It’s that time again! Another roundup of what’s been hitting the speakers at the EMV office the past month. As I write these lines, we’ve entered the month of march. So far, 2016 has been pretty ruthless regarding awesome releases. There are so many of them already and it doesn’t look like it’s gonna slow down. As always, you can follow me on Spotify (extrememetalvoyager) and stay updated on what’s circling the ears of the Extreme Metal Voyager. Now let’s audiofeast on february!
Obscura are often seen as the successor to Necrophagist and rightfully so. “Akroasis” is an engaging and playful album, slightly less death metal while the progressive elements have increased. The musicianship is insane and the songwriting diverse as heard on tracks like “Ode To The Sun”, “The Monist” and the monumental “Weltseele”. “Fractal Dimension” is my favourite though, it just hits everything at you without mercy!
You can’t always get what you want. I so wanted another great Amoral album after the quality measures achieved on “Falling Leaves And Dead Sparrows”. “In Sequence” is a good album but it felt lackluster. Not their best material and the placement of extreme vocals left me confused. A couple of good tracks though, like the ballad “Sounds Of Home” and I love this prologue which opens up the album.
Consider my curiosity satisfied. “Bereft” is a transitional album for Hands Of Despair, one of Canada’s most exciting extreme metal acts. Lengthy and expansive tracks showcase an exciting development and some absolutely devastating growls to be found throughout the album. “Sleeper” was the first track released and it has stuck with me ever since, nine minutes can pass by swiftly.
Things can be replaced. In my opinion, Fleshgod Apocalypse has filled the position Dimmu Borgir once had. A new Dimmu album is probably not relevant anymore but that’s another topic. Hardwork, craftsmanship and weighty conceptual statements make “King” a triumphant album for this significant band from Italy. “Cold As Perfection” was released as a video, which also showed that everything this band does is steered with profound thought.
I love this band! They’ve got plenty of great albums under their belts and have nothing left to prove basically. The direction they’ve taken with the last four albums is admirable, definitely among the more original bands out there. At the same time, their music is starting to sound a bit too familiar but again not completely uninspired. “Rituals” felt a little stale to be honest, and is even more of an acquired taste now that the music has almost left all conventional boundaries. “For A Voice Like Thunder”, narrated by Nick Holmes, is one of the better tracks.
Before going into “Aeons In Sodom”, my knowledge of Urgehal was rather limited. After some digging in the discography, I’ve found out that this is a band I need to explore more. This of course is happening just as the band is laid to rest. I enjoyed “Aeons In Sodom”, it doesn’t bring anything new to the table and it doesn’t apologise for being old school either. There’s enough variation in the grisly tracks and the scene comes together to honour the late founder Trondr Nefas. A Norwegian legacy is now sealed.
Next we’ve got a band that’s been keeping my interest since 2003. Finland’s Omnium Gatherum have released some fantastic albums the past couple of years, I revisit “New World Shadows” quite often since that’s where I felt they hit something truly special. “Grey Heavens” is a bit more aggressive and darker but in no way less epic or melodic. I loved the idea of finishing the album with a uptempo track like “Storm Front” as it really sits somewhere between their older stuff and the present-day Adult Oriented Death Metal.
The UK black metal scene is really moving into interesting directions. The Infernal Sea are one of the frontrunners with a dark, conceptual approach that has been brewing since 2009. Now signed to reactivated Cacophonous Records, album number two recently hit the shelves. A creepy video for the track “Entombed In Darkness” caught my attention in the first, but I’ve chosen “The Bearer” for the playlist, simply because it’s an atmospheric thriller with plenty of tension.
A lesson in masterful prog metal, that’s what “The Art Of Loss” teaches. It teaches that progressive doesn’t have to be a million notes, labyrinthine structures and odd features. I don’t care what Mr. Malmsteen says. I should probably mention that the album ends with a track over twenty, which kinda contradicts my point, but apart from that one track, the rest of the material has a great balance of technical and moderate songwriting.
Glancing through the web, it would appear that Oranssi Pazuzu are gaining momentum. Everybody is raving on about this psychedelic black metal from Finland. “Värähtelijä” boasts a very diverse sound that is acquired taste, because of the free flowing stream of chords and the improvised spaced out jams popping up here and there. I liked the album, not as good as “Valonielu” but still a quality effort. “Hypnotisoitu Viharukous” is probably the most conventional sounding track you’ll hear from these guys.
Nothing left to prove. Kings of Swedish death metal or death’n’roll as it came to be further into their discography. Sure there’s been some dispute between original band members but ever since the incarnation of Entombed A.D., L-G Petrov has stampeded through politics and practiced what he firmly preaches: total jåvla dødsmetall! The title track of the band’s latest album mixes death metal perfectly with stomping grooves.
It was hard to pick a song from the new Anthrax album. So many epic feel good metal anthems with aggression and big sounding choruses. Mr. Belladonna commands these songs completely, not an easy task when you’ve got such a badass guitar sound. “All Of Them Thieves” is five minutes of face melting metal music, done in the name of metal music.
One of the biggest raised middle-fingers you’re likely to hear in 2016. Yes, Destroyer 666 are back and as usual they’re wild and untamed. Seriously these guitar riffs are made of lava and the tempos are galloping and warlike! This was such an invigorating listening experience, so much attitude and roughness and yet the band manages to sound so effing epic at the same time.
Ritual Chamber’s debut album is one of those underground gems I stumbled on a while ago. A one man band from San Francisco, California, signed to Profound Lore Records, which seems like a perfect match to me. This is death metal with songwriting depth and haunting aesthetics, the feeling of listening to a lost Immolation album is hard to escape once a few tracks into the album.
Beside the cool cover of Hawkwind’s “Silver Machine”, the three tracks from Voivod’s latest EP reaffirm the ingenuity of this band. Still relevant, still brilliant and still forward thinking. This is thinking man’s metal without it becoming too nerdy or obscure. There’s a skewed catchiness to the band’s songwriting and the atmospherical range is incredibly wide, just listen to “We Are Connected”.
The audio feast aftermath for february will end on a more obscure note. Sorcier Des Glaces practice “cold primitive metal”, basically second wave black metal done well with a hint of post metal melody approach. The title track from the band’s new album was too epic not to include, as it depicts that familiar atmosphere of withering landscapes and melancholy, that characterised many of the bands from the nineties in the early stages of their formations.
There. Hopefully you’ve not fallen asleep too many times and you’ve browsed down this playlist. Next one will be in april. Below is the whole playlist for you to enjoy, that is if you want to avoid my incredible narratives, and why would you want to do that eh?
EMV playlist – Audiofeast february 2016
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