Returning from the grave after close to three decades, California heavy metal legends Cirith Ungol blasted back last year with Forever Black (Metal Blade), their first album since 1991’s Paradise Lost (Restless Records). Striking back while the iron remains hot, the band follows up last year’s full-length offering with Half Past Human (Metal Blade), a four-track EP that reaches back into the past, resurrecting a handful of tracks that never made it properly onto any of their existing albums.
Rewinding back to August 2010, Metalcore savants The Devil Wears Prada put out the Zombie EP (Ferret Music) – a release that introduced a new level of maturity and heaviness for the band and remains a fan favorite to this day. Fast forward to the present day, TDWP have written ZII (Solid State Records), a sequel EP no one knew was coming. While its precursor is about fighting the apocalypse, ZII embodies the stemming feelings of exhaustion and hopelessness.
Let’s just face facts, the past year has been grueling. The pandemic affected the human race tremendously, changing life on earth. Musicians, of all genres, have started to release music they made during the shutdown of everything everywhere, and most of it echoes the angst of being on lockdown. Enter Wednesday 13’s newest release, Necrophaze, Antidote (Nuclear Blast). Although the songs were recorded during the recording of Necrophaze (Nuclear Blast), the four tracks were a welcome reprieve from the current melancholy atmosphere of the music industry.
Of all the bands on the Gothic Rock/Heavy Metal fusion bandwagon, Poltergeist may be the most committed to those Post-Punk aesthetics. The style on their third EP remains closer to Joy Division than Judas Priest with a heavy emphasis on chilling synths, stiff bass-heavy rhythms, and disinterested vampiric baritones. This is especially true on the first two tracks as the opening ‘Electricity’ goes full Synthwave and ‘Through Clouded Eyes’ follows it up in ominously subdued fashion.
While preparing their planned full-length for the end of this year, Skeleton has surprised us with the EP Ordainment of Divinity on 20 Buck Spin. This 12 minutes demo comes straight from the catacombs to fulfill your ears with dusty and viscid aggressiveness immersed on a Lo-fi production that is undoubtedly instigating us for a ‘nuclear bomb’ record.Continue reading
Relentless Metalcore prodigies Of Mice & Men have been through the wringer with their share of lineup changes, so a lockdown surely isn’t enough to break the united strength they have built. Conversely, it has only fed their resolve as they announce their plan for an EP trilogy, the first one titled Timeless. Prioritizing quality over quantity, Timeless (Sharptone Records) places Metalcore’s simpler times in a new context by using its nostalgic facets to tell a story we can all relate to today.
It is bands like Riddlebreak that make it a shame there aren’t more descriptive titles for genres. Architeuthis may be early on the South African six-piece’s discography, but its ingenuity attests to their clear identity. Whether or not you think Metalcore is dead, prepare for a journey where you will witness its reincarnation into something far more elaborate.
Having established a successful collaboration with 2020″s May Our Chambers Be Full (Sacred Bones Records, review here), Thou & Emma Ruth Rundle flesh things out further with The Helm Of Sorrow (Sacred Bones Records). The four songs on this EP are more or less cut from the same cloth. A blend of Sludge, Grunge, and Shoegaze serves as a stylistic backdrop for the dynamic synthesis and occasional clashes between Rundle’s harrowing restraint and Thou’s distorted violence.
Based out of Indianapolis and featuring a who’s who of veterans from such bands as Obscene, Harakiri, and Bulletwolf, Mother Of Graves makes a strong first impression with their debut EP. The group’s melodic approach to Death/Doom makes no bones about the influence from Paradise Lost and Katatonia, mixing the former’s mournful leads with the latter’s mid-tempo pacing. One can also detect traces of Novembers Doom in the vocals and Dan Swano’s signature touches on the mastering.
Formed in Worcester, Massachusetts in 2016, five-piece thrash outfit High Command follow up their 2017 debut full length Beyond the Wall of Desolation with digitally released single Everlasting Torment (both Southern Lord).Continue reading