March 2, 2024

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Territory’s Edge – The Best New Metal of July 2022, featuring Krisiun, Silent Planet, and more

Metallica made plenty of headlines this summer.  The surging popularity of their 1986 hit “Master of Puppets” – due to its inclusion in the show Stranger Things – marked a rare crossover moment, potentially introducing a vast array of listeners to heavy metal.  Another familiar name returning to the spotlight is Rage Against the Machine.  The rap rock legends, whose last album Renegades released in December 2000, embarked on their first tour in eleven years, which has proven to be a massive success.

However, we had no shortage of metal and metal-adjacent bands releasing and announcing brand new music either.  Slipknot returned with a new single “The Dying Song (Time to Sing)” and a September album announcement. Lorna Shore continue to be huge in the deathcore scene, and also have a new song out and an album on the way. Holy Fawn, Erra, and Silent Planet similarly remain consistently top-tier bands with their new singles. Oceans Ate Alaska dropped a new song at the beginning of the month and confirmed a new album at the end.

Highlights among the smaller bands we had to talk about this month include Hated delving into the evils of abuse on “Dr4gged”,  Philippine technical death metal Emperium hailing the horned ones on “Majestic Goat”, and modern deathcore band The Archaic Epidemic from Fairfax, Virginia making a strong showing with “Lords of Misery”.  South Florida band Leveled live up to their name on their EP One World Comes Back Around, and Atlanta’s In Somni are a promising new band with two explosive songs.

 

 

Silent Planet – “:Signal:”

Ten years after their first EP Come Wind, Come Weather, Silent Planet now maintains a dedicated, supportive fan community and substantive respect within progressive metalcore circles. From the beginning, frontman Garrett Russell has shown why he is a top-tier lyricist and songwriter. His lyrics have discussed many topics including the generational and historical trauma experienced by Native Americans (“Native Blood”),  the horrors of war and impact of PTSD on combat veterans (“Panic Room”) and his own battle with mental illness (“Terminal”). However, the band’s new single, “:Signal:”, continues to keep listeners guessing.

This song ventures into mathcore territory, with an eerie, mysterious visual to match. Above all, “:Signal:” is crushingly heavy, displaying an unpredictable chaos akin to Loathe at their heaviest. Buster Odeholm of Humanity’s Last Breath mixed this track, contributing to its dark and heavy atmosphere. Distant clean vocals in the waning seconds finish the song on an enticing note. Silent Planet’s music has a profound depth, spirituality and sincerity, and this new song provides the first taste of something massive.

 

Wake – Thought Form Descent

While this band from Calgary, Alberta started out playing grindcore, their sound has gradually shifted with each album. Now on their sixth full-length, Wake’s current blackened death metal style is characterized by densely layered, highly technical compositions. Thought Form Descent is full of intriguing, melodic guitar riffs that will hook just about any fan of extreme metal. The profiency of the band’s two guitarists, Arjun Gill and Rob LaChance, keep each track engaging throughout. The melodic death metal riffage on single “Swallow the Light” is a prime example of the guitar work carrying the song. Additionally, the two instrumental tracks “Pareidolia” and “The Translation of Deaths” add a valuable diversity. Both of these short breaks balance out the intensity of the other six songs. “Observer to Master” makes good use of blast beats and a guitar solo from Kevin Hufnagel of Gorguts. “Bleeding Eyes of the Watcher” incorporates a Mastodon-sounding guitar line and a seamless atmospheric transition into the closer “The Translation of Deaths”.

Thought Form Descent is themed around a science fiction story contained to the album. According to vocalist Kyle Ball, the narrative follows a character who enters a paranormal realm during a near death experience, then tries to recreate that plane of existence again through means of altered states, meditation, and lucid dreams. Musically, Wake cite inspiration from classic metal bands like Slayer, Iron Maiden, and Celtic Frost, as well as genres like post punk, doom, and black metal. However, the band makes it a point to not let any particular influence overtake the others. The eight-minute sonic cacophony of “Venerate (The Undoing of All)” encapsulates this mindset perfectly, a track as nuanced as it is chaotic. Wake have created a masterful extreme metal record here.

 

Scarcity – Aveilut

At first glance, classical sensibilities within an experimental black/drone metal record may seem unusual. Scarcity, a two-person project from Brooklyn, New York, proves that this influence can translate well even without the use of traditional classical instrumentation. Instrumentalist Brendon Randall-Myers is both a guitarist and composer who has written for classical music performers and symphonies. He is joined by vocalist Doug Moore from the New York technical death metal band Pyrrhon, who in addition to his unearthly low growls is a skilled writer and former monthly metal columnist.

Aveilut, titled after a Hebrew term for mourning, centers around processing loss and the inevitability of death. It is a challenging yet cathartic listen. Randall-Myers specifically wrote the album about the deaths of two people close to him, and the bleak tone of the music conjures up images of staring into the void. Reflecting both a personal and universal meaning, Aveilut is a harrowing, yet spacious, drone/dark ambient 45 minute album.  Split into 5 tracks numbered I-V, it is meant to be listened to as one composition.

