April 15, 2024

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Territory’s Edge – The Best New Metal of June 2022, featuring Lamb of God, Astronoid, Desiccation and more

Desiccation

We’re at the halfway point of 2022.  Significant new releases across the world of heavy music this month included Spiritbox releasing a surprise EP, Vatican making their mark on the scene with a diverse, fast-paced 14-track album, and Motionless in White gaining phenomenal chart success with their latest album Scoring the End of the World.  Individual tracks spanned a variety of styles.  Lorna Shore continue to be popular with the brutal “Into the Earth”, and experimental black metal band Imperial Triumphant collaborated with jazz musician Kenny G.  Canadian metalcore band Counterparts‘ fast, unpredictable “Unwavering Vow” transitions several styles within its three minute runtime.  In Flames returned to melodic death metal with “Slate of Slow Decay”, while I Prevail channeled Beartooth in both title and sound on “Body Bag”.

We also covered a number of new underground bands on New Fury Media that released music recently.  Bands that hit our radar, among many others, include Koílos who evoked Candiria on their rap-rock/hardcore debut single, the slamming Loose Ends WMBD, the ferocious metalcore of Florida’s GrieveHouse/Divided from Virginia’s Hampton Roads collaborating with rapcore group Dropout Kings, and the Kublai Khan-inspired beatdown courtesy of Colorado’s Common Rule.   In addition to covering new music, this month we highlighted a pair of young and talented technical/progressive death metal bands from the underground.  Their names are Solemn Vision and Erebor, and we think they deserve your attention.

 

Desiccation – Cold Dead Earth

Desiccation’s debut is a unique, cohesive blend of post metal, atmospheric black metal, and doom metal, often including all three styles within the same song.  The band is composed of husband and wife team Soell Silent Hawk (vocals) and James Bratt (guitar) along with drummer/bassist Patrick Hills.  In their words, Desiccation represents the “existential dread and diaspora of attempting to thrive among end stage capitalism and a declining planet due to climate change, wildfires and windstorms.”

The album opens with the atmospheric “Beneath Crumbling Skies of Flesh and Bone”.   This song has shoegaze elements as Soell sings ethereally over an Alice In Chains-style doom riff.   The production is excellent and really brings out this heavy, rich guitar sound.  The opener transitions into the longest track “Unknown Monoliths”, which similarly opens with her clean vocals over low-tuned guitar.   In contrast, “The Fall” has a soft, ambient intro, slowly transitions to atmospheric black metal, and contains only harsh vocals.  The following title track and the closer “Depths Sown by Sorrows” are foreboding and majestic.

Along with their environmental stance, the band’s duality of majestic atmospheric passages with fast-paced black metal sections reminded me of Wolves in the Throne Room’s Two Hunters and Celestial Lineage at times.  The haunting vocals and sludgy riffs will also appeal to fans of artists like KylesaHowever, Desiccation provides their own unique take on these styles and it’s hard to find a band that sounds exactly like them.  Cold Dead Earth is a fantastic five-song debut.  This album is available for free/name-your-price download on Bandcamp, so go give it a listen!

 

Astronoid – Radiant Bloom

Astronoid is a truly a unique entity.  Signed to Periphery’s label 3DOT Recordings, Astronoid’s ethereal sound combines shoegaze with spacey progressive rock (and early in their catalog, Deafheaven-styled black metal as well).  The Boston band has a very specific sound that characterizes every song – it’s breezy like a zephyr, while still containing multiple aspects of metal.  They sometimes describe themselves as “dream thrash” and tracks like “Sedative” and “Orchid” live up to that moniker.  These two songs are characterized by speedy guitar riffs, blast-beat drumming, and the contrast of Brett Boland’s airy vocals, which resemble dream pop more than anything else.

In contrast to the foreboding sense of danger some of the bands on this list convey, Radiant Bloom is decidedly light and euphoric.  At the same time, they include plenty of substance. “Decades” is the laid-back seven-minute closer, with the vocals entering at the 1:30 mark. “Eyes” and “Sleep Whisper” are energetic and upbeat, and are good choices for singles, with the most memorable hooks on the album.  For those looking for something optimistic – or just something different in metal – Radiant Bloom captures the energy and euphoria of flying above the world.

