Release Day Roundup: 8/25/23

The silly season kicks of with new releases from *inhales* The Armed, Alice Cooper, Dethklok, Open Mike Eagle, Incantation, Filter, Spanish Love Songs, Til the Dirt, Blut Aus Nord, Exmortus, U.D.O., Nixil, Celestial Sanctuary, Triple Kill, GraveRipper, and many, many (many!) more.

9 months ago

Top Picks

Spanish Love Songs – No Joy (indie rock, emo)

For every genre, no matter how inherently off-putting, there always seems to be that one band who still manage to break through on the sheer basis of simply being better than everybody else.* For me and overwrought, emotional indie-rock, that band are Spanish Love Songs. From frontman Dylan Slocum's trademark warble, to the jangley, pop-punk-infused indie-rock laid down by the rest of the band—which now comes infused with trendy 80's post punk and new wave influences—everything about this bands seems tailor made to ensure that I should hate them. But they're just too good and, for the second time in a row, they've delivered a collection of songs that are utterly undeniable.

2020's Brave Faces Everyone was an instant classic that firmly established Spanish Love Songs as the definitive act of the modern emo/indie-rock movement. Joy isn't quite as good as its world-beating predecessor, but it's about as close as they or any other band could have hoped to come. If anything, No Joy should be a more palatable offering for heavy music fans. Slocum's overwrought affectations, while still very much in play, have being reigned in considerably. Moreover, while there has always been a pessimism at the heart of Spanish Love Songs' sound, the tellingly titled No Joy wears its darkness far more readily. From the starkness of its cover, to it's more bass-heavy post-punk palette and frequently harrowing narratives, No Joy is a bleak affair that also seems to succumb to its sorrows far more readily than the outwardly defiant Brave Faces Everyone.

This band and this album can be a lot a lot of the time but there's an emotional depth and craftsmanship that keeps me continually transfixed, where supposedly comparable offerings from respected artists like The Menzingers or The Wonder Years repeatedly send me running for cover. Personally, I find more kinship between this record and early U2 or even recent Taylor Swift than the indie/pop-punk scene that birthed it. Seriously, you wanna make these guys the biggest band in the world,  get these guys (and girl) opening for Swift and/or at least covering "Anti-Hero", stat!

*I haven't come across a good ska band yet, but I'm sure they're out there...

Triple Kill – Blackened Dawn (melodic power thrash)

Feeling a bit bummed out after listening to Spanish Love Songs, or defiantly determined that the band just aren't "your thing"? There couldn't be a better palette-cleanser than rising Australian metal superstars Triple Kill and their ferocious second album, Blackened Dawn. The band's hearty thrash and modern metal core is both bolstered and set apart by vocalist Rodney Goolagong's power metal-style falsettos, which enable the rest of the band to get surprisingly heavy at times while still benefiting from and indulging in all the excesses of classic heavy metal extravagance.

If there's one major drawback to the album, it's that lead single "Shai-Hulud" towers like its namesake amid the album's other tracks. Maybe that "God Emperor!!' mosh-call just hits differently after finally jumping back into the Dune sequels recently, but it's a high benchmark for the burgeoning band to iterate upon for future releases. The video is also fucking hilarious. The album itself is available via bandcamp, but you're going to want to watch this one.

Release Roundup

Aawks/Aiwass – The Eastern Scrolls (doom)

The Absolution Sequence – Voidform (tech deathcore)

Aganthros – Syntiset Saatanat Kurjat (blackened melodeath)

Alice Cooper – Road (just retire already)

Anti-God Hand – Blight Year (weird black metal)

The Armed – Perfect Saviors (noise rock, hyperpunk)

Ashbreather – Primordial Bong Soup (atmospheric sludge, prog post-metal)

Asking Alexandria – Where Do We Go From Here? (Away?)

Asphodelus – Sculpting From Time (atmospheric death-doom)

Astral Construct – Traveling A Higher Consciousness (stoner doom)

Atoll – Human Extract (slamming brutal death)

Augurium – Unearthly Will (symphonic black metal, Cthulhu-core)

Blut Aus Nord – Disharmonium – Nahab (weird prog death)

Born In Blood – Can’t Save Us All (deathcore)

Bottomless – The Banishing (retro doom)

Breforth – Metal in My Heart (heavy metal)

Burlaka Hokage – Odin’s War Tale (blackened death metal, deathcore)

Candlebox – The Long Goodbye (alt rock, grunge)

Celestial Sanctuary – Insatiable Thirst For Torment (death metal, osdm)

Cinnamon Babe – Fatherless (nu metal)

Colony Drop – Brace for Impact (crossover thrash)

Complete Snake – Red Hog (brutal death metal, post hardcore)

Course of Fate – Somnium (prog metal)

Cruelty – Salvation (death metal, crossover)

Cryophilic – Damned And Decayed (death metal)

Culak – Dreamforge (post-black metal)

Darsombra – Doomsday Book (trans apocalyptic galaxy rock?)