 

Krisiun – Mortem Solis

The success of Sepultura in the ’90s helped open up the door for more Brazilian metal bands to break through to a worldwide audience. One of those bands was Krisiun.  Their brutal third album, Conquerors of Armageddon, was unleashed in March 2000, marking their first major release on Century Media. Krisiun is composed of three brothers, and they’re still going strong eleven albums into their career. Therefore, it’s fitting that on August 7, they’re playing alongside the Cavalera brothers Max and Igor, on the tour celebrating 25 years of Sepultura’s Roots. Krisiun has maintained an old-school death metal ethos throughout their career, occasionally embracing a progressive edge as on 2012’s The Great Execution.

Krisiun’s latest album provides a good introduction to any newcomers to the long-running trio. Bridging the gap between early and modern death metal, the band stays true to their sound without coming across as stale or out of ideas. Mortem Solis is characterized by thrashy tempos and death metal vocals, but they switch it up enough to keep the whole album engaging. Track 4, “Necronomics” slows to a measured groove metal pace. The instrumental “Dawn Sun Carnage” which leads into the cavernous “Temple of Abattoir” is another highlight.

 

Conjurer – Páthos

While this young British death/doom metal act gained some previous attention from the underground scene with the EP I, their sludgy debut full-length, Mire, earned them a strong following among some well-known metal musicians, particularly Trivium’s Matt Heafy. On Mire, Conjurer mixed in some post-metal dynamics with tracks like “Hollow” and “Thankless”, and their second album develops in this direction further.

The highlight of Páthos is “All You Can Remember”, a somber, dynamic post-metal track written in memoriam of guitarist Dan Nightingale’s grandmother. Similar to “Constance” by Spiritbox, the lyrics explore the the grief of having a loved one battle dementia. A guest female vocalist, Alice Zawadski, provides a spoken word section before the cathartic climax. The sludgy “Basilisk” is the most stylistically similar to Mire and provides a contrast between the band’s past and present. Frontman Brady Deeprose’s low roar is comparable to Aaron Turner of the bands Isis and Sumac. Similarly, the music is reminiscent of a heavier Oceanic with undercurrents of death and sludge metal swirling through the tides. Let Páthos pull you in to its murky depths.

Oceans of Slumber – Starlight and Ash

Oceans of Slumber are unafraid of change. The band’s initial gothic metal/progressive doom metal sound drew comparisons to Opeth with a female lead vocalist, while maintaining a sound of their own. Heavy yet soulful tracks like “The Adorned Fathomless Creation” displayed a similar sense of duality. Given how Opeth has dramatically reinvented their sound while still finding success, the description is even more apt today. Yes, Oceans of Slumber took a left turn, softening their sound – to their advantage.

The group fully captures the southern gothic sound by honing in on a sultry, humid atmosphere. In fact, the only minor flaw here is some imbalance in the production, as the guitars are buried in the mix compared to the drums during the heavier moments. Frontwoman Cammie Gilbert’s vocals are the undisputed focus of the album, and her commanding presence is the reason the stylistic shift succeeds. “Salvation” displays her gospel influences both sonically and lyrically. While Starlight and Ash is more of a rock album than a metal one, there’s still some elements of metal present. “Red Forest Roads” is a good example, building from a somber ballad to a fast climax with furious drumming. “Just a Day” starts off similar to an Evanescence piano ballad but finishes out on heavy, with the final minute of fuzzed out distorted guitar.

 

July Release Tracker

Singles

Oceans Ate Alaska – “New Dawn” (Jul 1, metalcore)

The Wise Man’s Fear – “Sunchaser” (Jul 1, post-hardcore)

Bring Me the Horizon – “Strangers”* (Jul 6, pop punk/post-hardcore)

Armor for Sleep – “How Far Apart” (Jul 6, post-hardcore)

Parkway Drive – “The Greatest Fear” (Jul 6, alternative metal)

Revocation – “Diabolical Majesty” (Jul 6, technical death metal)

Boston Manor – “Passenger”* (Jul 7, alternative metal)

Erra – “Pull from the Ghost”* (Jul 7, progressive metalcore)

Fallujah – “Embrace Oblivion” (Jul 7, technical death metal

Norma Jean – “Spearmint Revolt” (Jul 7, metalcore)

In Lessons – “Slow Small Hits” (Jul 8, post-hardcore)

The Mars Volta – “Graveyard Love” (Jul 8, progressive rock)

Soulfly – “Filth Upon Filth” (Jul 8, thrash)

Termina – “Translucent” (Jul 8, progressive metal)

Architects – “Tear Gas” (Jul 12, industrial/alternative metal)

Beartooth – “Riptide” (Jul 12, metalcore)

Holy Fawn – “Dimensional Bleed” (Jul 12, black metal/shoegaze)*

I Prevail – “Bad Things” (Jul 12, metalcore)

