Pandemic shmamdenic. Not even COVID can stop the flow of exceptional new music from reaching our collective ear holes. This time around we look at some recent metal releases that have us banging our heads extra hard.
Suffering Hour – The Cyclic Reckoning
Having come of age during the first true golden era of death metal I can honestly say that I’ve been thoroughly enjoying the genre’s underground renaissance over the last decade. Every year there appears to be no shortage of unique and interesting takes on the genre and 2021 will apparently continue that tradition, starting with the new full-length ripper from Minnesota’s Suffering Hour. Their newest album, and Profound Lore debut, sees the band expanding on the bedrock of technicality that was the foundation of previous releases, while upping the atmospheric elements to a solid ’11’. Angular riffs and punctuated bombast are woven into a tapestry of nightmarish delights giving this entire album a somewhat cinematic feel, or at least as cinematic as blackened death metal can get before it accidentally pushes itself out of the way. With 45 minutes of music spread over only five tracks this is a band that’s not afraid to allow each song to stretch and wander through some interesting territory. Doom and post-metal elements pop up here and there, keeping things beyond interesting from note one, all the while still maintaining its darkened intensity. Highly recommended for fans of death metal that’s not afraid to break out of the cookie cutter.
Plague Weaver – Ascendant Blasphemy
Staying along the pantheon of all things blackened we come across the debut full-length from Ontario’s blackened doom outfit, Plague Weaver. I’m not going to pretend I was familiar with this band’s previous EPs, and Ascendant Blasphemy certainly makes me wish I was onboard this cacophonous train a lot earlier in the game. Taking cues from the storied second wave of black metal and mixing in elements of crust-covered doom, Plague Weaver have created a swirling, churning sound that will drag you under wave after wave of extremity until you’re practically drowning in it. Sombre interludes and sludge-filled riffs help to belie their affinity to any one genre in particular, and therein lies the beauty of this album. Plague Weaver have developed a knack for keeping the listener guessing at every turn, and thus allowing this album to truly grab hold and pull you in for the long haul. Fans of all things blackened will find a lot to love here and repeat listens are wholly encouraged.
DSKNT – Vacuum y-Noise Transition
In 2017 Swiss black metal alchemists DSKNT came out of nowhere to punch me firmly in the gut with an album’s worth of pure, sonic blasphemy. Four years later DSKNT have returned with a soundtrack for a world that feels infinitely bleaker. Vacuum y-Noise Transition picks up where its predecessor left off with trance-inducing atmospheric black metal of the highest order. The almost mathematical precision in which this outfit exacts their sonic rituals is a thing of nightmarish beauty. Each track feels almost ritualistic in its delivery; a set of rituals intending for the listener to open their mind’s eye upon the darkest recesses of humanity. Other acts have certainly tried to infuse their brand of blackened metal with various levels of sonic magick, but few are as adept at it as DSKNT. This is an outfit whose purpose seems to go so far beyond sheer entertainment or enlightenment, and it’s in these times of societal woe that a sonic landscape as bleak as this can become wholly cathartic. Those willing to explore the darkest corners of the the metal pantheon are welcomed here with open arms.