TEN FROM THE TOMB is a weekly feature in the form of a themed list devoted to grouping together albums of similar interest that I missed throughout the year. These albums were overlooked for review for any number of reasons with the most common reason being constraints of time. I have a policy of covering 99% of everything I receive in some form, be it mini-review or full-feature, so don’t hesitate to send anything and everything my way.
Here I present a ten album sampler of some black metal and progressive metal I’ve so far overlooked this year. Consider it a soundtrack to your weekend spent in mild turmoil fearing the rapist socioeconomic ‘rulers’ of our planet plotting to grind a pulp of your beliefs and imprison you with debt into an anxious premature death. This is where your will to live barely manages to stave off a true spiritual death; First the stages of grief for the self and the hopes held thus far, then a mourning for the environment as disasters slowly chip away at the habitable climes on Earth. Most of these albums made it here to Ten From the Tomb because I couldn’t manage the time for a long-form review or because I really didn’t have more than a paragraph or two worth of insight beyond banal description. If you don’t like black metal or progressive metal, relax! This’ll be back every seven days with 10 more albums from different styles, genres, themes, etc.
Hey! Don’t dive in thinking this will all be shit. I always have some quality control in mind and looked for expressive, meaningful releases that hold value without gimmickry or plagiarism. This week’s inspiration came from the semi-weekly poll I hold with Patrons where they pick between genres and I dig through hundreds of not-yet-reviewed releases looking for theme and interest. This week there was a split vote between progressive metal and black metal, leading me to either find progressive, forward thinking black metal and/or interesting progressive metal. Think my opinions are trash and that I suck? Want to totally tell me off, bro? Click away and let’s all live more sensible lives full of meaningful interactions. I’m too old and bored with people to care.
|Title [Type/Year]||Shared Visions [Full-length/2018]|
|Rating [3.5/5.0]||BUY/LISTEN on Bandcamp!|
We start our descent hopeful, incensed and on rails towards the checks and balances that offer false security to avoid oppression. | Soaring in most every moment and wearing a curiously Mastodon et Baroness sense of melody amidst their aggressive groove-centric progressive rock/metal hybridization New Jersey’s Gyre offer a technical but accessible ride. You’ll come out of it remembering its anthemic pulse rather than the technical knots they weave throughout and I suppose that is the major success of any worthwhile progressive metal album at first glance. This felt new, fresh, something moving and uptempo with the ability to thrash out when needed. I found myself returning to this over the months and once I sat down for a full listen I was blown away at the difference between the impression preview and focused listening makes. It is an hour you can’t really get a feeling for in just one or two focused clips. Granted, if you don’t like modern prog rock and/or that current Gojira level of alt-metal it’ll all fly past you either way.
|Title [Type/Year]||Foul Origins of Humanity [EP/2018]|
|Rating [3.25/5.0]||BUY/LISTEN on Bandcamp!|
The realization of general helplessness amidst the thoughtless masses hits and the first dip comes with the dissolution from anger into frustration and bartering. | A cyclone of burgeoning progressive blackened death metal ideas hammered together with an Immolation-sized intensity spews forth from Ramona, California project VoidCeremony. This third EP shows great growth and yet still raw intentions compared to their 2014 and 2015 works. Unfocused, rueful and unintentionally chaotic there is a death/thrash level of attack in the riffs they’ve conjured for ‘Fouls Origins of Humanity’. The rhythms are locked in and the compositions ambitiously reaching and it seems the next step for this rubberized set of ideas is serious production values. Ultimately satisfying darkness that needs a few listens to warm up.
