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!
Allegaeon – Damnum (progressive melodeath, tech groove)
I’ve found myself falling out of love with Allegaeon somewhat over their last two records. The Coloradan quartet have always had a technical edge to them but, as their sound became increasingly tech-focussed, I found they lost a lot of the groove and melody that made them so compelling in the first place, to the point that I was feeling pretty trepidatious about a new Allegaeon album in 2022.
I’m happy to report, however, that Damnum swings the pendulum hard in the other direction, delivering what is easily the most melodic record of Allegaeon’s career while still retaining the progressive flare they’ve been building upon across their previous records. I’m sure there are those who will see it as an over-correction and I’ll concede that they don’t quite hit the balance between accessibility and brutality as well here as they did on albums like Formshifter (2012) and Elements of the Infinite (2014), but for me it’s a huge step in the right direction and one which has the potential to elevate Allegaeon into a higher echelon of extreme metal notoriety.
See Also: ScumFuck – Ruthless Aggression (brutal deathcore, sludge grind); Occasionally sludgy and always super-brutal deathcore, featuring the vocalist from Infant Annihilator.
Huerco S. – Plonk (IDM, ambient techno)
I guess today’s word of the day is “ambient,” what with Blood Incantation’s first foray into the genre and Tangerine Dream’s 84th trip around the studio. But personally, I’m most looking forward to hearing how Huerco S. (aka Brian Leeds) follows up one of my all-time favorite ambient releases, For Those Of You Who Have Never (And Also Those Who Have) (2017). Once described as “a memory of club music, which hangs over it like a ringing in the ears,” Leeds approaches ambient techno and house along the meridian of danceable melodies and stirring atmospheres. It’s been a while since For Those and its predecessor Colonial Patterns (2013) dropped, so I’m excited for Plonk to finally deliver the type of electronic music I’ve come to love from Leeds.
See Also: Zela Margossian – The Road (world fusion, Armenian jazz); Back in 2018, Zela Margossian dropped a late-year jazz gem with Transition, blending Armenian influences with vibrant, chamber-leaning jazz. The early singles from The Road promise just as many energetic, expertly composed performances.
See Also: SASAMI – Squeeze (indie pop, alt-metal); I had to rush here just before we publish to squeeze (ha) this blurb in. I only just heard about SASAMI this week, when The New York Times featured her attempt to “appropriate white, male music,” i.e. metal. As intriguing as that premise sounded, the album itself is WAY more interesting. It almost sounds like Joni Mitchell doing vocals for a St. Vincent and Yeah Yeah Yeahs collaboration, except they regularly throw metal tropes into the mix that actually fit nicely? Whatever sonic daydream you come up with, the fact remains that Squeeze is a unique, refreshing listen and a reminder why we shouldn’t take metal so seriously.