Embracing the Descent: June 30 – July 6, 2019

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Welcome back to another edition of Embracing the Descent. Miss us? Rhetorical question of course. It has been a minute so as a refresher or if it’s your first visit, we briefly discuss a handful of this week’s new releases that stood out for whatever reason and maybe, from time to time, a week behind. We won’t be hitting everything because a 40 – 60 entry piece ain’t happening and seriously, who’s got that kind of time. Head below to see what’s got our knickers in a bunch and don’t forget to check out the full listing from Monday’s Initial Descent.

Abbath - Outstrider

Abbath broke out of Blashyrkh strong with his self-titled debut but, in retrospect, he still had one foot and maybe an arm lodged in that icy land. Three years on and a full retooling of the band, save for the big man, we’ve got Outstrider which is a hellraising, rip-roaring good time. Full stop. But more than that, this actually feels like the first full-on Abbath outing somewhat independent of his past. That doesn’t mean he’s forsaken black metal as a well placed Bathory cover of “Pace Till Death” is as unflinchingly cold and violent as anything Immortal put out and “The Artifex” seethes with intense fury. What it does mean is; in the galloping melody of “Harvest Pyre,” the rockin’ anthemic pulse of the title track, and the adrenaline heavy “Scythewinder” Abbath, the man and the band, are in complete rock stars. Scoff if you will but honestly I’ve never heard Abbath sound better than he, and they, do here. This is one of those albums that comes along once in a blue moon and ticks all the boxes of what you’re looking for in metal —- over the top with wild solos strewn about, pulsing with perfectly timed percussion, lean, mean, and of course that trademark croak —- all put together in one hell of a package. – Josh

Hex - God Has No Name

Let’s talk about that album cover for a sec. Look at that thing, it’s like sitting in front of a fire and staring at it for hours with no reason other than because it’s a beautiful thing. Once the Spaniards of Hex get rolling on God Has No Name’s second track “Soulscriptor” the rest of the album is much like that album cover. There’s just no turning away from the unconventional nature of their particular mix of death and doom metal. Oozing doom drips on “Worshipping Falsehood” while “Where Gods Shall Not Reign” marches forward like a war machine hell bent on death and destruction and that’s just the tip of the iceberg. The real treat here is how much better this sophomore effort is than their completely uninspired and cookie cutter debut Deadly Sin was. The difference is night and day in comparison so obviously Hex has put the work in and God Has No Name is all the better for it. – Josh

an isolated mind - i'm losing myself

It’s no secret I’m drawn to one-man bands, and in Kameron Bogges’s project An Isolated Mind he presents a dizzying mix of post, black, and avant-garde ambient metal that sits next to, without being a part of, the DSBM sub-genre.  The mix of instrumentation – including woodwinds and deep, synth-like electronics – is really effective on I’m Losing Myself, which traces Bogges’s struggles with bi-polar disorder and the terror that comes with sliding between the extremes of one’s psyche.  From the opening notes of “We Are Fragile Vibrations” to the final calamity of epic closer “I’ve Lost Myself” this is one of the most involving releases I’ve heard this year. – Chris

brand of sacrifice - god hand

If you look at that cover and I tell you this is from Unique Leader, do you really need anything else?  Yup, Brand of Sacrifice is delivering some intense face-punching, pig-squealing technical death metal, and you’re going to know right away if you dig this kind of thing or not.  Big points to calling the album God Hand, for the ridiculous variety of screaming tortured vocals on display, and for the – dare I say subtle? – keyboards adding a layer of atmosphere to songs like “Divinity.”  There’s also a surprising amount of electronics coloring the songs, making Brand of Sacrifice stand out from the crowd of bands trafficking in this kind of style.  Dang those pig vocals, though… – Chris

A Pregnant Light - Broken Play

On Damian Master’s twitter page he posted “I own this summer.” He’s not kidding either. A Pregnant Light just dropped Broken Play and it’s a sweet amalgam of black metal (“Babychain”), post-punk (“I Am the Man of Your Dreams”), and thrash (see the title track) with a heavy dose of emotional weight behind it all. And, it plays out better than anything the band has done to date (one hell of a mouthful coming from someone that adores My Game Doesn’t Have a Name). The lyrics befit the wildly tumultuous time he’s been through as they traverse ghosts, spiritualism, fleeting love, and the fashion that only Damian can paint while writing songs such as these, hence why this has always been purple metal. There’s always been a solid confidence and swagger in everything APL does and Broken Play is no different. Get on board and see why APL will in fact own the summer. – Josh

There you have it, a few from the week that struck like a hot iron to the face. What will you be dropping cash on this week?

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