Release Day Roundup: 3/15/24

Rounding up new releases from Aborted, Comeback Kid, Night Verses, Weston Super Maim, Gouge Away, Brat, Lutharo, Creed’s very own Scott Stapp and the (actually) triumphant return of Atreyu's Alex Varkatzas.

a month ago

So I'm a day late again, which is something that's probably going to happen semi-regularly from now on. I always tell myself I'm going to get my write-ups done early each week, but I never do, and by the time Friday rolls around, I'm burnt out from work and the last thing I want to do is stare at a screen and string words together for another couple of hours. Even though I had yesterday off, I spent the whole day running erands and then spent the night having my love echolocated by the vivacioous and versitile Ville Valo (get you a man who can do both!)*, which left neither time nor energy to wax lyrical about the various virtues of symphonic power-thrash or crussing tech-metalcore.

Then too, there is the irrisitable appeal of waking up refreshed on Saturday morning, drinking my coffee while seeing what the gang are getting up to on RuPaul's Drag Race: UK vs the World and then putting on some tunes and writing this up in a much more relaxed and productive headspace while I wait for the new episode of Season 16 to drop. So until this season ends at least,** or I find the energy and motivation to do this on a Thursday, this is probably going to become a Saturday thing for the forseeable future.

*Love and metal, that is.

**Pretty Sure Nymphia Wind's got it in the bag.

Top Picks

Lutharo – Chasing Euphoria (symphonic power/melodeath thrash)

Just because the old guard are standing strong, doesn't mean there aren't new bands out there giving them a run for their money. Lutharo had impressed me previously with their enthusiastic, power-tinged Arch Enemy tributes previously, especially 2020's Wings of Agony EP, but the band have really outdone themselves on this one. Chasing euphoria sees the Canadian act pulling away from the more power-metal-inclined direction of previous record Hiraeth (2021) in favour of a more aggressive thrash-focused approach that has finally allowed them to flourish. Artists like Arch Enemy and Unleash the Archers remain the band's closest comparisons, but there's elements of modern Trivium and more recent Nightmare in there as well. Above all though, Chasing Euphoria does the whole Arch Enemy meets power metal infinitely better than Will to Power (2017), which is an admittedly low bar to clear but one that the Canadian act absolutely obliterate.

It's possible the magic ingredient is new drummer Victor Bucur (Crimson Shadows, Unbowed), but the whole band seem to have really come into their own on this one. The opening flurry of "Reaper's Curse" casts Victor Bucur as a guitar hero in the making and vocalist Krista Shipperbottom's performance is both more diverse and much more comfortable in her newfound and far more fitting mid-range approach, rather than the ambitious falsettos of previous offerings. In fact, cleans often remind me of Blood Command's Nikki Brumen, especially on the surprisingly upbeat "Ruthless Bloodline", even though she's neither Australian nor Norwegian, as far as I know. She could maybe use a bit more studio bolstering, whether in the form of additional tracking or extra reverb, to truly bring out the power of her performance, but the passion is certainly there and utterly palpable.

Weston Super Maim – See You Tomorrow Baby (brutal tech-metal/core)

If the power-tinged melodicisms of Lutharo are too much for you to handle, then may I suggests See You tomorrow Baby, by oddly monikered Anglo-American act Weston Super Maim, who practise crushing, laser-infused, tech-metalcore in the vein of Car Bomb and Frontierer and get about as close in quality to those acts as any in their rather limited genre-space ever have. As expected, See You Tomorrow Baby also sounds a lot like Meshuggah, perhaps more than a lot of modern tech-metal/djent albums have for a while. What sets Weston Super Maim apart though is that they draw far more from the off-kilter grind of earlier albums like Chaosphere (1998) than the oft-aped bounce of Nothing (2002) and Obzen (2008), while also bringing some more relaxed, electronic breaks to the mix as well. The result is a refreshingly listenable, though no less crushing offering, that proves there's room within this sound for more than just its originators, even if Frontierer vocalist Chad Kapper makes an almost obligatory appearance, along with more diverse and unexpected guest spots from members of Soreption and Blindfolded and Led to the Woods.

The new Aborted album is also very good.

Release Roundup

Aardvark – Tough Love (alphabetically priviledged trad metal)

Aborted – Vault of Horrors (brutal death metal/core)


After Infinity – After Infinity (prog metal)

Almo – Reconciliation (prog metal)

Anahata – Syncretic Sovereignty (power metal)

Ancient Remains – Burn It All (melodeath, groove thrash)

Anders Colsefni / Kaosis – Mate. Feed. Kill. Repeat. Re-Recorded (y tho?)

