Bhleg – Solarmegin

This is a frustrating album. When Bhleg is good, they’re good. Solarmegin has so, so many beautiful sounds artfully woven into its fabric. Throat singing, bagpipes, snapping, choirs, a Viking war horn, samples of bird sounds (especially the birds) all find their rightful place in Solarmegin, living comfortably among the…

Conjurer – Mire

Debut albums are an odd beast. Even when they’re good they tend to come with a lot of growing pains, and bands at this early stage in their career tend to lack the self-awareness to really exploit their own potential. Sometimes, this rough, unrefined approach is great. It can often…

Kaoteon – Damnatio Memoriae

Metal is often intrinsically tied to story and band narrative. Especially in its most extreme forms, bands are often imbued with an aura of mystique and toil through the auspices of the stories they choose to tell about themselves, whether through marketing, interviews, or their music. Lebanon’s blackened death metal…

Vexes – Ancient Geometry

In what circumstances does a new band’s direct unabashed influence from a well known active band make those newcomers derivative, redundant, and irrelevant? International prog supergroup Soen, for instance, gets a pass at their obvious take on Tool because of Tool’s inactivity over the last decade; at this point, it’s…

Usurpress – Interregnum

Did you ever hope that Tom Waits got together with Hubert Selby Jr. and write a death metal album? Because your wish has finally come true. Usurpress has a new album out, and it’s easily the greatest labor they have yet to produce. Prior to Interregnum, Usurpress was a death…