STREAMING: Omnizide “Death Metal Holocaust”

By: jonathan.horsley Posted in: featured, listen On: Monday, February 3rd, 2014

OMNIZIDE RESIZED

Omnizide. What a name. Kinda makes you think of a market-leading bug spray. But their sound makes you think of, ooh, kinda old-school Darkthrone, and falls somewhere between the nexus of death metal and physically imposing Swedish black metal, bands such as Naglfar and Watain . . . And Craft.

Definitely there’s some Craft. There’s no Craftian black ‘n’ roll to give it away—no roll whatsoever, and, besides, Craft’s roll was never really that pronounced—but all of you whose ear canals have been been preternaturally attuned to necrotic dialects might recognise Mikael Nox from Craft as the man whose throat is being ablated on tape to ensure that Omnizide make good on their “maximum aural decimation” guarantee on their debut LP, Death Metal Holocaust . . . Maximum aural decimation or your money back.

As a project, Omnizide dates back to ’95. Nox and guitarist/bassist AE first put it together under the name Belzen, before changing it to Omnizide in 2001. Ten years later, they released a seven-inch, Pleasure from Death, limited to 500 copies. This is conveniently tacked on to Pure Death Holocaust. Completists, rejoice!

Yeah, Omnizide. Remember the name. Not a wasp-repellent, not a bleach, but a a Swedish blackened death metal band who aren’t swinging for fences in search of genre reinvention, and won’t be taking off on a flight of avant-garde fancy and going ambient any time soon.

What else is left to say? Produced and mastered by Joakim from Craft, this is tough, lo-fi and primitive. Fuck. The album’s called Pure Death Holocaust, and that pretty much says it all. Death Metal Holocaust is released on Feb 7th through Carnal Records. Enjoy.

**Omnizide on Facebook
**For order info and all that jazz, hit up Carnal Records here

STREAMING: Prostitute Disfigurement’s From Crotch to Crown

By: Jeff Treppel Posted in: featured, listen On: Monday, February 3rd, 2014

PD_Bandphoto

I am not nearly the wordsmith that John Darnielle is, so I will borrow a quote from a post he wrote about the band in question a few years back on his sadly defunct Last Plane to Jakarta blog:

INTERLOCUTOR: My grandmother has asked for an excellent new death metal album for her birthday. I tried to explain to her that my friends and I only really like black metal, because it’s totally funny but also sometimes it reminds me of My Bloody Valentine, who are just so awesome. She hit me when I said that! With a hammer, in my face! What should I buy my grandmother to prevent her from harming my wine-tasting black metal ass any further?
LAST PLANE TO JAKARTA: PROSTITUTE DISFIGUREMENT

Obviously he’s enthusiastic about Prostitute Disfigurement. And he is way more into death metal than any rational human being should be, so there you have it. It’s been five or so years since their last sick symphony. They broke up and reunited in that time, but it’s time to bring the scalpels out once again. Well, actually, I guess “scalpels” implies some sort of precision or subtlety. From Crotch to Crown is machete music. Just complete and utter death metal destruction. We have the whole damn thing for you. Get listening – although if you’re at work, you may want to throw on headphones. Or at the very least don’t tell your coworkers what you’re listening to.

***From Crotch to Crown comes out tomorrow on Willowtip. You need to have this in your collection for the police to have questions about. Order the CD here – or display your misanthropy to the world with the T-shirt combo!

VIDEO PREMIERE: Fleshgod Apocalypse “Pathfinder”

By: Chris D. Posted in: exclusive, featured, videos On: Monday, February 3rd, 2014

fleshgodapocalypse_deathmetal_decibel_2014

Symphonic death has enjoyed a fair bit of popularity over the years—largely in Europe—but Fleshgod Apocalypse might be one of the best bands of the style. Formed in 2007, the Italians have spent the last seven years refining bombast, adding bombast, and making bombast more, well, bombastic. The group’s latest long-player, Labyrinth, featured Fleshgod Apocalypse in true form, displaying a penchant for quick death married to Baroque-like arrangements courtesy of orchestrator Francesco Ferrini.

Fantastically ornate death couldn’t possibly have a low-budget, on-stage video, so Fleshgod Apocalypse opted for a cinematic approach for the song “Pathfinder”. Full of Roman soldiers, an angry Neptune, and a patricide-prone kid, the Francesco Paoli and Salvatore Perrone-directed video is totally pro, Hollywood-quality stuff. Interspersed with shots of the band in full bore, it’s quite the visual to behold.

