Circle Pit: Albums We Missed Q1, 2019

purgatory

I don’t know about you, but 2019 started a little thin and then by the first quarter’s end just exploded all over the good linen like a beast.  This year, more than most, we’ve been a little behind the ball in getting reviews out, but with a lot of new blood coming in I have a feeling that’s going to change soon.  In the meantime we got your quarterly round up right here of all the stuff we wanted to review, should have reviewed, but didn’t.

Until now.  So let’s dive in.

a secret revealed - sacrifices

Sacrifices, the sophomore album from A Secret Revealed, is a wonderful post-metal album that has no trouble alternating between pretty and angry. The calming passages threaten to lull you into complacency, but buried within the album is pure pent up rage. Released in waves of black metal, seething anger let loose, it retreats to moments of serenity. The album ebbs and flows like inhalations let loose, screams tearing at the sky.

– Charles

the end of the ocean - -aire

aire by The End of the Ocean is a pensive and introspective instrumental post-metal album that will leave you staring off into the distance. At times soaring and uplifting, it eventually leads down the dark path of dwelling on choices unmade, before fostering acceptance. This is one to throw on when you need some alone time to think, a soundtrack for a walk in the rain. A light touch on the keyboards helps round this album out to create something special.

– Charles

somn - the all-devouring

For blackgaze at its finest, check out The All-Devouring by Somn.  Riding the line between upbeat and melancholy, washed out melodies layered behind intense tremolo riffing sets the stage for aural saturation. Like the unholy offspring of a Deafheaven/Astronoid union, this album will take you on a roller-coaster of emotions high and low.

– Charles

vaunt - ageless fire

Vanum‘s The Ageless Fire is an excellent black metal album that treads the line between classic black metal and what black metal should be in 2019. With excellent album production (no one ran a low pass filter in the mids!), it stands out as both traditional and not. Catchy and fierce, and with moments that lean towards melodic death metal, this is definitely an album worth checking out.

– Charles

contrarian - their worm never dies

Whose worm never dies?  Is that thing really a worm?  These are questions you spend a moment thinking about the second you turn on Contrarian‘s third full-length Their Worm Never Dies.  It doesn’t really matter whose worm it is, when the technical death metal is this damn good, all the worms can die…the big surprise here is how the Rochester, NY band blends incredible chops and melody at a pace that actually allows you to hear all the nuances — tech-death clichés be damned.  This is the kind of music I want when I turn to technical death metal.  Throw in the fact George Kollias is on drums and I’m even more sold.

– Chris

ghostlimb - the only measure is labor done not days

Ghostlimb scratches that same itch for me that Converge does.  It’s brutal, melodic, and did I mention brutal?  It’s also pointed as f— when it comes to politics, and it’s the type of hardcore that cranks the adrenaline in your body to 11.  The Only Measure is Labor Done Not Days is a record I’ve been playing almost non-stop since it came out at the end of February, and its compact 27 minutes has not diminished one iota since that first listen.

– Chris

traveler - traveler

Straddling that line between speed and power and reaching straight for the throat of 80s awesome, Traveler are here with their self-titled debut to further cement the fact that Canada is killing it with top-notch metal.  Come for the Grim Reaper-esque fury of “Starbreaker” and “Street Machine;” stay for the same tracks and six more just like them, all filled with fire and sweat and chugging riffs that will fill your closets with denim and leather.

– Chris

kaleikr heart of lead

Hi, it’s me, the Iceland Can Do No Wrong Guy, here to tell you yet again about why Iceland can do no wrong.  While Heart of Lead by Kaleikr,originally released back in February, took a little more time to grow on me than some of their countrymen’s other output, when this album clicked with me it clicked hard and has barely left my headphones since.  Heart of Lead is one of the more ambitious projects from the Reykjavic scene, but their blend of trademark psychedelic black metal and prog-death that recalls the glory days of Opeth works on every level; huge riffs, killer melodies, and adventurous instrumentation make this album an early standout among this year’s releases, and I know I’m not the only one here at 9C who agrees.

– Vincent

feral light fear rides a shadow

While having heard the name bounced around for a while, Fear Rides a Shadow is my first proper introduction to Minnesota’s Feral Light, and I gotta say, I think I picked a good album to jump in on.  Fear Rides a Shadow is a swaggering, blistering album of black ‘n’ roll cut with enough post-metal ambiance to keep things from being one-note.  The use of texture and build-and-break songwriting here makes tracks like “Spirit Inanimate” infectious to listen to, never failing to get me pumped up when I need something to listen to that feels like someone is stomping on my face.