 

I AM – “The Iron Gate”

The first single from the Dallas deathcore band’s new album Eternal Steel is a study in calculated aggression.  “The Iron Gate” opens with a doomy, melodic guitar line that commands attention.  One minute in, they unleash the heaviness that includes both thrashy chaos and slow, intense riffs.   I Am cites crossover thrash/hardcore band Power Trip (who originate from the same city) and old-school thrash and death metal as influences, which are evident on here.  Regarding this song, vocalist Andrew Hileman said, “When searching for solace and protection, I tend to find it’s often met with opposite hostility. The process of growth only occurs when forced into these uncomfortable situations. ‘The Iron Gate‘ is that place of cruelty that I find so beautiful for the soul. Beware and enter if you dare.”

The album art, designed by Caelan Stokkermans, reflects that sentiment.  Within a post-apocalyptic mountain setting, a Cerberus-like three headed panther accompanies a stoic woman who holds a chain in one hand and a skull in the other.  The cover is unmistakably metal, and it’s clear one would quickly regret testing the patience of either the warrior or the panther alongside her.  Originally written back in 2019, Eternal Steel was shelved for a while, and will drop on September 9.  You’re in their domain.  Approach with caution.

 

Lamb of God – “Nevermore”

The title makes a literary allusion to Edgar Allan Poe’s poem “The Raven”,  and the cover depicts a skeletal bird reminiscent of the cover of their groundbreaking anti-war album Ashes of the Wake.  This is signature Lamb of God, and they’re back with their latest single ahead of their major tour with Killswitch Engage.  As a writer from Virginia, whenever my state’s biggest metal band releases something new, I’m more than happy to discuss it.  “Nevermore” is driven by a mid-tempo groove from guitarist Mark Morton.  Frontman Randy Blythe makes use of four different yet familiar vocal styles here – his regular growled delivery during the chorus, spoken word in the first verse, clean singing in the second, and pitched screams near the end.

“Nevermore” is the first single from the Richmond band’s upcoming album Omens, out October 7.  While it’s nothing too out of the ordinary for Lamb of God, Randy Blythe’s sharp lyricism remains as top-tier as ever, and the band continues to hold their own nearly three decades into their career.

 

Kardashev – Liminal Rite

The word ‘liminal’ is defined as a transitional, in-between stage, neither here nor there.  It’s also a pretty good description of Kardashev’s sound.  The band describes themselves as “deathgaze”, bridging the gap between two dissimilar styles by cohesively melding the aggressive chaos of death metal with the calm atmosphere of shoegaze.  Vocals are alternatively soft and emotive at one point, and raspy growls at another.  “Silvered Shadows”, the album’s first full song following a spoken-word intro track, best represents this stark dynamic.  Numerous interludes and instrumental passages nicely connect these disparate points together.

Thematically, Liminal Rite explores the use of nostalgia as self-medication.   On their Bandcamp page, Kardashev contemplates how selective remembrance of only the best aspects of the past can sometimes become an unhealthy addiction.  The album title essentially represents being trapped in a liminal state between the present and past, and unable to move forward.  Illustrating this concept is the narrative of a character called the Lost Man, whose grip on reality is slowly unraveling.  Fans of similarly experimental groups like Rivers of Nihil will find a lot to like on Liminal Rite, especially the closer “Beyond the Passage of Embers”, complete with saxophone.

 

Enterprise Earth – “Psalm of Agony”

While Enterprise Earth has gone through multiple lineup changes throughout their eight years of existence, replacing a founding member and frontman can be a daunting task.  “Psalm of Agony” marks the progressive deathcore band’s first song with new vocalist Travis Worland.  He replaces original vocalist Dan Watson, who decided to step down from the role earlier this year.  January’s album The Chosen marked Watson’s final contribution to the band.  Not to fear though, for Travis Worland more than holds his own.  While the band’s sound remains recognizable, he doesn’t try to copy his predecessor’s vocal style either.

Therefore, it’s fitting that the single’s cover artwork depicts a magnificent red phoenix rising from flames.  “Psalm of Agony” accurately represents a rebirth for the band.  While the track lasts just under seven minutes, it never feels too long, and has a lot going on.  There’s a well-placed acoustic guitar break in the middle of the brutality, a crushing breakdown, and a very memorable vocal hook on the chorus. Some fans have also drawn positive comparisons to Avenged Sevenfold, particularly regarding Gabe Worland’s guitar solo and technical skill.  Make no mistake, Enterprise Earth haven’t lost any momentum.

