Not surprisingly, as its become a theme in 2016, May was an outstanding month for metal. Well, another shocker: June is just as good. On the larger side of things a new Thrawsunblat LP was released, there was a Blut Aus Nord / AEvangelist split, Vale of Pnath dropped an LP, Aaron Turner’s celebrated sludge project Sumac put out an absolute burner and, thanks to Shadow Kingdom, Tombstalker finally got to release Black Crusades on vinyl. But where June really shocked was in the amount of smaller, quality releases. July is looking to change that fact with a bunch of super high-profile, high-quality releases on the horizon. But we will save those for the end. So, for now, let’s take a look at nine releases from June that knocked our (well at least my) socks off.
“Le Jour Se Lève is everything that’s great about the French scene. The fearlessness and interwoven emotion among the pure roots of black metal are mistifyingly beautiful. Although only fifteen minutes in run-time, Le Jour Se Lève leaves quite an impression and will be an EP that you spin over and over and over.” – Manny-O-War
“Völur create entirely entrancing music. Norse leaning, globally influenced and completely unique. It’s an album you can enjoy lying down or driving through the hills. But, even if you are merely sitting in a basement, Völur will create the audio illusion that you are on some sort of beautiful journey in a land where you walk alone.” – Manny-O-War”
“So while Shed the Skin may not have created an indispensable genre classic, they’ve had fun creating this stuff and it shows. This is a good record, and it sounds like a bunch of talented musicians coming together and doing stuff they like that wouldn’t work in their main bands. There’s always the idea that supergroups are a vehicle for ideas left on the cutting room floor, which may be the case here. If Harrowing Faith is such a record, then so be it; warmed up leftovers can be quite good if the original meal was too.” –
“They achieved that by recording the song in a church, turning the piano-playing duties over to a surprising special guest: drummer Eric W. Brown’s mom. “She’s a great piano player,” Valenzuela says. Brown’s mother also handles organ duties on the intro to “Heart of Darkness.” The album also features other notable guests: Guitarists Mike Low and Malcolm Pugh fromInferi, Mathieu Pascal and Nicolas Alberny of Gorod, and Ryan Glisan—of Allegaeon—also appear on the record. “We thought it’d be fun,” Valenzuela says.” – Seth Werkheiser
“As it is, the band can rest comfortably knowing that they have taken the road less traveled and made their own path forward. No longer a copy of the Swedish/Finnish school of melodic death metal, Be’lakor are ready to dial it up a notch and let their own voice be heard. And, as a bonus, their voice is quite pleasant on the palate.” – Manny-O-War
“There’s no question why Gevurah took three years to release a followup to their 2013 EP Necheshirion (which means ‘Serpents’ in Hebrew). With the thematic depth and musical underpinnings there’s no question that the duo took all three years to write, perfect and compose these seven tracks. It’s exciting to see a band so dedicated to its message and craft. A band so purely Satanic and fundamentally metal in their foundations that they put this much effort into the continuity and complex reality surrounding their art. Hallelujah! is not simply a fun idea or a fantastic sounding record, it’s an experience; crafted through the band’s personal, intellectual tedium. One to be appreciated with all ten Sephirot that may exist within your ethereal soul.” – Manny-O-War
“Virus is genius. And Memento Collider is yet another level in the pyramid to ascension. Virus continues to build and, as they do, their focus narrows as they near the apex. Growing ever closer to leaving this atmosphere and entering the one which they create with their all encompassing auditory blanket of music.” – Manny-O-War
“Black Fucking Cancer kicks a whole bunch of fucking ass. As the world decays into a slime fucking riddled wasteland of post-fucking-armageddon, Mad-fucking-Max warclans, I hope to be on the side of Black Fucking Cancer. Even if we lose the fucking battle we will have a bunch of fucking sick fucking black fucking crusty fucking sludge fucking metal to fucking hang our fucking weapons and war plunder on. Black Fucking Cancer or get the fuck out.” – Manny-O-War
“In the end, Thèmes Pour la Rébellion may be tasking, as six out of its eight tracks consist of hyperactive black metal that leaves little room for breathing. Forteresse will have to do some more tweaking before they make the perfect album. If anything, their new album proves that this is a path worth exploring. Relying on Forteresse’s tried and tested formula, Thèmes Pour la Rébellion manages to stand among the year’s finest metal releases so far. The conclusion? More albums in this style are very much welcome.” – Jesse Degtyarov
As a preview of July we’ ve got: Grave Desecrator with Dust to Lust, what may be the best Fates Warning LP in their career, an EP from Monolithe, the beyond highly anticipated Inter Arma release, two releases on Gilead Media, both Mizmor and Anicon, Profound Lore ready to release the sophomore album from A.M.S.G. (which is flat-out brilliant), a new album from Ringworm, a greatest hits from Dragonforce, Dan Swano’s project Witherscape releasing a full-length, a new Fistula, an album from Make, two brilliant releases from I, Voidhanger including Summit and Goatcraft as well as a slew of stuff from Hell’s Headbangers, Signal Rex, Horror Pain Gore Death, Iron Bonehead and Nuclear War Now!
So stay tuned and keep your ear to the ground. Metal is only getting better.