ANNIHILATE THIS WEEK hits every Weekend (Saturday or Sunday) with the intent of covering important new releases — grouping short reviews for albums, EPs and demos selected from the current week’s best. These albums were overlooked for more detailed review for any number of reasons, I’m either low on time or the music itself doesn’t warrant depth of inquiry or require too-serious engagement. I do my best to cover as much of everything I receive in some form regardless of genre or representation, so, don’t hesitate to send anything and everything my way: email@example.com
The twenty-sixth week of 2021 is highlighted by a broad variety of end-of-the-month black metal releases, several varieties of avant-garde black metal, numerous complex, atmospheric and brutal death metal albums, cinematic post-rock, melodic black metal, and not a whole lot else that I’ve been made aware of. If you’re not into the selection this time around, relax! This’ll be back every 7 days with five more new releases from different styles, genres, etc.
The Album of the Week for my own taste is a tough call but I have to say Drawn and Quartered still have that something extra going on within their classic death metal hellswarm on ‘Congregation Pestilence‘. Noctambulist‘s ‘The Barren Form‘ is not far behind and has proven a truly great surprise on my end after I’d sort of missed out on their previous record. If that wasn’t enough brutal-assed death metal hammering for you, Diabolizer‘s ‘Khalkedonian Death‘ will be the nuke to finish us all off. These should sate most listeners with solid death metal through the first two weeks of July but don’t miss the black/death thrashing of Stress Angel‘s blasphemic idol ‘Bursting Church‘, nor the uneasy chasm of Icelandic black metal act Mannviera‘s long-awaited ‘Vitahringur‘. Bear with me if any of these write-ups need additional editing, hottest day of the year so far and the air conditioning wasn’t keeping up.
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|RELEASE DATE:||July 2nd, 2021|
|LABEL(S):||Dark Essence Records|
We’d long gotten blips of unique instrumentation and gentle dips into the melodious mirror of the artist’s eclectic tastes in the past, yet despite being an avid collector of all things Taake since 2005 I’d never been forced to sit and meditate upon what the major difference is between this band and others. One who can distinguish their output as Norwegian black metal (and from it), approachably so, perhaps lies within aiming to be different not “for the sake of it” but as a side-effect of developing what sounds distinctly Taake in voice. Nowhere do we get a glimpse into such a refined artist’s process of anomalous, self-determined growth than on the ‘cutting room’ floor. ‘Avvik‘ collects the artist’s impractical extras and various intimate moments that made good use of extra session time with pieces writ to help illustrate the intent of those sessions. Of course if you’ve been following Taake closely since 2017’s ‘Kong Vinter‘ then this material has likely hit you in rawest form via three split 10″ records with Helheim, Whoredom Rife, and Deathcult each of whom have some strong relation to Taake over the course of decades and each illustrating how well set beside a diverse set of artists his work is.
So, on a practical level these are pieces that didn’t fit on other Taake releases, collected and unified via the normalization afforded by remixed/remastered status. Though there are a handful of cover songs here each are twisted enough in nature that they lay together as if ‘Avvik’ were an eclectic record from the artist; You’ll perhaps recognize the Darkthrone song and the rapture of their cover of “Heartland” from Sisters of Mercy (featuring saxophone from Dr. Mikannibal of Sigh) but it all can’t help but sound like Hoest‘s work in a satisfyingly raw state of unification. The only outlier which probably -should- have made it onto a full-length, despite the almost too sentimental mood of the composition is this acoustic version of “Nattestid ser Porten vid 1” from live guitarist Gjermund. A stunning piece, really, give me a record of this finger-picked acoustic black metal interpretation already. For a compilation the momentum here is strong and the pieces all fit well in place thanks to the artist being singular and the quality of work unvaried in its intensity. I’ve enjoyed my time with it quite a bit, despite already owning these on vinyl the remasters bring a consistency to it all that is almost preferable, and I’d suggest similar results for likewise enthused fandom.
