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THE WEEKLY INJECTION: New Releases Out Today – 5/8

The metal gods have spoken, and the cosmic wheel of new releases ever turns. Last week we got by on the strength of no-names and hidden gems; this week, we're bombarded with major releases from across the globe and across all genres. Two highly anticipated and longggggg awaited debuts from Storm Corrosion and Ne Obliviscaris will finally see the light of day, we'll get some shiny new tech-death from Gorod and Cattle Decapitation, and we'll reflect on the re-issuing of Sleep's legendary Dopesmoker. And as always, there's some other cool stuff that I'm too lazy to mention. Check it out:

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Storm CorrosionStorm Corrosion

THE WEEKLY INJECTION: New Releases Out Today – 5/8Genre: Progressive Rock/Experimental/Ambient
Country: Sweden/UK
Label: Roadrunner Records
Listen: "Drag Ropes"

The moment is finally upon us; the long awaited collaboration, the fated pairing, the meeting of giants; surely, sonic madness is afoot, sounds of revolution fill the air, mortals cower in fear. Does Storm Corrosion live up to the hype? In short: not really. We all know what COULD have been, what SHOULD have been… the potentially brilliant fusing of two distinct musical styles, a unified vision, a singular masterpiece of progressive music. What we've got, however, is a bit more mundane; a semi-inspired album comprised of musical leftovers; discarded Opeth acoustics, PT melodies that didn't quite make the cut. These are all stitched together in a manner painfully unbecoming, and fans familiar with either Wilson or Akerfeldt should be able to tell exactly who is responsible for what. Wilson seems to be the main culprit throughout, as most of the album hinges upon his trademark synth/ambient work and his quirky melodic sensibilities (the Akerfeldt sections are almost jarring in comparison, and are entirely too Watershed-y for my taste). "Storm Corrosion" and "Ljudet Innan" are far and away the best songs here; two emotionally poignant pieces in a sea of tedious ambiance and recycled composition. These songs hold the key to success: purpose. The album at large seems entirely purposeless, with most of its myriad sections being for their own sake, culminating in nothing, boring the listener along the way. To be fair, I don't outright hate the rest of this… it's more of an "I'm not angry, I'm just disappointed" type of thing. There are no "wow" moments, there are no musical revelations, there's nothing exciting or new or unprecedented. If you've heard the ambient parts of Opeth and PT then you've heard all of this before except better. It seems that, in this case, the whole is not greater than the sum of its parts.

Ne ObliviscarisPortal Of I

THE WEEKLY INJECTION: New Releases Out Today – 5/8Genre: Progressive/Melodic Black Metal
Country: Australia
Label: Welkin Records
Listen: "And Plague Flowers The Kaleidoscope" & "Xenoflux"

Epic. Masterpiece. Mind-blowing. Superlative, superlative, superlative. It's hard to hide my bias here; Portal Of I, down to its final note, is the perfect metal album. It's dark, complex, and violent; beautiful, cathartic, atmospheric; deeply melodic, grandiose, emotional beyond measure. I could write forever about this album, and I plan to do exactly that when I review it (coming soon!). But until then, mark my words: this is one of the best metal albums to be released in long, long time. Stay tuned for the full review.

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SleepDopesmoker (Re-Release)

THE WEEKLY INJECTION: New Releases Out Today – 5/8Genre: Stoner/Doom/Grunge
Country: United States
Label: Southern Lord
Listen: "Dopesmoker"

Presumably the only people getting excited about this release are the people who have already heard Dopesmoker. In which case, you already know how fucking awesome it is. Legendary, even. And this re-issue makes it even more awesome, with remastered audio, new artwork, and a bonus live-recording of "Holy Mountain." Awesome. For those of you NOT in the know, Sleep is a stoner/doom metal band founded by Matt Pike (High On Fire). They sing about weed and play what could be considered the sonic equivalent of a drug-induced coma; hazy, abrasive, loud, mammoth-heavy, trance-like. Dopesmoker is one song, clocking in at over an hour, that sees the band at both its conceptual and musical peak. It is the perfect (and final) embodiment of every message they ever wished to convey. Southern Lord calls it "mesmerizing, incredibly complex," and "one of the most important releases in heavy metal history. " Hard to argue there. Oh yea, and see those dudes on the cover? They're a caravan of weed priests, traveling through the riff-filled land. Don't ask. Just listen.

