Arkaik – Nemethia

Death metal in the current era is unfortunately met with a divide among generational fans, effectively causing a bit of an old-head vs youth situation. If you’re just getting into the genre now, you’re probably brought into this world by bands such as Fit for an Autopsy, Thy Art is Murder or maybe The Black Dahlia Murder. Bands who certainly bring a fair deal of heaviness, but with a focus on being as offensively loud as their production will enable them to be. We then have the traditionalists of the genre, who are wearing their Death and Morbid Angel cassette-tapes thin,…

Street Sects – Rat Jacket

We’ve already vilified ourselves for missing Street Sects’s 2016 monster End Position, and if you haven’t heard it either, feel free to go spin the record now and share in our shame. The duo of multi-instrumentalist Shaun Ringsmuth and vocalist Leo Ashline came through with an exceptional dose of hyper-aggressive synth punk on End Position, making a bold statement in a genre defined by intensifying punk and its offshoots’ many disparate mannerisms. Not only was the album a debut that far exceeded the benchmark for a successful freshman full-length, it received well-deserved praise from the fickle beast that is the indie blogosphere. Perhaps the album’s success can be attributed to endorsement of well-respected “dark music” label The Flenser, or it could be due to the growing acceptance of heavy music as part of “normal” music consumption. However, there’s one undisputed factor for End Positions’s success, being the album’s undeniably impressive blend of industrial music and hardcore punk in a way that synth punk hasn’t seen done this well before. Seriously, if you haven’t heard this record, stop reading and go listen to it now; I won’t be offended, I promise.

Heavy Delinquency – Street Sects // End Position

As obsessive music fans, we have a pretty intense love/hate relationship with the constant onslaught of new music that crosses our paths on a weekly basis. By the time we sit down to compile our Release Day Roundup every Thursday, there’s a whole new slate of records that we need to tack onto our backlogs of new albums from weeks past, a list that remains replete throughout the year. This being the case, there are bound to be a handful of these albums that slip through the cracks, only to cross our paths months or years later and leave us wondering what possible reason we could have had to not listen to it sooner. While the time has passed to recommend these albums for your 2017 year end lists, we’ve decided to tweak our typical “Hey! Listen to…” series to launch Heavy Delinquency, which will allow us to talk about albums we slept on and make sure they receive the attention they deserve. Which brings us to Street Sects, the inspiration for this column and one of the greatest bands in modern synth punk.

Necrovorous – Plains of Decay

Old school death metal is in a state of resurgence unprecedented in the subgenre. Father Befouled, Necrowretch, Dead Congregation, Undergang, Portal, and a seemingly bottomless list of other bands have released record after pounding, flesh-tearing record heralding back to Incantation’s doom-laden, suffocating death metal, or Immolation’s fire-breathing aggression. The early 90s is a period of inspiration for many a young death metal band, and especially so for Necrovorous, whose new album Plains of Decay desecrates the shrines of old to create a death metal sound that is both incredibly aggressive and filthy on an unsettling level. If you hate this sound, go find another review of a record you may enjoy. If death metal that venerates its forebears is up your alley, prepare yourself. This record is quite good.

Heavy Rewind – The Rise and Fall and Rise of Cirith Ungol

Luckily, sometimes, in rare cases, lost bands can return. Whether this return involves an actual, physical reappearance of the band members or a renewed interest in the music and recognition of the importance of it to the history of metal, it is something to be cherished and celebrated. One such case is Cirith Ungol, one of the first metal bands. Formed in 1972, Cirith Ungol was one of the bands to first play what will later be recognized as doom metal but also contributed much to progressive metal and power metal, the latter mostly through their lyrics, cover art and track names. And yet, five or so years ago, no one outside of very dedicated circles was even aware these guys existed; what happened?

This Patch of Sky – These Small Spaces

This Patch of Sky is definitely of the third wave of post rock and this comes across strongly in both the music itself (replete as it is with buildups and crescendos) and the aesthetic chocies around track names and album art. As the band plunge deeper into their career (this is their sixth release), they seem to be harnessing their unique sound towards even more poignant and cutting evocations of the idea of longing, a wayward journey and then, finally, maybe, perhaps, a distant return. These Small Spaces is an exercise in the slow unravelling of these emotions, the contemplation of their often despondent tendancies and, perhaps, finally, maybe, a rejection of that despondence in favor of a mettled hope, a bedraggled optimism.