Welcome back to our monthly look at some recent heavy releases that have been in recent steady rotation. This month a pair of bands new to the list and one highly anticipated sophomore release…
King Woman – Celestial Blues
Let’s start with that highly anticipated sophomore release, in the form of the new long player from San Francisco’s King Woman. Real talk: I’ve been absolutely enamored with this outfit since their 2015 Doubt EP and every one of their releases since has been met with nothing short of sonic bated breath. King Woman’s brand of atmospheric doom has been the perfect accompaniment while navigating these ridiculous times lo these last six or so years, and as the world has slowly degenerated, creeping further to the edge of the abyss, an album like Celestial Blues, so filled with angst and existential dread, is the soundtrack we might not have realized we needed. Led by the earthy voice and biting vocals of Kris Esfandiari, King Woman spend these nine tracks weaving a tapestry equal parts heaviness and beauty. There’s is a sound that can coddle at certain points and in an instant run you over with sheer brutality. This juxtaposition of the serene and the wild, aided by Esfandiari’s stunning performance, makes Celestial Blues a truly captivating listen from start to finish. To say that this outfit has gotten better with each release would be a wild understatement. One of doom metal’s truly unique acts and one that requires your immediate attention.
Crypt Monarch – The Necronaut
Through both this blog and The Metal Dad Radio Show we’ve spent a lot of time exploring the various never-ending corners of the metal world. There are several countries we keep coming back to as we discover more and more amazing acts, and one country we’ve found ourselves revisiting is Costa Rica. For a relatively small nation this country has a relatively large and active metal scene. Our newest favorite Costa Rican band may just be doom lords Crypt Monarch. Their debut album, The Necronaut, just dropped in July and if you’re a fan of doom metal done in the Electric Wizard and Sleep model then Crypt Monarch is going to be a band you absolutely need to keep an eye on. With only three tracks spanning just over 36 minutes this is the type of record you put on and let it take you for the ride. All the doom per-requisites are here – crushing riffs, pummeling rhythm section, spacey vocals, and haze-induced atmospherics. But this isn’t an album you’re just going to light, pass to the left, and not care if it comes back around again. This one’s a keeper for sure.
Unendlich – Paradox of a Broken World
If you’ve ever read this column or listened to the corresponding radio show you’ll know that I like my black metal as grim and as frost-bitten as possible. While the storied second wave of black metal took the genre into so many new and interesting places, it also opened the floodgates for second rate imitators and a slew of bands that felt that their fashion statements were more important than the music they were actually attempting to create. Give me black metal that’s full of atmosphere and that’s absolutely savage when it needs to be and my blackened heart melts a little. With that said enter the newest full-length from one-man black metal project Unendlich. The brain child of multi-instrumentalist Michael Connors, Unendlich has been creating solid slabs of second wave inspired black metal since the beginning of the last decade. Paradox of a Broken World is Connors’ fourth full-length under the Unendlich moniker and easily one of his best. This album often reminder me of a wolf when listening to it – beautiful in its composition, but ultimately too dangerous to get too close to, exactly the way good black metal should be doled out. Fans of acts as varied as Wolves In The Throne Room, Goatwhore, Gorgoroth, and Belphegor will all find a lot to love here.