Release Day Roundup 6/7/24

Rounding up new releases from Royal Republic, Evergrey, Dysrhythmia, Charli XCX, Candy, Nightmare, Umbra Vitae, Brazen Tongue, The Omnific, Fractal Generator, Sons of Arrakis, Hippotraktor, Richard Henshall, Insect Ark, Octohawk, Oubliette, Run, Joey Valance, Brae and some very bad Bon Jovi.

11 days ago

Top Picks

Royal Republic – LoveCop (disco rock, synth metal)

Today sees the release of what is probably my most anticipated album of 2024. I've been a casual Royal Republic fan for a while now, but the release of "My House" earlier this year instantly propelled them to the top of my watch list, with its mockingly machismic mix of early Electric Six, '80s ZZ Top and Turbo–era Judas Priest. This anticipation was only accentuated by the equally infectious "LoveCop" and sultry, slow-burning "Laser Love," which sound exactly as their titles and previous single suggest. Then came "Ain't Got Time" and "Wow! Wow! Wow!"...

In many ways, LoveCop is that last Creeper album all over again, which is to say that that it consists of three absolutely world-beating disco-metal masterpieces, and a bunch of decent enough, almost country tinged, garage rock numbers. LoveCop is a more consistent and controlled, record than Sanguivore, if a notably less ambitious one. The gulfs and switches between styles aren't quite as vast or jarring, and the more subdued numbers maintain enough strut to keep the ZZ Top references in play. Even so, the overall effect leaves one wondering, when will and why didn't they just put out an album full of bangers like "My House" and "Anna-Leigh" (from previous record Club Majesty (2019)). And leave everything that sounds even remotely like The Strokes or the Arctic Monkeys on the cutting room floor. Still, "My House" and "LoveCop" alone are enough to earn it the top spot this week, and it's likely the rest of it will grow on me, once my initial disappointment has subsided. (It's certainly not a complete bust, the way the rest of that Charli XCX album seems to be in comparison to "Von Dutch"). It just could have been (and was really made to seem) like it could have been something really special, you know?

Joey Valence & Brae – No Hands ('90s kids hip-hop)

Pensylvania hip-hop duo Joey Valence & Brae broke through pretty hard last year with their debut LP Punk Tactics (2023), and for good reason! JV&B might not have the social consciousness and sonic experimentation of other currently revered hip-hop artists, especially those who crossover and receive attention and acclaim from internet metal circles as well, but when it comes to feel-good, hard-hitting and definitively nostalgic, East Coast-style hip hop they can't be beaten.

I held off listening to Punk Tactics until earlier this year, because of all the (much deserved) Beastie Boys comparisons it received and was widely recommended upon. But while the Beasties are certainly the most obvious and central reference point for Valance & Brae, I was pleasantly surprised to find the record contained a whole host of other obvious and often '90s-centric reference points, including Wu Tang Clang, The Prodigy, Run the Jewels, G-funk and even Danny Brown, who actually appears on its follow-up as well. he music isn't the only thing drenched in '90s nostalgia, either. The lyrics are essentially a collage of pop-culture references only '90s kids will get or remember, which has the potential to come off as pandering and insubstantial. Or at least it would, if each and every one wasn't expertly deployed atop their equally evocative production, which this time features numerous samples and allusions to Lil Jon and Fatman Scoop, as Valance & Brae ease into the early 2000s.

It'll be interesting to see whether Valance & Brae end up developing their own, distinct style or if they continue to embrace the evocative nostalgia they have such a clear and masterful hold over.For now though, I'm more than happy to go along for the ride. Punk Tactics is one of the most enjoyable and instantaneous hip-hop albums I've heard in ages. Needless to say, I wasn't going to sleep on its (impressively fast) follow-up, and neither should you.

Evergrey – Theories of Emptiness (mellowdic prog-metal)

Alright, fine. If you want something actually metal to listen to, then I recommend the new Evergrey album. These Swedish mainstays have been on a pretty solid run of form since following the modern turn ushered in by 2014 career-best record Hymns for the Broken, and while Theories of Emptiness doesn't quite match up that album or 2016's equally outstanding The Storm Within, it's easily the equal of anything else they've put up since. In particular, it seems like huge step-up from and revitalisation following 2022's often-impressive if somewhat flat-seeming Heartless Portrait.

The shift in energy is immediately signaled by uncharacteristically upbeat opener "Falling from the Sun", which comes complete with a Rockefeller Center-style "Salute to Fireworks" for a video clip. What follows is all a lot more sullen, but it also feels resilient and triumphant in, or perhaps in spite of, its sorrows, with vocalist Tom S. Englund in particular delivering a noticeably more impassioned performance than he has for some time. There are a lot of comparison to be made to Katatonia, whose Jonas Renkse even shows up on "Cold Dreams", and for my money Theories of Emptiness is every bit the equal of that band's more recent and widely acclaimed material and a lot more varied and adventurous as well. I'm honestly quite shocked by how much I like this album, which only gets better with each listen and is probably, actually the best record released this week.

Release Roundup

Aatmaa – Cataclysm (weird chamber-doom)

Ad Patres – Unbreathable (thrashy tech-death)

Aetheria Conscientia – The Blossoming (progressive black metal)

Alberto Rigoni – Unexpected Lullabies (prog fusion)

Amen Corner – Written By The Devil (death/black metal)

Apocalyptica - Apocalyptica Plays Metallica Vol. 2 (S&M2-core)

Ashes Reborn – In Captivity (death metal)

Astral Fortress – Hymns of the Abyss (y tho?)

