April presented The Amalgam with a smorgasbord of Black Metal releases this month. This has happened in a few instances in the past. There is the occasional month where there seem to be a number of brilliant releases that all stem from a similar genre. That does it make it tough to pick just a set five from a particular group of days, therefore, April will feature an extra couple releases to take into account how good the music was this month. Enjoy.
Cult of Luna & Julie Christmas – Mariner
It is quickly becoming an Album of the Year contender in the minds of many writers and fans alike. The beautiful union of one of Sweden’s greatest forces with the voice of Made Out of Babies and Battle of Mice and Spylacopa member has culminated in one of the best listening experiences 2016 has given so far. Mariner is a five-track offering full of innovative maneuvers that meld Post Metal into classical Prog Rock styles akin to Pink Floyd. It has a certain cosmic feel to it and that radiant brilliance that accompanies anything Cult of Luna touches. Whoever set up the collaboration between Luna and Christmas deserves an award, because this is pairing is pure bliss.
Deftones – Gore
If we are all being honest with ourselves, Deftones has never made a bad album. They continue to passionately evolve their sound over the years and with their latest endeavor, Gore, they have created one of their best albums yet. Gore builds on a trend that started with Diamond Eyes and continued with Koi No Yokan where Chino and the boys venture into more atmospheric and ethereal sounds. It is the result of brilliantly nailing the darker elements that the prior two albums possessed and infusing it into music that explodes into vivid colors and beautiful sounds.
Plebeian Grandstand – False Highs, True Lows
France’s Blackened Noise outfit has returned with the follow-up to their awesome Lowgazers album. False Highs, True Lows is the band’s best work to date and an exercise in the chaotic. Dissonance and discord running amok, the album utilizes elements of Mathcore, Black Metal, and Noise ultimately result in a frenzied display of brash and calculated madness. The Frenchmen continue to get better with each release and are creating this twisted, metallic monster that is wreaking havoc on the world.
Rorcal – Creon
The Swiss quintet of Rorcal recorded their new album live in three days. Creon is a concept album that depicts the deaths of particular characters rooted in Greek mythology. Each of the four songs, an individual character that all range from 11 to 14 minutes in length. Every moment spans as wide as it does deep, covering dense layers of songwriting and wide ranges of atmosphere and influence. It features many elements of Drone, Post-Hardcore, and Doom that are mixed into this furious Black Metal. Creon has been one of the coolest and more immersive releases 2016 has brought thus far.
Denver’s Stillborn Fawn produces a caustic, spitting variety of Black Metal. This cassette-only release is ten tracks of music that screams to the genre’s ancestral talents of Bathory and Mayhem. The group features members of Death Metal bands Blood Incantation and Orm. This Death Metal background appears in Stillborn Fawn‘s album as subtle influences on Norn. The Coloradoans zigged where a lot of bands would zag and take a raw and hyper-aggressive approach to modern Black Metal versus the atmospheric route appearing in the majority of the United States Black Metal. It is a fantastic release that carves its own vein in the extreme genre. Hopefully physical copies of the album show up again.
What a debut demo. Vancouver’s Temple of Abandonment is a Funeral Doom outfit that is already receiving quite the acclaim for a single, 32-minute demo. They describe themselves as “An entity amalgamated beyond the mere individuals who make up its structure”. From Outer Spheres… Death embodies all that is unholy about the Funeral Doom genre. They bring in elements of classic bands like Esoteric or Evoken and fuse it with the Death Metal of bands like Grave and Dismember, the result is a horrifying projection of lament that is worth the sorrow of listening to it.
Rapid City, South Dakota might not be the first place that crosses your mind when it comes to the United States Black Metal scene, but it certainly needs some recognition following this new album from Woman Is The Earth. Torch of Our Final Night may draw some comparisons to some of the Atmospheric Black Metal that is associated with the Pacific Northwest, see Wolves In the Throne Room. However, it exists in a different aura than this Cascadian idea. It has its own unique and intriguing atmosphere that draws from the plains of their home.