Carnifex/Oceano – “Lie to My Face” (Jul 13, deathcore)

Ether Coven – “Of Might and Failure” (Jul 13, sludge)

Orthodox – “Cave In” (Jul 13, hardcore)

Arch Enemy – “In the Eye of the Storm” (Jul 14, melodic death metal)*

Becoming the Archetype – “The Remnant” (Jul 15, progressive death metal)

Fire From the Gods – “Soul Revolution” (Jul 15, nu metal)

In Search of Solace – “Death Follows Me” (Jul 15, metalcore)*

Psycroptic – “A Fool’s Errand” (Jul 15, technical death metal)

Vended – “Ded to Me” (Jul 15, nu metal)

Graphic Nature – “Into the Dark” (Jul 18, nu metal/metalcore)

Alter Bridge – “Pawns and Kings” (Jul 19, progressive metal/alternative metal)

Dead Cross – “Reign of Error” (Jul 19, thrash)

Future Static – “Venenosa” (Jul 19, alternative metal/hardcore)

Lacuna Coil – “Tightrope XX” (Jul 19, gothic metal)

Slipknot – “The Dying Song (Time to Sing)” (Jul 19, nu metal)*

Spite – “Dedication to Flesh” (Jul 19, brutal deathcore)

thoughtcrimes – “Keyhole Romance” (Jul 20, mathcore)

Acres – “Burning Throne” (Jul 21, alternative metal)

Norma Jean – “Sleep Explosion” (Jul 21, mathcore)

156/Silence – “To Take Your Place” (Jul 22, progressive metalcore)

Silent Planet – “:Signal:” (Jul 22, progressive metalcore/thall)

Turnover/Brendan Yates – “Myself in the Way” (Jul 25, hardcore punk/funk)*

Counterparts – “Whispers of Your Death” (Jul 26, metalcore)

The Devil Wears Prada – “Time” (Jul 26, metalcore)

Behemoth – “The Deathless Sun” (Jul 27, blackened death metal)

Carcosa – “Restless” (Jul 27, deathcore)

Lorna Shore – “Cursed to Die” (Jul 27, deathcore)*

The Gloom in the Corner/Ryo Kinoshita – “Ronin” (Jul 27, metalcore)

Lamb of God – “Omens” (Jul 28, groove metal)

Within Destruction – “Scars” (Jul 28, deathcore)

Bullet for My Valentine – “No More Tears to Cry” (Jul 29, metalcore)

 

Albums

Conjurer – Pathos (Jul 1, doom metal)

Blood Command – Praise Armageddonism (Jul 1, skate punk)

Greg Puciato – Mirrorcell (Jul 1, alternative metal)

Municipal Waste – Electrified Brain (Jul 1, thrash)

Saint Asonia – Introvert (Jul 1, alternative metal)

Satyr – Totem (Jul 1, post-hardcore)

Shinedown – Planet Zero (Jul 1, post-grunge)

Speaking With Ghosts – At Its End (Jul 1)

Coldrain – Nonnegative (Jul 6)

Blind Channel – Lifestyles of the Sick and Dangerous (Jul 8)

Wormrot – Hiss (Jul 8, grindcore)

Kruhl – Sanguine Nihilism (Jul 9, technical death metal)

Haunt – Windows of Your Heart (Jul 14, traditional heavy metal)

ATLVS – The Wound, the Blade (Jul 15, metalcore)

Graveshadow – The Uncertain Hour (Jul 15, symphonic metal/power metal)

Imperial Triumphant – Spirit of Ecstasy (Jul 15, avant-garde black metal/death metal)

Mantar – Pain is Forever and This is the End (Jul 15, sludge metal)

Prismatic – Subversion (Jul 15, progressive metal)

Scarcity – Aveilut (Jul 15, progressive/experimental black metal)

Senses Fail – Hell is In Your Head (Jul 15, post-hardcore)

The Wakedead Gathering – Parallaxiom (Jul 15, death metal)

Ashenspire – Hostile Architecture (Jul 18, progressive black metal)

Tracheotomy – Dissimulation (Jul 19, deathcore)

Fame on Fire – Welcome to the Chaos (Jul 22, metalcore/emo rap)

Nicolas Cage Fighter – The Bones that Grew From Pain (Jul 22, hardcore)

Oceans of Slumber – Starlight and Ash (Jul 22, doom/gothic rock)

Palisades – Reaching Hypercritical (Jul 22, alternative metal)

Patient Sixty-Seven – Wishful Thinking (Jul 22, metalcore)

Wake – Thought Form Descent (Jul 22, progressive death metal)

Saltwound – Vol 2: Despair (Jul 26, hardcore/deathcore)

Chaosbay – 2222 (Jul 29, progressive rock/hard rock)

Ithaca – They Fear Us (Jul 29, melodic hardcore)

Krisiun – Mortem Solis (Jul 29, death/thrash metal)

Oceans – Hell is Where the Heart is (Jul 29, metalcore)

Stick to Your Guns – Spectre (Jul 29, hardcore)

 

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