Put on any Voivod record since their 1984 debut album War And Pain and it’s immediately clear who you’re listening to. The band has carved out a very specific notch in metal that cuts deep into the pillars of thrash and progressive metal. Fourteen albums and 36 years later and you’d assume they’d be cranking out serviceable, if not surprisingly good material. Which isn’t a dig at the band – 36 years is a long time to be consistently great. Except Voivod, all this time and material deep into its career, has produced an absolute modern progressive metal masterpiece that is undeniably one of their best albums yet.
Conan‘s new album Existential Void Guardian is the equivalent to getting a heavy wooden club upside the head. There’s no real method or extravagant thought process to utilizing the club or even wielding it in any capacity. Someone strong enough picked up the club, swung it, and connected with the side of your once-intact skull. Except the club is swung slowly, the beating never stops, and someone is yelling the whole time.
It’s been six years since Book Burner, and to add an extra layer of intrigue to Pig Destroyer‘s comeback album, Head Cage is the first time the band has ever had a bassist in their 20-plus year career. The metal world was ready for a new album. The world is getting Head Cage, a toothless outing that disjointedly presents a ton of different styles without being done to any remarkable standard.
Cast The Stone heaved their proverbial stone into the infinite seas of metal back in 2005 with their debut album Dark Winds Descending. Now a full 13 years later, Cast The Stone is back with a comparative boulder and are poised to push it right into the waters. This time, every sensible metal fan who’s paying attention is sure to take notice. Empyrean Atrophy isn’t just a comeback to make a noise and a splash. It’s here to made waves and knock your sorry boat-havin’ ass right into the water.
Ex-Torche guitarist and vocalist Andrew Elstner, and Day Old Man bassist Derek Schulz and drummer Bobby Theberge, wasted zero time in making an impression with their new band Dead Now. Within its five tracks, behind its cosmic sci-fi artwork, lay five tracks that bring thundering riffs, undeniably catchy vocals, excellent musicianship, and production that will make lesser speakers promptly distort and catch fire. Maybe not that last part, but you get the idea – Dead Now is powerful.
It’s been six years since the last release from The Secret, and somewhere along the way they’ve completely mutated their Swedish-influenced crust punk sound. Now the Italian quartet returns to the world with three swirling tracks that lean heavily into a more spellbinding black metal sound from whose void rises a monolithic version of The Secret of yesteryear.
Melodic death metal has turned into a bit of a niche genre over the years and has its clear-cut classic bands. Omnium Gatherum has indisputably become one of those bands. Guitarist Markus Vanhala and his rotating cast have cranked out some seriously solid material over the course of now nine albums in 22 years, with The Burning Cold being among one of their best efforts.
Dismember and Skitsystem have been dead for a while now. American bands have been riffing on variations of both their sounds over the past few years, but there’s something in the water of Sweden that makes the Swedes get it more right and truer to the classics than anyone else. Which is especially exciting when the two are combined into face-pummeling heaviness like Crawl.
Suspended In Reflections plays out like an elongated dream. You’re floating in a sea of violet-blue light that reaches out into the expanses of forever one second, then you’re standing naked in the desert the next. Then you’re drowning. Then you’re back to the light. The cycle continues. Much like a dream, Ancestors weaves its aural tapestry of tangentially unrelated ideas into a beautiful, shimmering vision that couldn’t possibly make sense anywhere else but here.
Listening to Bummer‘s new album Holy Terror is like trying to mosh as hard you can in the pit for 24 minutes straight. Admirable, but you cannot keep up. You will either be destroyed completely or consumed and spit out into the safety of a potentially merciless crowd. Either way, you’ll be standing on the precipice of the ever-unfolding chaos with a shit-eating grin on your face excited about diving in again.