Fliege – The Invisible Seam

Every year, I grow more impressed by the breadth of new ideas introduced into the world of black metal. I’ve long held the belief that the “blackened” prefix manifests in more unique ways than any other metal subgenre. Even the lightest introduction of black metal aesthetics can significantly alter the…

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Liturgy – H​.​A​.​Q​.​Q.

For a six-year run leading up to and through The Ark Work (2015), Hunter Hunt-Hendrix’s output as Liturgy made him public enemy number one in the black metal community. Some of this wasn’t entirely his fault, namely the unexpected “indie seal of approval” bestowed on Aesthethica (2011). The album’s response…

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Apprentice Destroyer – Permanent Climbing Monolith

I’ve always gravitated towards multi-instrumentalists with an array of sonic interests. Artists who extract unique ideas from a kernel of creativity always tend to mix flavors with each side project. A great example is the collective work of Kevin Hufnagel and Colin Marston (who just released another excellent Dysrhythmia album),…

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Jute Gyte – Birefringence

Up to this point, Jute Gyte has made an almost annual tradition of releasing the boldest black metal album of the year. With this project, multi-instrumentalist Adam Kalmbach has channeled the black metal blueprint through classical composition techniques—microtonality and serialism, primarily—and paired the results with elements of dark ambient, industrial,…

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HEALTH – VOL. 4 :: SLAVES OF FEAR

As far as I can remember, I’ve never started out a review with a personal anecdote. But HEALTH holds a special place in my musical journey. Back in 2008, my dad took me to see my first concert: Nine Inch Nails at the Verizon Wireless Arena in Manchester, New Hampshire.…

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COUTOUX – A Hell on Earth

The first full-length album from COUTOUX (pronounced “KOO – too”) comes to us care of KILL ALL MUSIC, a self-described “anti-label,” which is fitting because to nail down exactly what COUTOUX should be labeled as would be akin to correctly identifying the true origins of some mutated abomination as it sludges it’s way through the irradiated wastelands in a post-apocalyptic Earth. You may very well call it industrial metal, due to it’s at times heavy hitting and seemingly unrelenting assault, but at other times it does relent a bit and eases quite quickly into an unnerving sound of atmospheric electronic doom metal by way of experimental dark synth. Perhaps we need to step back a bit and look at the prior analogy to some Godforsaken hellspawn and how it moves about because, in such a way, COUTOUX feels like it’s own beast which can only be described as “sludge synth.”

Marilyn Manson – Heaven Upside Down

Following a disappointing run that had lasted nearly a decade, Marilyn Manson made a fairly compelling (if not completely convincing) comeback with 2015’s The Pale Emperor. This not-quite-return-to-form also seemed to coincided with a stabilisation and cleaning up of the troubled shock rocker’s personal life, and it caused a stir among those who had all but written off the former “antichrist superstar,” leaving many wondering whether that album would prove to be a one-off glimpse of his former greatness or if he was capable of pulling-off a similar feat in the future. Although hopes remained high, alarm bells began to ring when it was announced that the follow-up to that record would be titled “Say10” and was slated for release on Valentine’s Day. Thankfully, that potentially embarrassing set of circumstances never came to fruition. The release was pulled with little fanfare or explanation—eventually emerging eight months later under the considerably less sophomoric title Heaven Upside Down, on the nondescript date of October 6 (although the first single being released on September 11 seems hardly coincidental). It eventually emerged that Manson was unhappy with the release in it’s earlier form and three extra tracks—it’s beginning, central and ending numbers—were added in the interim before its eventual release. The one-time “god of fuck” appears to have made the right call because, while Heaven Upside Down remains a far cry from the output of his glory period, it also provides further evidence that there’s still more than a little bit of Satanic gas left in his proverbial tank. Unfortunately, it also proves to be a release underpinned by a number of regrettable circumstances and uncomfortable revelations.