Monthly Overview – the Best of March 2018

It’s time to take stock of what the extreme metal world has given us this month. As usual, there’s been some storming releases.

Mournful Congregation

We’ll start with The Incubus of Karma by the colossal Mournful Congregation. This is bleak, crushing music that moves with glacial intensity and visceral melancholy. Mournful Congregation have been plying their trade for 25 years at this point, and show now signs of wear. This is exquisitely-crafted funeral doom, and one of their best.

Byyrth

Next up we’ll look at Echoes from the Seven Caves of Blood by Byyrth. This is raw, underground black metal of the nastiest, most virulent kind. Short, ugly, and utterly lethal, this is the kind of album that only true fans of the undeground will probably take to. I highly suggest you take a chance on this savage, barbed album though, as underneath the ferociously black veneer there are many dark rewards to be had.

Conjurer

Mire by Conjurer is the kind of hybrid metallic beast that’s relatively hard to classify, but very easy to like. Mixing progressive, doom, black, and post-metal, into its sludge metal melting pot, this is an album of heaviness and thick, crunchy riffs. With everything from atmospheric allure to instant-appeal devastation on offer, Mire is an exceptional album.

Eryn Non Dae

This list wouldn’t be complete if the stunning new Eryn Non Dae album Abandon of the Self was missing from it. This is a post-metal masterpiece of mood and structure, deftly weaving emotion into almost every part of its being, while still offering enough mechanistic heaviness to brutalise when needed. You can find out more about the album and the band in this interview, too.

Rivers of Nihil

Highly anticipated by many, Where Owls Know My Name by Rivers of Nihil has not disappointed. On their third album the band have unleashed a progressive death metal monster. Taking death metal as a base, but without being limited by it, the band have creatively spread their wings to embrace many other types of inspiration across the album, resulting in a rich and multifaceted extreme metal release. Bonus interview here.

Distances

Moving on to Diableries by Distances, we discover a post-metal band that focuses on the latter aspect of the sub-genre rather than the former. With cascading walls of layered violence and vast swathes of atmospheric mood, Diableries is an album with worthy substance etched into its very foundations. The richly embedded violin work on this release also helps the tracks come alive, and is one of the many highlights of an album that’s full of them.

Between the Buried and Me

March saw the return of the mighty Between the Buried and Me with Automata I. The first of a two-part collection, these talented progressive metal leviathans continue to push their own boundaries, producing music that flows naturally from the band’s past releases, while also trying out a few new tricks too.

Iron Harvest

Now we turn our attention to the self-titled debut album from Iron Harvest. This aggressive release contains 33 minutes of what can only be described as brutal chaos. This is nasty, barbaric stuff, with a technical/hardcore edge that gives it an extra savagery. As I said in my review of the album, “I really, really enjoyed this”, and I stand by this remark. Get this one.

Cave Bastard

Second to last on this formidable list is The Bleak Shall Devour the Earth by Cave Bastard. This is a death metal album that may have an old-school base, but enhances it with choice cuts from the band’s doom, black metal, grindcore, sludge, and hardcore influences. This has resulted in a well-rounded slab of brutality that keeps on giving the more you listen to it.

Misrule

I leave you with this demo offering from Misrule, aptly titled Forced to Suffer. This is eight minutes of nihilistic, pitch-black insanity of the most extreme and savage variety. If you’re looking for some of the best blackened deathgrind to rear its ugly, malformed head in quite some time, then look no further than this.

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