Release Day Roundup: 6/23/23

Music is good again, thanks to new releases from Fear Factory, The ANchoret, Wooden Veins, Vexed, Tsjunder, Pyramaze and more!

a year ago

Top Picks

The Anchoret – It All Began With Loneliness (proggy prog metal)

The Anchoret heard you like prog, so they put some prog in your prog so you can prog while you prog! As Eden noted when we premiered "Forsaken" back in April, It All Began With Loneliness is packed to the brim with epic prog rock riffery, perfectly complimented by prog rock staples including, but not limited to joyous prog rock fiffing, sexy saxophone, epic organ solos, sumptuous synths, "Great Gig in the Sky" style vocal freakouts, David Gilmour-worthy guitar solos and a whole lot of Opeth-ian textures and occasionally brutality to balance things out. The vocals also often remind me of the almighty Jorn Lande, which definitely helps. In a lesser band's hands, It All Began With Loneliness could have been a complete mess, but The Anchoret leave no doubt that they are absolute masters of their craft.

Wooden Veins – Imploding Waves (atmospheric doom, progressive post metal)

At the other end of the prog spectrum are Chile's Wooden Veins, who practice a brand of doomy, progressive post metal that accentuates the more sullen side the progressive spectrum. You have to be pretty damn good at this sort of thing for it to stand out to me, but Imploding Waves had me instantly hooked. This is the kind of album Swallow the Sun might have made, if they'd kept the trajectory of New Moon (2009) and Emerald Forest and the Blackburd (2012) going—instead of, y'know, becoming all self-indulgent and boring and whatnot—but also started hanging out with Enslaved a bunch as well. Great stuff.

Fear Factory – Re-Industrialized (industrial death groove)

Ok, Unpopular Metal Opinion time: Most people seem to regard them as some of, if not the weakest Fear Factory releases, but I am of the extremely idiosyncratic opinion that their albums not named "Demanufacture" are Transgression (2005) and The Industrialist (2012).

I accept that people may prefer other Fear Factory albums to those two, and that their earlier releases are far more inventive and influential, but both are also albums about which I have absolutely no idea what I'm not meant to like. If you've ever liked the sound of a fear factory record, then I don't see why you wouldn't like the sound of these two. Neither are as ill-conceive and bloated or downright uninspired as true stinkers like Digimortal (2001) or Genexus (2015), and I'd argue Transgression even has the edge of being a deceptively forward-thinking album in its blend of the then-popular groove metal with the Meshuggah-esque rhythms and industrial overtones that would come to dominate extreme metal in the coming decades, years before ObZen (2008) was even a thing. But I digress...

The Industrialist is not any kind of overlooked progressive masterpiece, but I'd argue it is in many ways the endpoint of Fear Factory's evolution. The raw approach of their earlier albums and throwback aesthetic of recent return to form Aggression Continuum have their charm, but if we're talking about mechanical-sounding, sci-fi driven industrial death metal, then surely The Industrialist is the full realisation of that promise, if not its entire premise perfected.

For whatever reason, whoever passes for Fear Factory these days have decide to re-release The Industrialist with its somehow-controversial programmed drums replaced with live tracks, courtesy of freshly departed drummer Mike Heller, while leaving ex-vocalist Burton C. Bell's vocals intact, despite them always being a sticking point with fans (again, not with me) and not having released any recorded material with much-touted new vocalist Milo Silvestro. Why don't fear factory have a drum machine? Why haven't fear factory always had a drum machine? Why aren't they more machine now than man?

I listened to both versions of The Industrialist back to back today, and I couldn't tell the difference. The whole thing's still triggered to shit and seems to have been played note for note. Whatever the reason though, it's given me an excuse to rant about one (ok, two) albums I've always felt have been unjustifiably overlooked by metal fans and it's as good a reason as any for you to revisit them. Both are much more varied and memorable than the other extremely monotonous Fear Factory album getting an otherwise unaltered re-master today, and while The Industrialist might not be the best Fear Factory album, I find it hard to argue that it's not the most Fear Factory album.

