Nosound – Scintilla

Nosound are an interesting band. Much like Porcupine Tree, to which they’re often compared, almost exhaustively, they’re the brainchild of one man. Giancarlo Erra is the motivating force behind the project, lending to it some of his darkest, far flung and original energies. In addition, the project is what you called a…

Imperium Dekadenz – Dis Manibvs

Black metal is not currently, nor has it ever been, known for being easily digestible listening. Walls of sound do not engender such a quality; harsh, biting production and maximalist output defy the existence of such a trait. This isn’t to say bands within the blackened realm have never been known to play with such a concept – there are plenty of bands that bring a melodic or calmer approach to the genre – but few and far between are the black metal bands that actively encourage such a trait or let it define their music. Songs tend to be monochromatic in character, all furious sound and gnashing teeth, and little is explored in the way of accessibility or an inviting nature to those unacquainted with the genre’s tropes. As if specifically to shatter this statement, along comes the new album from German black metal veterans Imperium Dekadenz: Dis Manibvs is as close to the “easy listening” descriptor as any artist has yet to get.

Inquisition – Bloodshed Across the Empyrean Altar Beyond the Celestial Zenith

Black metal has always been one of heavy music’s most simultaneously expressive and self-limiting subgenres. It’s probably why a huge portion of former bands have either disbanded after only a few releases or simply abandoned the aesthetic completely. At this point in the genre’s history, it’s honestly pretty rare to…

Skeletonwitch – The Apothic Gloom

When I interviewed Ohio extreme metallers Skeletonwitch back in April, as they were winding their way across the country on the Decibel Tour alongside Abbath, Tribulation, and High On Fire, bassist Evan Linger briefly mentioned in regards to The Apothic Gloom, a release still shrouded in mystery but held aloft…

Coma Cluster Void – Mind Cemeteries

A good experiment doesn’t have to produce positive results. Acid was a great experiment but The Grateful Dead exist so… Some excursions into the unknown reveal horrendous truths. Mind Cemeteries by international mathcore collective Coma Cluster Void is one such truth. Showcasing the extended range guitar in a manner as yet unheard, this is a musical foray into testing the limits of how much disarray can exist in sound. It’s also really brutal. Just before this gets too fucking prog. This is so far from pretentious that it’s probably pretentious again. But not at the same time.

Tesseract – Errai

Since their inception, Tesseract haven’t been averse to revisiting older works and manipulating them into a more contemporary framework. They’ve been redoing grooves, experimenting with acoustic versions of old songs, and always trying to further distance themselves from the djent scene that they helped propel five years ago. With their most recent full-length, 2015’s Polaris, the band showed that they were straying even further from their metal roots. There were still plenty of moments that’ll open up pits the world over, but Tesseract could almost be argued as a progressive/alternative rock band at this point. Now looking at Errai, an EP with four reworked Polaris tracks, it’s evident that Tesseract are arguably at their best when they’re at their most distant.

Myrkur – Mausoleum

For very unfortunate reasons, Myrkur remains a controversial artist. Being the brainchild of Amalie Bruun, the black metal project has faced intense scrutiny for deviating from the norms of the genre, despite other artists like Ulver (whom have collaborated with her several times) or Alcest getting praised for similar irreverences. While the backlash that targets her for her gender might have dissuaded other artists, she has instead trudged on and pushed back even further. Mausoleum is partly reinvention, but also partly defiance. Taking the songs from her debut full length M and rearranging them with a haunting choir, Myrkur is firmly walking the steps towards post-black-metal greatness.

Lesbian – Hallucinogenesis

Given their awkward name, it’s no surprise that Seattle-based doom merchants Lesbian have had some trouble breaking through after more that a decade of activity. Years of development in blending psychedelic prog, black metal, and sludge (not to mention a load of drugs) lead to the release of 2013’s critically praised and criminally ignored Forestelevision, an hour-long single track that hopped through various musical vignettes that paid off in a King Diamond-worshiping heavy metal climax that may as well have crowned the group as doom metal’s weirdest act.