Rounding up new releases from Hideous Divinity, Martin Gonzalez, Critical Defiance, Dödsrit, Mastiff, Sylvane, Toxic Carnage, TWRP and *checks notes* 2024 Roadburn headliners The Jesus and Mary Chain?

a month ago

Top Picks*

Martin Gonzalez – Suspiro (technical prog-metal)

Martin Gonzalez is the guitarist of the band Atomic Guava, who I had never heard of but sounds absolutely delicious. He also used to be in a band called Ok Goodnight, who I had also never heard of, and is perhaps best known for his contributions to the soundtrack of the RWBY anime (2013–), which I know nothing about other than that it exists. That context might be helpful to some of you out there, but it really isn't necessary, because his debut solo EP Suspiro is immediately impressive and inspiring in its own right.

Gonzalez' mostly instrumental, debut solo venture provides a cross section of progressive metal staples like Dream Theater, Protest the Hero and Between the Buried and Me with the added technical flair of modern djentle giants like Tesseract and Periphery. Weirdly, the tech-metal aspects come through more clearly on the tracks with vocals, which are provided by Atomic Guava vocalist (and Gonzalez' wife) Elizabeth Hull, who switches between Spencer Sotelo-style growls and Dan Tompkins-esque cleans, with occasional bouts of overwrought theatrics, à la Evanescence's Amy Lee.

It's the instrumental tracks where Gonzalez really gets to let rip though. Although each are bolstered by some showy guest appearances, including Haken's Richard Hempshall who lends his distinctive keys to "Purpose" and Video Game Orchestra instrumentalist/Street Fighter V (2016) soundtrack composer Zac Zinger who adds some seriously sexy sax to "Reality Check", it's Gonzalez who always shines brightest, proving he's already got what it takes to rival many of his lofty inspirations. Moreover, while many of the bands referenced here tend towards overindulgent self-seriousness, Suspiro remains refreshing through both its infectious levity and bite-sized delivery.

There's room for expansion, especially when it comes to incorporating some of the electronic flourishes that crop up on the intro and outro tracks, but as a proof of concept, Suspiro is beyond impressive and an absolute blast from start to finish.

Hideous Divinity – Unextinct (brutal prog-death)

It seems like a weird thing to say, given how much of a niche-of-a-niche it is, but 2024 has been a good year for progressive leaning brutal death metal. Vitriol set an early standard and with highly anticipated records from the likes of Ulcerate and Construct of Lethe on the way, it doesn't seem to be letting up anytime soon.

Add to that list Italian death metal merchants Hideous Divinity. The band have never had much prog to their sound in the past, but this fifth outing sees them adding in more complex progressions, along with dissonance and atmospherics that see them sitting somewhere closer to bands like Job for a Cowboy (who have also contributed to this year's catalogue of brutal proggishness) and latter-day Decrepit Birth than the more straight-forward approach of Hour of Penance or trendsetters Deeds of Flesh, to whom they have commonly been compared to in the past. Unextinxt is a huge step up in both scope and quality for Hideous Divinity and only further evidence that 2024 is one for the progressive-brutal ages.


*This week's true top pick is drinking Baileys in the bath while watching Wayne's World 2 (1993), which is what I did last night after work, instead of writing this up in a timely manner, and is highly recommended to everyone.

Release Roundup

Aberration – Refracture (blackened disso-death)

Acahexis – Immerse (long black metal)

Achelous – Tower Of High Sorcery (power metal)

Ad Mortem – In Honorem Mortis (black metal)

Adventus – Lo que trajo el viento (melodic/powerish metal)

Alpha Lyrae – Alpha Lyrae (progressive post/death-doom)

Altar Of Betelgeuze – Echoes (death doom)

Aneuma – Venom (blackened trad metal)

Apparition – Disgraced Emanations From A Tranquil State (brutal death metal with shitty solos)

Aro Ora – The Twelfth Hour (groove death)

Artificial Language – Distant Glow (alt-prog metal)

Ashen Reach – The Fear (prog metal)

Astral Adornment – Astral Adornment (blackened death metal)

Atrexial – The Serpent Abomination (deathened black metal)

Attic – Return of the Witchfinder (blackened trad metal)

Avralize – Freaks (melodic metalcore)

Basque – Pain Without Hope Of Healing (noisegrind, post skramz?)

