Release Day Roundup: 5/3/24

New look, same great taste.

14 days ago

We're trying something different this week to try and fix some of the issues we've been having with the Release Day Roundup posts not loading properly, which is probably because of the sheer number of embeds they contain. So this week most releases will be featured in the form of simple links, with only the more notable or outstanding releases getting the full embed treatment. This means you are now more beholden than ever to my (rather impeccable) taste, and you'll have to do a bit of digging/clicking to get your cool, underground, avant-garde fix. Then again, we also have some other ideas about how to address it, so everything might be back to normal next week. Anyway, let us know what you think (by leaving a comment on facebook or in the discord or something) and we'll see what happens.

And yes, I tried all the different combinations of heading sizes and this was what looked best.

Top Picks

Wheel – Charismatic Leaders (wheely sounds like Tool)  

Sounding like Tool* has been it's own subgenre for some time now. Yet, while many bands have tried, none have managed to sound this much like Tool before, and precious few have come as close to matching (and sometimes even surpassing the quality of their idols in the past either.

Everything on Charismatic Leaders—save perhaps for the touch of alt-rock pace added on opener "Empire" and the big, stonking Alice in Chains riff that drives "Saboteur"—would slot in nicely on 10,000 Days (2006) or a more immediate successor**. Vocalist James Lascelles sounds as much like prime-ear Maynard James Keenan as anyone ever has and, at times, arguably even more than the man himself these days, and there's even a nod to the band's penchant for atmospheric, late-album interludes with "Caught in the Afterglow". The album's centerpiece "Submission", in particular, is perhaps the most Tool-sounding non-Tool song ever committed to record, and also probably the best. The same can be said of climatic closer "Freeze", which although still no "7empest" or "Third Eye", is likely as close as anyone else is going to get to them, if only by virtue of doing something I've always wished Tool and their followers would do and ending the album on the "Jambi" breakdown. "Porcelain" comes in third.

Charismatic Leaders is too indebted to its influences to fully break out and establish itself on its own terms, the way an album like Karnivool's Sound Awake (2008), which remains the gold standard for this sort of thing did, but it's the next best thing, especially when Cog are MIA, Karnivool haven't put anything new out in almost as long as the lead-up to Fear Inoculum (2019) and Caligula's Horse still haven't quite learned how to reign in their more indulgent progressive tendencies. Indeed, Charismatic Leaders' conciseness is another one of its strengths, giving us one interlude instead of four, three ten-minute tracks instead of six and weaving a strikingly coherent sonic tapestry that feeds of itself the way earlier Tool albums did, in a way that renders it far more accessible and entirely captivating, despite its more derivative nature.

*A band who should certainly be included in the "Progressive Metal Big 4", if such a thing were to exist.

**Which is, of course, what we actually mean when we say something "sounds like Tool"—no one's out here laying down Ænema or Lateralus-level shit.

Necropanther – Oblivion Jones (progressive black-thrash)

Necropanther have made a formidable, if rather straight-forward addition to the modern thrash metal scene, especially off the back of their previous two records. Yet, while the bands full lengths have so far been packed to the brim with rabid, blackened death thrash, the series "solo"-band-member-led EPS they've been putting out between longer outings has seen them embrace a broader pallet. This latest offering, led by guitarist Joe Johnson—and subtitled A Tale Of False Consciousness in my promo, but seemingly nowhere else?—sees them (slightly) depart the world of black thrash for a more progressive thrash metal approach, bolstered by (the now-obligatory) saxophonist Rico Jones. Despite his persitent presence, Jones manages to accentuate, rather than suffocate proceedings, and the band remain the stars of their own show, delivering what might be their best single offering to date in ten-minute prog epic "The Transported Man". It's a lesser departure than In Death We Sleep (2021), but also a more fitting one than that EP's ill-fitting and rather undernourished attempt at atmospheric black metal, and one which might perhaps be incorporated into future full-lengths as well.

Release Roundup

Agriculture – Living Is Easy/The Circle Chant (post/hyper black metal, Deafheaven-core)*

*Are people actually excited about this band?

