New Releases

Melana Chasmata

Triptykon

Sovereigns

Enthroned

The Oath

The Oath

Wings of Feather and Wax

Killer Be Killed

Eternal Enemies

Emmure

Nothing for Us Here

Cult Leader

Shadowed by Vultures

Polar

Across the Dark River

Below

A Presentation of Gruesome Poetics

The Drip

Here's the Metal Free Sampler + New Release Deals

Here's The Metal (Sampler: April, 2014)

Various

Broken Crown Halo

Lacuna Coil

Extremist

Demon Hunter

The Decade EP

Alesana

Ungrateful

Escape The Fate
While their previous, self-titled album found them taking their sound in a more muscular direction, Escape the Fate find their knack for melody again on their fourth album, Ungrateful. Though the album retains a lot of the heaviness of their last effort, there's a soaring quality here that feels like the band is opening its sound up more, allowing the big moments to go in whatever direction is natural rather than trying to give everything a hard edge. With more room to stretch out, it definitely feels like Escape the Fate are moving into more familiar -- and more comfortable -- territories, making Ungrateful an album that feels like a return to form for the band.

Gregory Heaney, Rovi

The Satanist

Behemoth

Serpents Unleashed

Skeletonwitch

Into the Maelstrom

Bigelf

Die Knowing

Comeback Kid

Rest & Let Go

The Overseer

World of Sunn O)))

Terrestrials

sunn 0)))/Ulver

Bergtatt

Ulver

Monoliths And Dimensions

Sunn 0)))
Sunn 0)))'s Greg Anderson and Stephen O'Malley began their career as an Earth cover band, and explored the extremes of the low-tuned electric's guitar's drone capability at maximum volume on The Grimmrobe Demos. Later albums, such as 2005's Black One, showed the duo expanding its sonic extremes, engaging a deep love of black metal by adding shrieking, growling vocals by Wrest, as well as additional instruments (like drums) by Oren Ambarchi. Altar, their collaboration with Japanese rockers Boris, provided them with a wider textural and ambient canvas to explore. Their vinyl-only release Dømkirke, recorded in a 100-year-old cathedral in Norway, utilized the building itself as an instrument, where its nooks and crannies echoed back microtones of the band's own high-powered drones on tape. That said, nothing could have prepared listeners for the wide-ranging adventure that is Monoliths and Dimensions. This 53-minute set contains four tracks. O'Malley and Anderson utilize more guests and collaborators than ever before, including vocalist Attila Csihar, who gives his greatest performance since Mayhem's De Mysteriis Dom Sathanas; Ambarchi; Earth's Dylan Carlson; trombonists such as jazzman Julian Priester and the Deep Listening Band's Stuart Dempster; trumpeter Cuong Vu; multi-instrumentalist Steve Moore; male and female choirs; other reed and wind players; and violist Eyvind Kang as an arranger. While Sunn 0))) sound exactly like themselves, they seem to approach the music of composers such as Arvo Pärt and John Cage; they utilize the former's tintinnabuli (three bells) theory as well as engage the latter's notion of silence as a process.

If all this sounds pretentious, think again about who we're talking about: the kings of wearing black hooded robes to perform. The set begins with "Aghartha," full of power drone low-tuned guitars, as one might expect. Slow and plodding for five and a half minutes, it pummels on until Csihar enters in a lower than low yet barely audible voice speaking a long poem about the creation of a new Earth. Priester later enters playing a conch shell, two acoustic double bassists come in on the low end, Ambarchi plays a second electric guitar and effects, a piano sparingly adds both chord and single-note lines, and other horns and reeds flit about the background even as the piece remains unchanging in its focus. "Big Church" is the biggest shock. Commencing with an a cappella female choir, it's soon intruded upon by four electric guitars; Csihar eventually enters in throat-singing overtone mode, as does a synth, and the tension becomes unbearable before the tune stops in dead silence. Then, bells, an organ, Kang's viola, and trombone all find their way through the immense space provided by the slow droning yet extremely heavy riffs. Feedback screams in and then the bells enter again before power riffs crush them out. A "man choir" participates on "Hunting & Gathering (Cydonia)," with percussion, a huge Moog Voyager, electric tamboura, and horns amid the droning guitar mayhem slowly penetrating the listener's skull like a giant worm. By the time the set ends with "Alice," featuring a trio of trombones, woodwinds, reeds, ambient sounds, enormous guitars, and oscillators, the effect is complete. Monoliths and Dimensions succeeds because it is the sound of a new music formed from the ashen forge of drone, rock, and black metal. In its seemingly impenetrable, slow, spacious, heavy sonic darkness, this is the new way forward for not only Sunn 0))), but for extreme rock music "and" possibly even what's left of the avant-garde. Brilliant.