|Title [Type/Year]||Lykaia Revisited [Full-length/2018]|
|Rating [3.5/5.0]||BUY/LISTEN at Various Places!|
At this point we find ourselves trying to muster the opposition to oppression yet every day a hundred new reasons appear to give up and give in. | I suppose if Gyre were soaring then Soen are levitating. Often described as a mixture of Tool and Opeth (or alternately, wouldn’t that just be Katatonia?) Stockholm, Sweden born progressive rock band Soen no longer touch upon the already light ‘metal’ points on this revamped version of their third album ‘Lykaia’ (2017). Emotive far beyond contemporaries Leprous, Soen offer a soothing landscape to wander and at their heaviest they hit upon a nice balance of modern Scandinavian alternative metal devoid of angst or youth’s immaturity. The ‘Revisited’ is a serious threat, too as they have not only fully remastered ‘Lykaia’ but they’ve included three soundboard recordings from the RCA club in Lisbon, Portugal and Largo in Rome, Italy. So, even if you don’t care for live recordings as extras the remaster should be reason enough to revisit this peak of creativity for Soen.
|Title [Type/Year]||Faustian Nights [Full-length/2018]|
|Rating [3.75/5.0]||BUY/LISTEN on Bandcamp!|
From this point the darkness becomes inescapable and all reasonable souls die willingly. Incapable of agreement, the opposition exhausts personal options for escape from tyranny. Some are left dead in grand protest and even more are impossibly shackled by the oppressor’s hold on their every day life. | One of countless projects spearheaded by legendary Romanian black metal musician Fulmineos, who gets a lot of attention for being a part of early Negură Bunget but began work on Ordinul Negru as a solo artist in 2004 until 2015 when he expanded the project into a full line-up. ‘Faustian Nights’ is the eighth full-length from this project and shows incredible growth since Fulmineos‘ beginnings as a raw Burzum influenced bedroom black metaller. It is a thing of true beauty as Ordinul Negru‘s compositions slip between mournful atmospheric black metal, melodic black metal aggression, and driving dark metal. There is a warm, listless subtlety to ‘Faustian Nights’ that seems to aim for poetic performance amidst a more muscular, slightly ‘old school’ atmospheric black metal. It didn’t sink in immediately and all felt a bit mid-pace at first but with some attention the album is quite dramatic and occasionally moving.
|Title [Type/Year]||The Wake [Full-length/2018]|
|Rating [4.0/5.0]||BUY/LISTEN on Spotify!|
The apex of immobility is the sort of insanity arising from compulsive escapism. To avoid reality through intense and furious denial is the future as a hated empire crumbles upon those who were sure they loved it. | On their fourteenth full-length Montréal möngers Voïvod go virtually cinematic in their repulsion of past forms, intensifying the ratcheted intensity of ‘Target Earth’ and pouring a load of Chewy‘s ingenious absurdist technical mental wilderness atop what feels like an apocalypse of Killing Joke-fed cybernetic doom metallic thrash. Not the furthest these UFO-sighting grandpas have launched themselves into extra-terrestrial realms but certainly a meaningful romp that out wobbles the previous record. ‘The Wake’ is so incredibly engaging and nothing about that realization feels right because Voivod have always seemed to hold the listener at a distance whereas this incarnation has us all sitting by the old Zenith as they spin their sci-fi Radio drama in eight acts. If there has been a true “show ’em how” moment in 2018, this is it.
|Title [Type/Year]||Black Seed of Bestiality [Compilation/2018]|
|Rating [3.0/5.0]||BUY/LISTEN on Bandcamp!|
Bask in the depravity, the darkness and begin to resemble your destroyer. Embody the entropic overload seeping through every crevice of the Earth and inject vile seed of irreparable damage. | Seattle, Washington black/death hammer Crurifragium are a psychotic storm of Christ-fingering horror and they were no less destructive on their ‘Crurifragium’ demo in 2015. This compilation highlights that first burst of rousing sludge-spewing war metal across three truly bestial abominations that recall the most puked heresy of Black Witchery, Proclamation and Blasphemy. The second disc/side is a roughly shit ~25 minute live show with songs from their ‘Beasts of the Temple of Satan’ (2017) full-length as well. A brutal hedonistic devolution.
