Nine Circles Ov… April 2016

April 2016 Metal
Photograph by our Dæmoness of Design, Jaci Raia. For more of her beautiful work follow her on Instagram or Twitter.

April was another insane month in what is fast becoming the greatest year in death metal in recent history. Some stellar releases include, Ihsahn, a debut LP from Nucleus, an LP from Moonsorrow, an absolute fire-breathing ripper from Swedish D-Beat legends Victims, an EP from experimental black metallers Lord Mantis, some traditional heavy metal from Occult Burial, UK purveyors of doom Allfather, some exciting black metal from Greek band Kawir, an LP from tech death metal legends Aborted, some progressive black metal from Holws of Ebb, some super cerebral black metal from Goetic Equivalent and whatever that genius Dalek release is. It’s going to be a really, really great year.There are some trends popping up in metal that I think we should take a few seconds to deal with. First of all, black metal is fast becoming a genre as wide as the Rio Grande. From the resurrection of first wave bands (primarily being released on cassette) to the experimentation of bands like Howls of Ebb and Geryon, black metal, while not dominating the landscape of “album of the year” candidates is evolving as a genre at a rate previously not seen in America. Second, death metal is having the best year I can remember in the last decade. Sure, that’s a massive claim, but there is no denying that people like Phillipe Tougas are single-handedly bringing back multiple sub-genres of death metal and restoring them to their crown of glory. So, without further ado, here are nine must-hear releases from April 2016. Again, these are not the biggest releases but some things that you might have missed when you certainly should not.

Lord Mantis – NTW

“This EP serves as a stop gap, a sample if you will, of where Lord Mantis are capable of going. I will certainly be looking forward to hearing a full length with this line up, it’s sure to be a contender for album of the year, whichever year it’s released.” – The Sludgelord

Boss Keloid – Herb Your Enthusiasm

“Everything from the band’s collective playing to the production to the songwriting is top notch. The album’s multiple layers and striking compositions greatly reward on successive spins. Plus, it’s an all encompassing and thoroughly addictive album from start to finish. This is an absolute must own album for any music fan of any persuasion; from the casual listener to the most discernible, all will find much to uncover and much more to return to.” – Josh Stewart

Haxen – Haxen

“With raw black metal as a template, Haxen shift from one extreme to another, at times evoking the atmospheric side of black metal, and at others locking into riffs that saw” – Invisible Oranges

Embalmer – Emanations from the Crypt

“Playing the two back to back makes evident how much nastier 2016’s Embalmer are. Rare is it that in this age of broadcasted beheadings and mass killings worldwide that a slab of music can make the skin crawl, but Emanations does just that. Fucked up music for a fucked up world that has restored my faith in inhumanity.” – Angry Metal Guy

Geryon – The Wound and the Bow

“The Wound and the Bow is not going to be for everybody. But those people that do enjoy it are going to absolutely love it. In particular, musicians will be interested in the complexity of the composition and the myriad of bass tones and electronic accompaniment that is added in throughout. The album is a twisting, turning experience full of subdued blasts and cyclical, mesmerizing bass riffs. All in all it’s quite an experience.” – Manny-O-War

Sinistro – Semente

“For as good as Semente is, the exciting thing is that Sinistro sounds like a band that is just beginning to realize its strengths. While the band wisely gives Andrade’s vocals the room they need to shine, one gets the sense that if they could foster the same kind of fluidity and effortless variety in their riffs as she does with her singing, the next album could be a truly brilliant one. Even so, a certain untranslatable sadness lingers in each one of Semente’s economical 44 minutes, and if life means embracing incompleteness and imperfection even as we try to improve and surpass ourselves, then you could do much worse for a soundtrack than these songs in that silk-dark key.” – Dan Obstkrieg

SIG:AR:TYR – Northern

Northen is a near flawless album and a musical tour de force that manages to remain faithful to the Viking metal genre while elevating it to a whole other realm. This is the Nechochwen of 2016 and a serious contender for Album o’ the Year. As immersive and cohesive an album as you’ll ever encounter, if this doesn’t earn SIG:AR:TYR their due, then there is no justice in the metal world. Don’t miss this, because the North remembers.” – Angry Metal Guy

Unnatrual – The Path to Ruin

“It’s simple, fun death metal with a stubbornly primitive approach, but that doesn’t make it a stellar release. Not to say that it’s total novelty, but quite simply, it doesn’t have a lot of staying power.” – Dustin Grooms

Zealotry – The Last Witness

“Zealotry are able to cull motifs and ideas from multiple sources while never sounding quite like anything else… 2016 has already been a fantastic year for death metal so far, and The Last Witness will inevitably end up standing close to the front of its ranks. It’s a challenging but very rewarding collection of songs, and its density in craft and composition is what makes it so compelling. You can’t afford to miss this.” – Dustin Grooms

[Editorial Note: this is probably my album of the year so far]

May is, spoiler alert, also pretty awesome. For starters, Grave Miasma is finally back with an EP, Oakland purveyors of dark wave, post-punk and gothic rock Alaric have their best LP to date coming out, Glorior Belli is releasing an LP that may make a strong case for black metal album of the year, blackened death metal band Ljosazabojstwa from Belarus have a debut coming out via Hellthrasher, Howls of Ebb is turning the experimental black metal community upside down with their upcoming LP, Behexen is back with some no nonsense black metal, I, Voidhanger (making a case for record label of the year) will release Khanus and who doesn’t want to get down with Altare Productions releases such as Hatespirit and Ordem Satanica or Blood Harvest’s releases of Luciferion,  Maleficence  and Cadaveric Fumes. So stay tuned for what should be yet another killer month in 2016.


One thought on “Nine Circles Ov… April 2016

  1. Girtus Kiltasov May 4, 2016 / 5:45 pm

    That Lord Mantis record is probably one of the most boring pieces of shit that I’ve heard all year. Lazy.

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