I would first like to apologize for the delay on publishing June’s Best of the Month. Life has been getting hectic as preparation builds towards beginning a Physical Therapy program at Duke as well as the normal day-to-day things we are all plagued by. Nevetheless, the cream of the crop is ready to be shared with everyone. June had a lot to pick from. There was a lot to be excited about going into the month, a lot of big name bands had albums coming out. Gojira and Nails both dropped new albums but didn’t quite live up to their preceding albums, personally. While they were solid releases, there were a handful of other releases that stole the spotlight. I suppose there is a silver lining to the delay. I had some extra time to sit with albums from the preceding month and was able to really choose what stuck with me the most. Without further ado, the Best of June.
Two of Vancouver’s finest Death Metal bands share a lot more in common than just their home city. The two groups share members in Sebastian Montesi (bass) and Shawn Hache (vocals/guitar) and they also share a similar penchant for crafting unnerving extreme metal that has been lauded by many fans. This split has been a long time coming and it has certainly been worth the wait as both each track from the bands is some of the best material either have released. Auroch‘s “Leaden Words Sown” and Mitochondrion‘s “Gilded Words Reaped” come from the same lyrics sheet, but both songs are executed in very different fashions. It is the most intriguing notion about In Cronian Hour.
The Canadian duo of X.T. and A.L.’s “…seven-step spiritual journey of alchemical transformation…” is highly intelligent and poetic in its delivery. It conjures up hellacious mental imagery and invokes a sense of dread and terror from start to finish. This towering, grandiose black metal composition is a hell of a debut complete with gorgeous artwork and the best black metal song of this year so far in “Dies Irae – Lacrimosa”. It’s another amazing release through Profound Lore Records and a promising signal for Gevurah‘s trajectory.
Indricothere – III
Colin Marston produces gold with everything he is involved in. His solo work as Indricothere is certainly no different. The instrumental outlet for Marston has released its third album in June and is loaded with complex and dizzying guitar work. The Krallice/Gorguts member plays both guitar and bass masterfully. Additionally, he runs his own studio where he captured drum recordings and ultimately mixed and mastered the entire album. His musical genius exudes throughout this release, culminating in one of the more riveting instrumental albums in recent memory.
Sheidim – Shrines of the Void
Spanish Black Metallurgists, Sheidim, are going down as one of the best discoveries of 2016. Their new album, Shrine of the Void, is stellar. This new seven-track offering follows a debut, two-song EP from 2015. According to Angry Metal Guy, Sheidim shares some rough similarities to Watain and Suspiral. Those have been the two best comparisons I have come across to describe their sound. There is a ton of Black Metal floating around these days, Sheidim is a nice beacon that stands out against a sea of generic sounds.
The newest album from Aaron Turner, Nick Yacyshyn, and Brian Cook is a strong Album of the Year contender. The trio of musicians continue to push the limits of physical and sonic exertion, crafting free-form compositions of punishing, metallic waves. Sumac delivers a rightful follow-up to their magnificent debut, The Deal, further expanding on the crushing sound they created last year. What One Becomes is a spectacular listen filled with different genre nuances and tactical, precise executions of juxtaposed walls of sound and negative spaces.
Wolves in the Throne Room – Diadem of 12 Stars (Reissue)
So it’s technically not a new album, however this reissue of Wolves in the Throne Room‘s first album sounds so reinvigorated, it feels like a brand new album. Diadem of 12 Stars is arguably one of the more important albums in the United States Black Metal scene. It has been identified as an originator of a movement that has been pushing USBM towards more ethereal and atmospheric sounds over the last decade.