Release Roundup

Abused Majesty – Proxima Inferni (black metal)

Adversvm – Vama Marga (brutal funeral doom)

And Fire – The Last Wolf (heavy metal)

Autumn Woods – Blade Runner (blackened goth doom, melodeath)

Beneath The Hollow – Misery Loves You (alt metal)

Black Eucharist – Inn Of The Vaticide (edgy black metal)

Blackning – Awakening Rage (groove thrash)

Burner – It All Returns To Nothing (metallic hardcore, deathgrind)

Cortege – Vandari (death metal)

Crepitation – Monstrous Eruption of Impetuous Preposterosity (gurgley death metal)

Darkest Escort – Feast in Time of Plague (instrumental symph prog)

DeathCollector – Death’s Toll (death metal)

Degrees Of Truth – Alchemists (symphonic metal)

Despair Eternal – Despair Eternal (black metal)

Endless Ruin – Conquered Trinity (blackened crossover death metal)

Entering Polaris – Atlantean Shores/And Silently The Age Did Pass (too much power metal)

Erythrite Throne – Cursed to Wander the Shadowland Eternal (dungeon synth)

Fatal Vision – Twice (extremely unsexy sexy metal)

Forged In Black – Lightning In The Ashes (heavy metal)

Fullgore – Hexagon (groove death)

Graf Orlock – End Credits (hardcore, crossover)

Gangrenous Flesh Consumption – Vile Ingurgitation Of Suppurated Limbs (brutal death, slam)

Green Labyrinth – Sequences (symphonic goth metal)

Haradrim – Death Of Idols (black metal)

Heart Line – Rock ‘N Roll Queen (heavy metal, melodic rock)

High Priest – Invocation (doom metal)

Infernal Curse – Revelations Beyond Insanity (brutal death metal)

Infinity – The Untamed Hunger (black metal)

Jag Panzer – The Hallowed (heavy metal)

Jernlov – Resurrection (black metal)

Khnvm – Visions of a Plague Ridden Sky (black metal)

Krashkarma – Falling To Pieces (butt metal)

Krigsgrav – Fires In The Fall (black metal)

Lithik – Geomorphology (rock metal)

Livekill – Vengeance (death thrash)

Loather – Eis (blackened doom metal)

Luminous Veil – Morbid Rubicon (black metal)

Membrance – Undead Islamd (death thrash)

Mental Cruelty – Zwielicht (melodeathcore)

Midnite City – In At The Deep End (AOR)

Militarie Gun – Life Under The Gun (post-hardcore, punk)

Miserere Luminis – Ordalie (post blackened death metal)

Night Mother – In Beautiful Sorrow (night mother)

Nocturnal Breed – Carry The Beast (raw thrash metal)

Obscure Form – The Infinite Unknown (prog death)

Off Road Minivan – May This Keep You Safe From Harm (alt rock, post hardcore)

Onheil – In Black Ashes (slightly progressive black metal)

Phantom Corporation – Fallout (thrashy death metal)

Phoebus The Knight – The Cursed Lord (symphonic power metal)

Power Trip – Live In Seattle (thrash, crossover)

Protean Shield – Protean Shield (power metal)

Pylar – L​í​myte (doomy post metal)

Pyramaze – Bloodlines (progish power metal)

Rage and Fire – The Last Wolf (heavy metal)

Rage Retraction – The Beginning (metallic hardcore, metalcore)

Seek – Kokyou De Shinu Otok (brutal post sludge?)

Snorlax – The Necrotrophic Abyss (blackened death metal)

Stinking Lizaveta – Anthems and Phantoms (instrumental prog)

Stray Gods – Olympus (power metal)

Structural – Decrowned (melodeath)

Subterranean Disposition – Individuation (prog doom)

Svemir – I|I (post rock)

Sworn – A Journey Told Through Fire (black metal)

Thomas Andrew Doyle – Forgotten Sciences (psychedelic electro-prog)

Thornafire – Leprosario Lazareto (blackened tech death)

Tomb – The Dark Subconscious (death metal)

Trepas – Les Ombres Malades (black metal)

Tsjuder – Helvegr (evil dudes rock)

Unjustice – Apathy Disease (thrash)

​​Uzlaga – The Sunken Seer (black metal)

Vacant Voice – Cathartic Beauty (post hardcore, metalcore)

Vexed – Negative Energy (nu deathcore)

Wizard Tattoo – Fables Of The Damned (sludgy prog doom)

Xasthur – Inevitably Dark (atmospheric dsbm)

Joshua Bulleid

Published a year ago