Japan’s Sonic Flower began in the early 2000s as an offshoot of Church of Misery. They released one self-titled album in 2003 and then broke up in 2005 following some aborted recording sessions. Reforming briefly in 2007, only to break up again the same year, Sonic Flower lay dormant for 14 years until they finally reformed again in 2019. A full-length album with a new lineup including a vocalist is scheduled for later in 2021. To whet their fans’ appetite in the meantime, the band are first releasing Rides Again (Heavy Psych Sounds Records), which consists entirely of tracks recorded in 2005 from the aforementioned aborted sessions.
En Minor is a project that had been rattling around in Philip H. Anselmo“s head since he was a child; they are an unexpectedly emotional and deeply serious sound that freefalls out of the genres most of the band members are associated with, including Anselmo himself, and into uncharted territory. Unconventional and, in many ways, experimental, their 2020 release, When the Cold Truth Has Worn Its Miserable Welcome Out (Housecore Records) is steeped in reverence to the Jazz tradition in New Orleans, and maybe more markedly serves as a morose interpretation of a Jazz Funeral March with hints of Vaudeville; an unironic gothic twist on Tom Waits that Anselmo has since self-described as Depression Core.
2R0I2P0 (Twenty Twenty RIP, Relapse Records) is a collaboration album from two luminaries of the Japanese experimental music scene, Boris and Merzbow. Boris has released a vast number of albums over the past 25 years, and their sound ranges from psychedelic post-rock to crushing metallic doom riffery. Noise artist Merzbow (the brainchild of Masami Akita) has been even more prolific, having released hundreds of records over a 40-year career.
The early nineties was an exciting experimental and developmental time for the genre of Folk Metal. The German outfit SuidAkrA took on this evolving style and meshed it up with Black Metal on their debut album, Lupine Essence that was released in 1997. They were able to uniquely harmonize the two genres and create a memorable and meaningful record that is still considered with reverence in the Black/Folk/Celtic Metal scenes. Now the band is re-releasing their early work with original member Arkadius Antonik remastering each track himself. With new artwork, bonus tracks, and its first release on vinyl, these multi-genre metal veterans are getting a chance to properly present their initial material. Continue reading
Melodic Death Metal pioneers, Dark Tranquillity, release their twelfth studio album Moment (Century Media Records). The twelve-song album began recording shortly after founding member Niklas Sundin announced his departure from the band (Editor’s note: although he is still involved with the band behind the scenes) on their social media platforms, after touring members, Christopher Amott (ex-Arch Enemy) and Johan Reinholdz (Andromeda) formally joined Mikael Stanne, Anders Jivarp, Martin Brändström, and Anders Iwers as part of the official dT lineup.
Over 35 years ago, Fates Warning was one of the main trailblazers and influencers in the Progressive Metal movement. With so much history, there has been a lot of lineup changes throughout the years, but the band has always been known for its exploration and expansion of the scene. Even today this East Coast act is still examining their special sound. Earlier this month FW released their newest full-length album, Long Day Good Night (Metal Blade Records). These boys went big and completed 13 songs to celebrate their 13th full-length release. The group took their time to dig deep into their assorted inclinations to expose the wealth they found there.
Over thirty years ago, England’s own Carcass came to the scene and shared their glorification of grind and gore. The unhinged and manic sound they conjured found an audience and quickly gained popularity, along with their contemporaries Napalm Death and Godflesh. The surge of the extreme had its time in the sun, but after their 10 year hiatus, Carcass came back in a slightly different mood. In 2013, the group took their well-known viciousness and molded it in with more melody on their sixth full-length, Surgical Steel (Nuclear Blast). They married Grindcore and Melodic Death Metal on that record which got a lot of attention and reminded everyone why these guys are such an original act. After seven years, the band is back again with their EP, Despicable (Nuclear Blast). In just four songs, Carcass takes their significant union of sounds and exemplifies them with new levels of pandemonium. Continue reading
Devin Townsend is a music extraordinaire who is well-known for his many different and successful projects that he has participated in over the last 25 years or so. Whether it be Strapping Young Lad or Devin Townsend Project the man has always thrown his heart into it.He is a Canadian machine that expertly and consistently generates epic-scale music in many diverse forms. Last year he released his latest solo album, Empath (InsideOut Music). He took his essence to a new level of eccentricity with a masterful embodiment of bonkers meets serene. Many cling to the wilds that is Dev for his honest presentation, whether that be in Jazz, Metal, or whatever genre he chooses to express himself with. His devotees gather in the masses at his shows for a guaranteed excellent and entertaining performance. Last December he brought his uncommon magic to England and much like his actual works, the presentation was a little unconventional. Dev is about to release his new live album, Order of Magnitude: Empath Live Volume 1 (InsideOut Music) documenting that European tour. It will be released as a limited deluxe 2CD/Blu-Ray/DVD artbook package, a limited 2CD+DVD digipak, gatefold 3LP+2CD vinyl box set, and more.
2015 proved to be a productive year for the Russian/Welsh act, Venom Prison when they released not one, but two EPs. Their ambition has continued to grow since then by deftly demonstrating the cunning and extreme of their Modern Death Metal sound. This budding band made noticeable waves in the scene when they released their second full-length, Samsara (Prosthetic Records) last year. Vocalist Larissa Stupar presented this rare rage that she and the whole band developed into a massive, contagious fury. Now, these guys are ready to exhibit how much they’ve grown in the last five years. Primeval (Prosthetic Records) is a compilation of their first two Eps re-recorded and reinvigorated.
Idles have come on in leaps and bounds since their last album Joy As An Act of Resistance (Partisan Records). It’s not even been 5 years since they were playing 100 capacity venues, yet here they are today having sold out giant venues like Alexandra Palace in under a day. With two giant albums under their belt, the big question was how the Bristol band were going to not only top it, but maintain the astronomical growth they’ve been on for the past 3 years.