OK, we’ve prattled on long enough. Grab some popcorn, a Coke, and your dad’s spathae collection. It’s time for “Pathfinder”.

** Fleshgod Apocalypse’s new album, Labyrinth, is out now on Nuclear Blast. It’s available HERE. If you like symphonic death, there is no better choice. Unless you’re still waiting on Bal-Sagoth.

Get TWO free FLEXIS in the next DECIBEL!

By: andrew Posted in: featured, flexi disc On: Friday, January 31st, 2014

DrugsOfFaith_Noisem_flexis (1)

Due to an equipment failure at our flexi disc printer, we were unable to include a flexi in the March issue of Decibel. Since we never leave our loyal subscribers in the lurch, you’ll be chuffed to find not one, but two flexis in the April issue!

Fire up those turntables, as Decibel Magazine Tour upstarts Noisem offer the brand new track “Defiled” on metallic silver on red plastic. And since that isn’t nearly enough to satiate your rumbling extreme appetite, grind ‘n’ rollers Drugs of Faith deliver a cover of Sacrifice’s classic “Re-Animation.” Misery Index frontman Jason Netherton offers backup vocals on this ripper, which arrives on black on white plastic.

So, be sure to subscribe by 9 a.m. EST on Tuesday, February 4, and ensure that you’ll get a jam-packed April issue containing both exclusive flexi discs.

 

BREWTAL TRUTH: Drink This Now…Whatever It Is

By: adem Posted in: featured, liver failure On: Friday, January 31st, 2014

HairyEyeballTapLogo

Anyone who’s sampled more than a few craft beers can attest to the fact that it’s not always clear from the label what’s going to be inside the bottle. Oh sure, it might say something like “Brettanomyces-fermented Belgian quad aged on oak with cherries and bottle conditioned,” but figuring out what that’s going to taste like may not be as clear as labels that just say “IPA,” “lager” or “stout.” This is both the beauty AND befuddling nature of the craft beer industry. We love it for the insane creativity, but sometimes we scratch our heads at beers that we really don’t know what to make of.

THE HAIRY EYEBALL
?????????
Lagunitas
Petaluma, CA
9.4% ABV

Though Lagunitas does brew a few beers with reasonably comprehensible names (“IPA,” “Pils,” etc.) it is intentionally vague or “playful,” if you will, with naming and describing most of the lineup. The awesomely named Hairy Eyeball included. When we purchased this beer for the first time, it was as much for the name, as what was inside. We were familiar enough with other Lagunitas beers to expect that it would be strong and hoppy; beyond that the label offered no description of the beer inside. There were just a few beer nerd stats, like the “O.G.” (which in this case means the “original gravity,” not “original gangsta”). But it’s safe to say that we hadn’t the slightest clue as to what we were about to put in pour mouth. Which is either a good thing or bad thing, depending on how adventurous you are. But, hey, the bottle was purchased with the faith that it would not only be drinkable, but that we’d probably enjoy it, so down the drinkhole it went.

Well, actually—as we tend to do—it was sniffed pretty thoroughly and determined to be pleasing in its aromas, though way maltier than expected. In fact, malt notes dominated. Not too surprising given the deep, red-tinged chestnut color of the brew. Quite frankly, it looked and smelled like a barley wine. And given that this is generally the time of year that breweries release their barley wines, it’s likely that The Hairy Eyeball is Lagunitas’ version of a barley wine.

So, “Why the hell don’t they just put those words on the label?,” one could reasonably ask. Two little words. In this case, we’d guess, it’s because it’s a Lagunitas product and very little the company does is conventional, and much of what it does is purposely contrary. And that’s why a lot of craft beer drinkers love Lagunitas. Well, that and the fact that the beer is incredibly well-made and delicious.

It may not say so on the label, but this is about as close to a barley wine as you can get. It has rich flavors of caramel, toffee and chocolate, and just enough aromatic and bittering hops to provide a foil for the mountain of malt that must have gone into it. It’s a little sweet, just the right amount of bitter and plenty boozy for evening sipping. It’s actually very unlike many of their beers, which typically (though not exclusively) have a hop-forward profile. So, even though we were willing to take a leap of faith with this, it didn’t exactly turn out to be what we surmised. Tasted great, but the hop presence just wasn’t there. Had “barley wine” (or even something as vague as “barley wineish imperial IPA sorta” that Rogue puts on its New Crustacean) been on the label, would we have made a different purchase? Hard to say, but we definitely prefer a craft beer world that’s weird and chaotic and colors outside the lines, to one that is static, boring and predictable.