Ancst – Culture Of Brutality (crusty death-metal/core)

Aoryst – Relics Of Time (thrash)

Aquilus – Bellum II (folky post-black metal)

Aranea Adventus – Capítulo IV: El resurgir de la araña (all-time great cover art)

As The Sun Falls – Kaamos (mellowdeath)

Ba’al – Soft Eyes (post metal, blackgaze)

Bad Marilyn – Eye of the Snake (heavy metal)

Ben Baruk – Cosmogony (symphonic prog metal)

Ben Blutzukker – Build Your Idols (industrial metal, lyrical genius)

Bismarck – Vourukasha (posty doom)

Black Pyramid – The Paths Of Time Are Vast (stoner doom)

Brume – Marten (proggish doom)

Contention – Artillery From Heaven (blackened hard/metalcore)

Crawl – Altar Of Disgust (crusty blackened deathgrind)

Crohm – King Of Nothing (heavy metal)

Crossed – Vida Quieta (blackened hardcore)

Cyclocosmia – …And We Will Move The Stars (symphonic/folk doom)

Dååth – The Decievers (symphonic death, technical groove thrash)

Darius – Murmuration (altish post metal)

Dark Nebula Choir – Jupiter and Beyond the Infinite (proggish black metal)

Dauþuz – Uranium (folky black metal)

Dead Flesh – Dehumanise (deathcore)

Death Lens – Cold World (alt rock, punk)

Deliria – Phantasm (blackened death metal)

Demande A La Poussiere – Kintsugi (crustish black metal)

Djiin – Mirrors (psychedelic prog/doom)

Dua Lipa – Radical Optimism (pop)

Fast Blood – Sunny Blunts (alt rock, punk)

Feuerschwanz – Warriors (folk/power metal)

Fire at the Plantation House – Southampton Insurrection (weird progressive/tech-death)

From Dying Suns – Calamity (death metal)

Futuro Primitivo – Declive (groove death, metalcore)

Germ Bomb – Monochrome Nightmare (Doom)

Ghost On Mars – Out Of Time And Space (prog metal)

Gnashing Teeth – Repent (brutal/noisey black metal)

Gothminister – Pandemonium II: Battle Of The Underworlds (industrial goth, power metal)

Hasslig – Apex Predator (crusty black metal)

Heavyhex – True To You (melodic/post hardcore)

Hollow Leg – Dust (doom sludge)

Horn – Daudswiark (black metal)

Intestinal Dissection – The Purging of Disgust (brutal death metal)

Juke Cove – Tempest (stoner metal)

Kaosphere – In Scars We Trust (nu metalcore, not djent?)

Keith Wallen – Infinity Now (butt rock, alt metal)

The Last Element – Act I: Find Me In The Shadows (melodic alt-metal)

Moisson Livide – Sent Emperi Gascon (folk metal)

Mons Veneris – Ascent into Draconian Abyss (noisy black metal)

Mooch – Visions (stoner grunge)

MoonKill – MoonKill (garage rock, punk)

Murk Rider – The Murk Rider (prog doom)

My Silent Wake – Lost In Memories, Lost In Grief (doom metal, melodeath)

Mynded – The Last Sun (heavy metal, thrash)

Nate Silva – The Chase (prog rock)

Natthammer – The Hammer Of The Witch (heavy metal)

Naxen – Descending Into A Deeper Darkness (epic black metal)

Nihilo Machina – The Black River (black metal)

Nokturnal – Shades Of Night (black doom)

Notsm – Only Death Brings Silence (groove/melodeath)

Nyrak – Devourer Of All (symphonic black metal)

Olamot – Path Of Divinity (brutal death metal)

Ossilegium – The Gods Below (good black metal)

P.O.D. – Veritas (nu metal)

Profanation – Skull Crushing Violence (noisey death metal)

Scolopendra – Citadel Of Torment (death metal)

Seigman – Resonans (weird alt rock)

Severed Angel – Skyward (melodic rock, power metal)

Sons Of Thunder – Thunderhood (hard rock)

Soulinpain – Life and Death (death metal)

Stoned Space – I (instrumental stoner)

Sunwise – Crime Gardens (post rock/metal)

Svart – Relentless Downfall (black metal)

Svartalfar – Carinthia Obscura – Die Lieder der brennenden Nacht (black metal)

Synestia – The Poetic Edda (actually symphonic deathcore)

Temple Of The Beast – Geminian Arcana (black metal)

Ten Ton Slug – Colossal Oppressor (sludge)

Terminal Nation – Echoes Of The Devil’s Den (brutal deathcore)

Thin Ice – A Matter Of Time (hardcore, crossover)

Turbo Moses – Desert Frost (blackened stoner sludge)

Unearthly Rites – Ecdysis (blackened death-doom)

Urzah – The Scorching Gaze (melodeath thrash) 

Vesseles – I Am A Demon (black metal)

Violet Eternal – Reload The Violet (power metal)

The Watchers – Nyctophilia (alt/stoner metal)

Waves Idle Symmetry – Ametron (black metal)

Wolves Don’t Sleep – Fears & Fractures (metal/deathcore)

Zolle – Rosa (synth rock)



Joshua Bulleid

Published 14 days ago