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THE WEEKLY INJECTION: New Releases Out Today – 9/25

In five days it'll be October, which in my mind signifies the beginning of Fall. And do you know what that means? Pumpkin beer, yes. Football, yes. Hay rides, of course. All great stuff, who am I to say otherwise? But if you're an anti-social shut-in who hates fun (I'm assuming as much because you're reading this website), then here's what Fall really means: TIME FOR AWESOME BLACK METAL. And I could not ask for a better selection to kick-off the season. In this edition of THE WEEKLY INJECTION we'll take a look at As I Lay Dying's newest just for nostalgia's sake, but more importantly, we'll look at some deliciously Autumnal releases from Blut Aus Nord, Oak Pantheon, and Winterfylleth. There is no better time of year. So here's to the season! Happy Black Metalling everyone! Here are all the new releases coming out today:

As I Lay DyingAwakened

THE WEEKLY INJECTION: New Releases Out Today – 9/25Genre: Metalcore
Country: United States
Label: Metal Blade Records
Listen: "Cauterize"

Believe it or not, As I Lay Dying are one of the few metalcore bands that I actually enjoy. "But why!?" you may ask, and here's why: it's hard to fault these dudes for playing a genre that they essentially helped create. It's also hard to avoid the joy of reliving my teenage years, completely enthralled by the NWOAHM, Shadows Are Security on heavy rotation in my Walkman. And to their credit, As I Lay Dying have truly embraced their position as originators of the genre — this is textbook metalcore; no frills, no unnecessary fluff, just pure metalcore straight from the source, played with both pride and energy. Consistency has always been the name of the game here, and Awakened is no different; pseudo-Gothenburg pedal tone riffs, bone-crunching breakdowns, brutal screams, cheesy cleans, a deliciously crunchy guitar tone and even the occasional blast beat (nostalgia trip: "Confined" contains the first blast beat I ever heard). While I may have outgrown the style, and while I certainly put it below the potential for any type of detailed analysis, it's impossible to deny that Awakened is a fun, entertaining, simple and well-written album by the veterans of metalcore; a call-back to the glory days of the genre, and an album that will have you head-banging and singing along almost effortlessly.

Oak PantheonFrom A Whisper

THE WEEKLY INJECTION: New Releases Out Today – 9/25Genre: Post-Black/Folk Metal
Country: United States
Label: Broken Limb Recordings
Listen: "Descend Into Winter"

Oak Pantheon are an interesting yet relatively unknown bunch (and by bunch I mean two guys); though it seems as if From A Whisper, their sprawling sophomore effort, may just have the power to change that latter fact. On the flip side, however, I have a prophetic vision of this bands future, one in which they are trapped forever in a web of comparisons and references and allusions to other bands. On more than a few levels, this is pure and unabashed Agalloch worship (see: "We Will Tear Down The Gods," a song that is so Agallochian as to border on plagiarism). Even further, while the Agalloch influence is blatant, Oak Pantheon seems even to be influenced by the other bands that Agalloch have already influenced; bands like Fen, Falloch, Falls Of Rauros, and even Gallowbraid to a degree. In other words, while expansive and enjoyable and definitely worth a listen, From A Whisper is hardly treading new ground, and does little to separate itself from the ever-growing pack of post-black/neo-folk/dark metal bands that Agalloch have left in their wake. The actual music here is enjoyable and essentially what you'd expect, though in the course of their meandering, narrative compositions, which work through a plethora of folky black metal riffs and atmospheric acoustic sections, Oak Pantheon generally fail to construct any real highlights or emotional climaxes; the dark and melancholic atmosphere that is standard for the genre never culminating in anything greater than its individual parts. Still, despite this, From A Whisper will continue to get spins from me, if not just because it fits the season and also because I'm an unashamed Agalloch fanboy. So if you're in the mood for autumnal music or generally just love anything that sounds like Agalloch, then this album is for you; and here's to hoping that the band will hone their very obvious talent to create something more original and even more epic than what they've conjured here.

Blut Aus Nord777 – Cosmosophy

THE WEEKLY INJECTION: New Releases Out Today – 9/25Genre: Avant-Garde/Black/Industrial
Country: France
Label: Debemur Morti Productions
Listen: "Epitome XVII"

