Release Day Roundup: 4/14/23

Rounding up releases from Jesus Piece, Overkill, Magnus Karlsson’s Free Fall, Chat Pile, Voidceremony, Squid Pisser, Gogo Penguin and others. …Oh, and some band called Metallica.

a year ago

Top Pick

MAGNUS KARLSSON’S FREE FALL – Hunt The Flame (melodic metal, power metal)

Apologies for my tardiness. I’ve been busy moving house this week, which has involved picking up and putting down everything I own about 600 times and also means I haven’t had a chance to delve as deeply into this week’s offerings as usual. Still, I’ve managed to check out a bunch of the bigger and more notable releases. Some are woefully disappointing, most are pretty solid, if not particularly memorable of fully realised, but it’s Primal Fearand Allen / Olzen (né Lande) guitarist/keyboard player Magnus Karlsson’s fourth star-studded Free Fall full length that I keep coming back to.

As with all of Karlsson’s Free Fall records, each track features a different vocalist, primarily cribbed from the melodic metal b-tier. Yet while many of the names won’t be recognisable to non-genre-die-hards they all deliver outstanding performances worthy of a promotion to the subgenre’s upper echelons. My man Girish Pradhan brings the thunder on “Holy Ground”, which weirdly sees the Indian wailer glorifying Viking colonisation on one of the album’s weaker offerings. Conversely, it’s usually underwhelming ex-Poodles frontman Jakob Samuel who delivers a standout performance on what is perhaps the record’s most memorable number in triumphant semi-ballad “You Can’t Hurt Me Anymore”. Those are the two most notable contributors, but all of the guests deliver impressive performances. Other standouts include Sinners Blood singer James Robledo on the shredtastic, almost Pagan’s Mind-leaning “Far From Home”, Crowne and Art Nation frontman Alexander Strandell on the album’s infectious opening title-track and newcomer Kristian Fyhr of Perpetual Etudeand Ginevra, whose voice is reminiscent of Eclipse’s Erik Mårtensson and absolutely kills it on “Break of Dawn”, as well as other backing harmonies littered throughout the record. If Karlsson were to convert Free Fall to a consistent line-up, then he would be an ideal frontman (provided Jorn Lande isn’t available).

Having said all of that, it’s Karlsson himself who ultimately steals the show. I’ve always had a soft spot for Karlsson-era Primal Fear (especially 2014’s extremely Judas Priest influenced Delivering the Black), but this is the most impressive and consistent display of his ample talents to date. Hunt the Flame easily outclasses previous Free Fall records in its presentation and its songcraft which are driven by Karlsson’s seemingly never-ending array of driving riffs, stunning solos, captivating melodies and perfectly deployed keyboard accentuations. The palpable passion and instrumental expertise shown on this album stands out especially in contrast with some of this week’s more anticipated albeit ultimately plodding and flab-filled offerings as well as Karlsson’s previous efforts. It’s his crowning achievement to date and is potent enough to potentially recast Free Fall as Karlsson’s primary project rather than a glorified side-project.

Release Roundup

Aetherius Obscuritas – A sors szürke pora (progressive black metal)

Alase – A Matter Of Time (progressive melodoom)

All Hell – All Hail the Night (crusty black thrash)

Altari – Kröflueldar  (weird blackened prog)

Anthems of Gomorrah – Deathplague (death metal)

Archon Angel – II (melodic prog metal)

Ashrain – Requiem Reloaded (“badass” power metal)

Askheimr – Askheimr (Black Metal)

Atarka – The Mountain (thrash metalcore, modern melodeath)

AthanaTheos – Cross. Deny. Glorify. (brutal death metal)

Atreyu – The Hope Of A Spark (please stop)

Attractive Chaos – The Fire Between Us (symphonic lounge metal?)