|ARTIST:||YEAR OF NO LIGHT|
|RELEASE DATE:||July 2nd, 2021|
The fifth full-length from well respected French post-metal climate controllers Year of No Light comes after an eight year sprawl beyond the last, a beautifully designed hourlong double LP with the option for a career-spanning twelve LP box set otherwise. From my point of view this’d built up quite a lot of expectation for a project that have always demanded patience as one of the more revered acts combining instrumental post-rock with various shades of heavy music imbued into their rhythmic and entirely cinematic vision. The apex of this extremism was probably their Debemur Morti-released fourth album ‘Tocsin’ (2013) where darker hits of sludge and what could be considered black metal influenced textures added considerable depth to their sound, which hadn’t been exactly as popular since the much lauded debut ‘Nord’ (2006). ‘Consolamentum’ vaults off of these ideas in favor of something equally dark but in less flattening shades, the colors of psychedelic and droning doom which’d already been an important part of their evolution now provide us with hallucinatory desert heat on tracks like “Interdit aux Vivants, aux Morts et aux Chiens” yet we’re not at all left hungering for the Pelican-esque wandering side of the project on its antecedent “Réalgar”. Of course there is too much of an album here to explain away, it is better to immerse and then reflect upon this sort of album on your own terms of value. My major takeaway has been a restlessness transferred through listening, a dissatisfaction with existence that may or may not line up with their narrative cinema in mind. Either way they’re still bringing more than the expected meditative wandering, the heavy mood of it all is yet intoxicating.
|TITLE:||Fire, Magic & Venom|
|RELEASE DATE:||July 2nd, 2021 [Cassette]|
‘Fire, Magic & Venom’ is the fifth EP from anonymous atmospheric/avant-garde black metal act Sea Mosquito and arguably their most impressive to date. Though it still rings of a homebrewed and in-development process of self-achieved fidelity beyond ruddy charm there is an impressive spiral of dissonance to experience herein. Presented as a single ~23 minute self-titled song with various neo-psychedelic tricks to pull along the way the central cannon-fire of black metal that persists throughout the experience is the main reason to show up and sink in; Stereo shifts, oblique chord-wringing, throat singing and droning parts are strong enough but Sea Mosquito are at their best when hitting their own brand of spaced post-‘Paracletus’ intensity. In the moment this sort of short and intensity rich experience is god-sized but after several listens I’d found little of it memorable or enchanting enough to return to. Though it was released digitally back in March the main reason to talk about this record today is its three unique cassette variations via Onism Productions, who’ve put plenty of care into each small run item. A vinyl version will follow at some point this year as far as I’ve heard.
|TITLE:||The Intimate Earth|
|RELEASE DATE:||July 2nd, 2021|
|LABEL(S):||Transcending Obscurity Records|
Although Eugene, Oregon-based neofolk/black metal quartet Felled may not be instantly recognizable by name some of the musicians involved should be familiar for their involvement in the band’s previous incarnation as a duo (Moss of Moonlight), lesser known funeral doom act Poet, and if you’d liked that Thrombus demo reissue a couple years back bassist Isamu Sato was in that band back in the early 90’s alongside Yob in the early-to-mid 2000’s. So, “neofolk” isn’t generally how I’d describe their approach to folk and folk metal influences, no more than I would assign it to Wayfarer with any real seriousness, but it does fit the mood of ‘The Intimate Earth’ well as a contemplative experience that typically resolves in triumphal statement. The sensation is certainly a distant relative of Agalloch to some degree but perhaps having spun their own forms just as The Flight of Sleipnir did early on. The violin (and viola) work from Tiffany Holliday hasn’t been placed obsessively in tonal balance with the rumbling, bass heavy blackened post-metallic swells that the band provides otherwise and this should present as a brightly colored yet mournful timbre for most. When tasked with connecting with such organically envisioned music, at its most surreal via acoustic convergence, I look for an almost imperfect edge to allow a “live in studio” presence and the drums provide this extra bit of realism for me. It is a bit of a surprise to see a record of this type on this label but once that thought subsides the only hurdle for most will be a sort of lack of “hook” or easier latches for those who land niche-adjacent.
