Hello, Metal Wani readers! It is I, Yidu and today I am bringing you my picks for 10 Essential Metal Albums Released In May 2016. For this segment, we will be covering the full length releases that came out in May. May is usually a good indicator of what will come during the summer as some artists want to get their releases out early, before the summer craze. May has been a strong month for Metal Music. 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 consists of albums that I feel are highlights of the previous month. Please note, that this is only my opinion and my opinion only.
Kicking off at number 10 we have the debut album ‘Genesis Reversed’ by german Heavy Metal band Blizzen. I first caught wind of this band in 2015 with their debut EP ‘Time Machine’. In terms of Traditional Heavy Metal, their debut EP was one of my favorites of that year with it’s fantastic blend of Heavy Metal and Speed Metal. On their new album, the band opts for a more Traditional Heavy Metal approach to their sound by having the Speed Metal influences surface a little less frequently. Although the album lost some of its Speed Metal edge, the band delivers a very enjoyable Heavy Metal record that old and new metal music fans would enjoy. Recommended tracks include “Trumpets of Gods” and “Masters of Lightning”.
Progressive Black Metal is a style of Black Metal that has been consistently and gradually growing throughout the years. At number 9 we have the debut album ‘Priests Of Annihilation’ by American band Enthean. The band plays a style of Black/Death Metal that can certainly be described as technical and progressive. With pulling influences from acts like Singularity AZ, Augury, and In Vain, the band emerges as a rather fresh act with a relatively unique sound. Recommended if you want to hear something different than your average Black/Death Metal band. Tracks to check out include “Dysthanasia” and “Tones of Desecration”.
Finnish Doom Metal Titans Lord Vicar return with their 3rd album, ‘Gates of Flesh’ for number 8. Five years have passed since their 2011 album ‘Signs of Osiris’ and Lord Vicar once again delivers a Doom Metal record that is worth of their name and the brilliance of the Finnish Doom Metal scene. Fantastic guitar sound, riffs, and well done vocal performances done by Christian Linderson, Lord Vicar did not lose their doomy edge. For fans of Finnish Doom Metal greats and the more traditional styles of Doom Metal, take note; this is an album for you. Recommended tracks include “Birth of Wine” and “Breaking the Circle”.
At number 7 we have the new album from French band Phosphore Blanc entitled ‘M.W.O. (Modern World Obliterator)’. Phosphore Blanc is a Black/Death Metal project that comprises of one sole, unknown member named “SKVMPAT”. I first heard this band with their 2014 debut album ‘Xenophobos’ which was a release that well deserved more attention. The style of Black/Death Metal can be described as an equal mix of atmosphere, aggression, and experimentation. An appropriate incorporation of these three elements creates a very well balanced sound that doesn’t lean heavily in any particular focus. The product then becomes a well-paced and sufficiently dynamic slab of Black/Death Metal that offers more than your average cup of Black/Death Metal joe. Recommended tracks include “M.W.O. (Modern World Obliterator)” and “Génération Vindicative”.
2015 has been a surprisingly good year for Thrash Metal and its variants. 2016 seems to be continuing with the same trend. At number 6 we have the new album ‘Blood Beneath the Crypts’ by the Austrian Thrash Metal Band, Deathstorm. I was first introduced to this band through their 2011 debut album ‘As Death Awakes’ which was a solid debut effort. Their 2015 EP follow up showed some improvements but with their second album, the band really picked up the pace. Their new album is backed with tight riffs, fast tempi, and aggression. If you’re a Thrash Metal fan, this is a must listen record. Recommended tracks include “Verdunkeln” and “Murder of a Faceless Victim”.
The Morningside is a Russian Melodic Death/Doom Metal band and for number 5, we have their fourth album ‘Yellow’. I enjoyed their 2007 debut album ‘The Wind, the Trees and the Shadows of the Past’ but the band fell of a little with me with the subsequent two releases. Now, I can say ‘Yellow’ is their best album so far in their discography. By venturing out with what they have done on their previous albums, the band delivers their most dynamic album yet. Adding to their influences of Swedish bands like October Tide, The Morningside adds in a more apparent Agalloch influence on their new album. If you are a fan of Melodic Death/Doom Metal, then this is a must listen album. Recommended tracks include “Out of Nest” and “Depot only”.
At number 4 we have the second album of Canadian Death Metal band Phobocosm, ‘Bringer of Drought’. I first heard this band when their 2014 debut album ‘Deprived’ was released which became one of my favorite Death Metal record of that year. Now, the band released their second album and as expected, it is another behemoth of an album. The album offers a fantastic chunk of death metal that is suffocating and crushes you with the overwhelming weight of the sound. The colossal wall of sound the band produces, combined with the dissonant guitar riffs, creates an atmosphere that is equally compressing, haunting, and distraught. Recommended tracks include “Ordeal” and “Engulfing Dust”.
At number 3 we have ‘Fórn’, the new album from Fyrnask. Fyrnask is a German Black Metal solo project comprised of “Fyrnd”. I quite enjoyed the project’s two other releases and I have to say that ‘Fórn’ is the project’s best album so far. Fyrnask plays a style of Black Metal that does not go for a cold or raw classic Black Metal sound but instead a warm and sometimes even comforting sound. This record is a record that effectively shows that Black Metal has many faces and is more than just the stereotypically evil idealization that the music has. Being half instrumental, the album plays like a painting. If you enjoy Black Metal that’s refreshing and invigorating, try this album out. Recommended tracks include “Niðrdráttr” and “Blótan”.
For number 2 we have the long awaited new album from Vektor, ‘Terminal Redux’. If you have not heard of Vektor, they are an American Progressive Thrash Metal band that made huge waves in the metal community with their 2011 album ‘Outer Isolation’. Paying homage to bands like Voviod, Watchtower, Target, Toxik, and Coroner, Vektor returns after five years with their best album as of yet. ‘Terminal Redux’ improved on what they did before and polished some of the flaws ‘Outer Isolation’ had. The new is filled with amazing guitar work, well thought out writing, and riffs that rival the classics of Progressive Thrash Metal. This is an album that I can see to be a definite highlight or favorite for many in 2016. Recommended tracks include “LCD (Liquid Crystal Disease)”, “Psychotropia” and “Charging the Void”.
Number 1 is the follow up to 2014’s ‘Illusorium’ by the American band Polyptych, ‘Defying The Metastasis’. Polyptych’s 2014 album was a big favorite of mine and is still an album that deserves more attention. The band plays a style of Blackened Death Metal that, like Enthean’s album on this list, can be described as technical and progressive. Unlike Enthean, Polyptych, especially on their new album, takes a more experimental approach to their sound that is reminiscent of bands like Gorguts and Ulcerate and as well as cues from bands like Phobocosm and Portal. If you love Death Metal that had these kind of flavors, this is definitely an album to check out. Recommended tracks include “Defying the Metastasis”, “Scars of the Modern Age”, “Echoes” and “Coalescence”.
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.
First Fragment – ‘Dasein’
Quebec Technical Death Metal band First Fragment, featuring Philippe Tougas (Chthe’ilist, Zealotry, Serocs), released their debut album, ‘Dasein’, that is a must listen for Technical Death Metal fans. Well-crafted and not overly produced or synthetic Technical Death Metal is hard to come by these days and First Fragment delivers just that. Other Modern Technical Death Metal bands need to take notes.
Texan Black Metal band Haunter released a great debut album entitled ‘Thrinodia’. The band’s sound incorporates both Progressive Metal and Death Metal elements to create dirty and relatively lo-fi Black Metal that has both bite and melody. Bands like Cobalt and Forteresse come into mind when I listen to this album. A great debut album that certainly deserves attention!
Oak Pantheon – ‘In Pieces’
Oak Pantheon is a Black Metal band from Minnesota, USA that plays a folk-influenced style of Atmospheric Black Metal. With their second album ‘In Pieces’, the band delivers an album that continues their development of sound, experimenting with the post-metal influences. Recommended for fans of bands like Agalloch. The album artwork is great too.
Sorcery – ‘Garden Of Bones’
Sorcery is a Swedish Death Metal band and they have returned with their third album ‘Garden Of Bones’. Being only their second album after their reformation, the band quickly grasped the Swedish Death Metal sound and delivers a great slab of Classic Swedish Old School Death Metal. If you enjoy the classic Swedish sound, be sure to check this album out.
Withered- ‘Grief Relic’
American Black/Death Metal band, Withered, returns with their fourth album entitled ‘Grief Relic’. Featuring Colin Marston (Gorguts, Dysrhythmia, Krallice) and Ethan McCarthy (Primitive Man), the band plays a style of Black/Death Metal that has intriguing guitar work, wonderful usage of dissonance, poly rhythmic structures and other oddities that are not found in most Black/Death Metal. Recommended if you want something different to listen to.