It's a huge week for metal, so I'll spare you the cute introduction and get right to it. Without further ado, let's take a look at new releases from Ihsahn, Dying Fetus, Ahab, Whitechapel, and more:
Ihsahn – Eremita
Genre: Avant-Garde/Extreme Metal
Label: Candlelight Records
Listen: "The Paranoid"
I'm going to assume that, at this point, love him or hate him, most of you at least know what Ihsahn's offering. And Eremita is no different. Following in the footsteps of his previous three solo albums, Eremita is a wild and quirky concoction of blackened metallic madness; an enticing mix of ethereal atmosphere, industrial-strength rhythmic pounding, wacky saxophone solos, jazzy chord progressions, psychotic dissonance, crazy time signatures and mid-tempo, 8-string powerhouse riffs. Wrap this all up with some of Ihsahn’s signature shrieking (not to mention some beautiful clean vocals) and you’ve got an utterly epic and thought-provoking piece of extreme music.
Dying Fetus – Reign Supreme
Genre: Death Metal/Grind
Country: United States
Label: Relapse Records
Listen: "Second Skin"
Nearly 20 years into their career and Dying Fetus have still got it. Combining old-school groove and brutality with the modern flare of technicality, Reign Supreme is a powerhouse of an album; absolutely devastating from start to finish. Nostalgia is abound here, as the songs pull from all aspects of classic death metal; solid rhythms, sludgy riffs, excessive groove and a filthy attitude, all in combination with some horribly written but endlessly entertaining lyrics about gore and death and the like. Still, Dying Fetus expertly straddle the line between old and new, sliding effortlessly from a classic feel to sections of virtuosic technicality that belong solely to the modern era. I'm not sure exactly who was in charge of mixing the snare drum, but that small flaw aside, this is an album that will certainly make waves in the metal community.
Ahab – The Giant
To make a long story short: Ahab have done it again. The Giant is a masterpiece on all fronts; another flawless record added to an essentially flawless discography. A primordial and majestic beast, as vast and all-encompassing as the ocean itself, The Giant traverses soundscapes both tranquil and monstrous. Pulling from post-rock, psychedelia, avant-garde and ambient music, this is far from your standard funeral doom, and Ahab's most progressive and most expressive album yet. But I'll save the fun for later; expect a full album review within the next few days.
Whitechapel – Whitechapel
Country: United States
Label: Metal Blade Records
Listen: "Hate Creation"
I'll be honest with you: this is not my thing at all. I have a rocky relationship with deathcore in general, and Whitechapel, having spearheaded the entire movement, usually rub me the wrong way. But the word of the day is "progress", a word thrown around both by Whitechapel's biggest fans and their biggest enemies. I wouldn't count myself as either, but "progress" is certainly the right word. Whitechapel's self-titled release is the sound of a band finally coming into their own; what started out as a bunch of mindless open chugging and generic deathcore has evolved into a unique approach to violent music, complete with atmospheric nuance and mature composition. I still don't like it, that much hasn't changed, but I will at least acknowledge the great strides this band has taken to become a respectable musical entity.
Ambassador Gun – Golden Eagle
At Vance – Facing Your Enemy
Burning Love – Rotten Thing To Say
Burning Point – The Ignitor
Canaan – Of Prisoners, Wandering Souls and Cruel Fears
Chelsea Grin – Evolve EP
Def-Con-One – Warface
Devin Townsend – By A Thread – Live in London 2011 DVD Box Set
Dr. Acula – Nation
Exumer – Possessed By Fire Re-Release
Exumer – Rising From The Sea Re-Release
Fetus Stench – Stillbirth
For All Those Sleeping – Outspoken
HolyHell – Darkness Visible
Ignite – Our Darkest Days Live DVD
Katana – Storms of War
Lita Ford – Living Like A Runaway
Lostprophets – Weapons
Lykaion – Nothin' But Death
Lynch Mob – Revolution Special Edition CD/DVD
Manowar – The Lord Of Steel
Mantas – Death By Metal
Mnemic – Mnemesis
Morbid Saint – Spectrum Of Death Re-Release
Mortal Infinity – District Destruction
My Dynamite – My Dynamite
Rumpelstiltskin Grinder – Ghostmaker
Spiders & Snakes – London Daze Re-Release
Spineshank – Anger Denial Acceptance
U.D.O. – Celebrator: Rare Tracks
Vampires Everywhere! – Hellbound and Heartless
The Wretched End – Inroads