Hello, Metal Wani readers! It is I, Yidu, and today I am bringing you my picks for 10 Metal Albums You Should Listen To in April 2016. This April has been a great month for Metal Music, and here are some of my favorites. These lists are designed to showcase some new music for our readers and to promote music from the metal underground!
Before we start, I want to make it clear that these lists are not “top lists” or “best of lists”. Instead, these lists consist of albums that I feel are highlights of the previous month. Please note, that this is only my opinion and my opinion only.
First off, we start on the West Coast of the United States at Portland, Oregon for our number 10 with the debut album from the newly formed Black Metal band Uada, ‘Devoid of Light’. Uada plays a brand of Black Metal that is akin to the sound of the Polish masters, Mgla. With similar atmospheric tropes, liquid songwriting ideas, and fantastic drumming, Uada delivers a sensational slab of Black Metal that is even more well articulated, sharpened, and polished than Mgla was on their newest album, ‘Exercises in Futility’. If you enjoy classic-sounding, abrasive, but quite balanced Black Metal with excellent songwriting, riffs, and compact song structures, this is for you. Recommended tracks include “Black Autumn, White Spring” and “Devoid of Light”.
Heading to Canada, we stop by Ottawa for number 9 with the awaited debut album ‘Hideous Obscure’ from the new Black/Thrash Metallers, Occult Burial. By combining various styles of Black and Thrash Metal from bands like Bathory, Aura Noir, early Sodom, Cultes Des Ghoules, and Midnight, Occult Burial delivers a relentless but ominous Black/Thrash attack that is sure to keep you on edge. The drumming by Dan Lee (Iron Dogs) on this album is fierce, and supports the thrashing guitars that really drive the music home. If you enjoy Black/Thrash Metal, this album is a must listen. Recommended tracks include “Hades Sons” and “Black Adoration”.
Our next stop is Norway for our number 8, but this time to their growing Death Metal scene. With incredible bands like Diskord, Obliteration, Gouge, and Execration, Reptilian now joins their ranks with their debut album ‘Perennial Void Traverse’. Taking huge cues from the aforementioned Obliteration, the band delivers a slab of Death Metal that intricately balances atmosphere and aggression. The guitars are fairly rounded and the drums are not overpoweringly punchy. The band is very keen on creating dynamic Death Metal that would continue to put Norway on the Death Metal map. Recommended tracks include “Possessed by the Eyes of The Living God” and “Phantasm”.
At number 7, we return to the USA, on the East Coast in New York City with the new sophomore album ‘The Wound and The Bow’ by the Experimental Death Metal band Geryon. Featuring Lev Weinstein and Nicholas McMaster (both of Krallice fame), the band only uses drums and bass to create their unique sound. The style of Death Metal that the band plays is similar to bands like Ulcerate. If you are a fan of a thick bass guitar sound, pummelling drums and coarse vocals with the ingenuity of Avant-Garde Death Metal, then this is an album you need to check out. Geryon returns with an anticipated album that builds on what they have established before on their debut album, and is destined to make their mark on the more experimental side of Death Metal. This is a very intriguing album to say the least. Recommended tracks include “Legion”, “The Wound and the Bow”, and “Dawn”.
Heading back to the West Coast for number 6, we stop by San Francisco, California for the new sophomore album from Avant-Garde Black/Death Metal band Howls of Ebb, ‘Cursus Impasse: The Pendlomic Vows’. Howls of Ebb first caught my attention with their debut 2014 album, ‘Vigils of the 3rd Eye’, which remained at the top of my year-end list for that year. The band plays a style of Black/Death Metal that can certainly be described as dark and murky, but discreet and conscientious in the highly detailed nuances the band applies. Though their new album is much more balanced between aggression and innovation, the band still manages to pull off an album that furthers their name. If you like the Avant-Garde style of Black or Death Metal, this is a great band to check out.
Recommended tracks include “Subliminal Lock – A Precursor to Vengeance” and “Cabals of Molder”.
Returning to Portland, Oregon for number 5, we have the fourth studio album of the band Space God Ritual, ‘Tentagram’. After losing half the band’s members, Brendan Butler decided to handle all the instruments on the new album while working with their vocalist Alexander Olaff. The band plays a style of Doom Metal that can be described as a reimagination of Traditional Doom Metal. With nods to classic bands like Candlemass and musicians like Phil Swanson (Briton Rites, Lords of Triumph, Hour of 13), the band adds their own creative nuances that work very well in reshaping the old-school sound. If you are a fan of classic Doom Metal, give this band a shot. Recommended tracks include “Graveyard Earth” and “Tentagram”.
