Release Day Roundup: 4/21/23

Rounding up new releases from Jethro Tull, Enter Shikari, Brand of Sacrifice, The 69 Eyes, Bell Witch, Orpheus Omega, Portrayal of Guilt, Smashing Pumpkins, Ten56., Nebulae Come Sweet, The St Pierre Snake Invasion and more.

a year ago

Top Picks

The 69 Eyes – Death Of Darkness (goth rock, glam metal)

Coming to The 69 Eyes as I did during the AngelsX era, I’ve never thought too much of Finland’s finest purveyors of gothic glam metal. Having been given to delve back into their more recent output, however, I was pleased to discover that not only have the band have spent their last few albums getting back in touch with their original sleaze rock stylings but that they’ve managed to channel it into some of the best albums of their career.

Death Of Darkness isn’t going to usurp albums like Blessed Be (2001) or Devils (2004) in the wider consciousness, but for me, it and previous effort West End (2019) stand apart as some of the best and most consistent albums of the band’s surprisingly dense discography. The brooding cool of bands like Sisters of Mercy is still there, but the songs on Death Of Darkness have far more in common with the stadium-sized anthems of The Cult. The opening title-track is an instant classic, with high-octane tracks like “Drive”, “Call Me Snake”, “California” and a masterful, fist-pumping cover of Finnish rockers Boycott’s “Gotta Rock” driving the message home. Whatever its legacy ends up being, Death Of Darkness is easily the most fun of any of the band’s fourteen albums so far and, whether or not it’s because I’m still gothing out pretty hard, following my H.I.M. binge at the start of the year, has made for one of the most pleasant and unexpected surprises of the year so far.

Brand of Sacrifice – Between Death and Dreams (progressive? deathcore)

Most eyes might be on Lorna Shore, when it comes to deathcore at the moment, but for me Brand of Sacrifice are the band to watch. Their 2021 album Lifeblood blew the doors on the whole symphonic deathcore thing wide open and if this EP is anything to go by, the next one should be even better. There’s more variation and memorability on any one of Between Death and Dreams four songs than there was on the entirety of Lorna Shore’s much-hyped Pain Remains (2022), with Brand of Sacrifice adding Summeriancore-style tech riffing, melodic choruses and electronic flourishes to their already ample arsenal. Add to that some Cattle Decapitation-esque, quasi-clean sections, thematic symphonics and vocal chants that frequently bring to mind the original Ghost in the Shell soundtrack and breakdowns that bisect you as though they were a heap of raw iron too big to be called a sword. I really hope this isn’t one of those “EPs” that’s just a bunch of singles that end up being on an album in a couple of months but, at the same time, I’d quickly sacrifice an entire band of loyal and beloved mercenaries for more of this.

Release Roundup

Against Myself – Tides of Insanity (Symphonic Power Metal)

Alfa Mist – Variables (jazz fusion, neo-soul)

ALL HANDS_MAKE LIGHT – Darling the Dawn (post-rock, drone, experimental)

Anthem – Crimson & Jet Black (heavy metal, thrash)

As Everything Unfolds – Ultraviolet (post-hardcore, alt metal)

Astral Sleep – We Are Already Living in the End of Times (death doom)

Atavista – Cosmic Warfare (melodic death metal)

Avalanch – El dilema de los dioses (symphonic power metal)

Bandit – Siege of Self (deathgrind, techgrind)

Bejalvin – Bejubstep (dubstep, hyperpop, cybergrind)

Birdflesh – Sickness in the North (grindcore)

Blodtår – Det f​ö​rtegna f​ö​rflutna (melodic black metal, folk metal)

Bell Witch – Future's Shadow Part 1: The Clandestine Gate (funeral doom)

Blodtår – Det f​ö​rtegna f​ö​rflutna (black metal)

Blood Star – First Sighting (trad metal)

Bonginator – The Intergalactic Gorebong of Deathpot (death metal, slam)

Bunker – Gritos de Inocentes (thrash)

Caedeous – Malum Supplicium (Symphonic blackened death metal)

Car Bomb – Live in Santa Cruz (mathcore, djent)

Cave Grave – Unfurling Putridity (brutal death metal, sludgy grind)

Century – The Conquest of Time (trad metal)

Chaos Cascade / Scatmother – The Insignificance of Human Life (the fuq?)