Adem Tepedelen’s new craft beer book, Decibel Presents the Brewtal Truth Guide to Extreme Beers: An All-Excess Pass to Brewing’s Outer Limits, is now available in the Decibel online store.

Throw Me a Frickin’ Label Hack: Bulgaria’s Claymore

By: Dan Lake Posted in: featured, interviews, listen On: Friday, January 31st, 2014

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Because every day another band records another song.  Because 83% of those songs are unlistenable and you can’t be bothered to sift through the dreck.  Because metal is about not giving a shit and waking your own personal storm.  Because music is universal, expression is boundless, and even indie labels (whatever that means these days) don’t know everything, Decibel brings you Throw Me a Frickin’ Label Hack.

Claymore cover

This week, we welcome to the TMaFLH family a symphonic black/death curiosity from southeastern Europe called Claymore.  They’re labeled, though, so maybe we simply mean Throw Me a Frickin’ Broad Exposure.  They traffic in high-intensity, synth-graced heavy metal that calls to the mead hall in us all.  They’ve toiled with various lineups since 1999, producing several demos and a 2008 full-length called Prolonged Active Antagonism (which sounds like what my daughter deals with at the hands of her brother).

About a month ago, the band dropped their second album, Vengeance is Near, and again beckon icy battlefields strewn with blood-spattered lone survivors and the spectral projections of those less fortunate.  We asked guitarist Martin Manev about the band’s history and the new record, to which he gave the responses you can read below.  Also, get a listen to Vengeance‘s 8th track, “Divine Pursuit”, while you make Bulgaria your new one-stop synth-death shop.

Who is Claymore?  What are their contributions to Claymore (musically or conceptually), and what are their backgrounds and current jobs?  How does all that fit into Claymore?

At this point in the group are the following members: Tsvetelin Baltov – keyboards, Martin Manev – guitar, Kamen Manev – bass, Nikolai Nikolaev – drums and Emil Kehaiov – vocals. In our band each contributes what he could for musical creativity – no specific composer / songwriter, we are open to any ideas and everyone help in the songwriting.  Each of us works [another job except] Nicky, who is a student.  Tsvetelin works at the State Opera, Martin [works] in meat production, Kamen [is a] salesman in a music store and Emil Kehaiov has his own business in agriculture. Mixing musical differences is an alloy that is the music of Claymore – we are all very different in [our] musical tastes.

How did you choose the band name?

Well, in the beginning [was the computer] game Diablo, and [the claymore] was a powerful weapon to slash the enemies and sounded good.  Of course, I’m kidding.  Deeper symbolism is that it is a weapon that is a symbol of freedom for the Scots, but we Bulgarians gained our freedom recently after 50 years of communism, so for us it is an image association and freedom. To be strong, united and free from everything that is trying to enslave us.

What do you enjoy about pairing aggressive music with atmospheric and melodic elements?

Where [they are] intertwined, aggression with melody is the best combination. This is an expression of ourselves. Neither too harsh nor too soft. We have a strong influence from classical music and a different arrangement of the standard clichés, many reefs and various music solutions.

Claymore has been around since 1999, but this is only your 2nd full-length album.  Do you take a long time to write and arrange the music, or do band members have other things going on that keep them away from Claymore?

Both are true – long time there were no changes in the band, but between 2005-2013 made ​​many rotations that [held up] the songwriting. Naturally money [was an issue] – we alone cover all costs for issuing albums as you know we are a poor country and wages are terrible. We walked this road alone without any help from anyone, the most difficult way.  It took us a long time.

How has the Claymore sound evolved over the past 14 years?

Over the years, we`ve experimented with sound and the number of people who participated in the group (one guitar, two guitars, female vocals, etc.). We think the changes are rather in the very arrangement of the songs, not the style of the band. Now we sound more literate than at the beginning, more mature. Otherwise, the style is the same after 14 years.

Do you play a lot of live shows?  When and where?

