April 22, 2024

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Territory’s Edge – The Best New Metal of September 2022, featuring Holy Fawn, Aeternam, and more

Holy Fawn

Nu metal headliners Slipknot released their latest album, The End, So Far, on the last day of the month.  Lamb of God released the title track from their upcoming record Grayscale, and deathcore bands Signs of the Swarm and Lorna Shore have been making noise with their latest singles.  The Black Dahlia Murder announced that they will continue on in the wake of Trevor Strnad’s passing, with founding member Brian Eschbach stepping up to vocal duties.

 

Aeternam – Heir of the Rising Sun

Heir of the Rising Sun marks the fifth album from this Quebec-based symphonic metal/melodic death metal band.  As the track titles indicate, this is a concept album based on the historical Byzantine-Ottoman wars, culminating in the conquest of Constantinople.  The short intro “Osman’s Dream” sets the scene with a dramatic spoken word.  “Beneath the Nightfall” immediately commands the listener’s attention and immerses them into the narrative.

The band’s orchestral and Middle Eastern musical influences are emphasized here.  In addition, a notable progressive metal influence marks the epic retelling of these historical battles.  Bombastic, layered, and intricate, these nine tracks (six full-length songs and three interludes) tell a story through Achraf Loudiy’s dynamic vocals and spoken word narration.  Heir of the Rising Sun offers plenty of variety.  The melodic “Irene” recalls Trivium at their best, while the ten-minute closer “The Fall of Constantinople” should appeal to fans of early Opeth.   Aeternam is a band to add to your radar, as this is a dramatic and captivating independent release deserving of greater acclaim.

 

Love is Noise – “Euphoria (where were you?)”

Initiated in 2021 by Cameron Humphrey (the former drummer of the now-disbanded Lotus Eater), Love is Noise takes its name from a song by The Verve.   However, the experimental edge of this alternative metal/shoegaze project shares much more in common with Deftones, Loathe or Greg Puciato’s solo work.  “Euphoria (where were you?)” is their fifth song.  With a slow tempo and measured, foreboding guitars, the single shows a different side than the furious Jason Butler-featured “Movement”.   This band displays an experimental edge with plenty of diversity within the handful of songs released up to this point.

 

I AM – Eternal Steel

The sound of this Dallas death metal band unleashes a thrash attack comparable with Power Trip.  Closer “Manic Cure” and the title track exemplify this perfectly.  Vocalist Andrew Hileman envisioned the concept for Eternal Steel’s album cover, which features an intimidating looking warrior woman and a three-headed panther on a chain.  “Infernal Panther”, written from this animal’s perspective as a fearless night hunter, further brings this concept to life.  Also it features none other than George “Corpsegrinder” Fisher of Cannibal Corpse.   Elsewhere, highlights like “The Iron Gate”, “Queen Incarnate” and “Heaven on Earth” showcase a dissonant death doom style.

 

A Hope For Home – Years of Silicon

The four song, 32 minute EP Years of Silicon marks this underrated post-metal band’s first new release in nearly eleven years.  The title track ranks among A Hope For Home’s heaviest, rawest songs to date.  “Futures/Past” and the 12-minute “Unlit Beacon” build up to a crescendo and back down again.  Themed after a Jonathan Crary essay critiquing the digital age,  the overall sound of Years of Silicon resonates with this theme just as much as the lyrics.  Tanner Morita’s lo-fi production gives the music the feel of listening to a live performance.   This stylistic choice especially works to the band’s advantage on the final two tracks, emphasizing atmosphere and acoustics.  A Hope For Home is not a band that should be overlooked this year.

 

The Devil Wears Prada – Color Decay

The Devil Wears Prada follow a more melodic yet lyrically darker approach for their eighth studio album.  While Color Decay has its share of harder tracks (“Hallucinate”, “Watchtower”, and “Exhibition”), softer songs that get ‘quiet like the snow’ make an appearance in the second half (“Twenty-five”, “Fire” and “Cancer”).   Color Decay is perhaps the band’s most radio-friendly effort to date.  In TDWP’s case, though, that’s not a bad thing, as the strong choruses and emotional performance from both Jeremy DePoyster and Mike Hranica are truly the strength of the album.  “Salt”, “Broken”, “Sacrifice”, and “Time” have massive, memorable hooks.  While The Act showed leanings in a more melodic direction, Color Decay fully commits to this vision and the result is one of the band’s best albums in the past ten years.