Bad at Life – No Place for the Living (black metal)

Black Oak – Egolution (progressive post metal)

Black Orchid Empire – Tempus Veritas (progressive metal, falsettocore)

Black:I – Kimah Elenu Su’ati Bahlu (progressive black metal)

Blacknetic – Darkness Falls (thrash)

Blazon Rite – Wild Rites and Ancient Songs (trad metal, power metal)

Cave Moth – Paralytic Love (deathgrind, mathcore)

Chat Pile / Nerver – Brothers in Christ (depressive industrial post punk)

Crownshard – Awareness (blackened death thrash)

Czakan – Unreal (dudes rock)

Deathgrave – It’s Only Midnight (The Grave that Eats People)

Deimos’ Dawn – Anthem Of The Lost (thrash)

Dimentianon – Chapter VI: Burning Rebirth (blackened doom)

Dodheimsgard – Black Medium Current (progressive black metal)

Dreamyth – Aletheia (power metal)

Edoma – Buried by Permafrost (black metal)

Elysian Tyrant – Axenocality (brutal grindcore, cybergrind)

Extermination Order – The Siege of Ascalon (blackened death metal)

Faerie Ring – Weary Traveler (stoner doom)

From Fall To Spring – Rise (post hardcore, metalcore)

FrostSeele – Dämon (blackened post prog)

Godmorgon – Out of Spite (death sludge)

Gogo Penguin – Everything Is Going To Be OK (jazzy post rock)

Hammerhead – Lords of the Sun (trad metal)

The Harvest Trail – Spree (melodeath, thrash)

Hatalom – In Situ (tech death)

The Hellfreaks – Pitch Black Sunset (alt metalcore)

Holy Moses – Invisible Queen (death thrash)

Impaled Divinity – Feculent Mutation (brutal death metal, slam)

Indistinct – Monument for Nothing (post black metal)

Infecting the Swarm – Pulsing Coalescence (Brutal Death Metal, Slam)

The Infinity Ring – Nemesis & Nativity (progressive blackened post folk)

Jesus Piece – ...So Unknown (brutal hardcore)

Kaal Nagini – Refracted Lights Of A Blind God (brutal death metal)

L.A. Guns – Black Diamonds (End of Days soundtrack-era G’n’R (without the R))

Lucifer Star Machine – Satanic Age (punk metal)

Magnets For Maniacs – 872 (nu metalcore)

Maulen – El Miedo De Amar Pero Igual Lo Hago (weird post prog?)

Mesmur – Chthonic (funeral doom)

Metallica – 72 Seasons (grandpas thrash)

Mike Tramp – Songs Of White Lion (grandpas glam)

MMXX – The Next Wave (gothic doom)

Moon Oracle – Ophidian Glare (black metal)

Morgues – Dismembering Corpses (brutal death metal, slam)

Moribund Mantras – …Of Fathomless Depths (progressive funeral doom, dsbm)

MuN – Nhemis (post metal)

New World Depression – Interment of Sins (blackened death thrash)

Out of the Mouth of Graves – Shrines to Dagon (blackened dissodeath)

Overkill – Scorched (fit grandpas thrash)

Poison Ruin – Harvest (poorly produced punk)

Putrid Yell – Consuming Aberration (death metal)

Rebelstar – The Black Widow Anthems (heavy metal, hard rock)

Rotpit – Let There Be Rot (sludgy death metal)

1782 – Clamor Luciferi (fuzzy doom)

Sever – At Midnight, By Torch Light (black metal)

Sex Machineguns – 地獄の暴走列車 (heavy metal, thrash)

Squid Pisser – My Tadpole Legion (hardcore, grindcore)

Toby Knapp – Merciless Regime (instrumental melodeath)

Ūkanose – Šiaurum Vėjum (folk metal)

Vale – A Senseless Procession (post black metal)

Vesuvian – Emergence (symphonic melodeath)

Voidceremony – Threads Of Unknowing (brutal prog death)

Vultures Gathering – The Hunt (heavy metal, thrash)

Welkin – 武勇 / Emblems of Valour (black metal, melodeath)

Wild Beyond – Wild Beyond (thrashy black metal)

Withdraw – Contemplation (weird post black metal)

Witte Wieven – Dwaallicht (post black metal)

Xpus – Sepulchrum Christi (death metal)

Zeit – Ohnmacht (black metal)

Joshua Bulleid

Published a year ago