Hypergiant – Father Sky

The early 2000s brought us a wealth of riff-worshipping, bone-quaking goodness  – what has essentially become the foundation of many current doom, stoner, and sludge metal acts. Bands like Mastodon, High on Fire, and Baroness expanded upon the standard set by metal’s forefathers with more progressive tendencies, expansive arrangements, fiercer presentation, technically demanding performances, and (presumably) better strains of grass. At the same time (and likely benefitting from the same improved… *ahem* genetics), there was also a bubble of traditionalists like The Sword, Wolfmother, and Saviours who made the case that a more conventional approach was worth revisiting, reinvigorating classic sounds for a new generation of headbangers. It’s from this very specific nexus that Australia’s Hypergiant explode, harkening back to familiar territories on both sides of this early-00s coin.

Mavradoxa – Lethean Lament

New York-based post-black metal duo Mavradoxa made a quick turnaround with the follow-up to their 2016 debut, Sojourners, a record that wore its love for Agalloch and on its metaphorical and literal sleeves. Lethean Lament picks up right where Sojourners left off, and despite the brief period between releases, Lament is a fuller, more developed, and polished version of the band, one that also benefits from a much-improved mix. Essentially, Lethean Lament is what you’d expect from a quality post-black metal record: adventurously long tracks, gush-worthy cleans, charred in-your-face passages, and some tasteful string arrangements thrown in for good measure. At a glance, it’s a superbly-composed love letter to the the genre, skillfully pairing elegant and embellished passages with malicious affronts, while sharpening the effects of each against one another.

Hey! Listen to The Mute Gods!

Likely one of the most enjoyable albums of the year, The Mute Gods’ Tardigrades Will Inherit The Earth is brimming with melody from front to back, with outstanding keyboard arrangements and gorgeous bass licks. This album pays more direct tribute to 80s prog, an era that is maligned but provided some of the giants of the genre (Yes, Rush and Genesis) with some of their biggest hits and served to introduce the MTV generation to some of the most talented musicians on the planet. Tonally, Tardigrades is most like Yes’s 90125 and even has a sort of synthesized new age feel that marked the band’s collaboration with later soundtrack wunderkind Trevor Rabin.

Black Anvil – As Was

On previous albums, Black Anvil’s blackened thrash always seemed to fall into a state of limbo. Triumvirate hit the black-thrash-for-the-masses nail on the head, but for what little progressive tendencies they exhibited (to be honest, this is definitely more Metallica-level progressivism than it is Dream Theater), it lacked the dynamism to make it truly interesting. They might as well have gone the route of a band like Skeletonwitch and cut the fat entirely in favor of a more lean and mean approach. In comparison, Hail Death felt like an overcompensation. More Watain-like in terms of progressive arrangements, the experimentation was worthwhile, but the record was hampered by too many forgettable moments, leading to inflated songs that felt like they were long for the sake of being long. While both albums are still damn good in their own right, it felt like the band had yet to find the balance that would showcase them at their best. As Was mostly reconciles this imbalance, and also brings some interesting new elements into the fold.

Can This Even Be Called Music? 苦しみ (Kurushimi)

The Southern hemisphere’s island-continent of Australia has lately been the unholiest of breeding grounds for music, and the label Art as Catharsis has been hand-picking the most beautifully hideous flowers for years to make an ever-growing bouquet of the most obscene kind. They deal with all sorts of music, mostly metal – post-metal, drone, shoegaze, black metal, you name it – and jazz, but always with an experimental twist to it, and often blending various styles and blurring the lines between the genres. Most recently, I’ve come to absolutely love it through bands like Instrumental (adj.), Dumbsaint, Serious Beak, We Lost the Sea and, today’s topic, Kurushimi.

PREMIERE: Ænimus Debut New Track ‘Inertia’; Detail New Album

San Francisco/North Bay progressive deathcore unit, Ænimus have teamed up with Heavy Blog is Heavy to unleash a brand new track entitled ‘Inertia’, from their forthcoming as of yet untitled debut album. The band also released a teaser video clip earlier this week featuring lead guitarist Brian ‘Deebs’ James playing through one of the solos from the song.…

War From A Harlot’s Mouth – MMX

War from a Harlot’s Mouth MMX 01. Insomnia 02. To Age And Obsolete 03. The Increased Sensation Of Dullness 04. Sleep Is The Brother Of Death 05. The Polyglutamine Pact 06. Cancer Man 07. C.G.B. Spender 08. Sugarcoat 09. Spineless 10. Recluse MMX 11. Inferno III/IV [Lifeforce | 11/09/10] I…

Son of Aurelius – The Farthest Reaches

Son of Aurelius The Farthest Reaches 01. Mercy for Today 02. Let Them Hate and Fear 03. The Farthest Reaches 04. Olympus is Forgotten 05. Facing the Gorgon 06. Pandora’s Burden 07. A Champion Reborn 08. Myocardial Infarction 09. The Calm 10. A Good Death 11. The First, The Serpent…

Intronaut – Valley of Smoke

Intronaut Valley of Smoke 01. Elegy 02. Above 03. Miasma 04. Sunderance 05. Core Relations 06. Below 07. Valley Of Smoke 08. Past Tense [Century Media | 10/12/10] Post, progressive, sludge, experimental, you name it, LA’s Intronaut have their hands full when it comes to having depth of range in…