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!
Alastor – Onwards and Downwards (stoner-doom)
I started a whole thing about how groundbreaking I thought Alastor‘s Slave to the Grave was, and I just couldn’t get it to not sound like every cliched doom metal review every written. So, yeah, these guys kill it every time!
Black Sabbath worship at its finest. Doom with a slightly higher “beats per minute,” which is how I enjoy it. When the best song on your doom album is an acoustic song with handclaps, you know something special is going on.
There’s always been hints of psychedelic rock in their sound and that’s still present, but Alastor sure don’t back down on the Sabbath sound on the new album, while still exploring the outer limits of what a band like that has put out there.
Last Week’s Best Album: Jack Harlon & The Dead Crows – The Magnetic Ridge (stoner rock, heavy psych)
Last Week’s Biggest Surprise: The surprise release of The Tragically Hip – Saskadelphia, an EP of leftovers from their Road Apples sessions!
black midi – Cavalcade (experimental rock, math rock)
I guess 2021 is the year of “off-kilter London rock.” First Black Country, New Road came out of nowhere with their Masada-meets-The National take on post-punk, and now black midi is back with their signature brand of noisy, mathy, proggy experimental rock. Schlagenheim was one of my favorite rock records of 2019, and based on the lead singles, Cavalcade seems far from a sophomore slump.
Noctule – Wretched Abyss (melodic black metal)
After the glowing success of the Svalbard’s 2020 standout When I Die, Will It Get Better?, vocalist Serena Cherry is back with even more output, this time in the form of her new solo black metal project: Noctule. While Svalbard tread the lines between post-hardcore and black metal, Noctule dives headfirst into the latter.
Wretched Abyss manages to capture much of the emotional catharsis that Svalbard has made a name after, but this time it’s soaked in atmosphere and a much more raw package. The production is still relatively crisp and modern for the genre, but the overall sound definitely draws from that older 2nd wave of black metal.
Before Svalbard, Serena played in another black metal project so this isn’t new territory and her acumen definitely shows. There’s a strong use of melody abound driven by Serena’s impressive lead guitar work that really stands out from other similar atmosphere driven black metal.
And as a bonus for the gamers (rise up): the album is thematically and lyrically based off the game Skyrim, as each song explores a various setting, character and storyline from the game.
Last Week’s Biggest Surprise: Deadlights – The Uncanny Valley (post-hardcore, metalcore)