|TITLE:||Ritual Over the Grave|
|RELEASE DATE:||July 2nd, 2021 [Reissue]|
Hnagash is a Chilean death metal quartet from the Bio Bio region whom play a cavernous and ‘old school’ blackened form that is heavily influenced by the early works of Necros Christos but touches upon 80’s death metal just as often. The result is an album with an incredibly raw and riff-focused approach that still wields the bones of classic late 80’s death/thrash metal. The interesting thing is that none of these bones land naturally together and the greater ritual sounds like a hidden demo tape from the late 90’s, not far from what Sadism were doing on ‘Tribulated Bells’ back in 1992. The drums are obliterated and the heft of the rhythm guitar work is generally lost outside of slower grooves but the experience as a whole recalls the best of obscure death metal demo tape diving a few decades ago. Once the immersion kicks in (maybe 2-3 straight listens) there is a sort of atmospheric yet riff-driven record to enjoy here. Though their sound does not blow my mind just yet, the songs themselves showcase a band developing their approach around the best “evil” classics.
|TITLE:||Masquerade Among Gods|
|RELEASE DATE:||July 2nd, 2021|
|LABEL(S):||Black Lion Records|
Godhead Machinery are a black metal quintet out of Norrköping, Sweden who’d put out a couple of records for Finnish melodic metal label Inverse Records over the last five or so years, this ‘Masquerade Among Gods’ EP marks their first release for the well-curated Swedish label Black Lion Records. It may be worthwhile context for fans of Swedish black metal that guitarist/co-vocalist Robert Karlsson was a key member of the band Misericordia for several decades and that this band isn’t necessarily a full spiritual succession of that sound but existing fans will be entirely at home within his dramatic compositional knack. These are brooding, heavily mood-drenched black metal pieces that ring long and gracefully unholy strands of patient melody. This is at first maddening if you’ve entered this realm expecting blasphemous black/death furor or access to “easy” hooks. I’d say the best equivalency is something like Bâ’a and even then there are shades of orthodox Swedish black metal, Icelandic black metal and such to keep things unpredictable and ever-ringing. It is an unassuming find in the sense that the depth of the full listen isn’t stuck on sounding ruthlessly Swedish. A fantastic introduction to this band and well, here’s hoping they’ll select more interesting cover art for their third full-length because I am intrigued to see what they’ll do next. Engrossing, darkly sprawling stuff.
CHECK THESE OUT TOO
- SAXTORPH – When Depression Devastates the Dreams [July 2nd, Wolfspell Records]
- BLACK TEMPEL PYRAMID – Ancient Hymns & Incantations [July 2nd, Ethereal Mother Tapes]
- OFF PEAK ARSON – Off Peak Arson [June 21st, Self Released]
- CONCILIUM – Desecration [July 2nd, Sentient Ruin]
- ARCANE SUN – Arcane Sun [July 1st, Sentinel Records] Reissue
- NAPALM TED – Cesspool of Human Mind [July ??, Mogahead]
- VRYKOLAKAS – And Vrykolakas Brings Chaos & Destruction [July 1st, Dark Blasphemies]
- EXORCIST – Nightmare Theatre (Re-Release) [June 28th, High Roller Records]
- RUACH RAAH – Misanthropic Wolfgang [June 30th, Signal Rex]
- ANTOLOGI – Chronicles of Catastrophes [June 30th, Vrykoblast Production]
- EUTHANIZED – Sanguine Spectacle [June 30th, Helldprod Records]
- EXISTENTIAL DREAD ‘Full Moon Bliss [June 24th, Moonlight Cypress Archives]
- HEAVY METAL ADDICTED – Criminal Ways [June 30th, Murder Records]
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