Unfortunately, in 2013 we had only one concert – the reason is the arrival of three new members (original drummer of the group was Kamen, who became the bassist) and have to rewrite everything from scratch. We played many festivals such as:.”Trash till Death”, “Heatework festival”, “Heart Rock festival”, “Chaos Fest”, “Massacre Fest”, “Legacy Open Air Fest”, “Barock Fest”, “Nightmare Fest”, “Ost Festival”,”Sea Black Festival” where we played alongside well known international bands like Destruction (Germany), Dimmu Borgir (Norway), Mystic Circle (Germany), Napalm Death (UK), Sinister (Netherlands), Parricide (Poland), The Claymore (Germany), Lord Belial (Sweden), Graveworm (Italy), Apostasy (Sweden), Eastern Front (UK), Carnal (Poland), Acid Rain (Germany), Negura Bunget (Romania), Izegrim (Netherlands), Spoil Engine (Belgium), Gothic (Romania), Diary About My Nightmares (Germany), Disdained (Serbia), Cilice (Netherlands), Daemonicus (Sweden).  Small concerts are not mention at all – in our country for example or Romania.

What are your thoughts about the final product you have made with new album Vengeance is Near?  Any personal favorite moments or songs that stand out for you?

We thought we did well with the product, but it will be judged by the listeners, not us because we’re [biased]. We do not have favorite songs they are like our children – we love them equally. We sincerely hope most listeners like them.

How did you get in touch with Red Rivet Records and decide to sign with them?

Accidentally – as a brand new product we are sending info for Vengeance is Near in many places and in different companies so that Red Rivet Records contacted us and offered us a good offer – and most importantly they loved our music!

What are Claymore’s plans for the near future?

We will first do a dozen concerts in Bulgaria and then we do a European tour in several countries. We need to prepare our commercial products, to prepare editions of the new album, we requested participation in some festivals that are waiting approval, etc.  We’ve got a lot of work to do. We hope everything goes as planned.

Streaming (some of) the Monuments Collapse/Breag Naofa Split and Why Physical Copies Don’t Suck

By: kevin.stewart-panko Posted in: featured, killing is my business, listen, stupid crap On: Thursday, January 30th, 2014

deciblog - monuments feature pic

The fucking hassle and amount of fucking time I wasted just to put this stupid stream up wasn’t worth it. San Francisco’s Monuments Collapse and Seattle’s Breag Naofa have had a split release available since last month. It originally came out around the Christmas rush and was probably forgotten/ignored for that reason. Here, we present it for you and your perusal. However, let the record show that the umpteen number of times I had to upload and re-upload this thing because the transcoding bullshit didn’t work, or the track list was uploaded in the wrong order, or the embed code wouldn’t work, or half the songs would be missing, or because of some other dumb electronic snag means that, 1) I gave up and what you see is what you get, 2) I almost chucked my computer out the window into the friggin’ polar vortex, 3) the entire EP (probably) didn’t make it to the final playlist below and 4) it’s probably not in any semblance of what the proper order is supposed to be.

All this is a good indicator that maybe you should just go buy an actual copy and listen to music the way music was meant to be experienced. The good dudes at Halo of Flies and Shove Records have pressed 500 copies of the split; 300 are on black vinyl, 200 are on bone and oxblood coloured vinyl. The packaging consists of heavy stock, reverse board, gatefold sleeves with artwork created by Alex CF. Isn’t that description alone is a million more times tantalising than saying to your fellow Neur-Isis loving, post-metal nerdologists that you listened to this, or anything else, online? What if I told you there’s a connection between Monuments Collapse and celebrated black metal de-constructors Deafheaven (one of the MC dudes is a member of DH’s live band)? What if I told you that after China, Russia and Edward Snowden inevitably disable and erase half the internet and seize remote control of three-quarters of the world’s computing devices in a fit of geopolitical anger, you’ll still be able to listen to this and any other record in your collection while eating canned corn and cradling a rifle in your underground bunker? Fuck experiencing music digitally. I think I’m going to go track down one of those “Seven Churches on Vinyl or Fuck Off” shirts Lock Up was peddling a couple years back. Truth is, I’ll probably only find it on some website somewhere.

deciblog - monuments split cover

Order the split here. Tell ‘em your favourite Luddite sent you.

