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Steamy Sh*t That Comes Out Today: February 14, 2020

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It’s Friday, which means it’s new metal day! Look forward to my usual idiosyncratic recommendations as well as things people actually want to hear about. This week is stacked for new releases, so I apologize if I don’t cover the obscure Bandcamp-only death metal release you’re super stoked about.

Black Royal
Firebride (Suicide)

I may be biased because they sent me a nice t-shirt as thanks for premiering their song last year, but Black Royal make some pretty gnarly sludge n’ roll. It’s reminiscent of Entombed’s underrated Uprising album, a combination of roaring death metal with a Motorhead groove. They interlace the furnace blast with some impressive musicianship and unexpected pretty sections, the distinctly Finnish melancholy melodies giving the assault welcome dynamics. Firebride‘s worth taking to the altar.

Says the band of the cover art: “The cover art does NOT consist ANY recognizable attack on ANY citicenship, political party or nationality. As a band nor individuals, we do NOT discriminate any group of people by race, sexual orientation, political views or nationality or religious beliefs. The cover art was purely meant as portrait of medieval cardinals and we are super bummed that it’s interpreted as such. If you read the lyrics you will know that the concept of the whole album with cover art, is about medieval persecution against pagan beliefs and the oppression from the state Church versus the ancient ways of life of the common people.”

Hällas
Conundrum (Napalm)

Hällas pull off the impressive trick of sounding like every awesome 70s prog band and yet like no specific one. They expertly take the mystical vibe and musical swagger of bands like Yes and Kansas and inject them into glam-infused pop nuggets — their melodic sensibility and knack for hooks feels almost like if Ghost got lost in space instead of in a haunted house. If you’re wondering what a prog band frozen in crystallized cocaine since 1973 would sound like, here’s your drug of choice.

Kreator
London Apocalypticon – Live at the Roundhouse (Nuclear Blast)

The most musically ambitious of the Big Three of Teutonic Thrash, Kreator continue to kick ass nearly four decades in — their last few releases have been some of the strongest in a strong career (their experimental phase in the 90s aside). What better way to celebrate than with a two-disc live album/concert video? Okay, yeah, they already did one of these seven years ago, but that’s cool. The material from Gods of Violence sounds great here. The CD release features their 2018 London show, but if you spring for the visual package, it also includes sets from Chile and the Masters of Rock festival. That’s a whole lot of trash metal.

Kvelertak
Splid (Rise)
Read the MetalSucks review

Kvelertak’s debut made the fourteenth slot on our Best of the Decade list. Three albums later and, despite swapping out their drummer and singer, they’re still the best Norwegian punk/black metal/stoner metal hybrid band in existence, although there’s not a ton of competition. New voice Ivar Nikolaisen does an admirable job on the shrieks and shouts, but his clean singing comes to the fore on album highlight “Bråtebrann,” which has kind of an epic Lynyrd Skynyrd-meets-Queen chorus going on. It’s riotous fun for the first half, even if, as Axl says, it sags a little in the second. Still a blast.

Ihsahn
Telemark EP (Candlelight)

Long the most iconclastic of his second wave black metal peers, Emperor frontdemon Ihsahn goes to some pretty weird places on his solo full-lengths. He goes to weirder ones on this EP. It contains his most vicious tracks since the Anthems days, an incredible progressive ode to his hometown, and also saxophone-heavy takes on Lenny Kravitz and “Wrathchild,” so fuck if I know what’s going on anymore. As with everything he does, though, it’s pretty great stuff. You’ll never hear “Wrathchild” without the horn honks again.

Suicide Silence
Become the Hunter (Nuclear Blast)
Read the MetalSucks review

Hey cool, I don’t need to listen to this one. Here’s what Axl had to say about it: “On the one hand, it’s disappointing to see how easily the band has acquiesced to fan pressure following the release of 2017’s Suicide Silence. That album, although not well-received, was a creative act of bravery that was by no means the Cold Lake-level disaster some would have you believe. On the other hand, I understand that Suicide Silence wanna have a career, and in that regard, alienating the fans with unappreciated experimentation is a bad idea. Also, Become the Hunter is pretty good, so it’s hard to complain about the band’s creative regression too much.”

OTHER SHIT THAT COMES OUT TODAY

Anvil – Legal at Last (AFM) Listen
Blaze of Perdition – The Harrowing of Hearts (Metal Blade) Listen
Brian Posehn – Grandpa Metal (Megaforce) Listen
Brkn Love – Brkn Love (Spinefarm) Listen
Diabulus In Musica – Euphoric Entropy (Napalm) Listen
Godthrymm – Reflections (Profound Lore) Listen
Great American Ghost – Power Through Terror (eOne) Listen
Hollywood Undead – New Empire, Vol. 1 (BMG) Listen
Jason Kui – Naka (Prosthetic) Listen
Necrowretch – The Ones From Hell (Season Of Mist) Listen
Psychotic Waltz – The God-Shaped Void (InsideOut) Listen
Pyogenesis – A Silent Soul Screams Loud (AFM) Listen
Serious Black – Suite 226 (AFM) Listen
Seven Spires – Emerald Seas (Frontiers) Listen
Shark Island – Bloodline (Self) Listen
Starbenders – Love Potions (Sumerian) Listen

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