Axamenta – Spires (progressive/symphonic/blackened? power metal)

Aythis – Celestial Exile (atmospheric mellowdoom)

Between The Killings – The Killing Quartet Vol. 2: Omnipotence (death metal)

Black Totem – III: Sacrifice Tonite (weird folky/doomish metal)

Blynd – Unbeliever (groove death)

Bocc – La forja dels cranis (death metal)

Bon Jovi – Forever (please stop)

Brazen Tongue – Of Crackling Embers and Sorrows Drowned (progressive melodeath)

Cactus – Temple Of Blues – Influences & Friends (more old rock guys sing the blues)

Candy – It’s Inside You (industrial hardcore)

Cowardice – Atavist (slude doom)

Charli XCX – Brat (hyper pop)

Cruce Signatus – Cruce Signatus (synthwave)

Darko US – Starfire (electro deathcore)

DarWin – Five Steps On The Sun (prog rock/metal)

Deadman – Genealogie der Moral (goth rock)

Disciple B.C. – Blood. Power. Sacrifice. (crusty hardcore, crossover)

Dope Smoker – Wolf’s Castle (shitty stoner doom)

Dvrk – Infinite Reminiscence (deathcore)

Dysrhythmia – Coffin of Conviction (instrumental prog death)

Enter Shikari - Dancing On The Frontline (remixes, please stop)

Ernte – Weltenzerstörer (black metal)

Factory Of Art – Back To Life (prog metal)

Fool The Masses – It’s All Lost (nu metal)

Fractal Generator – Convergence (brutal tech-death)

From Ashes To New – Blackout Deluxe (melodic/modern metalcore)

Glyph – Odes Of Wailing, Hymns Of Mourning (noisy black metal)

Gom Jabbar – Obsidian Black Carrion (brutal blackened/sludge-doom)

Grand Demise Of Civilization – The Blaze Of Abaddon (doomy black metal)

Gurt – Satan Etc. (sludge)

Hippotraktor – Stasis (djentrified post metal)

Holy Mother – Rise (doomish heavy metal)

Holycide – Towards Idiocracy (thrash)

Houle – Ciel Cendre et Misere Noire (deathened black metal)

Huntsmen – The Dry Land (posty black metal)

Incipient Chaos – Incipient Chaos (black metal)

Inconcessus Lux Lucis – Temples Colliding In Fire (black thrash, speed metal)

Insect Ark – Raw Blood Singing (progish doom)

Intranced – Muerte y Metal (hard rock, heavy metal)

Issa – Another World (melodic/hard rock)

Konigreichssaal – Psalmen’o’delirium (black metal)

Kréen – Ecos de olas, céfiros y llamaradas (black doom)

Lucifericon – Sabatraxas (blackened death-doom)

Missing Link – Watch Me Bleed (beatdown hardcore)

Monumental Discharge – Cesspit Earth (brutal death metal)

Murf – Already Dead (crusty grindcore)

Mythraeum – Oblivion Aeternam (meloblack)

Necrocene – Detrimental Paratomy (prog death)

Nightmare – Encrypted (heavy metal)

Noroth – Sacrificial Solace (noisy death metal)

Nox – Entity (sad/goth electro)

Numento – The Antimatter Fantasy (progressive melodeath)

Octohawk – Determinist (weird stoner-prog/metal)

Okular – Regenerate (prog death)

Odio Deus – Spiritual Syphilis (black metal)

The Omnific – The Law Of Augmenting Returns (instrumental bass-prog)

Ordalie – Indifferent Universe (posty black metal)

Oubliette – Eternity Whispers (progressive blackened melodeath)

P/O Massacre – Sonic Oblivion (who even listens to this?)

Porcupine – All Is Vapor (blackened crust-sludge)

Rampant Beast – Into the Infernal Pyre (Black thrash, speed metal)

Rarity – Lower Feeling (pop punk)

Red Voodoo – Red Voodoo (hard rock)

Relicon – Consequences Of Disbelief (folky metal)

Richard Henshall – Mu Vol. 1 (instrumental prog shred)

Run – True Heaviness is Time (posty metalcore)

Scorched Earth – The Day Of The Damned (death metal)

Sect – Plagues Upon Plagues (alt/sludge-core)

Severe Torture – Torn From The Jaws Of Death (death metal)

Skullsplitter – Cosmic Horror (death metal, melodeath)

Sons of Arrakis – Volume II (heavy/stoner metal)

Sphere – Objet violent non identifié (posty black metal)

Stryper – To Hell with the Amps (who asked for this?)

Swelling Repulsion – Fatally Misguided (techish death metal)

Syl – afmagt

Terry Green – Provisional Living (post-hardcore, screamo)

Thanatotherion – Alienation Manifesto (weird black metal)

Umbra Vitae – Light Of Death (crusty death metal)

Valhalore – Beyond the Stars (power/folk metal)

Void Commander – Alien Queen (stoner doom)

Void Moon – Dreams Inside The Sun (heavy/doom metal)

Vomit The Soul – Massive Incineration (slamming brutal death)

Web – Burden Of Destiny (thrash)

Weedevil – Profane Smoke Ritual (doom metal, stoner rock)

Withering Surface – Exit Plan (melodeath)

World Times Three – In Hearts And Stone (post rock/metal)

WyndRider – Revival (stoner  doom)

Zvilpogghua – Temple Of The Maimed Sphinx (jawgrind)

If you haven't heard yet, the new Ulcerate album was also officially released online this week, despite having been (and still somehow being?) slated for next week, so I'm saving it for then. Although I think someone else will be having their say shortly...

Joshua Bulleid

Published 11 days ago