 

Spiritbox – Rotoscope

A recap of June wouldn’t be complete without addressing one of the most discussed releases.  Spiritbox dropped a surprise three-song alternative metal EP on June 22.  The title track has already proven to be quite polarizing – check reaction videos on YouTube and you will see several differing opinions.   “Rotoscope” begins with a danceable 90s alternative-inspired sound that initially threw listeners for a loop when the song premiered.  Nevertheless, Courtney LaPlante’s signature screams are still present and impactful.  In addition, her band has the charisma and versatility to succeed no matter the creative direction.

While the band explores a few different avenues, a careful listen reveals that the signature Spiritbox sound hasn’t gone anywhere.  The EP starts off catchy and poppy in the opening minutes of “Rotoscope”, and closes out on an aggressive “Holy Roller” style breakdown at the end of “Hysteria”.  “Sew Me Up” is most similar to the overall sound of last year’s Eternal Blue.  Spiritbox are one of the biggest new bands in rock and metalcore, and they aren’t going anywhere soon.

June Release Tracker

Singles

Counterparts – “Unwavering Vow” (Jun 1, metalcore)

Ether Coven – “Psalm of Cancer” (Jun 1, sludge)

The Callous Daoboys – “What is Delicious? Who Swarms?” (Jun 2, mathcore)

Amon Amarth – “Get in the Ring” (Jun 3, viking/death metal)

Babirusa – “Mandatory Malevolence” (Jun 3, deathcore)

Demon Hunter – “Freedom is Dead” (Jun 3, metalcore)

Fire From the Gods – “SOS” (Jun 3, rap rock/metalcore)

Floorless – “Healing” (Jun 3, industrial)

I AM – “The Iron Gate” (Jun 3, progressive death metal/deathcore) *

Motionless in White/Mick Gordon – “Scoring the End of the World” (Jun 3, electronic rock/alternative metal)

Satyr – “Attrition” (Jun 3, post-hardcore/progressive)

The Halo Effect – “The Needless End” (Jun 3, melodic death metal)

The Machinist – “Pig” (Jun 3, deathcore)

Parkway Drive – “Glitch” (Jun 7, nu metal)

The Devil Wears Prada – “Salt” (Jun 7, metalcore/alternative metal)

ATLVS – “Synthetic Heaven” (Jun 8, metalcore)

Common Rule – “Realworld” (Jun 9, metalcore)

Holding Absence/Alpha Wolf – “Aching Longing” (Jun 10, post-hardcore)

Imperial Triumphant/Kenny G – “Merkurius Gilded” (Jun 10, avant-garde)

Lamb of God – “Nevermore” (Jun 10, groove metal)

Soulfly – “Scouring the Vile” (Jun 10, thrash)

Grieve – “I Love Myself and My Beautiful Life” (Jun 10, nu-metalcore)

In Flames – “State of Slow Decay” (Jun 13, melodic death metal)

Norma Jean – “Call for the Blood” (Jun 16, metalcore)

Enterprise Earth – “Psalm of Agony” (Jun 17, deathcore)

I Prevail – “Body Bag” (Jun 17, metalcore)

Oceans of Slumber – “The Lighthouse” (Jun 17, gothic rock)

Psycroptic – “Exitus” (Jun 17, technical death metal)

Satyr – “Whelmed” (Jun 17, post-hardcore)

Wake – “Infinite Inward” (Jun 17, progressive death metal)

Koilos – “Lock, Load, Destroy” (Jun 17, rapcore/hardcore)

The Mars Volta – “Blacklight Shine” (Jun 21, progressive rock)

Machine Head – “Unhallowed” (Jun 21, groove/progressive metal)

Lorna Shore – “Into the Earth” (Jun 22, deathcore)

Sleeping With Sirens/Spencer Chamberlain – “Crosses” (Jun 22, post-hardcore)

We Came As Romans – “Plagued” (Jun 22, metalcore)

Alpha Wolf – “Hotel Underground” (Jun 23, metalcore)

Fit For a King – “Reaper” (Jun 23, metalcore)

Krisiun – “Sworn Enemies” (Jun 23, death/thrash)

AVOID – “My World” (Jun 24, metalcore/punk)

Becoming the Archetype – “The Lost Colony” (Jun 24, progressive death metal/metalcore)

Hostile Array – “Wounds” (Jun 24, post-hardcore)

Low Life/Ben Hoagland – “Burning Both Ends” (Jun 24, metalcore)

Ozzy/Jeff Beck – “Patient No. 9” (Jun 24, heavy metal)

Nothing More – “Spirits” (Jun 24, alternative metal)

Time, the Valuator – “Black Water” (Jun 24, djent/progressive metalcore)

House Divided/Dropout Kings – “Stay” (Jun 25, rapcore)