Decibrity Playlist: Indian

By: zach.smith Posted in: featured, interviews, listen, lists On: Thursday, January 30th, 2014

IndianPressPhotosEdouardPierrePhoto-4comp

After dropping the best album of its career earlier this month with From All Purity, the dudes in Indian are in the midst of (hopefully) enjoying some time off before hitting the road at the end of March. Given that guitarist/vocalist Will Lindsay is also probably not all that enthused about stepping out into the frigid Chicago winter all that often (if you’ve perused our latest issue, you’d know that he recently moved there from Olympia, WA), the impetuses behind the playlist he was kind enough to share with us are not that surprising. As he explains, “In a more perfect world, this would probably be written about what I listen to on tour. Listening to music while driving for hours is probably my preferred way to listen to something. It’s when I feel I get the most out of it. Not to mention the lack of distractions during most of the drive on tour. Unfortunately, I haven’t been on tour in a while. I have been enjoying listening to music at home a lot though. After the embarrassingly nerdy and lengthy undertaking of cataloging all of my vinyl on discogs.com, not to mention discovering their marketplace, I’ve been spending a lot of time with my vinyl. Here’s a bit of what I’ve been listening to and why.”

Feel free to listen along here and pick up a copy of Indian’s excellent new LP here.

Primitive Man–Scorn (2013)
I’m not much for internet music forums but I do post at and read ilovedoom.com. Last January, one of the folks there posted a link to this entire album on YouTube. I was utterly blown away by how dense and heavy and crushing this album sounded, even over YouTube and my shitty laptop speakers. Further research showed that it was a split release between a French and British label. I found the British label’s site first and immediately ordered the vinyl. Luckily for everyone today, Relapse reissued it right away. The best metal record of 2013, without a doubt.

scorn

Waylon Jennings–Honky Tonk Heroes (1973)
Creative control was something that just didn’t happen in country music up through the early ’70s. Waylon Jennings was going to leave RCA specifically because of creative control and RCA relented so they wouldn’t lose him. No one in Nashville’s upper echelon had high expectations of what Waylon would do. Those expectations dropped further when it became known that nearly the entire album would be songs written by an unknown Texas guy named Billy Joe Shaver. Chet Atkins expressed reluctance and lost his role as producer to Tompall Glaser. The record did well enough on its release, but as time went on it has become an essential in honky tonk and launched the still underrated career of Billy Joe Shaver.

waylon

Various Artists–A Short Life Of Trouble: Popular American Ballads 1927-1943 (2013)
Portland, OR’s Mississippi Records releases a lot of great stuff. A lot of old blues stuff, quite a bit of field recordings from Alan Lomax’s Southern Journey sessions in the late ’50s and a lot of other great archival stuff. This album is billed as a collection of “Popular American Ballads 1927-1943″. I only recognized a handful of the artists, although most of the songs are standards or variations thereof. The inclusion of my favorite Carter Family song (“Will You Miss Me When I’m Gone”) next to my favorite John Hurt song (“Louise Collins”) coupled with Mississippi’s reputation was enough to get me to pick it up. This is a great mix of string bands and solo performers and a rather complete picture of the era they were intending to represent.

shortlife

The Devil Makes Three–I’m A Stranger Here (2013)
I love this band. They are my favorite currently active band. I don’t know how to really go about describing them. They will lazily be lumped in with folk or bluegrass or country, which is maybe kind of true. I once did merch for them for a tour and they were opening for a fucking “jamgrass” band, which someone apparently thought was appropriate. Nonetheless, this album is their latest release. It is also their best. They had label backing and a producer for the first time and recorded the rawest record of their career. Percussion has always been rejected by the band and they continue to do so live, but it appears on this form in the shape of things such as a post hole digger wrapped in chains. This one is going to be in heavy rotation on Indian’s upcoming EU tour.

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Sewer Goddess–Disciples Of Shit: Live Waste (2011)
Several years ago, Dave from 20 Buck Spin gave me a Sewer Goddess tape with some other tapes and records when I was starting to get seriously interested in noise, industrial, power electronics and the like. I was intrigued and continued to pick her stuff up as I came across it. Black Plagve released this CD in 2011. I generally don’t think that this material translates so well to a live recording but this collection absolutely nails it. The material is five tracks recorded between 2009-2010 and different shows. In more recent years, the material has started to include drums and guitar and this CD was my first exposure to this material. Raw, heavy and fucked up. The band’s output is consistently great but this is the one I come back to most frequently.

*Order From All Purity here.

