I’m wondering where to even begin anymore. Every month is just so packed with tremendous releases that it’s hard to keep things straight. Well, for starters, Grave Miasma released a beyond solid EP, behemoths of clean vocals and heaviness Katatonia released a refreshingly mature and brilliant LP, Oakland purveyors of dark wave, post-punk and gothic rock Alaric dropped their best LP to date, Glorior Belli released what might be the black metal album of the year, blackened death metal band Ljosazabojstwa from Belarus dropped a debut via Hellthrasher, Howls of Ebb experimented with a genius blend of black metal and outside influences, Behexen continued their path of no bullshit black metal, I, Voidhanger (making a case for record label of the year) released Khanus and Altare Productions released as Hatespirit and Ordem Satanica and Blood Harvest’s responded by releasing Luciferion, Maleficence and Cadaveric Fumes.
Aside from all these new releases there were some great reissues dropped in May 2016. For example, Relapse was kind enough to reissue Scream Bloody Gore from LA’s Death and Napalm Records helped the world celebrate the 20th anniversary of Satyricon‘s Nemesis Divina with a reissue.
“Withered return with an exceptional statement of progressive songwriting and fantastic downtrodden themes that combine for possibly their best work to date. Only time will tell if this one outshines and outlasts Dualitis but one thing is for sure, Withered are still the same feral beast they’ve always been. Hopefully we won’t have to wait 6 years for the next release. But if we do, this album will more than tide us over until then.” – Josh Stewart
Whatever the pace or trajectory, Wo Fat play like a band six albums deep. They know what they want their sound to do, they know how to make it happen, and they know that to keep it interesting for themselves and their audience, they need to continue to challenge beyond what they’ve done before. Stump has emerged as a frontman and sounds in command of the material here, and together with Walter and Wilson, they’re more of a power trio able to bring their live dynamic to a studio recording without sacrificing fidelity to the cause of a superficially organic sound. Midnight Cometh comes across as full and natural, and continues Wo Fat‘s streak of highlight outings, making it all the more apparent just how much they need to be in the conversation of the best currently active fuzz purveyors, within Texas or without. They’ve long since come into their own, but they’re reshaping what “their own” is, and it’s a joy to watch for those lucky enough to be paying attention. One of the year’s best in heavy.” – The Obelisk
“Though clearly a well-thought out record with much to enjoy in its multiple layers of sound, at no point does ‘For None…’ forget to rock, with each one of the ten tracks packed with great riffs. Playing an ‘old’ style there are plenty of blueprints to draw from but rarely is it executed as well as as Spell do on triumphant opener ‘Madame Psychosis’ or album midpoint ‘The Veil’. The slower tracks are no less exhilarating with the twin harmonic twin guitars on ‘River Of Sleep’ transporting the listener not just to metal’s nostalgic glory days but to the timeless mystic genesis of heavy metal consciousness- it’s great stuff!” – Tim Horrocks, Iron Fist Magazine
“”Currents” comes barreling out of the gates with a guitar riff lifted right off The Somberlain, leading me to believe that this will be a worthy Dissection clone, and it does do a good job of emulating Sweden’s coldest export. Vocalist Odium injects his own spin on this classic sound, coming across as a mix of Maniac’s (ex-Mayhem) schizophrenic screams and Rainer Landfermann’s (ex-Bethlehem) howls. There’s an interesting acoustic guitar melody about halfway in, where Det and Routa display their melodic chops with bassist B.R.F. supplying a solid rhythm. We return to some blasts, and the song ends with a pained howl. Not a bad way to kick off the album.” – Angry Metal Guy
“Many records of this kind end up feeling unnecessarily oppressive and labyrinthine, thus pushing away the listener. Instead, Derrière-Nous, La Lumière is cursed by an unexpectedly inviting character that sucks me back in time and again. If you’re anything like me, Throane’s demented yet optimistically contemplative nature will make for a welcome escape from everyday normalcy.” – Angry Metal Guy
“Polyptych offer a slightly different and cleaner take on the technical death metal that is such a hot item this year, and Defying the Metastasis is absolutely a standout amidst the saturated death metal scene, even with so many excellent releases. Their masterful blend of the progressive, the rhythmic, and the brutal makes them stand out from many of their peers, and Defying the Metastasis demands listeners’ attention that it so rightfully deserves.” – Dustin Grooms
Gorguts – Pleiades’ Dust
“On Wistful, Sylvaine has cemented a spot right beside the powerhouses in gazy, tumultuous, and melancholy music. Her voice is truly a beacon in the darkness and as young as she is she has a limitless future. Good albums come and go but to truly have staying power there has to be something special and unique, something that grabs ahold and refuses to let go. Wistful is all that and then some.” – Josh Stewart
“For all its speed and wild intensity, the lasting impact of Dasein is that it is a simply joyful experience. I’m sure First Fragment is screaming and bleating about important, deeply felt things (the term Dasein, after all, comes from Heideggerian philosophy), but listening to Dasein is fun and makes me feel good and happy. It’s easy to lose sight of that kind of simplicity, particularly when it’s robed in such complicated vestments, but it’s always worth celebrating. Dasein is a great album that KNOWS it’s a great album and doesn’t mind taking a victory lap or twelve.” – Dan Obstkrieg
Next month looks to be so insane it’s not even worth listing the genius that will befell us. Enjoy!