In no particular order, I present to you once more with my monthly roundup – some of my favourite metal releases from July 2018. Enjoy!
We’ll begin with the return of Obscura, because why not? Diluvium is a complex beast that manages to effectively merge technicality with actual songs, resulting in some of the best work that Obscura have produced. You may not expect a band like this to be catchy, but some of the material on Diluvium may surprise you. Intense, atmospheric, and very, very good.
One of my favourite releases this month has come from the utter ugliness of Pissboiler. Att Med Kniv Ta En Kristens Liv is the type of horror-filled nightmare doom that should be incredibly satisfying to anyone that’s a fan of this sort of thing. There’s a real darkness here, one that you can almost touch.
Just as nasty, but in a very different way, we have Contempt for Man by Swedish grinders Axis of Despair. Full of scathing, truncated extremity, this album contains plenty of infectious attitude and brutal mayhem. Here’s a band that know exactly what they should be doing with grindcore’s unstable power, and they focus and channel this quite destructively.
July also saw the release of Automata II by Between the Buried and Me. Regardless of how you feel about the band’s decision to split Automata into two releases, it’s hard to deny the quality of the material here. Between the Buried and Me continue to push the boundaries of what their progressive metal is capable of.
Draghkar have quickly become one of my favourites in the death metal underground, and their latest release – The Endless Howling Abyss -simply cemented their status as ones to keep a firm eye on. This is old-school death metal played with character and charisma, and the songwriting skills of the band only seem to be getting better with every release. Hail Draghkar!
Oubliette’s The Passage is a very tasty slice of melodic black/death metal. Falling more into the blackened side of things than not, the band’s three guitarists provide plenty of meat and substance to this album. Rich and confident, The Passage is an impressive and highly enjoyable collection of songs.
One of the more surprising and individual releases of last month, (or any month), has been Salt by Khôrada. Highly atmospheric and achingly emotive, Salt has spoken to me like few others of late. I urge you to check this one out especially, as Khôrada are a band doing something a bit different to the norm, and succeeding wildly with it.
Another quite individual release that came out in July is Future Cult by The Lion’s Daughter. I tell you, exotic synths and horrific sludge have never been combined as effectively as they have on this album. This is sinister, nightmarish music that has surprisingly emotive electronics woven throughout its substance, making it hideously effective at what it does.
Now we turn to The Weight of These Feathers by Morrow. This superlative slice of atmospheric black metal is an impressive debut, one which sees the band craft emotive, charismatic music that combines post-rock with black metal’s darkened majesty. Expansive and multifaceted, The Weight of These Feathers came out of nowhere and floored me.
July was the month that saw the return of The Agony Scene after an absence of far too many years. The band’s fourth album – Tormentor – is their first since 2007 and, quite simply, it kicks all of the ass. More extreme than ever, yet with its viciousness married to a lethal strain of sharp melodic death metal, this is music for fans of aggressive metal that won’t let you down.
Rearing up from the underground like a colossal beast ready to crush and devour, Abiogenesis by Burial Invocation is a monster of an album. Malignant atmosphere and menacing brutality combine to create inhumanly effective death metal songs that seem like they’re going to herald the end of the world. This is cruel death metal art.
Finally this month I give you Devouring Radiant Light by Skeletonwitch. Refreshed and reinvigorated with a new, increasingly blackened direction, how good this album was came as a complete surprise to me. The band have never sounded better, and I can’t wait to hear more of their darker, more progressive take on black metal in the future.