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THE WEEKLY INJECTION: New Releases Out Today – 8/28

It's been a rough couple of weeks, I know, but this is our salvation (in other words: I finally get to write some happy reviews). We have an incredible array of albums that range across the spectrum from good to absolutely amazing. In the latter category we have the highly anticipated release of Katatonia's Dead End Kings, a masterpiece of the highest order; other releases include some mind-bending technical wizardry from Dysryhthmia, a 70's prog/blues inspired rock/metal opera from Beardfish, and some classic Swedish death metal from Grave (really, Sweden's on a roll this week). Check em' out folks, here are the new releases for 8/28:

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KatatoniaDead End Kings

THE WEEKLY INJECTION: New Releases Out Today – 8/28Genre: Depressive Rock
Country: Sweden
Label: Peaceville Records
Listen: "Lethean" & "The Racing Heart"

I think we all expected Katatonia's Dead End Kings to be good. But did you expect it to be THIS good? As in, best album of their career good? Of course you didn't. Neither did I. And granted, I may be overreacting, but at least you can see where first impressions have left me. I have never heard Katatonia as I hear them now; this is the band in penultimate form. Every subtle nuance, every musical intricacy, every aspect of their sound that has ever been is present here; and so the grandeur of it all seems both effortless and natural, a lush and vibrant mesh of sonic opposites; all the disconnect between distorted and clean sections erased entirely. And it seems the band knows it as well; emphasized by the multiple lyrical allusions to past works, Dead End Kings is truly a statement of culmination, of a journey ended and a chapter closed. The songs here unravel like living organisms; breathing, expanding, evolving, collapsing and rising again; a far cry from the rigid verse-chorus-verse structure of previous albums, and an assertive push into progressive rock territory. And where older works have embodied certain themes –melancholy, sorrow, anger– Dead End Kings is an album of uncertainty, of confusion and vulnerability, of overwhelming helplessness; a tone echoed brilliantly by the music itself. Strings, pianos, a vast array of electronic cries; these elements slither perpetually in the background, the consciousness of each song, each note expertly straddling the thin line between melody and atonality (don't expect the immediate accessibility of past works, as this album almost actively avoids it). This wave of ethereal atmosphere, spiritual in its execution, is juxtaposed against a precise and mechanical heartbeat; the brilliant drum stylings of the criminally underrated Daniel Liljekvist, whose complex machinations shift continually like some perverse metallic rubix-cube, its jagged edges rotating sporadically in every direction, momentarily landing on a solution before disorganizing itself all over again. Other things I don't need to tell you: Jonas is at the top of his game, both lyrically and vocally, his otherworldly whispers swimming in and out of focus like the voice of some divine guide; guitar parts are devastating, melodies heartbreaking; the off-kilter rhythmic poundings of each distorted section more intense than ever. In other words: this is the Katatonia album to end all Katatonia albums; a cohesive and unified artistic vision, precise as clock-work; the perfect balance between light and dark, not a second of filler to be found and absolutely astonishing from the first note to the last. A masterpiece. Bravo, gentleman. Bravo.

"Reflect my eyes and strip this creation of mine, tomorrow is so long; the dead end king is here, black wings upon his back…"

DysrhythmiaTest Of Submission

THE WEEKLY INJECTION: New Releases Out Today – 8/28Genre: Technical/Prog-Metal
Country: United States
Label: Profound Lore
Listen: "Test Of Submission"

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Dysrhythmia sounds like a lot of things, but mostly it just sounds like another one of Colin Marston's many similar sounding projects. Which is not necessarily a bad thing. Especially if you like his other projects. And really, it's hard to say exactly what distinguishes this from Behold… The Arctopus, or even the more proggy sections of Krallice; perhaps there's nothing to distinguish between them at all? The good parts of those bands are present here: the technical wizardry, the atonal tension, the schizophrenic yet oddly coherent compositions, the jazz-on-steroids fluidity. What's even more impressive about Dysrhythmia, and Test Of Submission specifically, is that it takes all these elements, which in lesser hands would become a mush of musical nothingness, and it makes them stick; riffs and melodic phrasings are memorable, songs are discernible (to the veteran ear), ebb-and-flow becomes possible, which is to say that there are definite highs and lows to each song on the album. If you're in the mood for mathy/techy/instrumental/mind-fuckery, you'd be hard-pressed to find anyone doing it better than these guys.

