More (Metal) Guitar in the Monitor – July 2022

We may have been dormant in posting over the last few months but we weren’t dormant in listening to new music. Below is a round-up of some recent heavy releases that are worthy of your time and dollars.

Lament Cityscape – A Darker Discharge
One of my favorite projects to revisit in recent years is the sludge/industrial/post metal collective known as Lament Cityscape. Originally formed by former Mountaineer guitarist Mike McClatchey in 2013 this project continually evolves with each release, constantly offering up refreshing takes on the aforementioned sub-genres they take cues from. The newest album from the Wyoming-based band is one of the few whose title actually matches what is held within. This album truly is a darker discharge than previous efforts, both in heaviness and atmospherics. It’s the type of album that will reel in both Godflesh and Jesu fanatics as it waxes and wanes between pummeling industrialized noise and somber ethereal passages. Whether attempting to crush you or lull you into a dreamlike state, this album is a fascinating trip through some of the darker recesses of the heavy music pantheon.

Skumstrike – Deadly Intrusions
We might only be about halfway through the year but we can pretty much guarantee you aren’t going to find many debut albums in 2022 as vitriolic and violent as the debut from Montreal duo Skumstrike. Mixing blackened thrash with a distinct crust/d-beat aesthetic, Deadly Intrusions is an album that takes the most vicious elements of each and brews them into a cacophonous explosion of metal fury. This album is an unrelenting gem that cuts in all the right places as it moves through its paces one blasting track at a time. Unholy vocals, riff wizardry, and a battery straight from the bowels of hell combine for a rollicking, hell-raising experience of the highest order. This is the type of debut album that should have the rest of the metal world on immediate notice. You’ve just been served up an absolute ripper.

Darkher – The Buried Storm
It would not be hyperbole to say that there was possibly no artist in the world whose next album I was anticipating as much as UK’s Darkher. In 2016 Darkher delivered their now revered Realms album and I was instantaneously beguiled by the atmospheric darkness emanating from my headphones. For the last five years I would play tracks from the album on our annual “Death To Summer” episode of The Metal Dad Radio Show, in which we focus on non-metal and metal adjacent artists that metalheads should get behind. I’ve been obsessed, quite frankly, with both Darkher’s previous efforts, as well as any news about a new release. 2022 has finally gifted us The Buried Storm and I can honestly say it was worth every second of waiting. Mixing Darkher’s patented dark folk with a heavier, doomier vibe The Buried Storm is even more ominous in both sound and scope than any previous efforts. It’s a bigger, bolder, and more beautiful record than even her most rabid fans could have been expecting. It’s an album that swells with bombast and shards of doom-laden brutality only to float back to Earth with the most gorgeously ethereal elements afoot. It plays out like a seance torn asunder and put back together whole by a musical shaman who will lead any willing to follow. Simply put, this album is breathtaking both in sound and execution and my only wish is to one day get to see it played live in some old church or haunted building.

Skull Fist – Paid In Full
The most recent season of Stranger Things may have people waxing poetic about the ’80s in general, and more specifically the show’s new, lovable resident metalhead. But true fans of traditional metal don’t need the Duffer Brothers to remind them how powerful and downright catchy ’80s-inspired metal can be. We’ve got Toronto’s Skull Fist for that. The power trio return with their fourth long-player Paid In Full, and it would not be an exaggeration to say that this is by far one of their strongest offerings to date. This album is filled with soaring clean vocals, exceptional riffing, and a enough catchy rhythms to make Iron Maiden jealous. So much so that the band could rest on their leather-clad laurels and that would still be enough to make all the white high-top wearers out there sing its praises. But Skull Fist really do take it to the next level on this record with songs that are structured to be wholly memorable. There are several songs on here that are straight up ear worms, in the best way possible, and the whole thing will keep you headbanging long after the arm has lifted from the record.

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