– Vincent

Mammoth Weed Wizard Bastard - Yn Ol I Annwn

There’s something to be said for album trilogies and the opportunities they provide for musical evolution and increasing thematic weight. Where a lesser band would crumble under the pressure to leave behind the usual trappings of doom metal, Mammoth Weed Wizard Bastard have met the challenge with aplomb, wielding an arsenal of cosmic doomsday devices and displaying undeniable artistic ambition and boundless imagination across three full lengths (without forgetting their fantastic 2018 split with Slomatics). The opening salvo of destruction wrought by the lumbering monstrosity of 2015’s Noeth Ac Anoeth evolved into the planet-smashing Y Proffwyd Dwyll, which claimed a throne among my top 10 albums of 2016 by combining “the density of a black hole and the impact of an orbital bombardment with celestial beauty, never to the detriment of any aspect of their winning formula.” Yn Ol I Annwyn forms the final chapter of the trilogy and a massive milestone in the intergalactic journey the celestial druids of North Wales have traveled to date. While Y Proffwyd Dwyll remains MWWB’s heaviest creation to date, the psychedelic doom of Yn Ol I Annwyn breaches new inter-dimensional barriers and explores wondrous frontiers with greater use of cellos, moog and cinematic flourishes of Hawkwind-ian glory, setting the course for doom metal’s next evolutionary stage that is truly cosmic and epic in scope, psychedelic and ethereal in tone, and gigantic in size and weight.

– Zyklonius

Vous Autres - Champ du Sang

There is something artfully elusive about the essence of Vous Autres’ style and approach, with elements that remind you of their luminary contemporaries. You feel the caustic chokehold of Celeste and subterranean rumble of Fórn, imbibe the cathartic atmospherics of Owl and recognize an urban cousin of Inter Arma’s magisterial heft and stately sense of epic. Front and center, a cloud of bleak nihilism recalling Lord Mantis permeates the album, hand in hand with the dehumanizing influence of Godflesh, yet there are moments of poetic beauty and downright serenity, such as during the pious heights of ‘Le Gouffre Es Devant’. Such associations contribute to Champ du Sang’s mesmerizing character, but the French duo’s debut full length never feels derivative; instead, Champ du Sang possess a unique identity of cataclysmic blackened sludge rich in dark psychedelia and industrial gloom that makes it one of the surprise highlights of the first quarter of the year which demands and deserves wider attention (following the original digital release and Sludgelord Records’ limited edition cassette edition, Sleeping Church Records will release the CD edition on 8 April).

– Zyklonius

Gomorrah - Gomorrah

Admittedly, Gomorrah‘s last album Haruspex left me a little bloated on all the deathcore splattered across it, and I haven’t changed my stance on that since. But, with their March release of Gomorrah, consider it a page turned and better writing found. Sure there’s still traces of the same type of deathcore but this time out it isn’t OVERdone. There’s a sense of forward thinking on the prog dense “Ember” and blitzkrieg death metal on “Frailty” which, early on, had me grinning from ear to ear. Later, “The Carnage Wrought” displays some major technical prowess and “The Blade Itself” is a warhead of speed, agility, and vicious chops. In terms of progression from one album to the next, Gomorrah went miles in the right direction and the pristine production job certainly helps. Raise a glass and celebrate with me, this here is a celebratory turn of events.

– Josh

ORO - Djupets Kall

Neurosis has a penchant for capturing the mind with bulletproof doom, Inter Arma has a penchant for capturing the flair for heaviness, and on Djupets Kall, Oro capture all this in one fell swoop. Not saying they’re better, just that their sludgy and doomy approach here has the same ‘underworld’ and ‘out of body’ feel to it. The highs of “Domen” meet the subterranean lows of “Tusen Kroppar” The title track can be summed up in one word; majestic and it’s here that Oro make their true mark after the unforgiving onslaught of purposefully draining (but good) tracks ahead of it, it’s heavy no doubt but strangely uplifting in the same way that Neurosis can raise the soul after burying it in coffin dust. It’s a rare thing that a band can successfully acknowledge their influences without being a direct copy but Oro do it with ease here and are one of the most electrifying bands to take on the whole doom and sludge thing in quite some time. If electrifying, doom, and sludge don’t fit your vocabulary then you haven’t heard Oro, it’s as simple as that.

– Josh

Hardcorejoe is a busy man with multiple projects spiraling in and out of the vortex but he stopped by to share a few picks and says: “even though WE missed covering these, YOU SHOULD NOT miss them – go and do it.”

BergravenDet framlidna minnetAntre Void, HerodSombre Dessein, BrutusNest, AltarageThe Approaching Roar, Low DoseS/T, AoratosGods Without Name, and of course all roads lead to…

Triumvir Foul - Urine of Abomination

I am a sucker for anything involved with Vrasubatlat and Triumvir Foul is my favorite thing associated with that collective. In a normal year, this would be an instant top record of the year for me but Miscarriage and Fange share that spot at the moment. Who cares though, Urine of Abomination is Triumvir Foul at their best (read: filthiest and most hateful). #HAILVRASUBATLAT

– Hardcorejoe


 

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