GorodA Perfect Absolution

THE WEEKLY INJECTION: New Releases Out Today – 5/8Genre: Technical Death Metal
Country: France
Label: Unique Leader Records
Listen: "Birds Of Sulphur"

A lot of people seem to be disappointed with this one. I wholeheartedly disagree with those people. In addition to having some of the coolest artwork ever, A Perfect Absolution is a tech-death album that succeeds where most tech-death albums fail; which is, of course, in the songwriting department. In this case, technical virtuosity plays second fiddle to composition and content. The album is legitimately catchy and thoroughly entertaining; it strikes the perfect balance between brutality and melody while continuously pushing forward. Songs are cohesive and focused and always interesting; not a single superfluous note to be found (which is miraculous in this genre), and even further, the riffs are memorable! (shock and awe). It's hard to deny the staying power, for instance, of the ending to "Birds Of Sulphur," or the headbanging prog savagery of "Tribute Of Blood," or even the wacky latin-fusion sections of "Varangian Paradise." I may not be the biggest tech-death guru, but A Perfect Absolution has been one of my favorite releases of the year.

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Cattle DecapitationMonolith Of Inhumanity

THE WEEKLY INJECTION: New Releases Out Today – 5/8Genre: Progressive Death Metal/Grindcore
Country: United States
Label: Metal Blade
Listen: "Lifestalker" & "Kingdom Of Tyrants"

Cattle Decapitation are known for their staunch pro-animal/anti-human views, and so it's only natural that each album promotes some kind of sick dehumanization process; a vengeance-tinted role reversal. This album is no different, and the bands desire to witness such an event seems to be pushing their music to unprecedented  and almost magisterial heights. Make no mistakes, this album is bursting at the seams with vitriol, boiling over with hatred, seething with malice from beginning to end. Amidst all of this emotion is a sense of composition that is as brilliant as it is violent. Pounding death metal transitions into sleek, lightning-fast grind, unrelenting brutality climaxes in sweeping melodic flourishes, complete with gut-wrenching clean vocals and soaring guitar leads. All of this occurs with a natural, awe-inspiring ease. This is the best the band has ever sounded, and 10 years from now, they may look back on this album as their definitive statement of intent.


THE WEEKLY INJECTION: New Releases Out Today – 5/8Genre: Technical/Melodic Death Metal
Country: United States
Label: Metal Blade
Listen: "Tartessos: The Hidden Xenocryst" & "Iconic Images"

Allegaeon is a name I'm starting to see with more and more frequency as the days pass by. They've managed to make a name for themselves not only on the strength of their razor-sharp, cosmic death metal, but also on the relatively unique notions of science and futurism that serve as the heart of their music. Progress from the debut is undeniable; the songwriting on Formshifter is more matured, and it seems the band is on the brink of finding their true sound. Unfortunately, they haven't found it yet, and that's what prevents this from being an excellent release. Glorious moments of futuristic, spacey metal are too often negated by generic riffs and cliched progressions; for every unique idea there are ten that I've heard before. Formshifter is good, but if the band can hone in on those flares of originality and cut out all the rest, their next release could be something special.

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TrioscapesSeparate Realities

THE WEEKLY INJECTION: New Releases Out Today – 5/8Genre: Jazz Fusion
Country: United States
Label: Metal Blade
Listen: "Blast Off"

Trioscapes is a newly formed prog/Jazz fusion band featuring Dan Briggs of Between The Buried & Me. That connection alone should give you a decent indication of what you can expect here. No metal, unfortunately. But lots of whacky, off-color stuff; jazzy saxophone wank , funky bass lines, crazy drums, insane virtuosity all the way around. In other words:

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