are so memorable is that Abyssal really have a knack for building intensity and then incorporating a cathartic, almost soothing melody. Antikatastaseis is an album that really pushes the boundaries of death metal in a way that’s both really interesting and oddly accessible.
Pro-Pain – Voice Of Rebellion
by Evan Mugford
New York’s Pro-Pain remain wholly and inexplicably* underrated. They play hardcore with a jagged metallic edge that’s completely loaded with grooves and pissed-off-to-the-extreme vocals from General mean-mugger Gary Meskil.
On their—count’em!—15th full-length album, Voice of Rebellion, the Pro-Pain brutes straight-up deliver the goods, the shit, the hammer, and the beatdown. This motherfucker just partnered up with the new albums from Disgrace and Xibalba as the toughest S.O.B.’s going.
*Might it have something to do with being called “Pro-Pain”? – ed.
High On Fire – Luminiferous
by Ailo Ravna
There’s never been any doubts about Matt Pike being a stupendous badass. From his early days in Sleep, the man has been a machine of riffs and fantastical musings. He might just have outdone himself this time though.
Luminiferous was recorded after a lengthy stay in rehab. Yet, struggling with his personal demons only seems to have made Pike stronger; and, although songs such as “The Falconist” aren’t as balls-to-the-wall relentless as High On Fire’s usual fare, they add a new layer of doomy bombast to the band’s neck-busting assault. Luminiferous a brilliant return to form, and High On Fire’s best outing in years.
Katechon – Coronation
by Shawn Miller
While blackened RayBan metal bands really seem to be lurking around every corner, Norway’s Katechon manages to bring a unique songwriting approach to the fold. Coronation is full of rangy trem-runs, atonal, dissonant riffing and pulsing blasts; adding up to thirty-four minutes of sonic warfare.
What sets Katechon (and Coronation) apart though are the rampant highbrow chord progressions and smoothly flowing song structuring. Despite its abject heaviness, Coronation is one of the most engaging and provoking black/death album in some time.
August Burns Red – Found In Far Away Places
by Joshua Bulleid
June has almost been entirely devoid of interesting releases. I was banking on Refused’s Freedom (released on the 30th) to come through at the eleventh hour and give me something to write about but, while Freedom is a decent record it just didn’t excite me all that much. Thankfully long-written-off, Christian, Metalcore band August Burns Red decided to step up to the plate.
I’ve been saying for a while now that Unearth’s Watcher’s Of Rule has sort of ruined music for me a bit since its release in late October last year, as most subsequent releases have simply failed to live up to its overwhelming and intricate brutality. Found In Far Away Places (which I acknowledge sounds remarkably similar to Watchers Of Rule) is the first record to really challenge Watcher’s stranglehold on my “–core” enjoyment and is a pleasantly surprising release that’s got me paying close attention to a band whose last few releases have been a touch underwhelming.
Sunset In The 12th House – Mozaic
by Neil Pretorious
It’s not often that albums as decidedly left-field as Mozaic become firm favorites of mine; they’re usually more of a novel pleasure than anything else. However, Sunset In The 12th House’s eclectic mix of neo-folk, post-rock, ambient and ethnic/world music on Mozaic is simply awe-inspiring.
Almost cinematic in both sound and scope, Sunset In The 12th House are a very worthy successor to Dordeduh (themselves a successor of sorts to Negura Bunget), and their debut album comes highly recommended for those who prefer their metal to be as much of “place” as it is sound. Brilliant stuff all-round and hands down my album of the month for June.
Things were a bit more eventful around this time last year: