Hello, Metal Wani readers! It is I, Yidu and today I am bringing you my picks for 10 Metal Albums You Should Listen To for September 2016. For this segment, we will be covering the full length releases that came out in September. September is the first month of the fall season and it’s a big month that can be filled with late surprises that didn’t make the summer. This September has delivered some fantastic albums 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.
Serpent Ascending – ‘Anank’
At number 10 we have the debut album ‘Anank’ from Serpent Ascending. Serpent Ascending is the solo project of Finnish musician Jarno Nurmi who was involved in some prolific Finnish Death Metal acts like Slugathor, Nerlich, and his main band Desecresy. Serpent Ascending delivers a slab of ritualistic sounding Death Metal that doesn’t quite fit the previous projects Jarno is involved in. On ‘Anank’, Jarno blends his FInnish Death Metal origins, a more primitive approach on Swedish Death Metal vibes, a subtle dose of condensity of Icelandic Black Metal, while adding some ritualistic vibes similar to bands like Cultes Des Ghoules, Acherontas, and Cult of Fire. As a result, the album manifested as a hypnotic, evil-sounding death metal ritual that will sure bring something new that not many bands in Death Metal currently offer. Recommended tracks include “Anaku I” and “Anaku II”.
Self-Hatred – ‘Theia’
Number 9 is the new debut album from the band Self-Hatred, ‘Theia’. Don’t let the band name fool you, Self-Hatred is a Death/Doom Metal band hailing from the Czech Republic. Unlike some of the forefront styles of the subgenre, this band forgoes the heavy and melodic styles of Death/Doom and instead focuses on creating an atmosphere, a soundscape, that is bleak and desolate. The band does this quite well and is able to fill it with the right amounts of instrumentation and vocals that compliment and help shape and dynamically shift their sound and atmosphere around without bursting or disrupting it. Kaťas, the vocalist, does a great job providing the mournful growls, and cleans, that lay close to the center of the band’s sound which will at times borderline Funeral Doom Metal but also have just the right amount of melody to lure you in. If you like bleak sounding Death/Doom, this is an album to check out. Recommended tracks include “No Judgement” and “Slither”.
Brain Tentacles – ‘Brain Tentacles’
Brain Tentacles is the self-titled debut album of the American band Brain Tentacles which sits on the number 8 spot. Brain Tentacles plays a style of Avant-Garde metal that is rooted in Progressive Metal but adds additional elements like Jazz Fusion, Avant-Garde Jazz, and Free Form/Improvised Jazz to the mix. The band is a three-piece composed of Bruce Lamont (Yakuza, Bloodiest), Aaron Dallison (Keelhaul), and Dave White (Discordance Axis, Municipal Waste). The band implements the useage of horns and saxophones into their music like you would find in Jazz music. Unlike similar bands like Triosphere, Brain Tentacles delivers a rougher, wilder, and more theatrical performance when it comes to the sound the additional instruments provide over the punchy guitars. The vocals on this album, though they don’t appear often, provide an additional edge to their already dense, almost sporadic, sound. Definitely recommended for people who want something different in their metal and for metal music fans who likes jazz, particularly artists like John Zorn. Recommended tracks include “Cosmic Warriors Girth Curse” and “The Sadist”.
Alcest – ‘Kodama’
At number 7, we have the new album ‘Kodama’ from the legendary French Post-Metal outfit Alcest. Being their 5th album, and the album after their splitting 4th album ‘Shelter’, ‘Kodama’ presented a question of whether not the band is continuing with the sound on their 4th album or return to their Post-Black roots. The band chose the latter option and dropped a Post-Black album that showcased why they are a vital band for the Post-Black genre. ‘Kodama’ is an album that provides a great counterbalance between the intensity of Black Metal and the serenity of Post-Rock. On this album you’ll find the gentle Post-Rock laden melodies accompanied with clean vocals but you will also find the more intense sections of blast beats, tremelos, and shrieks you’ll find in Black Metal. ‘Kodama’ is a great album that old fans of of the band would definitely enjoy. For the newer fans, it could be something different for you but I think the sense of familiarity will be comforting. Recommended tracks include “Je Suis Diailleurs” and “Oiseuax de Proie”.
Acherontas / Nastrond – ‘Chthonic Libations’
At number 6 we have a collaboration album ‘Chthonic Libations’ between the Greek Black Metal titans Acherontas and Swedish Black Metal act Nåstrond. Like last year’s collaboration ‘NV’ between the bands Gnaw Their Tongues and Dragged into the Sunlight, this collaboration is well blended album that both bands played off each other’s strengths. ‘Chthonic Libations’ is 45 minutes of ritualistic Black Metal that has the sound aesthetic Acherontas is known for combined with a more aggressive approach that both bands use to the album’s advantage. If you are looking for a Black Metal record that brings everything what Black Metal is stereotypically known for (and well made of course) in sound and imagery, then this is definitely an album to check out. Recommended tracks include “Mysteries of the Best Chthonic (Hymn to Perspehone)” and “The Oracle who Admonished the Unworthy (Hymn to Oneiroi)”.
Mare Cognitum – ‘Luminiferous Aether’
Number 5 is the newest and 4th album, ‘Luminiferous Aether’, from Mare Cognitum. Mare Cognitum is an American Black Metal solo project by Jacob Buczarski from California. The band plays Atmospheric Black Metal that brings home the more elongated riffs and progressions that do not waiver in melody and energy. ‘Luminiferous Aether’ offers exactly that and then some. This is definitely the project’s best release so far and the music shows. All the parts fit very well and the tracks do not collapse on itself from a lack of energy or sustenance. This is definitely an Atmospheric Black Metal album that fans of the genre and style would definitely enjoy. Recommended tracks include “Heliacal Rising” and “Aether Wind”.
Skullwinx – ‘The Relic’
Number 4 is the second album from German band Skullwinx, ‘The Relic’. Skullwinx plays Epic Heavy Metal and features great guitar work that Traditional Heavy Metal fans would love. On their new album, the band continues to refine their sound and provide a heightened level of performance on the guitar leads. Johannes Haller, the vocalist, delivers various styles of vocals that seem to somehow all fit in with the music. His vocals are distinct but may be hard to get used to but the vocalist delivers powerful lines that compliment the “epic” sound. If you’re a fan of Traditional Heavy Metal, particularly the “epic” variant, definitely give this album a listen. One of the best Heavy Metal records of this year, definitely. Recommended tracks include “Siegfried” and “Tryst Of Destiny”.
Predatory Light – ‘Predatory Light’
With number 3 we have the debut self-titled album from American band Predatory Light. The band features various musicians from the American West Coast Black Metal scene, most notably Kyle Morgan of Ash Borer. I first caught wind of them in 2014 with their 2 demos. Predatory Light plays a style of Black Metal that’s dense, dripping with Doom Metal ooze, combined with the refined subtleties of bands like Negative Plane. On the album, you’ll find six tracks of contorted Black Metal that have an uneasy atmosphere and intensity. The riffs on this album have a certain weight to them and they felt like they were condensed to give a crushed and dark flavor to them. If you like Black Metal that doesn’t early on being evil to sound dark and crushing, then this is an album for you. The bands plays their influences well and delivers a record that definitely upholds USBM’s quality. Recommended tracks include “Path of Unbeing” and “Sacrum (Feral Devotion)”.
Eternal Champion – ‘The Armor Of Ire’
At number 2 we have the debut album of American band Eternal Champion, ‘The Armor Of Ire’. Eternal Champion is an Epic Heavy Metal band hailing from Texas. The band’s imagery and lyrics are based off of Michael Moorcock’s fantasy novels. I first caught wind of this band back in 2015 when they released a split with Canada’s Gatekeeper. The band revisits the sound of the days of old and adds their own “Barbarian” Metal flare (ie. Ironsword & Ravensire). You’ll find neat guitar riffs, great melodic hooks, and Jason Tarpey’s unique style of vocals. All in all, this is one of the best Heavy Metal records of the year. If you’re a fan of this style, you don’t want to miss out on this one. Recommended tracks include “Invoker” and “I Am the Hammer”.
Nox Formulae – ‘The Hidden Paths To Black Ecstasy’
At number 1 we have the debut album of the illusive Greek outfit Nox Formulae. Nox Formulae is supposedly a Black Metal supergroup of the Hellenic scene but the band has not revealed any of its members. However, their debut album ‘The Hidden Paths To Black Ecstasy’ sure plays like the band know what they’re doing and know how to do it extremely well. This album is filled with great Black Metal riffs, drumming, and vocals blended into the more occult/ritualistic sounding Hellenic sound. This album is a great reminder of why the Hellenic scene is one of the most underappreciated Black Metal scenes currently. Black Metal fans, you do not want to miss out on this one at all. Simply one of the best Black Metal albums of 2016. Don’t let the album cover fool you though, this album hits hard. Recommended tracks include “Nahemoth Death Plane” and “Hidden Clan NXN – Pt a. Eleven Rays of Sorat, Pt b. Black Magic Assault”.
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.
Asphyx – ‘Incoming Death’
Dutch Death/Doom veterans Asphyx returns with a new album ‘Incoming Death’. Their new album is a well balanced blend of Death/Doom goodness and OSDM sweetness. For fans of the band, this album is a revitalised takeaway. For new fans, this is a good modern album to experience the old school sound.
Mavradoxa – ‘Sojourners’
Mavradoxa is an American Atmospheric Black Metal band and they released their debut album ‘Sojourners’. ‘Sojourners’ is an album that perfectly combines Agalloch and Panopticon together and adding their own little twists. It’s a beautiful album perfect for cold days and nights. Fans of the style should definitely check this one out.
Neurosis – ‘Fires Within Fires’
American Sludge and Post-Metal veterans Neurosis return with their new, 10th, album ‘Fires Within Fires’. This album goes back to more of the band’s routes as they present a Sludge and Post-Metal fusion that doesn’t over rely on the generic tropes of each side. The album can be heavy and gentle when it needs to be and never goes in over itself. It’s their best album in recent memory.
Them – ‘Sweet Hollow’
Them is an international Heavy Metal band composed of American and German musicians. They just released their debut album ‘Sweet Hollow’. The band plays a style of Heavy Metal that pays homage to King Diamond with their high pitched vocals and themes. If you enjoy King Diamond’s ‘Abigail’, you’ll definitely enjoy this record.
Thy Catafalque – ‘Meta’
Avant-Garde project Thy Catafalque returns with their new album ‘Meta’. Mastermind Tamás Kátai is back with a follow up that will surely satisfy his fans. ‘Meta’ is strange but a beautiful record that is dynamic, well thought out, and dares to be different from the rest of the metal crowd. It’s hard to pinpoint the music which makes it even more intriguing. If you want something different, this is an album for you.