Editor’s Note: Do you think we “missed” an album this week? Click here.
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!
Atræ Bilis – Apexapien (progressive death metal)
Hot on the heels of last year’s impressive Divinihility EP, Apexapien is poised to take rising Canadian death metal stars Atræ Bilis over the top of the under-underground and into the hearts of internet metal circles everywhere.
Their overall sound is like a more brutal take on modern prog-death acts like Gojira, Hath, and Black Crown initiate. The tonality of some of the tracks also often reminds me of Australian progressive death-grinders A Million Dead Birds Laughing (particularly the mid section of “Bacterium Abloom”) which I thought was a bit off, but then I discovered the band actually features guitarist David Stepanavicius, formerly of Melbourne shock-slammers, The Mung, so there might be something to the comparison/influence. Whatever their inspiration, though, Atræ Bilis have definitely proved themselves ones to watch with this release.
See Also: Trivium – In the Court of the Dragon (melodic thrash); I’m still coming to terms with this one, and I’m not sure it quite hits the heights of their previous two records, but there’s no denying that Trivium are on an unprecedented hot-streak at the moment, which In the Court of the Dragon clearly continues.
Kowloon Walled City – Piecework (noise rock, sludge)
It’s been said that in art, there’s a balance between what equals missed opportunity, versus what equals restraint. Longtime sludge-noise group Kowloon Walled City show on their new album Piecework, that they’re fully comfortable showing that restraint and making the best of it. Returning after six years since their last release which garnered mix reviews, KWC look to recapture the lightning of their early material.
Crunchy, reverb-heavy guitars are again the centerpiece here, accented by the atonal, distraught shouts of guitarist Scott Evans. The vocals may be the biggest barrier to entry here if you’re not that familiar with noise rock, but they’re not that far off of a lot of stoner and sludge bands, somewhere between newer-Daughters and early-Baroness. Going back to that point I made about restraint, they really take their time when they want to, making every second count. That cliche “it’s the notes they don’t play” arguably works here, as they do a lot with spaced out rhythmic breaks to accentuate a bleak loneliness, sometimes just letting a note reverberate into silence. It lends to a prominent post-metal influence that captivates and sucks you into the experience as their writing gradually picks up, such as the end of “Oxygen Tent”. There’s a certain introspective sadness here that is captured perfectly by its artwork. Definitely an album I’d recommend for solitary headphone spins and spiraling inwards.
See Also: Under The Pier – An Exercise in Discontent (mathcore, deathgrind)
Best Surprise of Last Week: Phantom Host – Scorched (post-black metal, melodeath)