December is a shocking month to release music in. If you’re thinking about doing so, don’t. Most publications have already settled on their end-of-year list, and if they haven’t been published yet they’ll be coming soon. Music journalists are going into shut-down mode as they give themselves some time off and try to recover from the mountain of listening they did in preparation for their end-of-year list. Listeners are on holidays and are enjoying their time off with loved ones. If they’re listening to music it’s going to be their personal favourites and not some new record that’s dropped. What this all means is that albums released in December are likely to get lost, falling into an abyss from which escape is near-impossible even for those with a formidable PR machine behind them. When you’re independent you’ve almost got no chance. That’s my theory for how an album as great as Fleshmeadow’s debut Umbra slipped through the cracks in late 2016 and why they’re still a largely unknown quantity. But we’re trying to fix that because these blackened death metallers are ready to rip your face off.