 

Fallujah – Empyrean

Early singles “Radiant Ascension” and “Embrace Oblivion” made it clear that Empyrean was a return to Fallujah’s trademark progressive technical death metal sound.  Following the controversial sonic departure of Undying Light, the band revamped with a new lineup and has not looked back since.  While it’s more chaotic and not as atmospheric as 2016’s Dreamless, the female vocals and progressive metal elements remain prominent.  “Embrace Oblivion” and “Eventide” knock it out of the park, integrating subtle melody and softer sections within the chaos at just the right moments.  The closing one-two punch of instrumental “Celestial Resonance” and the progressive “Artifacts” finish out Empyrean on a very strong note.

 

Holy Fawn – Dimensional Bleed

No band makes alternately pretty and sinister music quite like Arizona’s Holy Fawn.  A unique mixture of shoegaze, black metal and alternative rock earned debut Death Spells attention and acclaim.  Dimensional Bleed creates majestic atmospheric and ambient soundscapes, occasionally building up to a noisy cacophony. While Dimensional Bleed emphasizes ambience and calm more than the black metal elements, the album offers plenty of dynamics and contrast.

For example, the serene alt-rock of “Lift Your Head” is driven by a very memorable guitar line, and gradually adds more distortion at the end.  The ominous, urgent title track is perhaps Holy Fawn’s most intense song to date.  “Empty Vials” begins with minimalist ambience and concludes with a Deafheaven-style cacophony of blackgaze in the final two minutes.  Some subtle post-hardcore leanings can be detected as well.   Early single “Death is a Relief” is reminiscent of Dead Poetic’s Chino Moreno collaboration, “Paralytic”.  The following track “Lift Your Head” displays some influence from Thrice.  “Sightless”, which incorporates both piano and black metal shrieks, has opening moments reminiscent of Underoath’s “Casting Such a Thin Shadow”. Just as the album title alludes to the possibility of alternate timelines and dimensions existing at the same time, Holy Fawn’s style similarly displays a variety of influences all unified into one sound.

 

September Release Tracker

Singles

Demon Hunter – “MASTER” (Sep 2, alternative metal)

Counterparts – “Bound to the Burn” (Sep 7, hardcore/metalcore)

Cabal – “Exit Wound” (Sep 7, deathcore)

For the Fallen Dreams – “Re-Animate” (Sep 7, metalcore)

Nickelback – “San Quentin” (Sep 7, hard rock/heavy metal)

We Came as Romans – “Golden” (Sep 7, metalcore)

Borders/Cane Hill – “Godless” (Sep 8, hardcore/nu metal)

Fit for a King – “Falling Through the Sky” (Sep 8, metalcore)

Lamb of God – “Grayscale” (Sep 8, groove metal)

Psychonaut – “Violate Consensus Reality” (Sep 8, post metal)

Chelsea Grin – “The Isnis” (Sep 9, deathcore)

Nonpoint – “Paper Tigers” (Sep 9, alternative metal/groove metal)

The Gloom In The Corner – “New Order” (Sep 12, metalcore)

Unleash the Archers – “Falsewave” (Sep 13, power metal)

10 Years – “The Optimist” (Sep 14, alternative metal)

Lorna Shore – “Pain Remains I: Dancing Like Flames” (Sep 14, deathcore)

Yellow Eyes – “Dagger in the Warm Straw” (Sep 14, black metal)

Get the Shot – “Season of the Damned II” (Sep 15, hardcore)

In Flames – “Foregone Pt. 1” (Sep 15, melodic death metal)

Lacuna Coil – “Swamped XX” (Sep 15, gothic metal)

Archetypes Collide – “My Own Device” (Sep 16, alternative metal)

As Hell Retreats – “Dissent” (Sep 16, deathcore/death metal)

Cloud Rat – “Corset” (Sep 16, grindcore)

Graphic Nature – “White Noise” (Sep 16, nu metal/hardcore)

Thrice – “Open Your Eyes and Dream” (Sep 20, post-hardcore)

Earth Caller – “Alone” (Sep 21, metalcore)

Termina – “Take Flight” (Sep 21, djent)

Thousand Below – “Face to Face” (Sep 21, post-hardcore)

Dayseeker – “Dreamstate” (Sep 23, post-hardcore)

In Search of Solace – “Oathbreaker” (Sep 23, metalcore)

Love is Noise – “Euphoria (Where Were You?)” (Sep 23, shoegaze, alternative metal)

Fire from the Gods – “World So Cold” (Sep 30, alternative metal)

Albums/EPs

Oceans Ate Alaska – Disparity (Sep 1, metalcore)

