Singled Out is our weekly column to round-up the singles and new tracks from the past week dropped by bands we cover. Consider this our weekly mix to help keep you all on top of the latest releases from across the metallic and progressive spectrums. Read past entries here, and go on ahead below to get Singled Out!
Abigail Williams – “Path of Broken Glass”
For a short period of time, I remember being bombarded by Facebook posts from the Wolvhammer page, made by guitarist Jeff Wilson insisting that there would in fact be new Abigail Williams music. Well, Jeff upheld his promise, and boy am I glad he did. Abigail Williams returns with a vengeance on their new track “Path Of Broken Glass” . The song has a fairly simple classic black metal formula (AKA lots of blast beats, shrieky vocals, sick riffs) before it breaks down into a hard hitting, riff-centric metal sections that also include, dare we call them this, (semi) clean vocals. To be fair, they realistically sound more like the pained howls of someone suffering who believes they are being hunted by a completely H.P. Lovecraft type phantasm, but hey, it isn’t the normal black metal shriek, so it’s safe to say it’s at least semi clean. While it may seem as if (unfortunately) Lord Mantis and Wolvhammer may need to be put on hold for a bit in order for Abigail Williams to finish up this tour, it is also completely undeniably fine, as if this song is any indication, they seem to be preparing to release a truly amazing piece of black metal.
Children of Bodom – “I Hurt”
Being a Children of Bodom fan hasn’t been the easiest thing. While most of their records up to and including Blooddrunk had something to love, they were also getting less interesting and it sounded like the band had lost their sound. 2011’s Relentless Reckless Forever was a disappointment, and while the follow-up Halo of Blood was decent, it was still lacking. Enter their upcoming album I Worship Chaos. With the departure of their longtime guitarist, the talented Roope Latvala, hopes were lower than ever, but the new single “I Hurt” shows that not all is lost. In fact, seems like things are going pretty well! While it’s clear that the band will never go back to their folky melodeath sound from their first few albums, Are You Dead Yet? was still a good album, and this song sounds straight off of that, even better than some of the stuff on it. A chantable groove metal chorus, a verse with melodeath blasts, and overall badass riffing all come together to make this song a solid Bodom joint. Seems like Alexi’s still got it, and maybe we can get excited for new Bodom again!
Cult Leader – “Sympathetic”
In just over a month, Cult Leader will have released one of the most anticipated full lengths to arrive via Deathwish. Lightless Walk is going to alter the shape of dark, aggressive music in a way that their associated act, Gaza, never quite could. What we’ve heard so far has hinted and teased at the ferocity that this band are capable of dishing out and with “Sympathetic”, we’re finally getting to see just how far Cult Leader can take us down the rabbit hole. The first track was fantastic but nowhere near as multi faceted as this. What this band do with one note and chaotic drum fills, most couldn’t pull off in an entire release. There’s a lazy, lumbering groove that never really settles, it’s more like it splits apart from the rest of the song and careenes right into the Cult Of Luna vibe that the chorus rides out. The title of the track being spat in our face is righteous as fuck too; ten listens deep and I’m still shouting it right back, waking the dead on my way. Musically, everything that needs to be crisp and clear is just that, while the blown out guitar tone never gets too offensive. I cannot fucking wait to hear this record in one sitting and you can scratch off the rest of my album of the year contenders.
Deafheaven – “Come Back”
Deafheaven, for whatever inexplicable reason, have blown up with a minimal output within the realm of US black metal in a really short amount of time. They’ve drawn just as much praise from critics as they’ve drawn criticism from extreme metal’s more insular and jaded crowd. Oh, and they’ve also been one of the most exciting and consistent acts to come out of the now decades-old genre for some time. In an age when the traditional values of black metal are generally either discarded or parodied, Deafheaven’s typical aesthetic of delivering passionate, dizzyingly-fast, and hypnotic passages is perfectly exemplified with “Come Back.” It looks like New Bermuda probably won’t be a huge departure in style for the band, but rather shows a band honing in on their craft and expanding on the things that made people catch notice in the first places. This song’s first half is about as metal as Deafheaven have gotten to date, but then ends with an extended jam that would do the likes of Mogwai proud. Get past the image for once and recognize these dudes for what they are; amazing songwriters.
