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!
Converge – Bloodmoon: I (progressive hardcore, doom gospel?)
Even having had it for a few weeks now, I feel like I’m still coming to grips with what this album is and everything it has to offer. You’d hardly expect less from a collaboration – five years in the making – between Converge, Chelsea Wolfe, and Cave In’s Stephen Brodsky (who turns out to be the record’s surprise MVP). I wasn’t sure about Bloodmoon at first, and I still think it has some pacing issues, especially early on, but I’m also surprised how much of it has wormed its way (like a serpent, coiled) inside my head from the few seemingly impermeable listens I’ve given it. All I know is I keep coming back and it keeps on giving, and I’m only just scratching the surface.
See Also: Obscura – A Valediction (tech death); Much has been made about the reunion of (most of) the Omnivium-era line-up fro this record, but it’s the melodeath vibes that have me thinking it could be one of their best yet. Obscura have always had the chops, but A Valediction proves they’ve got the riffs as well!
Last Week’s Best Album: Creature – Eloge De L’Ombre (progressive black metal); I didn’t have a chance to write this up last week, but it’s every bit as good as Eden said it was. There’s plenty here that reminds me of progressive (black) metal titans like Sigh and Enslaved, but the main thing it reminds me of is Puritanical Euphoric Misanthropia-era Dimmu Borgir, and I think it gives a good idea of what that band might have ended up sounding like if they’d continued down that particular black metal rabbit hole.
Der Weg Einer Freiheit – Noktvrn (atmospheric black metal, post-black metal)
The importance of album art is one hill I’ll always die on when it comes to music. All things being equal, I’ll almost always gravitate toward albums with better artwork whenever I’m digging for new music. Even with familiar artists, cover art can provide an initial read of what to expect from the album itself. Case in point, the latest release from Der Weg Einer Freiheit, who released one of our favorite black metal albums of 2017. As I wrote a few years ago, Finisterre demonstrates a “balance of the genre’s past and future in order to further its heritage.” Yet, that fresh but faithful take on black metal appeared to taken a sudden turn with Noktvrn, at least based on the contemporary cover art. From the typography to the color palette, the cover looks like a mix between the artistic tastes of Deafheaven and Touché Amoré. As someone who loves the rich tapestry of black metal subgenres as well as bands evolving their sounds, I was stoked to see it. I can’t wait to dive into the band’s self-described “darkest and most emotional offering to date.”
See Also: Converge & Chelsea Wolfe – Bloodmoon: I (post-metal, metalcore); Honestly, this one has a lot of “boom or bust” potential for me. I haven’t truly loved a Chelsea Wolfe album since the criminally underrated Unknown Rooms (2012), and as much as I love Converge, their slower material works because of the contrast with their typical metalcore fare. That said, I loved the title track, and while I’m apprehensive about a full post-metal Converge album, I’m still excited to give it a shot.
Maybeshewill – No Feeling Is Final (post-rock)
Maybeshewill was one of the introductory bands into post-rock for me back in 2008 with the release of their debut LP Not For Want of Trying. Between then and 2014, they’d put out 3 more of my favourite albums in the genre, before disbanding in 2016 — crushing. I was captivated by their efficient use of little keyboard melodies, and how they’d harmonize with fairly heavy, and at times math-rock inspired guitar work. They loved their stirring, goosebumps inducing spoken-word audio clips they’d drop perfectly in the build-up or climax of their narrative-esque songwriting. With their music being void of vocals, these clips put a voice to their concerns about the state of the world (namely capitalism, and environmental collapse), and messages of inspiration.
Now, seven years since their last album, Maybeshewill have returned with a new full-length: No Feeling Is Final. With this album we find an expanded use of an orchestral-like string-section, even including a stunning guest sax-solo on “Refuturing”. But even more so, it’s a continuation of that message — with “Zarah” featuring a speech from British MP Zarah Sultana. Her words speak to the frustrations of younger generations being denied a future by the short-sighted global elite’s inaction on climate change. All music is political, and Maybeshewill wear that proudly on their sleeve. The world needs bands like Maybeshewill right now, and we’re lucky to have them back with more elegant beauty and furious passion than ever.
See Also: Der Weg einer Freiheit – Noktvrn (post-black metal)