Armagh – Exclamation Point (weird trad doom)

Atrophy – Asylum (death thrash)

Backstabber – Patterns Of Domination (death metal)

Blastomycosis – A Feast For The Tasteless (brutal death metal)

Bleak – My body is Not Where I Belong (alt rock/metal)

Brat – Social Grace (crossover death-grind)

By The Thousands – The Descent (deathcore)


Comeback Kid – Trouble (hardcore punk, crossover)

Compress – The Final Level Of Consciousness (black metal)

Compress – The Final Level of Consciousness (black metal)

Corpus Diavolis – Elixtria Ekstasis (black metal)

Coventhrall – Legacy Of Morfuidra (power metal)

Daemoniac – Visions Of The Nightside (death metal)

The Dandy Warhols – Rockmaker (indie/alt rock)

Dead Icarus – Ad Infinitum (thrashy metalcore)

Defect Designer – Chitin (weird blackened death-thrash)

Dionysiaque – Diogonos (blackened doom)

DragonForce – Warp Speed Warriors (please stop?)

Eternal – Cryptic Lust (blackened melodeath)

Eternal Autumn – Below The Lightless Heavens (meloblack)

Exist – Frog Bomb (thrash)

Fall of Serenity – Open Wide, O Hell (blackened death metal)

Full Earth – Cloud Sculptors (weird post-prog?)

Gouge Away – Deep Sage (hardcore, post punk)

Grieving – Everything Goes Right, All At Once (alt rock, noisy post-hardcore)

Hadit – Metaphysical Engines Approaching The Event Horizon (blackened death metal)

Hartlight – As Above, So Below (symphonic power metal)

Idiot Robot – Anti Pop Culture (alt rock)

Ironbound – Serpent’s Kiss (heavy metal)

Iterum Nata – From The Infinite Light (progressive post-black metal)

Jordsjuk – Råtner På Rot (black metal)

Kid Kapichi – There Goes The Neighbourhood (indie/alt rock)

Kult Ikon – Black Iron Prison (post metal)

Leather Lung – Graveside Grin (stoner death-doom)

Lipz – Changing The Melody (hard rock, hair metal)

Lords Of Black – Mechanics Of Predacity (heavy metal, thrash)

Lucifer Was – En Fix Ferdig Mann (soft prog?)

Lustmord – Much Unseen Is Also Here (ambient drone)

Malsten – The Haunting of Silvåkra Mill: Rites of Passage (funeral doom)

Miehala – Sons Of Alaheim (black thrash)

Mike Tramp – Mand Af En Tid (everything about this is awful)

The Moor – Ombra (prog metal, melodeath)

Murgang – End of All (brutal black metal)

Naoki Morioka – Modernize (prog shred)

Nastergal – The Untold War (black metal)

Necrophobic – In The Twilight Grey (black metal)

Neurotech – Memory Eternal (symphonic power/posty-electro metal)

Night Verses – Every Sound Has A Color In The Valley Of Night: Part 2 (mostly instrumental prog metal)

Nik Laidlaw – Rising (melodeath)

Nonexister – Demons (post electro-rock?)

O Zorn! – Vermillion Haze (alt doom?)

Ohpen Arms – Lying Beside You (prog rock, doom)

Ornamentos Del Miedo – Escapando a Traves de la Tierra (funeral doom)

Prisoner – Putrid | Obsolete (blackened industrial, doom sludge)

The Progressive Souls Collective – Sonic Rebirth (prog metal)

Rifforia – Axeorcism (heavy metal)

Rites of Regress – Dust (doom sludge)

Sadael – Flowers (melodoom)

Savage Oath – Divine Battle (power metal)

The Sawtooth Grin – Jabberwocky (mathcore)

Scott Stapp – Higher Power (I see what he did there)

Sfeerverzieker – Disciple of the Damned (blackened sludge-core)

Shadowpath – The Aeon Discordance (symphonic power/melodeath)

Shock Withdrawal – The Dismal Advance (blackened death grind)

Simulakra – Reincarnation (crossover death metal)

Sithlord – Jettison the Dead (black thrash)

Sol Anahata – Syncretic Sovereignty (blackened power metal?)

Spoken – Reflection (modern metal/core)

Stress Angel – Punished By Nemesis (doomy death-doom)

Suffersystem – Disintegration Of The Individual (blackened death metal)

Suns – La Suspendida (really weird opera metal)

Surgical Strike – 24/7 Hate (crossover thrash)

Svoid – Neptunian (posty black metal)

Sweat – Love Child (punk)

Thomas Greenwood and The Talismans – Ates (psych rock)

Thor – Ride of the Iron Horse (bad metal)

Three Dead Fingers – 9 Apes (blackened melodeath)

Tormentous – Vengeance Through Bloodshed (weird blackened/brutal death-grind)

Tragos – EP MMXXIV (death metal)

Udad – Udad (black metal)

Vltimas – Epic (radikult death metal)

VMO – Death Rave (the rave that eats people)

Vulvatorious – Vulvatorious (deathened black metal)

Wasted Death – Season Of Evil (crusty death metal)

 Whom Gods Destroy – Insanium (prog metal)

Windwaker – The Wall (nu metalcore)

Winterborn – Break Another Day (melodic rock, prog metal)

Wounds – Ruin (brutal tech death)

Joshua Bulleid

Published a month ago