The quality of French avant-garde black metal band Way to End has already been tested with their previous album, Various Shades of Black. Their newest release, Senestre, continues on that slope with forty-five minutes of melodically dissonant black metal filled with intricacies and oddish moments worthy of the genre tag.
Belgian band Vøs released their debut EP, Ran, in late March. The twenty-minute five tracker brings home some electro-djent that camouflages itself with post-hardcore into a result that’s melodic and energetic. This EP is certainly promising for the future of the band and what they can do with more maturity and better production!
Terrible but Great was, in my mind, a lying statement, because that EP was great, and not terrible. However, guitarist Jon Poulin pushed his delivery to even higher degrees of greatness with his debut full-length, With Vigor! I can reiterate a few things I said and thought about him in the past – his music is the pop punk aspect of Plini and company, and the compositions do not lack vigour one bit, but are filled with it and with memorable guitar lines -, but all I really need to say is that it’s some highly addictive instrumental melodic progressive punk.
Norway’s Dwaal is the epitome of stoner doom metal, and they prove it irrevocably with Darben, their debut album. The two tracks on it manage to get the album above the thirty minutes mark with their long, droney, doomy, and fuzzy nature. Their structures’ evolution is one that makes sense over longer arches and makes you feel rewarded for giving it the time to grow and unravel. Highly recommended!
‘Regular’ progressive metal has a sort of a bad reputation, these days. It seems to be stuck in the past, as does progressive rock, unable to move forward without losing itself. And when they do so, it’s in baby steps. One such step is made by Montreal band Cydemind. While far from denying their roots, they rather embrace them and play something that’s somewhat akin to The Night Watch, another Canadian instrumental progressive metal band with a full-time violinist in their ranks. Erosion is coming out on May twenty-fifth, and I suggest you take a listen to that teaser track because it’s some good stuff!
French progressive post-metal band Cendres released their thematic album Le grand œuvre in January. The forty-minute album covers the five classical elements of Ancient Greece in slowly-evolving but greatly cathartic compositions which use some pretty well-executed orchestral plugins to add layers onto their metal core. The whole thing is repetitive, melodic, but somewhat entrancing, so don’t miss it!
At the time of writing, no single from the album is available. This is a stream from the band’s previous album.
Australia’s so-called ‘doom merchant’ Merchant, stylized in Ogham as ᚛ᚋᚓᚏᚉᚆᚐᚅᚈ᚜, will release their sophomore album Beneath (᚛ᚁᚓᚅᚕᚈᚆ᚜), on May twelfth. With its two songs, it’s barely under thirty minutes long, but has nasty, sludgy riffs that make their doom metal really enjoyable. Surely something to watch out for once it hits!
Chilean math rock band Hélices (stylized in Braille as ⠓⠑⠇⠊⠉⠑⠎ for this album) is nothing to gloss over! Their late 2016 EP, ⠏⠥⠑⠝⠞⠑⠎ (Puentes), showcases the sheer musicianship of the members of the band – including a prominent and highly technical bass line, a rarity in this otherwise chops-focused genre! It’s truly a notable discovery for me, and I’m really excited to hear new material from them already!
American progressive deathcore duo Plasticbag Facemask just released an unannounced album, 13. It’s much less ambitious than their two-volume Worst Of series, if not in terms of composition at least in length! Their technical and mathy, heavy tunes seem to only get better with time, even if their production remains at a just-above-decent, which is something they should strive to improve in the future. But other than that, this album’s got all my approval! Go get it!