I was 16 years old when Behold The Arctopus released Nano Nucleonic Cyborg Summoning. I happened upon the release purely by chance somewhere on the Internet and was immediately hooked. The performance by the trio was incredibly raw and executed flawlessly. Since Nano Nucleonic Cyborg Summoning, I haven’t been quite as enamored with instrumental music. Most of it felt too polished, too mired down in aimless solos and pointless passages leading to nowhere.
At least up until I heard Fall Of The Albatross‘ new EP Abscission. Then I felt 16 years old all over again.
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Aborted drummer and multi-instrumentalist Ken Bedene, his father and bassist Frank Bedene, and vocalist Aaron Green are here to show the world that melodic death metal can be plenty interesting in 2018. It just needed to be put in capable hands with a fresh perspective.
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Lesser Glow does not tell you about the events leading up to the apocalypse. Instead, you’re dropped right into the desolate gloom and you’ll stay there wandering for a full 25 minutes. There are no signs of life. What light there is will never shine beyond a muted luminescence. Breathing in the dust is difficult and painful. Lesser Glow paints the bleak audible equivalent picture of Cormac McCarthy’s The Road with their debut Ruined and it’s nothing short of great.
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Vein‘s errorzone is a well-tuned machine that only sounds like it’s constantly on the verge of breaking. The band has been honing each individual cog over the past five years with several EP releases and now they’ve unleashed their truly unique LP into the world. errorzone is stuffed with precise riffing, maddening dissonance, industrial samples, heavy effects, glitches, and plenty of thematic and compositional surprises that’ll blow you away every single time.
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Khemmis was buried in mountains of gushing press coverage upon the released of their 2016 album Hunted. By every method of measuring an album’s quality, Hunted was (and is) perfect. Khemmis married epic doom metal with twin guitar harmonies that rival the classics all while maintaining an impeccable amount of quality over long-form compositions. Not to repeat themselves, Khemmis has altered their formula to a mostly positive effect on their new album Desolation.
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At The Gates‘ has handed over the songwriting reigns exclusively to bassist Jonas Björler. He’s stepped up the quality from the band’s dull 2014 comeback At War With Reality, but To Drink From The Night Itself ultimately comes off as a no-risk album with a few shining moments.
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Here Lies Man is somehow from both the past and the future. Drop the needle on You Will Know Nothing and the fuzzy production screams retro, but the music is nothing like you’ve ever heard. The band claims they’re what would happen if Black Sabbath‘s Tony Iommi started an afrobeat band, but even that’s underselling their originality. Think more along the lines of Fela Kuti with a Blue Cheer record teaching Iommi a whole new style in the sweltering Nigerian heat.
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