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!
Lordi – Humanimal (80s AOR, heavy metal)
Outside of thinking “Bringing Back the Balls to Rock” is a certified banger, I’ve never had any reverence or even any particular interest in Lordi, but the prospect of a 7-album boxset of anachronous albums covering the evolution of heavy metal from 1975–1995 by everyone’s favourite collection of Eurovision-conquering alien zombies was too extravagant and perplexing to ignore. Filled with morbid curiosity, I set myself the seemingly unforgiving task of actually listening to all seven albums released today as part of the Lordiversity and, while they’re not all winners, the impressive competency shown across multiple styles and consistency of songwriting across the records is genuinely impressive. Tomi Petteri Putaansuu AKA “Mr Lordi” clearly has some impressive compositional chops; if only he didn’t insist on singing all his songs himself—but, then again, that’s half the fun.
Although the albums that bookend the collection—’70s classic rock record Skeletronic Dinosaur (allegedly 1975) and industrialised, White Zombie pastiche Spooky Sextravaganza Spectacular (a. 1995)—are distinctly weaker efforts, the five albums sandwidged in-between, which include surprisingly solid disco effort Superflytrap (a. 1979), sci-fi concept record The Masterbeast from the Moon (a. 1981), heavy hair metal outing Abusement Park (a. 1984) and groove-thrash offering Abracadaver (a. 1991), are all far better than they have any right to be.
The undeniable standout, however, is 80s AOR/pop metal masterpiece Humanimals (a. 1989). The album sees the decaying quintet at the alter of Desmond Child, coming across as the long lost love-child of Alice Cooper’s Trash (1989) and Slippery When Wet (1986)/New Jersey (1988)-era Bon Jovi. Lead single “Borderline” kicks thing off with a loving nod to Michael Sembello “Maniac” and it only gets better from there, culminating in the glorious 1-2 punch of “Supernatural” and “Like a Bee to the Honey” (unsurprisingly co-written by Kiss’s Paul Stanley). The album is an absolute blast from start to finish and if you’re at all a fan of any of the artists mentioned above (and let’s not pretend like you don’t love Slippery When Wet) you owe it to yourself to check it out.
See Also: Cynic – Ascension Codes (prog metal); Over the years, I’ve come to terms with the fact that I’m more a fan of Traced In Air (2008) than I am of Cynic per se. Ascension Codes, however, may have topped the scales back in the other direction, albeit by finally delivering a worthy successor to that landmark and (until now) very singular progressive metal masterpiece. All the interlude tracks can be a bit much, but get them out of there and you’re looking at a very worthy and long-awaited successor to one of the greatest (progressive) metal albums of all time.
Noise Trail Immersion – Curia (mathcore, post-black metal)
Noise Trail Immersion are a band who have been on the cutting-edge of genre-fusing innovation for some time. But like most cutting edges, that edge flattens over time as it’s used, or in this case, more bands begin to occupy that space. While this unique hybrid of mathcore, post-metal and black metal they’ve cultivated is still quite a novel sound in the extreme music sphere, groups like Plebeian Grandstand were doing it for a while before them, and Serpent Column have been stealing that thunder as of late. Not to be outdone, Noise Trail have returned after three years since the misanthropic, dissonant brilliance of Symbology of Shelter, with their third full-length Curia.
Curia continues their festering of ominous terror with complex riffing and bleak, dense atmosphere. It’s uncomfortable and unsettling as an Ari Aster film, but with a certain satisfaction in the way their song-writing can tie these discordant post-metal leaning riffs together through progressions and repetition. The post-metal influence feels more present here, as the ideas are given more time to stretch out and ruminate in your head, and it’s better for it. On one listen I’m already ready to say this is an album of the year contender, there’s just so little out there that’s able to milk what they’re able to out of mathcore and post-black metal in such an efficient and infectious manner.
See Also: Monosphere – The Puppeteer (prog metal, post-metalcore)