|Title [Type/Year]||We Are [EP/2018]|
|Rating [2.85/5.0]||BUY/LISTEN on Bandcamp!|
Appeased out of frustration and dejected slack-jointed despondency within a system driven by the blood of workers devoid of rights. Minor scales and high-fantasy worthy melodiousness, the mind twists into new desperate forms of denial. Cartoon pillows become lovers, computers replace friendships, man no longer has task in their own existence. We are meat. | Austin, Texas progressive heavy metal band Runescarred formed from the demise of power/groove metal outfit Dead Earth Politics with two key members, guitarist Tim Driscoll and vocalist Ven Scott returning with a moderately familiar sound. They’ve dropped the groove metal chugging and appear focused on a pure heavy metal sound. It is a huge improvement and a more inspiring sound without losing the sort of fantasy inspired cheese of their previous project. This is a completely DIY venture recorded in a home studio but manages a remarkably clean sound.
|Title [Type/Year]||Grotesque [Vinyl Reissue/2018]|
|Rating [3.25/5.0]||BUY/LISTEN on Bandcamp!|
Here the mind of the disenfranchised snaps. What flows out from the breaking point is pure and quickly drying iron deficient blood. Irradiated and clogged with thromboses from end to end, the husks of humans can only hope to last through involuntary mummification from volcanic activity incited by nuclear warfare. | Legendarily avant-garde black metal from the eruptive and highly intelligent Parisian snarl of musician Vaerohn saw greater blurring of focus on his second full-length circa 2010. Finally pressed onto vinyl eight years later Pensées Nocturnes still sounds like music connecting the nightmare past of mankind to our nightmare future through a psychotic black metal opera. Vaerohn was not happy about the piracy of this album when it was released and in turn made only 60 copies of his 2011 album, distributing a re-arranged version of ‘Grotesque’ named as ‘Ceci est de la musique’ for the internet to fight over instead. This sort of outrageous thinking surely guides his hand in making this sort of tragic and exciting avant-black metal.
|Title [Type/Year]||Cvlt of Machina [EP/2018]|
|Rating [2.5/5.0]||BUY/LISTEN on Bandcamp!|
Moods snap back and forth between hope and horror. Every headline is a nightmare heaped onto a pile of increasing dissociation. None of them seem worth fighting for, or against. | Well damn, if you thought there was Mastodon all over that Gyre album (pro-tip: There wasn’t much) this damn thing surely has kisses from ‘Leviathan’ all over it. Vrsa conjure a progressive form of sludge metal that has evolved from a stoner/sludge sound across three full-lengths. ‘Cvlt of Machina’ is assuredly their most ‘prog’ release to date and I was more or less on board until the weirdly uh, ‘bar band does Mudvayne ballad’ that is “Circling the Square”. A short EP and after that third song, thankfully succinct.
|Title [Type/Year]||Escape [Full-length/2018]|
|Rating [3.0/5.0]||BUY/LISTEN on Bandcamp!|
With a new purpose comes a great thrilling influx of profit. You are a reaper of souls, a murderer by proxy, standing on the backs of the dead counting whatever monetary gain resultant. A nihilist in fundamentalist’s clothing and with the power in (tiny, gnarled) hand. | The seeming climax of a trilogy of post-black metal from A.K. (Merrimack, The Order of Apollyon, Vorkreist, etc.) that explores the works of neurosurgeon and philosopher Henri Laborit who helped discover chlorpromazine and made great discoveries in psychotropic drugs, anesthesia and study of human memory. Of course he was a rebellious type and too fiercely independent to play the university game, he died bitter at his lack of recognition. ‘Escape’ is a dramatic, mind-numbing listen meant to convey the psychosis of escapism within several common methods of this abject denial. It will either be highly esoteric and immersive, or exceedingly abrasive depending on your tastes. Depressive black metal and/or post-black metal fans should absolutely flock to this trilogy and start at the beginning.
Did I miss your favorite 2018 progressive metal or black metal album? I’d like to know if there are any 2018 releases you loved that didn’t get enough recognition. Drop me a line to tell me! It is always worthwhile to speak up for the lesser known stuff. Please remember you can contribute to my Patreon @ only $1 USD per month ($12 a year) to help keep me in front of the computer writing about metal. Thanks.
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