The Death Wheelers – Chaos And The Art Of Motorcycle Madness (instrumental? death metal)

Dethklok – Dethalbum IV (death metal, melodeath)

Drab Majesty – An Object in Motion (darkwave, shoegaze)

Dragonheart – The Dragonheart’s Tale (power metal)

Einsamkeit – A Season’s Tales (post black metal)

Exmortus – Necrophony (power thrash)

Filter – The Algorithm (alt rock)

Flowerleaf – Dreamerie: The Prelude (opera doom)

Funesta – Fragmentos De Um Corpo Sem Vida (dsbm)

Full of Hell/Gasp – Split (Skinamarink-core)

Galundo Tenvulance – Lunar Eclipture (power thrash, deathcore?)

Grand Cadaver – Deities Of Deathlike Sleep (swedish death metal)

GraveRipper – Seasons Dreaming Death (black thrash)

Greater Vision – Disappear Completely (metallic hardcore)

Heimdall – Hephaestus (power metal)

Holding Absence – The Noble Art Of Self Destruction (melodic alt rock)

Hot Milk – A Call To The Void (alt metal)

Hypomaniac Daydream – Image (avant-garde metal)

Incantation – Unholy Deification (death metal)

Iohannes – Vindicta Hominis (black metal, death metal)

Joliette – Luz de Bengala (screamo, post-hardcore)

Kaira – Viimeinen valo (melodoom)

Kallias – First Ascent (prog metal)

Kexelür/Licht- und Schattensaiten – Unveiling the Spell of Obliteration (black metal)

Knife – Heaven Into Dust (thrash)

Lions At The Gate – The Excuses We Cannot Make (melodic alt metal)

LiveKill – The Crown (nu deathcore)

Mal – Come To Light (stoner metal)

Marc Hudson – Starbound Stories (dragonforce dudes rock, production value)

Masheena – West Coast Hard Rock (stoner grunge)

Massen – Gentle Brutality (death metal)

MDMA – Organic (brutal death metal, slam)

Meurtrières – Ronde De Nuit (retro metal)

Monasteries – Ominous (tech deathcore, djent)

Moon Coven – Sun King (doom)

Nebula Orionis – Sorrow (post blck metal)

Necrodium/Spiral Wounds/Wrathrone – Back to 90’s Old-School Death Metal (death metal)

Nixil – From The Wound Spilled Forth Fire (black metal)

NOMADIC – People Just Leave (prog deathcore)

Nordicwinter – This Mournful Dawn (black metal)

Noveria – The Gates Of The Underworld (power metal)

Of Darkness – Missa Tridentina (funeral death doom)

Open Mike Eagle – another triumph of ghetto engineering (abstract hip-hop)

Orcumentary – Orcumentary (death metal, orc-core)

Orphalis – As The Ashes Settle (brutal tech death)

Persevera – Genesis (prog thrash)

Prime Creation – Tell Freedom I Said Hello (prog metal)

Rotten Casket – Zombicron (death metal)

The Salt Pale Collective – A Body That Could Pass Through Stones And Trees (doomy post metal)

Sacrifix – Killing Machine (death thrash)

Shepherd’s Reign – Ala Mai (groove death, folk metal)

Sinheresy – Event Horizon (symphonic metal)

Sisters – Leecheater (sludge doom)

Skagarack – Heart And Soul (blues rock, papyrus-core)

Somewhere in Nowhere – Rise Of The Lost Souls (power metal)

S.O.R.M. – Under My Skin (heavy metal, Steinman-core)

Stygian Fair – Aradia (heavy metal)

Swarrrm – 焦がせ-Kogase (grindcore, japanese hardcore)

Sweat/Negative Blast – Split (hardcore, garage rock)

Tegmentum – Evolvement (embiggened prog metal)

Tempt – Tempt (hard rock)

3rd War Collapse – Catastrophic Epicenter (death metal)

Till the Dirt – Outside The Spiral (nu prog-death?)

Transgressor – Beyond Oblivion (death metal)

U.D.O. – Touchdown (heavy metal, thrash)

Ulfarr/Malfeitor – Split (black metal)

The Unity – The Hellish Joyride (power metal)

Utilize the Remains – Psychotic Abyss (brutal death metal, slam)

Vandenberg – Sin (Whitesnake)

Veritas – Silent Script (doomy prog metal)

Vision Master – Sceptre (weird doom, retro metal)

Vorgfang/Unholy Craft – Ulf’s Keptr (black metal)

West Alley – A Night To Remember (aor)

Wooden Throne – Eternal Wanderer Of The Night Sky (doomy post black metal)

The Word Alive – Hard Reset (overly processed melodic alt rock)

Yagon – Beyond (black metal)

Joshua Bulleid

Published 9 months ago