Circle Pit: Albums We Missed Q2, 2018

purgatory

From time to time we all get together as a team and discuss some of our favorite albums we missed covering at release time and there’s been plenty of these discussions so far this year. Whether due to time slipping away from us or whatever the case may be, we miss them. Well, now that we’ve just passed the end of June, we are proud to bring you some overlooked highlights from the second quarter. So, without further delay, let’s jump right into it. Albums we missed in Q2 2018. Here. We. Go.

Zeal and Ardor - Stranger Fruit

Zeal and Ardor has improved a lot since their debut Devil Is Fine, fleshing out a concept that barely scratched the surface within the scope of that album. Before, we got some sense of sacrifices, Satanic worship, and the mysticism of fire. Here, we get an expansion into the world Zeal & Ardor has conceived. Stranger Fruit is a tour-de-force that expands on what was seen previously. Zeal & Ardor have essentially expanded and strengthened their black metal leanings, while continuing to incorporate blues and gospel into the musical structure of the record. What you get is a record that has built on its foundation while also having more groove elements to it. I would not be surprised if this album ended up at the top of my EOY list, but, for now, I will hold off and wait until the year is finished. 

– Hera

Thy Catafalque - Geometria

I took the time to write a mini review on Thy Catafalque‘s Geometria during a brief respite, so here is an excerpt of that review:

“Geometria is an album that provides what I call a tonal palate: every sound the album has is layered over another sound that creates a mysticism of sorts. Because the first track easily distracts you from the heavier aspects at the core of the album by the ethereal female vocals, you would be forgiven to believe that Geometria is in par with Sgurr. However, once the first notes of “Szamojéd freskó” hit, you realize that you have been duped, and you can only contend with what you have in front of you as the album continues to play. This still remains as avant-garde as ever, with the deep, electronic and classical influences now deeply embedded in the black metal we have come to expect from Thy Catafalque.”

– Hera

Noosphera - Mas Alla del Sol 

It’s not often that I find melodeath in Spanish. However, what made me more excited was the fact that the melodeath Noosphera makes is not from Spain (I know, melodeath is considered to be a European thing). Mas Alla Del Sol is a concept album about three people being sent to space, except it turns out that nothing is what it means. What I really enjoyed about this album was that the entire album is in Spanish, which made things enjoyable. Considering that a lot of the music I listen to is English (with exceptions), it’s great to find music in my native tongue that is in a genre I enjoy. There are a lot of bands who sing in English to be heard in American and Europe, so this is a good change. 

– Hera

Lecherous Nocturne - Occultaclysmic

On Occultaclysmic, Lecherous Nocturne quelled a five year silence from the lackluster Behold Almighty Doctrine but also came roaring back with their most ambitious and deadly offering to date. Kind of a big deal seeing as they’ve been around for 21 years now. It’s brutal death metal but not in the pig squeal / slam sort of way, it’s technical but there’s not an ounce of wankery to be found and it simply rips from start to finish with the only let up being the progressive mid-album “Rememberance.” It helps that they’ve found a worthy vocalist in Josh Crouse whose screams and growls are the perfect match to this blistering, blackened attack. The success here lies in the fact that Lecherous has found the perfect mix of sonic devastation, memorable songwriting and strangling atmosphere that they’ve been searching so long for.

– Josh

LLNN - Deads

Denmark’s LLNN are self described as “post-apocalyptic hardcore” and while that is an apt description, it only tells half the story. My biggest takeaway from Deads is how much they share in common with post-metal heavyweights Amenra. The band are a patient bunch that can sit in the pocket for extended times and explode when least expected only to withdraw back into synth led cinematics for full dramatic effect. Strong words for sure but consider being front row for planets collapsing into rubble while a Kubrick soundtrack plays on in the background and you’d be in the ballpark. Further feeding the apocalyptic feel here is Christian Bonneson’s vocals which rub elbows with the always ferocious Jacob Bannon – well rounded this thing certainly is. Stupidly, I missed the band’s previous works but have since rectified that and if you’ve missed out on Deads, or like me the rest of their work, please rectify that post-haste.

– Josh

Fire Down Below - Hymn of the Cosmic Man

Even though the theme of Fire Down Below‘s latest album, Hymn of the Cosmic Man, is a singular entity facing down an unnamed threat to mankind in outer space, I get full on desert rock in the vein of Kyuss. Completely. And yes, to me, this is a great thing. The first full track “Ignition / Space Cruiser” is an ode to “Green Machine” so obviously this fuels the comparisons but they don’t stop there. “Saviour of Man” swaggers with a Uriah Heep meets Audioslave vibe and longest track “Adrift In a Sea of Stars” is an epic of psychedelic prog. Comparisons aside, this album is full of stonerriffic riffs and driving low end that is catchy and memorable. Even better, this second effort sounds like a complete about face from debut Viper Vixen Goddess Saint which meandered in and out of nothingness with little to no direction and 1/10 of the soul and fire displayed here.