BeardfishThe Void

THE WEEKLY INJECTION: New Releases Out Today – 8/28Genre: Progressive Rock
Country: Sweden
Label: InsideOut Music
Listen: "He Already Lives In You"

It's not necessarily metal, but good music is good music. Sue me. Beardfish, for those in the know, have been around for quite some time now, discovered often through comparison to bands like Pain Of Salvation. Throw in a few references to King Crimson, Rush, and Genesis, and we're set. This is sprawling, overly dramatic, and eccentric music at its best; a verifiable rock opera without the cheese (most of it, anyway); and despite their normally retro, 70's-prog inspired musical escapades, The Void is darker, heavier, and more metallic than anything they've ever done. The sheer amount of musical variety here is astounding; from blues-drenched organ solos, to sludgy metal riffs, to twisting prog-rock chromatic progressions; soaring and reserved vocals alike, upbeat and lighthearted sections contrasted with depressive and poignant ones. And while the tired revisiting of the blues pentatonic scale is somewhat of a turn-off, the bursting-at-the-seams energy and soul of the album, in addition with its expansive and deeply spiritual aesthetic, are immediately enough to rectify any wrongdoings. Definitely one of the more intriguing and entertaining albums of the year. If you find yourself in hesitation or indifference, I advise you to just go ahead and give it a try. I have no doubt that there is a potential for profundity in this one; and some of you are likely to find it.

GraveEndless Procession Of Souls

THE WEEKLY INJECTION: New Releases Out Today – 8/28Genre: Death Metal
Country: Sweden
Label: Century Media
Listen: "Plague Of Nations"

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Whether you like them or not, Grave have been one of the staples of Swedish death metal since '91, and their new album is filled to the brim with all the conventions of that culturally specific genre; filthy and raw production, throat-shredding gutturals, grooves for days, classic solos; you know, the real meat and potatoes kind of death metal. In a modern world of constant experimentation and progress, Endless Procession Of Souls is an album that pulls directly from the tradition of its contemporaries; fans of Nihilist, Dismember, Entombed, Evocation, etc… will all get something enjoyable out of this one. Not to make the album sound dated, mind you; on the contrary, Grave perform with the continued passion of a band half their age, and they inject life into a formula that has produced some of the most classic death metal around. A solid release all the way through.

More Releases:

Admiral Sir Cloudesley Shovell – Don't Hear It…Fear It! (Rise Above)
All Hail The Yeti – All Hail The Yeti (AFM)
Andrew W.K. – I Get Wet Re-Release (Century Media)
Assembly Of Light – Assembly Of Light (At A Loss)
Autopsy – Born Undead DVD (Peaceville)
Bloodred Hourglass – Lifebound (Spinefarm)
The Chariot – One Wing (eOne)
Destroyer 666 – Phoenix Rising Re-Release (Season Of Mist)
Eagle Twin – The Feather Tipped the Serpent’s Scale (Southern Lord)
Eluveitie – The Early Years (Nuclear Blast)
Gypsyhawk – Revelry & Resistance (Metal Blade)
Hex Machine – Fixator (Learning Curve)
Holy Knights – Between Daylight and Pain (Scarlet)
I Am War – Outlive You All (Razor & Tie)
Ian Gillan & Tony Iommi – Who Cares (Eagle Rock)
Just Like Vinyl – Black Mass (Superball)
Kaipa – Vittjar (Inside Out)
Khonsu – Anomalia (Season Of Mist)
The Last Vegas – Bad Decisions (Frostbyte)
Murder Construct – Results (Relapse)
North – The Great Silence (Cavity)
Over Your Threshold – Facticity (Metal Blade)
Scum Of The Earth – The Devil Made Me Do It (Goomba)
Sky Of Rage – Sky Of Rage (Metalville)
Sound Storm – Immortalia (Scarlet)
Stealing Axion – Moments (InsideOut)
Stratovarius – Under Flaming Winter Skies – Live In Tampere (Armoury)
Triumph – Live At Sweden Rock Festival CD/DVD (TML)
Wind Rose – Shadows Over Lothadruin (Bakerteam)
World Fire Brigade – Spreading My Wings (Frostbyte)

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