Release Day Roundup: 5/5/23

Rounding up new releases from Countless Skies, Unearth, Dave Lombardo, Currents, Therapy?, Drain, Jamie Lenman, Enforcer, Nightmarer, Herod, Winger, Billy Woods and Kenny Segal, Conway the Machine and more.

a year ago

Top Picks

Unearth – The Wretched; The Ruinous (metalcore, melodeath thrash)

Unearth are the Testament of the NWOAHM/metalcore movement, which is to say that, while they may not have enjoyed the same level of commercial success as some of their peers, they've remained heavier, better and more consistent than pretty much anyone else in their given genre. Like Testament, Unearth's more recent material also ranks among their best. Ir received a mixed response upon release and doesn't seem to be held in particularly high regard by the band themselves, but 2014's Watchers of Rule is undoubtedly their best album to date; an absolute powerhouse of an album that stands out as a recent genre highlight as well as the pinnacle of Unearth's already impressive catalogue. It's follow-up, Extinction(s) dropped much of watchers more frantic and technical thrash approach for a punishing, overtly Will Putney-fied deatchore style, and although certainly a solid release in and of itself, it failed to live up to the lofty benchmark set by its predecessor (call it Unearth's Dark Roots of Earth if you will). The Wretched; The Ruinous, on the other hand, picks up where Watchers of Rule left off, delivering another late career standout containing some of the best and most dynamic material the Boston bruisers have ever concocted,

The Wretched; The Ruinous brings together everything that ever made Unearth so great to begin with. The album is overflowing with turbo-charged thrash riffs, catchy choruses, memorable melodeath melodies, devastating death metal drumming and massive metalcore breakdowns. All of these elements have been accentuated throughout different stages of the band's career, but they've never been as balanced as they are here, nor matched with such memorable songwriting. Every track on The Wretched; The Ruinous boasts a vocal hook that will bore itself into your skull with all the force of the instrumentation behind it. This is easily their second best album in my eyes, and perhaps even outclasses Watcher of Rule in terms of instantaneous and memorability. Maybe I'm just a mark for this kind of thing, but an achievement like this shouldn't go unrecognised just because this type of music isn't part of the popular zeitgeist anymore. If you're someone who only know Unearth for The Oncoming Storm (2005) or In the Eyes of Fire (2006) and dropped off after that, now would a great time to jump back in and discover what you've been missing.

Countless Skies – Resonance: Live from the Studio (progressive melodeath)

I didn't really get the hype around Countless Skies previous record, Glow (2020), but these cello-infused "live in studio" reworkings have me fully converted to the cause. For those unfamilliar, what we have here is something akin to a mix of Devin Townsend and Opeth at their most expansive with the grandeosity of a band like Wilderun or even Ne Obliviscaris but with actual compositional progression, rather than bloated repetition. It makes perfect sense that these guys are named after a Be'Lakor song and, for me at least, this puts that band's more recent material to absolute shame. It's also oddly soothing. So often I've found myself pleasantly drifting off when I've put this on, only to be immediately transfixed by some of the harder hitting moments. There's a lot of masterful musicianchip and compositional intricacy to appreciate here, but—in this form at least—Countless Skies are more of a "vibes forward" proposition, and I appreciate that.

Release Roundup

Abolish – …From the Depths (death metal, death metal)

Abyssal/Ellorsith – Sepulchorporeal / Amore (brutal dissodeath doom)

Adrian Benegas – Arcanvm – El mantra secreto de los espíritus (power metal)

All We Leave Behind – Through The Styx And Beyond (death doom)

Ancient Settlers – Transition (modern melodeath)

Aphonic Threnody – When Death Comes Again (funeral doom)

Arae – The Mightless One (death metal, groove thrash)

Aridus – Serpent Moon (black metal)

Balmog – Covenants of Salt (progressive black metal)

Billy Woods & Kenny Segal – Maps (abstract hip-hop)

Burning Witches – The Dark Tower (dudettes rock)

Clones of Sirius – Clones of Sirius (black metal, blackthrash)

Concilium – Sky Bvrial (brutal blackened death metal)

Conway the Machine – Won’t He Do It (east coast hip-hop)

Crushing Sun – Tao (death metal, groove metal)

Cypherium – Moral Injury (jazz metal)

Currents – The Death We Seek (metalcore)

Curse Of Cain – Curse Of Cain (prog metal)

Daeria – Morfeo (heavy metal, folk metal)

Dave Lombardo – Rites Of Percussion (instrumental prog drumming)

Dead Chasm – Sublimis Ignotum Omni (brutal death doom)

