Entheos – Dark Future

Progressive death metal outfit Entheos have had a productive three years, to say the least. 2015 saw their formation, shortly followed by the release of their debut EP Primal. 2016 saw the departure of founding guitarist Frank Costa and the introduction of their new guitarist, Malcolm Pugh. Frank had already recorded all of the rhythm guitars for the bands first full length album, so Malcolm came in and knocked out the lead guitars so that The Infinite Nothing could be unleashed upon the world. Only two months after the album’s release, the band announced the departure of Malcolm Pugh and in the same breath announced that former Scale the Summit guitarist Travis LeVrier would be taking his place in the band permanently. Now, in the latter half of 2017 we have received their second album, Dark Future, recorded in the early part of this year.

Impureza – La Caída De Tonatiuh

There have been previous attempts at integrating flamenco elements into metal. There have even been successful, good attempts at doing so. However, there are few that have been successful at blending them seamlessly. This applies not just to flamenco, but any influence outside of metal. It’s either the case where a regular metal song suddenly erupts into an irrelevant genre break, or it’s barely a metal album. The latter case usually happens, for example, when jazz musicians get together and write an album that’s mostly in their own wheelhouse, with some minor metal elements. Even further, the most extreme of metal subgenres are usually spared these excesses. Enter Impureza, a band that skirts the line between progressive and technical death metal, and perfectly fits flamenco into that picture. The end result is just delightful.

Kardashev – The Almanac

Some artists/bands are known for being able to make music that sounds huge. “Huge” in this case referring to music that has an awe-inspiring presence, as if it is either being performed in perfect sync on stages surrounding you in every direction or as if you were in a sphere of sound that encases your whole body. Music like this has a way of giving your ears a sense of depth instead of it being as cut and dry as left, right and center channel. With their last album, Peripety, the self-proclaimed Deathgaze group Kardashev showed that they wanted entrance into this particular section of the musical lexicon. With the release of their new EP The Almanac, they prove that they not only deserve to be included in this group, but placed close to the front of those who lead it.

Ne Obliviscaris – Urn

Expectation can be a curious beast. From a band’s perspective it can drive the wheels of excitement accompanying the build-up to a new release, pushing them to new heights and allowing them to reach wider audiences. Yet, it can also hang over them like a pestilence, crippling them with fear…

Akercocke – Renaissance In Extremis

While Akercocke aren’t necessarily what one would call a legendary band, they’re definitely a cult favorite, and very well-revered by those who know of them. As such, their disappearance was a big blow to fans of progressive death metal. Back in the day, Opeth and Akercocke were one of the…

Inanimate Existence – Underneath a Melting Sky

Sometimes you have to take a step back to move forward. Counter intuitive, yes. But as I’ve progressed through life I’ve found this to be true. Perhaps related to a career, where one has to go back to the drawing board to re-learn concepts long forgotten from some slept-through college lecture. Or in one’s personal life, where sometimes rehashing old wounds is the only way to progress past them. Music often falls into this same trajectory. Sometimes the alteration of sound works against a band rather than for them. While I am an enormous proponent of progression and change in music, how a band decides to engage in new musical and thematic concepts matters. Some do it right (Artificial Brain, Ingurgitating Oblivion), while some do not (latter-day Metallica, Morbid Angel). Yes, the parenthetical suggestions used to prove my point here are infinitely debatable, but I would make the argument that not all of these bands’ forays into uncharted territory worked in their favor. So it’s nice to see a band keep to their progressive trajectory, but pull from their back catalog elements that make their sound more enjoyable. Inanimate Existence are one of those bands, and with Underneath a Melting Sky have further perfected their sound by staying adventurous while simultaneously plundering the most essential elements of their past records.

To Prequel or Not? Cynic Provides the Missing Link and has their Revenge of the Sith Moment

Cynic is a legendary and influential band. Since news that drummer and founding member Sean Reinert has left the band, many fans have wondered what is on the horizon, if anything. While there’s still no word on new music from co-founder and guitarist/vocalist Paul Masvidal (who vowed to continue the band), late last year, an announcement from the realm of music archaeologists got nerd minds spinning. Uroboric Forms: The Complete Demo Collection would be released and fans would maybe get some answers about how the hell Cynic went from being in Death (which was basically a Chuck Schuldiner backing gig) to dropping an absolutely groundbreaking gem in Focus. Southern Florida in the late 80s and early 90s is hallowed ground in extreme metal. Would Uroboric Forms rewrite the narrative?

Persefone – Aathma

Persefone are no newcomers to metal, but they do stand in the shadow of their previous release, The Spiritual Migration. This album, lauded by many (including us) as a masterpiece of modern progressive metal, completely destroys any but two or three other releases in its own genre. It was, and remains, fresh, surprising, intimately familiar and yet, somehow, irreverent at the same time. Therefore, when the band announced a crowdfunding campaign for its follow up last year, titled Aathma, breaths were held across the community. Can Persefone achieve one of the two options above? That is, can they either recreate something close to The Spiritual Migration or, failing that, depart from that monumental creation into something just as good?