chaos.sequence – chemical circuit (nu metalcore)

Daccar-Tchuv’s Cave – cold disobedience (post black metal)

Dawn of Ouroboros – Velvet Incandescence (blackened progressive metal, melodeath)

Daydream Flights – The Garnet Bracelet (blackgaze)

Decipher – Arcane Paths To Resurrection (black metal)

Deviloof – Damned (deathcore, visual-kei)

Dope Skum – Gutter South (sludge)

Dozer – Drifting in the Endless Void (Stoner Metal, Desert Rock)

Dyspläcer – Temple Heights (heavy metal, groovy power metal)

The Eating Cave – The Miscalculation (technical death metal)

End. – Misery Eternal (not that end, or that other end)

Endless Frost – A Journey Into the Dark (black metal)

Enter Shikari – A Kiss For The Whole World (lamecore)

Eterknight – Forgotten Tales (thrashy power metal)

Evermore – In Memoriam (power metal)

Fall of Earth – From the Ashes (prog metal)

Frenzy – Of Hoods and Masks (heavy metal)

Genophobic Perversion – Brains, Guts, and Funky Stuff (brutal death, goregrind)

Grave Pleasures – Plague Boys (goth rock, post punk)

Gyrdleah – Spellbinder (doomy black metal)

Holdark – Ocean (blackened melodeath)

Jethro Tull – RökFlöte (Grammy metal)

John Cxnnor and The Devil’s Trade – Live At Roadburn (progressive post something)

Kouta – Kaarnaköydet (blackened melodeath)

Liv Kristine – River Of Diamonds (symphonic metal, goth rock)

Margarita Witch Cult – Margarita Witch Cult (sludgy stoner metal)

Mari Hamada – Soar (melodeath, power metal)

The Mars Volta – Que Dios Te Maldiga Mi Corazon (acoustic rock, prog rock)

Mélancolia – HissThroughRottenTeeth (blackened deathcore)

Mezzrow – Summon Thy Demons (thrash)

Morrath – Centuries of Blindness (brutal death metal)

Nebulae Come Sweet – De Lumi​è​re (progressive post metal)

Nerve End – The Cycle (prog metal)

Neverus – Burdens of the Earth (progressive melodeath, symphonic power metal)

Nokturnal Frost – Echoes of the Last Wind (instrumental black metal)

Oath of Cranes – The Unsung Mantras (progressive doom)

Orpheus Omega – Portraits (melodeath)

Pestifer – Defeat of the Nemesis (old-school prog death)

Portrayal of Guilt – Devil Music (sludgy blackened hardcore)

Predatory Void – Seven Keys to the Discomfort of Being (blackened sludge, post-metal)

Pusboil – Ancient Stories of Suffering and Disease (slam)

Revolution Saints – Eagle Flight (heavy metal, melodic rock)

Rhegia – The Battle of Deliverance (power metal)

Sacral – Three of Cups (cyberblack)

Saint Deamon – League of the Serpent (power metal)

Sick Sinus Syndrome – Swarming of Sickness (brutal deathgrind)

Signs of Chaos – Blindsided (melodeathtrash)

Slung from a Tree – Voyage Into Cosmos (blackened stoner doom)

Smashing Pumpkins – ATUM: A Rock Opera in Three Acts: Act 3 (why tho?)

Smoulder – Violent Creed of Vengeance (thrashy trad metal)

Sumen – Mors Certa (death metal)

THE ST PIERRE SNAKE INVASION – Galore (alternative, hardcore)

Tanith – Voyage (heavy metal, prog rock)

Ten56. Downer (nu-metalcore)

These Beasts – Cares, Wills, Wants (sludge doom)

Through Fire – Devil’s Got You Dreamin’ (pop metal, alt rock)

Ukć – Coming Out (progressive black metal)

Ulvedharr – Inferno XXXIII (deathtrash)

Undrask – God Emperor (melodic death metal)

Urizen Society – SOLIUM ARDENS: The Ring of Coagula (plinky plonky black metal)

V:XII – Lu-Cipher-Sabbatean (progressive industrial black metal)

Void of Nothingness – Transmission From Naught (weird doom)

Vorna – Aamunkoi (folk metal, progressive melodeath)

Joshua Bulleid

Published a year ago