Thom Jurek, Rovi

Altar

Sunno)))

Pink

Boris
On first listen to Boris' Pink (domestically issued on Southern Lord), longtime fans of the Japanese heavy metal trio would be pressed to say that they crafted it for American audiences. This is significant to be sure. On the opening track, "Farewell," one can hear so many un-Boris-like traits -- a bit of Ride and My Bloody Valentine here, a bit of Isis (who were influenced by Boris!) there, a trace of Sigur Rós, Nadja, and Jesu, too -- that one wonders if this is a send-up spoof that's proof that they can do it better. Even if that's so, it's only a part of this glorious slab of din and rock-is-power's puzzle. Takeshi (bass, vocals), Wata (guitar), and Atsuo (drums, vocals), have not followed in the footsteps of their younger countrymen Mono in crafting dramatics and dynamics, as evidenced by the title track which follows. If anything, this is raucous, riffing speed metal married to the garage rock trash aesthetic of Guitar Wolf. Here is where Atsuo's rim shots match in triple-time the low-string, down-tuned, freakzoid riffing of Wata's and the pure squalling throb of Takeshi's bass wail. Fuzzed out, ripped and torn and shredded riffs and propeller kit work take Boris to an entirely new level of "heavy." The rootsy metallic thrash of the band outdoes anything they've done before -- "Woman on the Screen" sounds like Iggy Pop fronting the MC5 of Kick Out the Jams in the Sunn 0))) era -- all in two-minutes-and-thirty-eight seconds. Speaking of Sunn 0))), "Blackout," a crawling, plodding, menacing scree of distorted bass and bluesy high-string electric guitar, is a track reminiscent of their earlier records, like Absolutego from 1996 -- and may have influenced their American counterparts. "Pseudo-Bread" is in-the-red in everything: distortion, speed, high-rocktane metal. The 18-plus-minute "Just Abandoned My-Self" employs everything used in the album to the moment. Beginning as a pure thrash metal burner, it begins its exploration of texture, noise, and sonic murder at a slower tempo in six-and-a-half minutes. It's like Acid Mothers Temple only more focused, and slower to evolve. Wata's guitar playing feels incidental to Takeshi's propulsive bass crunch and drone, which becomes pure controlled noise abstraction at about 122 minutes, and takes it out until only the sound of microtonal feedback remains, blasting everything into silence. Pink is easily the most cohesive, adventurous, and straight-ahead rocking recording of their 12-year career. If indeed the set was consciously made with Americanski audiences in mind, good; then more power to them. Boris are the kings who have set the metal bar very high on Pink. It's an album to be reckoned with.

Thom Jurek, Rovi

I + Dog Days

GOATSNAKE

Black One

Sunn O)))

Tenticals Of Whorror

Leviathan

Crippled Lucifer

Burning Witch
Exactly ten years after the original release of Burning Witch's only full-length album, Crippled Lucifer, comes this expanded two-disc edition from Southern Lord -- the label that was essentially founded by this greatly revered document of '90s crust-doom-sludge. Fact is, the initial version of Crippled Lucifer, released in 1998, was actually a compilation of seven tracks culled from two separate EPs, named Rift.Canyon.Dreams and Towers..., and so the primary goal of this two-disc reissue is to present them in their original sequence while adding a pair of rare tracks previously available only on long out of print split singles. In short, the 2008 edition represents a bona fide, near-career-summing Burning Witch anthology that successfully reinforces their lasting impact on the funeral doom/sludge underground -- the group's wider cult status having only been achieved some years after their breakup. A decade on, seminal creations like "Sacred Predictions," "Sea Hag," "Stillborn," and "Communion" still awe with their frightening commitment to unfathomable darkness; darkness emanating from Stephen O'Malley's decayed, severely detuned guitar thunder, Edgy 59's disturbing, alternately haunted or tormented, throat-destroying wails, and the terminally ill percussive pulse that deliberately pounds iron spikes into each song's freezing cold, Ninth Circle of Hell atmosphere. And as for the two resurrected bonus cuts on display: the bludgeoning, soundtrack-to-a-murder that is "The Bleeder" swerves into feedback-infused Southern sludge terrain (think Eyehategod, Cavity, etc.), while "Rift Canyon Dreams" (the song) harks back to the earlier project Thorr's Hammer, with its hopeless, primeval drones. Incidentally, fans familiar with that short-lived outfit will actually find Burning Witch far easier to stomach and, arguably, also far more enduring in terms of their subsequent influence upon the extreme doom underground.

Eduardo Rivadavia, Rovi

Clean Hands Go Foul

Khanate
Certain bands are bound to inspire adoration from some listeners and disdain from others; Khanate is such a band. Trying to get Khanate's critics and detractors to comprehend their harsh, caustic, dissonant brand of doom metal is like trying to sell someone who dislikes black metal in general on the merits of Gorgoroth; Khanate's music is, to be sure, an acquired taste. But Khanate's hardcore followers, on the other hand, absolutely adore them -- and those who fall into the hardcore-follower category will be delighted to know how uncompromising they remain on Clean Hands Go Foul. Listeners who enjoyed Things Viral and Capture & Release need not worry about Khanate turning into My Dying Bride, a melodic band with both doom metal and gothic metal appeal; Clean Hands Go Foul doesn't pretend to be melodic or musical. Instead, Khanate proudly stick to their guns and continue to be as abrasive, noisy and thoroughly pessimistic as ever. Of course, those melodic goth/doom bands that are so plentiful in Europe are also quite pessimistic, but they express their pessimism in a darkly romantic, darkly poetic way -- whereas Khanate express their pessimism with sensory assault and in-your-face brutality. Clean Hands Go Foul is the sound of agony and total despair, and there is as much torment on the six-minute "Wings from Spine" and the nine-minute "In That Corner" as there is on the 11-minute "Clean My Heart" and the 32-minute "Every God Damn Thing." This 2009 release clobbers the listener without mercy -- and while that hellbent-for-noise approach won't inspire any of Khanate's detractors to reevaluate their opinion of the band, loyal followers will find these doom metal agitators to be as exciting as ever.

Alex Henderson, Rovi