**We update one Spotify playlist for each new Decibrity entry, so feel free to subscribe to that here.

Past entries include:

Alcest
East Of The Wall
Enabler
Wolvserpent
Drugs Of Faith
SubRosa (Part 1) (Part 2)
Vattnet Viskar
Skeletonwitch
Ihsahn
Earthless
Watain
Orange Goblin
God Is An Astronaut
Primitive Man
Gorguts
Exhumed
Ulcerate
Pelican
Scale The Summit
Mikael Stanne (Dark Tranquillity) (Part 1) (Part 2)
Mouth Of The Architect
Howl
Kings Destroy
Zozobra
Call of the Void
Saint Vitus Bar
Coliseum
Woe
Anciients
Soilwork (Dirk Verbeuren) (Björn Strid)
Intronaut
BATILLUS
Inter Arma
Helen Money
Misery Index
Ancient VVisdom
Holy Grail
Rotten Sound
Ancestors (Part 1) (Part 2)
Kowloon Walled City (Part 1) (Part 2)
Aaron Stainthorpe (My Dying Bride) (Part 1) (Part 2)
Early Graves
All That Remains
Bison B.C.
A Life Once Lost
Fight Amp
Witchcraft (Ola Henriksson) (Magnus Pelander)
Vision of Disorder
Grave
Anders Nyström (Katatonia) (Part 1) (Part 2)
“Best of” Rush (Part 1) (Part 2)
Dawnbringer
Ufomammut
Shadows Fall
Horseback
Greg Mackintosh (Paradise Lost) (Part 1) (Part 2)
Torche
“Best of” Meshuggah
Astra
Pallbearer
Barren Earth
Shane Embury (Napalm Death) (Part 1) (Part 2)

Grind! Stream the new Cripple Bastards song

By: justin.m.norton Posted in: featured, listen On: Wednesday, January 29th, 2014

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Here’s some fresh new grind to get you through midweek. Below, stream the new track “Nemico A Terra” from certified legends and lifers Cripple Bastards. It’s off the new album Nero In Metastasi, due in North America on February 18th and available for preorder from Relapse.

Frontman Giulio The Bastard says: ‘Nemico A Terra’ translates to ‘Enemy Down’. It is a song about stubbornness in exacting revenge, never giving in to respite when focusing on your target.

Connect with Cripple Bastards on Facebook

Sucker For Punishment: Dutch Lessons

By: Adrien Begrand Posted in: featured On: Wednesday, January 29th, 2014

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On paper it looks like a fairly slow week for new releases, but actually the quality versus quantity ratio is better than average, with no fewer than three albums I heartily recommend. Enjoy and savor, because these kind of weeks don’t come along very often.

Astrophobos, Remnants of Forgotten Horrors (Triumvirate): Well, if this isn’t a nice little surprise. Not only does this Swedish band follow the melodic black metal examples of Dissection and Naglfar, but they do so with the kind of charisma and songwriting skill that metal fans demand of new bands but don’t see often enough. Astrophobos don’t overreach; they clearly know what they’re good at and stick to it. It’s derivative, but respectfully so, replete with dynamic songs that get their hooks in you from the get-go, such as “Sole Disruptor” and “Invocating the Void”. It’s an admirable debut that doesn’t deserve to be swept under the rug. Sample and purchase via Bandcamp. 

Fluisteraars, Dromers (Eisenwald): The first thing that hits you upon hearing the debut album (the title beams “dreamers”) by this Dutch black metal trio (the name means “whisperers”) is how commanding they sound when they settle into a groove. Hypnotic, grim, and slyly melodic, “De Doornen” echoes Burzum’s Hvis Lyset Tar Oss in the way it just locks itself into a comfortable jam, but it’s refuses to come off as one-dimensional, surprising the listener by incorporating 3/4 melodies reminiscent of Agalloch near the end of the 16-minute track. Blastbeats and somber passages punctuate “Kuddedier”, while “Wortels Van Angst” carries along at a stately, measured pace, melancholic beauty underscoring the tortured growls. Yes, we’ve all heard this before, but the way this band creates engaging, dynamic material that honors various musical aspects of black metal, be it European or American in origin, is exceptional. Sample it via Bandcamp.

Primal Fear, Delivering The Black (Frontiers): Spend enough time listening to gaudy, spectacularly loopy Italian power metal, and you’ll come to appreciate the simpler pleasures of a band like Primal Fear even more. Ralph Scheepers and his veteran crew have come through with another straightforward album that once again neatly balances German power metal aesthetics with Judas Priest muscle, bolstered by some very good, surprisingly tasteful hooks, as on “When Death Comes Knocking”, “Alive and on Fire”, and “Rebel Faction”. In fact, this is the most consistent and genuinely fun album I’ve heard from these guys in a long time.