Blanket – Ceremonia (alt rock, grunge)

The Bleak Picture – Meaningless (blackened sludge doom)

Blestemat – Poisonous Metal (black metal)

Bodyfarm – Malicious Ecstasy (death metal)

Brodequin – Harbinger Of Woe (brutal death metal)

Browbeat – Unbreakable (metallic hardcore, groove metalcore)

Carpet – Collision (progressive post rock)

Chaos Luciferi – La dolcezza della tua innocenza (black metal)

Chapel Of Samhain – Black Onyx Cave (brutal death metal)

Civerous – Maze Envy (brutal/blackened death metal)

Cobra 1981 – Vol. 1 (hard rock, heavy metal)

Critical Defiance – The Search Won't Fall... (thrash)

Cruzh – The Jungle Revolution (hard rock)

Daevar – Amber Eyes (stoner doom)

Deaf Club/HIRS Collective/Fuck Money – Split (noisecore)

Deception – Daenacteh (progressive/symphonic black metal)

Devastation – Rise Of The Dead (black metal)

Digimortal – Белое знамя (progressive melodeath)

Dödsrit – Nocturnal Will (crusty black metal)

Duindwaler – In Het Heemskerks Duin (black metal)

ECR.LINF – Belluaires (blackened doom)

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

The Fallen Divine – Atlas (blackened melodeath)

Firn – Sternentor (meloblack/death)

Fracture Point – Act Of Malice (groove metal)

Funeral Oration – Antropomorte (symphonic black metal)

Furor Gallico – Future To Come (melodeath, prog folk)

Ghostkid – Hollywood Suicide (Ghostemane at home)

Granitader – Der Wald zwischen den Welten (post black metal)

Halny – Zawrat (black metal)

Hamferð – Men Guðs hond er sterk (epic/death doom)

Hammer King – König und Kaiser (black metal)

Hashtronaut – No Return (stoner doom)

The Hell – 66666 (Hilarious Hardcore)

Holler – Reborn (hardish rock, AOR)

Horresque – Chasms Pt. II: The Devouring Exorbitance (black metal)

Human Abyss – Death Obsessed (meloblackened death metal)

Inner Axis – Midnight Forces (thrash)

Inner Sanctum – The Great Odd Ones (blackened death metal)

Iota – Pentasomnia (post prog)

The Jesus and Mary Chain – Glasgow Eyes (goth/alt rock)

Keygen Church – Nel Nome Del Codice (organ metal?)

Khold – Du dømmes til Død (black metal)

Khranial – Devoured by Pigs (noisey black/death metal)

Leaves Eyes – Myths Of Fate (symphonic power metal)

Lhaäd – Beneath (black metal)

The Lightbringer – Seven Thrones (blackened power prog)

Livgone – Almost There (very-post black metal)

LKVGT – Manische omarming van een alomvattend niets (progressive blackened death)

Mastiff – Deprecipice (brutal sludgecore)

Meister Leonhardt – Thanatopoeia (black metal)

Monolith – Hornets Nest (brutal hard/metalcore)

Moon Incarnate – Hymns To The Moon (folky doom)

Mudshow – Destiny (black doom)

Neon Rider – Destination Unknown (melodic metal, AOR)

Omnivide – A Tale Of Fire (symphonic power, tech death)

Order Of Nosferat – The Absence Of Grace (black metal)

Owlbear – Legends and Lore (trad metal)

Oz Hawe Petersson’s Rendezvous – Oz Hawe Petersson’s Rendezvous (classic butt rock)

PartyGrind – O Depois do Fim do Mundo (blackened grindcore)

Perisynti – Lihaksi tullut Perkele (black metal)

Pyramid – Beyond Borders of Time (post rock, stoner prog)

Questioning Reality – As Time Winds Down (post-blackened prog death)

Questioning Reality – Glimpses of the 4th Dimension (post-blackened prog death)

Regurgitated Entrails – Sickening Indulgence of Flesh (slamming brutal death metal)

Rickshaw Billie’s Burger Patrol – Big Dumb Riffs (alt sludge, “doom-wop”)

Sausage Wallet – Bad Habit (slamming goregrind)

Scavenger – Beyond The Bells (heavy/speed metal)

Severoth – By The Way Of Light (post black metal)

Shaving the Werewolf – God Whisperer (wacky mathcore)

Skulld – The Portal Is Open (crusty sludge)

Spaced – This Is All We Ever Get (punk, hardcore)

Stormhunter – Best Before: Death (power metal)

Sylvane – Eg Er Framand (post-black metal/gaze)

Thornbridge – Daydream Illusion (power metal)

Thvn – Zgnij (Independent) (black metal)

Toxic Carnage – Praying for Demise (tricenarian thrash)

TWRP – Digital Nightmare (disco funk, synthwave)

Unshine – Karn of Burnings (folk metal)

Velcros – Strange News From The Vault (indie rock, post punk)

VR Sex – Hard Copy (post punk, goth)

Whitecross – Fear No Evil (no)

The Wizards – The Exit Garden (stoner prog)

Wombat Supernova – Apewoman Vs Turbo (kooky prog-shred)

Wormwitch/Sadistic Ritual – Split (black metal)

Yobrepus – A Rhizome Revolution: Part 1 (alt/prog rock)

Zombi – Direct Inject (ambient/post rock)

Joshua Bulleid

Published a month ago