– Josh

alkaloid liquid anatomy album cover

I can’t quite remember how many times Zyklonius had to sing the praises of Alkaloid‘s sophomore effort, Liquid Anatomy and specifically, its 20-minute closing song about cephalopods — in our Nine Circles group chat before I wised up and actually gave the thing a listen. But, hoooooooooly shit, y’all, my dude could not have been more on-point with this recommendation. When a band comprises current and former members of Obscura, Noneuclid, Aborted and more, it shouldn’t surprise you that the music shows off a little technical proficiency. But what might surprise you is just how catchy it ends up being. Those pristine guitar leads in “Kernel Panic”? The title track’s shimmeringly haunting refrains? Liquid Anatomy keeps digging up new ways to stick itself in your head. And that closer? Okay, with a 19:42 run-time, “Rise of the Cephalopods” is…yeah, it’s a bit long. But it has its moments, and the sheer audacity of the thing is enough to bring a grin to your face.

Dan

king goat - debt of aeons

You throw the word “Goat” in your band name, chances are I’m going to give it a listen, for reasons.  UK’s King Goat tread the progressive doom path laid down by Candlemass and early Cathedral, offering thick, syrupy riffs and a whale of a vocal performance on second full length Debt of Aeons.  Not content with mere melancholy, there’s a simmering anger to tracks like opener “Rapture” and “Eremite’s Rest” that push the music beyond mere imitation.  By the time of the second half of the album, composed of “Doldrum Sentinels” and “On Dusty Avenues” that menace has opened up to a layered, complex sense of adventure in the songwriting, allowing the more progressive influences of the band to really shine.  King Goat are making some really memorable doom right now, and deserve a black in the midnight sun.

– Chris

blood tsunami - grave condition

Sometimes you just want a record to rip your face off and laugh while it’s doing it.  That’s what Grave Condition, the latest from Blood Tsunami does for me.  Anyone looking for a reinvention of the blackened thrash wheel or really anything other than Show No Mercy/Hell Awaits Slayer worship can probably move along, but for everyone else this is some fine, in your face retro thrash that comes across filthy, loud, and abrasive.  “Poison Tongue” and “The Cruel Leading the Fool” are about as crunchy with riffs as anything you can find from the early 80s, and even thought it’s not going to win any awards for pushing the metal envelope, sometimes you just wanna have some fun, you know?

– Chris

Craft - White Noise and Black Metal

I briefly mentioned the new album from Craft on our June Album of the Month Audio Thing, but that small reference doesn’t do justice to how much this slice of vicious black metal has been kicking my ass.  White Noise and Black Metal mixes sickening dissonant riffs that spiral into a depraved progressive haze that colors but never overpowers the more traditional black metal elements the Swedish band have been churning out for almost 20 years.  The riff that opens “The Cosmic Sphere Falls” is an instant earworm, and track after track spills forth some of the most memorable songs the band has ever crafted (ha!), thanks to an increased focus on structure in the songwriting as well as some stellar production.  One of the black metal highlights of the year for me.

– Chris

Panegyrist - Heirurgy

Alchemy through the lens of devout Christianity.  Vocals that move between droning throat singing, operatic cleans, and vicious growls.  Off-the-walls progressive black metal.  All of these things come together on Panegyrist‘s debut release, and things only get deeper from there.  Hierurgy is far and away one of the strangest albums I’ve listened to in a long time, but it is also one of the most fascinating as well; every dive reveals a nuance to the sound, some texture or background part that I had missed before.  This release is so far outside of my usual wheelhouse, being someone who doesn’t go for all that much prog in my metal, but it very quickly buried itself in my heart and mind, and is currently sitting very near the top of my year end list.  Approach with an open mind and you’ll find something wonderfully out of the ordinary on Hierurgy.

– Vincent

Uada - Cult of a Dying Sun

With Cult of a Dying Sun, Uada has crafted a black metal record that covers everything I appreciate about the genre without overcomplicating or exhausting itself. Aggressiveness and intensity are carefully implemented around a backbone that features more than enough melody and atmosphere. Given the vastness of this musical landscape, the execution in aligning the melancholic with the ferocious is absolutely impeccable. Furthermore, this all comes together in a cohesive product that is appropriately-polished to a point that feels organic while simultaneously allowing you to appreciate each and every intricate note and passage, from one adequately enduring track to the next. It’s a tremendous listen and one that I will be revisiting regularly.

– cmb

 

akhenaten - golden serpent god

On Golden Serpent God, Colorado’s blackened death metal visionaries Akhenaten show how to incorporate Middle Eastern instrumentation into metal with studious reverence and glorious results, teleporting the listener to a different time and place, into the middle of foreign vistas full of intoxicating hooks, sights and sounds. Impressively, there’s little need to suspend disbelief, given how organically yet magically the modern metal elements meld with the exotic and imaginative. 

– Zyklonius

 

awooga - conduit

I’ve fought off the oppressive summer heat and humidity of New York City with the energy and passion of Awooga’s debut full-length Conduit. Titanic yet ethereal like Deftones, occasionally grungy à la Alice in Chains, with riffs heavier than heaven. Its doomy density couples with the rare instant memorability and army of earworms contained in the classic albums that got you into metal, in a way that compels you to turn the volume up to eleven. 

– Zyklonius

 

wreckmeister harmonies - the alone rush

This summer will die and the birdsong will disappear eventually. Wrekmeister Harmonies’ latest offering The Alone Rush is steeped in tragedy and grief, following events in the lives of its core due. The increased emphasis on the harrowing baritone of JR Robinson together the album’s dark musical narrative and aching vulnerability shakes the listener to the core, reminding that you do not always need layers of distortion and bestial growls to meditate on death. The Alone Rush is an emotional gut-punch, even if beautiful catharsis awaits after the mourning. 

– Zyklonius


 

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s