Moving East, we stop by Chicago, Illinois with the spectacular debut album ‘Sentient’ from American Death Metal band Nucleus for our number 4. I first caught wind of this band when they released a nicely done EP last year that featured a Timeghoul cover. That being said, these guys are definitely influenced by that band, and that’s a great thing. Taking cues from bands like Morbid Angel, Atheist, early Gorguts, and to an extent Demilich, Nucleus joins the ranks of the recent resurgence of Death Metal – particularly more on the technical side – that dares to stay away from the modern wankery, instead going for a more sophisticated and subtle approach. ‘Sentient’ definitely showcases the strong capabilities of the band, and Nucleus has a bright future ahead of them. Recommended tracks include “Starflyler” and “Cube”.
Heading to Europe, we make a visit to the booming Icelandic Black Metal scene for our number 3. Zhrine is one of the recent additions to this growing scene of excellent bands, and they have created a huge splash with their debut album ‘Unortheta’. Featuring members of already established bands like Svartidauði, Zhrine adds a more aggressive album to the scene. The band is able to maintain the dissonant leads, chaotic song structures, and condensed atmosphere that’s close to the sound of groups like Svartidauði and Deathspell Omega. If you are looking for an album that will not only fill you with energy but make you ponder over the music, then this is for you. Recommended tracks include “Spewing Gloom” and “Utopian Warfare”.
For our number 2, we head over to Switzerland, a country that isn’t particularly well known for their Metal music. Schammasch is an Avant-Garde Black Metal band that embodies experimentation with their music. I was first introduced to this band through their sophomore album ‘Contradiction’ which was one of my favorites of 2014. Now, the band is back with their new album ‘Triangle’, a whopping triple album of over 90 minutes of music. To fully describe sound on this album is difficult as the band takes many cues from various genres. The music on this album can be disturbing, aggressive, emotional, or even bleak, and the band greatly succeeds with making a lengthy album that doesn’t run dry halfway through. If you are a fan of experimentation and Avant-Garde Metal, give this album a listen. Recommended tracks include “Malestrom”, “Consensus” and “Metanoia”.
For our final destination at our number 1, we return to New York City for Zealotry’s sophomore album ‘The Last Witness’. Zealotry is one of the most exciting modern Death Metal bands currently out there, and their new album has truly showcased great development and mastery of their craft. The disjointed guitar melodies, dissonant chords and thoughtfully considered song structures show that the members of this band have outdone themselves. Their debut album was one of my favorite metal albums of 2013, and I have to say that they exceeded my expectations with this phenomenal new album. You can check out my review here. If you enjoy Death Metal that’s well written and conceptualized but maintains the grit of old-school Death Metal, this is the album for you.
Recommended tracks include “Silence”, “Heralding the Black Apostle”, and “Progeny Omega”.
This concludes our journey this month! Here are 5 other albums that did not quite make the list that I want to touch upon. Here are this month’s honorable mentions:
Desaster – ‘The Oath Of An Iron Ritual’
German Black/Thrash Metal legends Desaster returns with a new album ‘The Oath of An Iron Ritual’ and it is their best album in recent memory. Great energy and aggression gets demonstrated by their improved guitar work and great vocals. The drumming on this album is stepped up a notch. If you are a fan of the style or the band, this album is definitely a must listen.
Mantar – ‘Ode to Flame’
German Sludge Metal duo returns with a sophomore album that builds on top of what they already have achieved on their debut effort. ‘Ode to Flame” is a perfect example of how great Sludge Metal can be. Instead of sticking with the generic troped that the genre suffers from, Mantar is able to craft an album that builds much more sustenance. Check out my review here.
The Temple – ‘Forevermourn’
The Temple is a Doom Metal from Greece and they recently released their debut full length album ‘Forevermourn’. I first caught wind of this band last year with their 2015 demo and it was one of my favorite Doom Metal releases of that year. If you enjoy Traditional Doom Metal that can be equally doomy and epic, then this is an album to check out.
Slaughterday – ‘Laws Of The Occult’
Slaughterday is a German Death Metal band hailing from Leer. If you are fan of filthy Death Metal that isn’t afraid to take things slow and heavy like Autopsy, then this is a must check album. Though they aren’t blatant Autopsy worship, the band is able to deliver a slab of Death Metal that punishing delivers the sonic equivalent of getting slowly and agonizingly bulldozed.
Wode – ‘Wode’
Wode is a new Black Metal band hailing from the UK and they recently released their debut self-titled album, ‘Wode’. The style of Black Metal that can be on here is a nice blend of old and new and what’s refreshing about this album is that the band does not rely on neither to appeal to an audience. Instead the band creates a well crafted highlight of 2016 Black Metal.