Deadline – Vitriol Inc (thrash metal)

Death Goals – A Garden Of Dead Flowers (hardcore, screamo)

Deathstars – Everything Destroys You (industrial metal, goth glam)

Deathvoid – Diurnal Cloak (the void that eats people)

Desekryptor– Curse of the Execrated (brutal death metal)

DieHumane – Epitaph (goth doom)

Draconian Reign – Tragedy Eternal (black metal, deathcore)

Drain – Living Proof (hardcore, crossover)

Drama Noir – Nightfall Upon the Asylum (blackened death metal)

Dusk – Rethrenody (weird industrial)

Enforcer – Nostalgia (speed thrash)

Extermination Dismemberment – Dehumanization Protocol (brutal death, slam)

Extort – Reset (death groove)

Fauns – Surcease (sludge doom)

Fistula/Religious Observance/Gâinsayër – Split (sludge, death metal)

Galactic Empire – Special Edition (Jizz)

Gangrened – Ambient Doom Dream (ambient doom, drone)

Grief Collector – In Times of Woe (doom metal)

Haunt – Golden Arm (heavy metal, trad metal)

Heimland – Forfedrenes Taarer (black metal)

Herod – The Iconoclast (prog sludge)

Hexenschorf – Certain Rapture (black metal, crust)

The Hip Priests – Roden House Blues (hard rock, garage punk)

Horn – 20 Jahre (black metal, folk)

Hyeena – Freedom From The Default (alt rock, hardcore)

I Am Your God – SINister (melodeath)

Impending Triumph – Impending Triumph (power metal)

Intercourse – Halo Castration Institute (sludge)

Intöxicated – Sadistic Nightmares (thrash metal, speed metal)

Iron Hearse – Super Heavy Incendiary Transmissions (stoner doom)

Jamie Lenman – Iknowyouknowiknow (alt rock)

Jerome's Dream – The Gray In Between (screamoviolence)

Kotok – II (thrash)

Kritter – Special K (melodeath)

Krysaor – Foreward (prog power)

Left to Starve – Vapaj za Mogućim (funeral doom)

Lumsk – Fremmede Toner (prog folk)

Mareux – Lovers From the Past (coldwave, darkwave)

Mnajdra – Mnajdra (blackened doom)

The Modern Age Slavery – 1901 | The First Mother (death metal)

Muskeg Charnel – Decomposition Part 3: Rigor Mortis (brutal blackened death metal)

Nadir – Extinction Rituals (colourful blackened death metal)

Nightmarer – Deformity Adrift (prog death groove)

Okwaho – The Usurper Regime (blackened doom sludge)

Örnatorpet – Evigt fr​ä​mmande, evigt fj​ä​rran (dungeon synth)

Phrenesy – Fears Apocalypse (thrash)

Pulsus Furor – Black Destiny (black metal)

RetroSatan – Juegos Diabólicos (thrash)

Savage Grace – Sign of the Cross (power metal, thrash)

Seltsame Erden – Gedankentempeln (black metal)

Severed Angel – Severed Angel (symphonic power metal)

Shit Present – What Still Gets Me (alt rock)

SHODAN – None Shall Prevail (progressive blackened death metal)

Smashing Pumpkins – Atum: Act III (actually this time, still not sure why tho)

Smokey Mirror – Smokey Mirror (psychedelic rock)

Sovereign Council – World On Fire (symphonic metal)

Spinebreaker – Cavern of Inoculated Cognition (death metal)

StartTheMonkey – Urban Psyche (post sludge, death doom)

Sunburster – Trudging to Extinction (alst sludge)

Symbiontic – The Sun and the Darkness (melodeath)

Teeth – A Biblical Worship Of Violence (hardcore, metalcore)

Terror Society – Passage to the End (thrash)

Therapy? – Hard Cold Fire (alt rock, grunge)

Turn Cold – Chew Glass (crossover thrash)

Tygers Of Pan Tang – Bloodlines (heavy metal, hard rock)

Tyrant’s Curse – At War With the World (power metal)

Ugly – Autograph (industrial death sludge)

Undead – Putrefactio (death metal)

Urkraft – Lyset skinner best i mørket (prog black)

Velaraas – Pantheon (prog death)

Vintersea – Woven Into Ashes (prog metal)

Virulent Genesis – Introduction to Misrule (death metal, melodeath)

Vlad – Left To Die (brutal death metal)

Widower – Alone as a God (post-hardcore, post-metal)

Winger – Seven (heavy metal, hard rock)

Worriedaboutsatan – The Pivot (ambient techno, post-rock)

Joshua Bulleid

Published a year ago