Also out this week:

Black Space Riders, D:REI (Cargo): The German band’s third full-length (drei, get it?) is a sprawling double album that would be tedious in less skilled hands. Instead, these guys have created a groovy and quirky heavy rock record that veers from Queens of the Stone Age worship (“Give Gravitation to the People”), to proto-doom, to straight-up psychedelic rock. There’s a ton of music to take in, but just enough eclecticism to keep it interesting.

Circle, SSEENNSSEESS (Ektro): Part of a multimedia collaboration with filmmaker Mika Taanila recorded in November of 2013, the great Finnish experimental band once again showcases how brilliant they are at dipping into multiple musical genres at once in a psychotic, vibrant performance, highlighted by the typically krautrocky “Terminal”. With this release, though, you can’t help but feel you’re only getting a fraction of the entire experience, because with the accompanying visuals this had to have been mind-blowing.

Demilich, 20th Adversary of Emptiness (Svart): The good folks at Svart have collected everything ever recorded by Finnish death metal weirdos Demilich and packaged it all in a very cool box set. Spanning from 1991 to 2006, it features loads of demo recordings, with the centerpiece being the 1993 album Nespithe, one of the strangest death metal albums you’ll ever hear, with some of the most comical yet oddly compelling burped vocals ever, fully and properly remastered to the band’s standards for the first time.

Pontiak, Innocence (Thrill Jockey): If you like strong vocal melodies with robust stoner riffs – Floor, Torche, that whole ilk – then the latest album by the prolific Virginia band of brothers will prove to be very rewarding. Unlike a lot of stoner bands, though, Ponitak are smart enough to mix it up a little tossing in a few ballads that range from hazily psychedelic to acoustic. Still, it’s the rockers that grab you, and “Surrounded By Diamonds”, “Ghosts”, and the Hawkwind-tinged “Beings of the Rarest” fit that bill perfectly.

Red Dragon Cartel, Red Dragon Cartel (Frontiers): Jake E. Lee was far too young to retire. The shredder who dominated the ‘80s on such records as Bark at the Moon, The Ultimate Sin, and Badlands (a huge selling album that has inexplicably been forgotten over the years) is back with a new band, playing heavy metal once again. With Kevin Churko, the most influential mainstream metal producer working today, overseeing the project, it’s an effective mix of old-school Sunset Strip swagger and modern hard rock polish. Loaded with cameos including Paul Di’Anno, Robin Zander, Maria Brink, and that angry fellow from Five Finger Death Punch, its weakest moments are the more eclectic musical directions (“Big Mouth”, featuring Brink, is unbearable), but overall this is a spirited, welcome return to form.

Sierra, Pslip (Retro Futurist): The first release on Kylesa’s new label, this debut album by the Kitchener, Ontario band caters to Kylesa’s audience, serving up some mildly catchy heavy rock that dips into sludge, psychedelic, and garage rock. Produced by Kylesa’s Philip Cope, the tone is fairly dry and the vocals are buried in the mix, and the band’s songwriting can meander at times, so overall it doesn’t measure up to other recent Canadian psychedelic rock albums by Chron Goblin and La Chinga, but a track like the instrumental “Psquigalogz” show it’s a promising start nevertheless.

Not metal, but worth checking out:

Warpaint, Warpaint (Rough Trade): The Los Angeles band first made waves with the entrancing debut The Fool in 2010, which came across as being very indebted to shoegaze greats Lush, but they’ve made an even bolder statement on the long, long-awaited follow-up. Produced by Flood, mixed by Nigel Godrich, and featuring stunning cover art by Chris Cunningham, there are huge names involved on this record, but these four ladies quickly prove how it’s all them. The chemistry between the musicians is on far better display than on The Fool, with bassist Jenny Lee Lindberg and drummer Stella Mozgawa creating a formidable, versatile rhythm section, while guitarists Emily Kokal and Theresa Wayman don’t as much riff than fill in the blanks, adding texture and color. The end result is a bold, fluid album that takes its time getting under your skin, a sneakily sexy slow jam of an indie rock record. If you can, spring for the vinyl version of this one, it’s guaranteed to sound sensational.