Release Day Roundup: 1/13/23

Rounding up new releases from Ville Valo, Obituary, Ahab, Disfiguring the Goddess, Thy Darkened Shade, Ropes Inside A Hole, Wothrosch and more.

a year ago

Top Pick

VV – Neon Noir (alt goth, love metal)

Everyone remembers H.I.M. frontman Ville Valo for his cheekbones and his low-rise jeans (not to mention a certain symbol he came up with...), but what's really worth remembering is just how incredible a singer he is. I've always considered myself a fairly casual H.I.M. fan, but since receiving this promo back at the start of December, I've barely listened to anything since.

There are plenty of emotive crooners out there, but what sets Valo apart is the sheer power he maintains alongside his more sensual delivery. None of the imitators come close—and, believe me, I've been searching. They all either drop off into goth baritone nonsense or get so lost in the softer side of their sound that they lack the forceful passion that comes through so clearly and compellingly in Valo's delivery. I have absolutely no idea what "Echolocate Your Love" is meant to mean, but every time he sings it I am utterly transfixed.

On Neon Noir, Valo wisely does away with the whiny, self-pitying that defined H.I.M.'s later output, harking back to their earlier, darker era. Perhaps the album it has the most in common with is 2001's Deep Shadows And Brilliant Highlights, both in the variety and restraint it displays, but there's also a hints of the brooding ominousness that defined later career highlight Venus Doom (2007), and I'd wager its a more album than either. It's no Love Metal (2004) or Razorblade Romance (1999), but if Neon Noir were a H.I.M. album—and, really, it may as well be—it'd easily rank among the top half of the band's discography. What a band, and what an album.

Release Roundup

Admire The Grim – Rogue Five (melodeath)

Ahab – The Coral Tombs (funeral doom)

Antimozdebeast – Vision (weird shit)

Anubis – Decreation Day (prog thrash)

Azken Auzi – Azken Auzi (doom metal, sludge)

Beyond The Black – Beyond The Black (melodic rock, power metal)

Crom – The Era Of Darkness (blackened power metal)

Cursed Excruciation – Arcane Diabolism (black metal, doom)

Death Engine – Ocean (sludgey post metal)

Defy The Curse – Horrors Of Human Sacrifice (death metal, crossover)

Disfiguring The Goddess – Karnival (brutal deathcore)

Draken – Book Of Black (doomy prog rock)

Elusion – The Fundamental Paradox (power metal, symphonic metal)

The Gauntlet – Dark Steel and Fire (black metal, thrash)

Gra – Lycaon (black metal)

Guts Club – Cliffs/Walls (noise doom)

Hellevate – The Purpose Is Cruelty (thrash)

Hostsol – Länge Leve Döden (dissonant black metal)

Kohnerah – Ominous Ubiquitous (brutal death metal)

Kollaps\e – Phantom Centre (post metal)

Leipa – Reue (black metal)

Leper Colony – Leper Colony (death metal)

Malo De Dentro – Follow Me (heavy metal, thrash)

Moonlight Sorcery – Nightwind: The Conqueror From The Stars (blackened melodeath)

Obituary – Dying Of Everything (death metal)

Polar – Everywhere, Everything (post hardcore, metalcore)

Ropes Inside A Hole – A Man And His Nature (post metal)

RuinThrone – The Unconscious Mind Of Arda (symphonic power folk, hobbit bullshit)

Samtar – Shadow Of The King’s Charade (prog rock)

Screamer – Kingmaker (heavy metal)

Slog – Divination (brutal death doom)

Strider – Midnight Zen (progressive stoner metal)

Thy Darkened Shade – Liber Lvcifer II-Mahapralaya (progressive black metal)

Turmion Katilot – Omen X (industrial folk metal)

Unarmed – It’s Like That (post hardcore, pop punk)

Vanguardian – II: The Heretic (progressive death metal)

Wothrosch – Odium (progressive blackened death doom)

Joshua Bulleid

Published a year ago