Blut Aus Nord's monolithic and deeply mysterious "777" trilogy has finally come to a close; one man, three albums, two years, 18 songs, a seemingly inhuman undertaking that has been accompanied by equally inhuman-sounding music. And while it's admittedly difficult to keep track of which songs are on which album, I can say that Cosmosophy is the most ambitious and also the strangest of the three; a call-back to the progressive and ethereal tendencies of an album like Memoria Vetusta II. In the face of the industrial dissonance and searing black metal that comprised the first two albums, Cosmosophy is transcendent in an entirely different way, appealing to more cohesive song structures, melodic phrasings, and clean vocals to attain its deep spirituality (of which it absolutely does possess). This, of course, makes the electro-industrial, avant-garde sections even more jarring and mind-trippy; and so I say this: by no means is Cosmosophy an accessible work. BAN continues to produce some of the headiest and weightiest music of the modern era, with all three albums morphing into the perfect musical embodiment of the overarching conceptual theme — a cosmological deconstruction of Christianity. Indeed, parts of this album sound like fragments of medieval church music perverted and distorted through time and space, reversed, swallowed, and vomited back up by the devil himself, only to be then filtered through the warped and schizophrenic mind of Vindsval, who really, at this point, seems as if he is merely a vessel for some otherworldly musical expression. The phrase "thinking man's metal" should be reserved for bands like BAN; if you want to be challenged, if you want your views to be shaken, if you want to embark on a truly powerful spiritual journey, the likes of which can only be concocted by music of this caliber, then get your hands on this amazing trilogy and its masterful final album.

WinterfyllethThe Threnody Of Triumph

THE WEEKLY INJECTION: New Releases Out Today – 9/25Genre: Black Metal
Country: UK
Label: Candlelight Records
Listen: "A Thousand Winters"

Winterfylleth are back, and at the perfect time of year (Winterfylleth, after all, means October. Thanks Metal Archives). The Threnody Of Triumph is the bands follow-up to their critically acclaimed sophomore album; in other words, there's a significant amount of pressure here. And while I wasn't as taken with The Mercian Sphere as some people were, I still enjoyed the hell out of it, and found Winterfylleth's brand of pagan, English-pride black metal to be completely refreshing. Does The Threnody Of Triumph live up to its predecessor? I vote yes. I'm still not taken with it, but again, this is some damn good music, and it's clear that the band has stepped it up in every department; from basic songwriting to the overall grandeur of the music. The basic elements are still the same; never-ending blast beats, melancholic yet triumphant guitar harmonies, surprisingly aggressive vocals, those "epic" moments that are the trademark of modern and post-black metal. The maturation in songwriting is evident, and this album plays like a more focused and defined version of The Mercian Sphere; the epic moments are more plentiful and more effective, the melodies are stronger and more memorable, and the inclusion of folky clean vocals and occasional shoe-gaziness certainly doesn't hurt. Above all, it is Winterfylleth's mission to introduce the listener to their rich and prideful English heritage; to transport the listener to a place of majestic wilderness, pantheistic reverence, pagan tradition. I'm happy to say that they pull it off mightily, filtering these familiar themes through a unique lens; a welcome addition to the genre and definitely one of the best releases of the year.

More Releases:

Before The DawnRise Of The Phoenix (Frostbyte)
BehexenNightside Emanations (Debemur Morti)
Black SeptemberInto The Darkness Into The Void (Prosthetic)
BulletFull Pull (Nuclear Blast)
The CasualtiesResistance (Season Of Mist)
Deception Of A GhostLife Right Now (Bullet Tooth)
DokkenBroken Bones (Frontiers)
EktomorfBlack Flag (AFM)
EluveitieThe Early Years (Nuclear Blast)
ElvenkingEra (AFM)
Empty FlowersSix (Translation Loss)
EncrustFrom Birth To Soil (Density)
EngelBlood Of Saints (Frostbyte)
EvershineRenewal (Bakerteam)
ExecrationThe Acceptance of Zero Existence (Comatose)
Fight AmpBirth Control (Translation Loss)
The GatheringDisclosure (Psychonaut)
Heaven's CryWheels Of Impermanence (Prosthetic)
HellwellBeyond The Boundaries Of Sin (Shadow Kingdom)
Hollow HazePoison In Black (Bakerteam)
Hooded MenaceEffigies Of Evil (Relapse)
Hotel DiabloThe Return To Psycho, California (Scarlet)
In Dying ArmsBoundaries (Artery)
KixLive In Baltimore (Frontiers)
MagnumOn The 13th Day (SPV)
ManetherenTime (Debemur Morti)
MidnightComplete and Total Hell (Hells Headbangers)
MillionsFailure Tactics (Seventh Rule)
MongrelReclamation (THC)
MonumentsGnosis (Century Media)
NettleCarrierNettleCarrier (Indie)
NoisearTurbulent Resurgence (Willowtip)
PathologyThe Time Of Great Purification (Victory)
PosthumLights Out (Indie)
Pro-PainStraight To The Dome (Goomba)
Satan's WrathGalloping Blasphemy (Metal Blade)
Septycal GorgeGrowing Seeds of Decay (Comatose)
SilencerThe Great Bear (Vanity)
Steve HarrisBritish Lion (Universal)
This Or The ApocalypseDead Years (eOne)
Thy MajestieShiHuangDi (Scarlet)
Thy Will Be DoneTemple EP (Eye On Lion)
Various ArtistsRe-Machined – A Tribute To Deep Purple’s Machine Head (Eagle)
WitchcraftLegend (Nuclear Blast)

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