Daniel Cavanagh – Monochrome

There are artists whose power comes from being interesting even though you were dead-on with your pre-conceptions of their music. When speculating about how a future release by them would sound like, you got all the points right: the instruments sound as you had imagined they would sound, the lyrics are familiar, the production is what it needs to be. Everything has been played as you had expected. And yet, the album is still incredibly powerful. Something about the way it’s put together, even if you saw it coming, takes your breath away and reminds you why all those things exist as they do. This is very much the case with Daniel Cavanagh’s latest release, Monochrome.

Winds of Plague – Blood Of My Enemy

It’s easy to see why Winds of Plague are the butt of jokes in “internet metal circles”. As they rose to popularity during the most oversaturated era of deathcore, their imagery and lyrical content was mostly emblematic of all the tropes of the genre. Their most recognizable songs were aggressively simplistic thematically and musically. This reception is almost a shame, because Winds of Plague have always had a brilliant band hidden somewhere in that well of unrealized potential. The entirety of The Great Stone War, which was a progressive deathcore showcase, and tracks like “Angels of Debauchery” from their debut showcased the band’s more creative and clever aspects, but it’s also undeniable that the band brought this upon themselves with tracks like “Reloaded”. Regardless, there’s been a small contingent of fans wishing for a return to the more nuanced and epic sound that they often hinted at. After 4 years and a nearly-entirely-new lineup, the band returns with Blood of My Enemy, which doesn’t fully satisfy that craving, but is a massive step in the right direction for the band.

COUTOUX – A Hell on Earth

The first full-length album from COUTOUX (pronounced “KOO – too”) comes to us care of KILL ALL MUSIC, a self-described “anti-label,” which is fitting because to nail down exactly what COUTOUX should be labeled as would be akin to correctly identifying the true origins of some mutated abomination as it sludges it’s way through the irradiated wastelands in a post-apocalyptic Earth. You may very well call it industrial metal, due to it’s at times heavy hitting and seemingly unrelenting assault, but at other times it does relent a bit and eases quite quickly into an unnerving sound of atmospheric electronic doom metal by way of experimental dark synth. Perhaps we need to step back a bit and look at the prior analogy to some Godforsaken hellspawn and how it moves about because, in such a way, COUTOUX feels like it’s own beast which can only be described as “sludge synth.”

Marilyn Manson – Heaven Upside Down

Following a disappointing run that had lasted nearly a decade, Marilyn Manson made a fairly compelling (if not completely convincing) comeback with 2015’s The Pale Emperor. This not-quite-return-to-form also seemed to coincided with a stabilisation and cleaning up of the troubled shock rocker’s personal life, and it caused a stir among those who had all but written off the former “antichrist superstar,” leaving many wondering whether that album would prove to be a one-off glimpse of his former greatness or if he was capable of pulling-off a similar feat in the future. Although hopes remained high, alarm bells began to ring when it was announced that the follow-up to that record would be titled “Say10” and was slated for release on Valentine’s Day. Thankfully, that potentially embarrassing set of circumstances never came to fruition. The release was pulled with little fanfare or explanation—eventually emerging eight months later under the considerably less sophomoric title Heaven Upside Down, on the nondescript date of October 6 (although the first single being released on September 11 seems hardly coincidental). It eventually emerged that Manson was unhappy with the release in it’s earlier form and three extra tracks—it’s beginning, central and ending numbers—were added in the interim before its eventual release. The one-time “god of fuck” appears to have made the right call because, while Heaven Upside Down remains a far cry from the output of his glory period, it also provides further evidence that there’s still more than a little bit of Satanic gas left in his proverbial tank. Unfortunately, it also proves to be a release underpinned by a number of regrettable circumstances and uncomfortable revelations.

Enslaved – E

It’s pretty unfathomable that this is Enslaved’s 14th album. This is a band who has been relentlessly putting out quality albums for 26 years, and it’s no surprise that E is yet another notch on their belt. What is surprising, though, is how different it is. Ever since they adopted…

Black Pudding – Sci-fi Si / Tillagio

Black Pudding is a garage-rock trio who can rock a mean fuzz sound while coating it with cheesy lo-fi production and intoxicating hooks. The band are still very early into their career, building some hype through the release of singles such as these ones “Sci-fi Si” and “Tillagio”. Nonetheless, the band have a clear goal for their sound to fit this ongoing modern trend of fuzzy garage rock, because while this doesn’t reinvent the wheel, this will surely please any fans of the style. These tracks at times act as a hazy trip of distortion and slurred vocals, but these guys can pen a catchy hook and some sharply humorous lyrics among their warm bedroom rock.

Low Estate – Covert Cult of Death

The inevitable collision of expectation and reality when it comes to new music has its roots in the initial album description pitched to listeners. This is where the pervasive dilemma of hype is born; what’s said about an album on paper has to balance the desire to attract interest with…

Hallatar – No Stars Upon the Bridge

When we reviewed Trees of Eternity’s Hour of the Nightingale last year, shortly after Aleah Starbridge’s tragic death, we thought her story was over. Taken from the goth/doom scene much too early, Starbridge’s voice seemed destined to remain trapped, at least its last iterations, in the confines of that touching album. However, it seems…

Spectral Voice – Eroded Corridors of Unbeing

Sometimes I listen to albums and mini-movies play in my head. Narratives that to me encapsulate the sound, the feeling, of the music I am listening to. Spectral Voice has been doing this to me for years, with demo after demo of evocative, strangling death-doom that conjures images and stories that transcend the boundaries of my typically limited imagination. Their debut full-length album, Eroded Corridors of Unbeing, is no exception. In fact, it is the apex of everything the band have thus far released. It is cavernous, ethereal, terrifying, expertly performed, compositionally sound, and an utter masterpiece of death-doom glory. This is music that soundtracks nightmares of spiteful aliens, burning space stations, decaying planets, and the coming of the end of all things. It is music constructed for the dark. Prepare yourself accordingly.