Horrendous – “Acolytes”
While it has never been a secret that Horrendous wears Death patches as the centerpiece of their denim vests, “Acolytes” makes that point abundantly clear. Shredding vocals that channel Chuck’s most visceral moments, razor sharp riffs tinged with equals parts virtuosity & intensity and fine tuned compositions comes together for a ripping romp similar in impact to Anareta’s lead single “Sum of All Failures.” While there is a slight lull towards the mid-end of the track, the band surprises the listener with a starkly different conclusion. Melodic chords conjure an uplifting mood that sounds far more hopeful than any death metal track should, in the best way possible. Multi-faceted, invigorating and so well-written, Horrendous prove yet again that Anareta is the must-listen album of 2015 for any fan of death metal.
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Intronaut – “Fast Worms”
Intronaut is a band that many of us here at heavy Blog think highly of. That being said, their latest track “Fast Worms” is exactly why we fell in love with them. From the moment the off-time intro riff starts, you know that the band have decided to explore their roots once again. The crushing guitars are perfectly placed to allow Sacha and Dave to really go crazy with vocals, and it has a perfect mix of their screams and harmonies to create one killer track.
Many would point to Null or Prehistoricisms as some of their heaviest work, and I would be one to agree. That being said, I think the band came around full circle by incorporating the cool progressive rock clean guitar work in with the heavily sludgy and distorted sound from their older material. It’s not necessarily a rebirth for the band, but surely marks the beginning of an album that will go down as one of the finest in the genre once the whole thing is out.
Lost Soul – “Aqueous Ammonia”
Lost Soul had been AWOL for years since their 2009 opus Immerse in Infinity. Their fourth studio album was an extremely solid flurry of extreme death metal that was ahead of its time in terms of how heavy it was and how seamlessly it blended their speed with catchy riffs, a style that would later be adopted by bands like Fleshgod Apocalypse. After a six-year silence, they came back out of nowhere with their new single “Aqueous Ammonia”, and a new album announcement for this year. Their trademark blazing fast riffage is back, but they’ve now augmented their sound with a blackened edge reminiscent of Behemoth‘s Demigod album (to the point that their singer sounds like Nergal now!). This song is kick-ass, and has the power of their previous sound but with a new twist to it, and it makes me very pumped for their album, as their brand of heavy hits just the right spot with how appreciable it is while being over-the-top in its extremity. Lost Soul is back!
Parkway Drive – “Bottom Feeder”/”Fractures”
When the fuck did Parkway Drive become a nu-metal band? For real, these singles have more in common with Disturbed than they do with anything this band has ever put out before. The punchy, groovy riffs accentuate the vocal lines in a unique way for the vocalist’s style, and the leads are pretty decent at times, but still, this is nothing that hasn’t been done before way better by another band. Galloping chugs and repetitive melodic work define these two songs, and the vocal performances here are so predictable that I feel like I’ve learned every word before I’ve even reached the end of the first spin. This is a shame; these guys were a pretty great metalcore band at times, but this material is straight-up bad. Just go re-listen to “Pressures” and “Atlas”.
Panopticon – “Autumn Eternal”
Can Austin Lunn do no wrong? His one-man project, Panopticon, is one of the marvels of the modern metal world: combining American black metal of the Cascadian vein with bluegrass, the project fuses abrasion and emollience, aggression and passion, cold and warmth into a powerfully emotional cocktail of music. The frigid Nordic tremolo riffing and sweet Americana swirl and mix into something that could only be described as “nostalgic”. Conjuring up grand visions of the Appalachians in the fall, of maroon and russet tinges creeping up mountains, by way of the use of banjo, fiddle, harmonica, and blastbeats, “Autumn Eternal” is a beautiful, evocative piece of work, lush in its instrumentation, painting wide swathes on a beautiful aural canvas. Fall can’t come soon enough.
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Yautja – “Breed Regret”
Yautja are one of those bands that I wish more people listened to. Not for any selfish reason or for me to be all, “I told you so” (although, I did tell you), just because I think they play some of the slickest, darkest crossover hardcore this side of the afterlife. Gargling feedback coats the canvas of “Breed Regret” and huge kick and snare hits punctuate the rest. This ain’t your old man’s rock’n’roll. What Yautja lack in tricks or frills they more than make up for with their uncanny ability to create a looming sense of claustrophobia in the opening minutes of this track. Then the shit hits the fan. Precise snare rolls carve space in what is basically a lumbering sludge metal track soaked in a delightful death metal aesthetic. These tight, mmomentary stop gaps serve only to give Sabbath esque tritone drone the room it needs to fill the room with dread. Expect incoming release Song Of Lament to knock a bunch of releases out of year end lists. You will not regret breeding to this track.