Editor’s Note: Longtime reader Remi VL is a regular guest contributor to our Release Day Roundup posts! He submitted several of the albums listed below. Join his Facebook group for more recommendations.
Each month, we always seem to come to the same conclusion when it comes to our Editors’ Picks column: Friday release days open the floodgates and unleash a seemingly endless stream of quality new music. But while some of our Editors and Contributors sit down gleefully each week to dive into this newly stocked treasure trove, others find themselves drawing a blank at the end of the month due to the breakneck pace needed to keep up to date with what’s been released. Which brings us to this Heavy Blog PSA: a weekly roundup of new albums which pares down the week’s releases to only our highest recommendations. Here you’ll find full album/single streams, pre-order links and, most importantly, a collection of albums that could very well earn a spot on your year-end list. Enjoy!
Altarage – Succumb (death metal, black metal)
Altarage return with another dose of their meaty, suffocating, dissonant death metal. While some artists like Ulcerate have given it a more approachable, melodic spin, this is not the case here. Succumb is wall-of-sound levels of dense and noisy, with the drum and guitar onslaught reaching new levels of relentlessness. This is definitely a sort of album I need to be in the mood for, but when I’m craving an ominous roar from the center of the earth level heavy with a bit of a black metal touch akin to Portal, this most certainly will become a go to. That being said, it’s not pure cacophony. There’s still moments where everything come together and slows down for some old-fashioned head-banging heaviness.
The distorted vocals are used fairly sparingly, but they reverberate in the mix perfectly and add to the generally horrifying ambience. Structurally, it shifts between atmospheric layers of atonal riffs and unpredictable rhythms and pulverizing blast beats with a bit of a sense of not knowing where one track ends and the other begins. Yet ultimately it’s the better for it as this is certainly an album meant for a start to finish listen; probably with the lights off, or in a cave.
Last Week’s Best Surprise: Crown – The End of All Things (darkwave, post-metal)
Crypts of Despair – All Light Swallowed (weird blackened death-doom)
What’s your favourite type of death metal? If you answered “All of them!” then Crypts of Despair are the Band for You!
The Lithuanian outfit perfectly blend elements of at-times thrashy, at-times pulverising blackened death metal, weird dissonant death metal, crushing death doom, sludgy atmosphere and tight technicality—consistently in the space of a single song. We’ve had this promo for a few months now and it’s been in my regular rotation since then. With each and every listen I’m absolutely flawed by how well-constructed and absolutely crushing each and every one of All Light Swallowed’s nine tracks are, firmly cementing it as one of the stand-out underground, extreme metal releases of 2021.
Howling Giant – Alteration (progressive stoner, heavy psych)
Two years ago, Howling Giant pushed the limits of what “their sound” could be with their amazing full length, The Space Between Worlds. They then came back last year with Masamune, their half of the split with Sergeant Thunderhoof, a 20-minute progressive stoner/psych masterpiece!
Alteration, their newest EP, is an all-instrumental continuation of progressive stoner/psych grooves they set out on the split.
The band hosted weekly twitch streams, and between D&D sessions, drum workouts, and cooking segments, they would also stream some of their band practices and have fans chime in on what worked and what didn’t. This EP is a lot of that stuff come to life! While the band continues to work on their next album, this is a taste of their jammier side to tide us all over!
Victory Over the Sun – Nowherer (microtonal black metal)
If you missed our premiere and interview, Victory Over the Sun are back with another excellent display of avant-garde black metal. This time around, Vivian Tylinska embraces microtonality and genre bending to exceptional effect, providing all the dissonance you might expect with plenty of stylistic surprises along the way.
Last Week’s Best Discovery: Kauan – Ice Fleet (progressive post-metal)