156/Silence – Narrative (Sep 2, metalcore/hardcore punk)

A Hope For Home – Years of Silicon (Sep 2, post metal)

Aeternam – Heir of the Rising Sun (Sep 2, symphonic folk metal/melodic death metal)

Aetherwave – Malevolence (Sep 2, nu-metalcore)

Blind Guardian – The God Machine (Sep 2, power metal)

The Butterfly Effect – IV (Sep 2, alternative metal/progressive rock)

The Callous Daoboys – Celebrity Therapist (Sep 2, mathcore)

Fawn Limbs – Oleum (Sep 2, grindcore/mathcore)

Feather Mountain – To Exit a Maelstrom (Sep 2, progressive metal)

The Hu – Rumble of Thunder (Sep 2, folk metal)

King’s X – Three Sides of One (Sep 2, progressive rock)

Miss May I – Curse of Existence (Sep 2, metalcore)

Sobriquet – Apotheosis (Sep 2, post-hardcore)

Vermin Womb – Retaliation (Sep 2, grindcore/brutal death metal)

Xenobiotic – Hate Monolith (Sep 2, technical death metal)

An Abstract Illusion – Woe (Sep 9, progressive death metal)

Bloodbath – Survival of the Sickest (Sep 9, death metal)

Crippled Black Phoenix – Banefyre (Sep 9, post rock/dark rock)

Electric Callboy – Tekkno (Sep 9, electronic metalcore)

END/Cult Leader split – Gather and Mourn (Sep 9, hardcore)

Fallujah – Empyrean (Sep 9, progressive death metal/technical death metal)

Holy Fawn – Dimensional Bleed (Sep 9, blackgaze/post metal/shoegaze)

Highly Suspect – The Midnight Demon Club (Sep 9, hard rock)

I AM – Eternal Steel (Sep 9, death metal/deathcore)

Inhuman Depravity – The Experimendead (Sep 9, brutal death metal)

KMFDM – Hyena (Sep 9, industrial)

Ozzy Osbourne – Patient #9 (Sep 9, traditional heavy metal)

Parkway Drive – Darker Still (Sep 9, alternative metal)

Revocation – Netherheaven (Sep 9, thrash/technical death metal)

Stray from the Path – Euthanasia (Sep 9, hardcore punk)

Tallah – The Generation of Danger (Sep 9, nu metal)

Until I Wake – Inside My Head (Sep 9, hardcore)

Warforged – Sundial (Sep 9, blackened death metal)

Floating – The Waves Have Teeth (Sep 13, death metal)

Aviana – Corporation (Sep 16, metalcore/alternative metal)

Behemoth – Opvs Contra Natvram (Sep 16, blackened death metal)

Confessions of a Traitor – Punishing Myself Before God Does (Sep 16, groove metal/metalcore) 

Clutch – Sunrise on Slaughter Beach (Sep 16, stoner rock/sludge)

Destrage – SO MUCH. Too much. (Sep 16, mathcore) 

The Devil Wears Prada – Color Decay (Sep 16, melodic metalcore)

Earth Crisis – Vegan for the Animals (Sep 16, straight edge hardcore)

Fault Lines – Quiet Sickness (Sep 16, nu metal/metalcore)

Hamadryas – Grima (Sep 16, djent)

Harmed – The Everchanging Gap Between Life and Loss (Sep 16, deathcore)

Irist – Gloria (Sep 16, sludge metal)

Lybica – Lybica (Sep 16, post metal)

The Mars Volta – The Mars Volta (Sep 16, progressive rock)

Phobophilic – Enveloping Absurdity (Sep 16, death metal)

Reliqa – I Don’t Know What I Am (Sep 16, alternative metal)

Weeping Wound – idon’tbelonghere. (Sep 16, nu metal/metalcore)

Wolfheart – King of the North (Sep 16, melodic death metal)

Dark Divinity- Unholy Rapture (Sep 21, melodic death metal)

Forest Summoner (various artists) – Autumn Equinox Compilation (Sep 22, black metal/doom metal)

Frayle – Skin & Sorrow (Sep 23, doom metal/alternative)

Gaerea – Mirage (Sep 23, black metal)

KEN Mode – Null (Sep 23, noise rock/sludge metal)

Venom Inc. – There’s Only Black (Sep 23, heavy metal/black metal)

City of Caterpillar – Mystic Sisters (Sep 30, hardcore punk)

Escuela Grind – Memory Theater (Sep 30, grindcore)

Slipknot – The End, So Far (Sep 30, nu metal)

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