Ocean Sleeper – “Your Love I’ll Never Need” (Jun 28, metalcore)

Miss May I – “Earth Shaker” (Jun 29, metalcore)

Cyborg Octopus – “Seizure of Character” (Jun 29, progressive metal)

Veio – “Like Cyanide” (Jun 29, progressive rock/alternative metal)

Invent Animate – “Shade Astray” (Jun 30, metalcore)

Oceans Ate Alaska – “New Dawn” (Jun 30, metalcore)

The Archaic Epidemic – “Lords of Mercy” (Jun 30, deathcore)

 

 Albums/EPs

Antagonist A.D.- Through Fire All Things Are Renewed (Jun 3, hardcore)

Artificial Brain – Artificial Brain (Jun 3, technical death metal)

Astronoid – Radiant Bloom (Jun 3, progressive metal/shoegaze)

Bleed From Within – Shrine (Jun 3, metalcore)

Gwar – The New Dark Ages (Jun 3, crossover thrash)

Memphis May Fire – Remade in Misery (Jun 3, rock/metalcore)

Origin – Chaosmos (Jun 3, technical death metal)

Red Handed Denial – I’d Rather Be Asleep (Jun 3, metalcore)

Sable Hills – Duality (Jun 3, metalcore/deathcore)

Terminal Nation/Kruelty split – The Ruination of Imperialism (Jun 3, death metal/hardcore)

Thornhill – Heroine (Jun 3, alternative metal/shoegaze)

Unprocessed – Boy Without a Gun (Jun 3, progressive rock)

Deathwhite – Dark Everlasting (Jun 10, doom metal)

Emberthrone – Godless Wonder (Jun 10, death metal)

Ill Nino – IllMortals (Jun 10, nu metal/Latin metal)

InRetrospect – Current State (Jun 10, progressive metalcore)

Kardashev – Liminal Rite (Jun 10, deathgaze)

Motionless in White – Scoring the End of the World (Jun 10, electronic rock/nu metalcore)

Outsider – Reflection of You (Jun 10, metalcore)

Respire – Respire – Audiotree Worldwide (Jun 10, blackened hardcore)

Rise Against – Nowhere Generation II (Jun 10, punk)

Shut/Eye – Unnatural Disasters (Jun 10, post-hardcore)

Soreption – Jord (Jun 10, technical death metal)

Still Stayer – Everend (Jun 10, progressive metalcore)

Tomb Mold – Aperture of Body (Jun 10, death metal)

Yatra – Born Into Chaos (Jun 10, death metal/stoner doom)

Desiccation – Cold Dead Earth (Jun 13, black metal/doom/post metal)

Dir En Grey – Phalaris (Jun 15, nu metal/visual kei)

Exocrine – The Hybrid Suns (Jun 17, technical death metal)

Grey Daze – The Phoenix (Jun 17, grunge/alternative metal) [vocal tracks and original songs from 1994 and 1997]

Inexorum – Equinox Vigil (Jun 17, melodic death metal)

Myteri – Illusion (Jun 17, crust)

Loose Ends WMBD – Manifest Destiny (Jun 17, hardcore)

Vatican – Ultra (Jun 17, metalcore)

White Ward – False Light (Jun 17, black metal)

Spiritbox – Rotoscope (Jun 22, nu-metalcore/alternative metal/industrial)

Alexisonfire – Otherness (Jun 24, post-hardcore)

Axioma – Sepsis (Jun 24, progressive black metal)

Candy – Heaven is Here (Jun 24, experimental hardcore/noise)

Coheed and Cambria – Vaxis II: A Window of the Waking Mind (Jun 24, progressive rock)

Earthists – Have a Good Cult (Jun 24, post-hardcore)

Final Light – Final Light (Jun 24, industrial/post metal)

Knoll – Metempiric (Jun 24, deathgrind)

Light Dweller – Lucid Offering (Jun 24, death metal)

0n0 – Unwavering Resonance (Jun 24, industrial/doom)

Porcupine Tree – Closer/Continuation (Jun 24, progressive rock)

Profiler – Profiler (Jun 24, nu metal)

Projected – Hypoxia (Jun 24, alternative metal)

Sever the Memories – Hollow Shell (Jun 24, deathcore)

Vicious Blade – Siege of Cruelty (Jun 24, thrash/crust)

Volcandra – Border World (Jun 24, progressive death metal)

Mico – Zigurat (Jun 28, mathcore/chaotic hardcore)

 

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