Hello, Metal Wani readers! It is I, Yidu and today I am bringing you my picks for 10 Metal Albums You Should Listen To for February 2016. For this segment, we will be covering the full length releases that came out in February. February is the shortest month of the year and as a result, February is month that can be unpredictable. There could be a few good releases or many that gets overlooked. So here are some of my favorite releases that have been released in February. These lists are designed to showcase some new music for our readers and to promote music from the metal underground. Before we start, I want to make it clear that these lists are not “top lists” or “best of lists”. Instead, these lists consists of albums that I feel are highlights of the previous month. Please note, that this is only my opinion and my opinion only.
To begin our journey, we start in Europe. At number 10, we have the 7th studio album of FInnish Melodic Death Metal powerhouse Omnium Gatherum, ‘Grey Heavens’ (Click Here To Read Our Review). The band celebrates their 20th anniversary with a new album that fans of the band would enjoy. ‘Grey Heavens’ is an album that offers a collection of songs that is completely representative of the Finnish Melodic Death Metal sound. Omnium Gatherum’s melodic riffs captivates the listener as they get brought out of the sound with the album’s clean production. Guitar centric song structures, melodic and midtempo passages make up the overall structure of this album. The songs you would find on ‘Grey Heavens’ will definitely meet their fan’s expectations. If you like this variant style of Death Metal and the Finnish Melodic Death Metal scene, ‘Grey Heavens’ would be an appropriate addition. Recommended tracks include “Frontier”, “Skyline”, and “The Pit”.
With number 9, we head to Australia with an album from a newly formed band, Vipassi. Vipassi is the new side project of three members of Ne Obliviscaris. If you are a fan of Ne Obliviscaris, you would definitely enjoy ‘Śūnyatā’ (Click Here To Read Our Review). The music you will find on this album can be described as an instrumental version of Ne Obliviscaris (minus the violin). However, that description does not fully capture ‘Śūnyatā’. Vipassi continues the Progressive Extreme Metal style by incorporating similar metal influences Ne Obliviscaris has, but is able to go on more tangents with the music. For any instrumental band, the emphasis on the instruments and musicianship is crucial and on ‘Śūnyatā’ the band is not only able to demonstrate those qualities but play around with them throughout the album. If you are a fan of Progressive Metal, give this album a listen. Recommended tracks include “Gaia”, “Elpis”, and “Benzaiten”.
At number 8, we have the 4th studio album from German Technical Death Metal legends, Obscura. Five years after Omnivium, the band returns with their new album ‘Arkaosis’ (Click Here To Read Our Review) featuring Tom Geldschläger (guitar) and Sebastian (drums). On their new album, Obscura continues their development of sound with different strides for new ideas. Experimenting with various song structures/lengths, instruments, and influences (stronger Jazz influence this time around), the band brings forth their most ambitious record. ‘Arkaosis’ is unlike their previous three albums but acts more of a mature and balanced amalgamation of previous concepts that acts as a framework the band ventures out with. If you like Progressive and Technical Death Metal bands, especially those influenced by Jazz, this would be a good album to pick. Recommended tracks include “Arkaosis”, “Sermon of the Seven Suns”, and “Weltseele”.
Returning to Australia for number 7, we have ‘Wildfire’ (Click Here To Read Our Review), the 5th studio album, from legendary Black/Thrash Metal band, Deströyer 666. Seven years have passed since Defiance, the band still delivers quality Black/Thrash Metal they are known for. With a brand new line up, ‘Wildfire’ is an album that can truly compete with their old material. As the only original member left, Keith is able to not only recreate the band’s glory days but breathe new life to their sound and add something new. With the addition of Felipe (Nifelheim, Procession, Capilla Ardiente) and Roland (Cruciamentum, Grave Miasma), the band is able to create an album that is effectively paced and versatile enough to maintain a sense of overarching direction to the album. ‘Wildfire’ lives up to the name. Recommended tracks include “Live and Burn”, “Traitor”, and “Wildfire”.
Portugal is a country you do not see mentioned often when it comes to metal. However, that does not mean Portugal has no good metal bands. At number 6, we have Ravensire’s ‘The Cycle Never Ends’. Ravensire is Heavy Metal band that plays more of an epic or a barbarian variant similar to bands like their fellow countrymen Ironsword and bands in the Greek scene like Wrathblade. Soaring and catchy guitar riffs coupled with husky vocals, Ravensire delivers some excellent heavy metal that is energizing and easy to listen to. The solos on this album are well placed as they keep the listener engaged. With the thick production style, the music feels like rumbling thunder when the songs increase in intensity and tempo and when the band tones it down a little, the guitars cut through the music with melodic riffs that feels heavy and doom-tinged like something you find on a Candlemass record. ‘The Cycle Never Ends’ is definitely an album worth checking out for both new and old fans of the genre. Recommended tracks include “Procession of The Dead”, “Temple At The End Of The World”, and “Cromlech Revelations”.
At number 5, we travel to the United States, with the debut album ‘Obscurations (To Feast On The Seraphim)’ by Ritual Chamber. Ritual Chamber is the new one man American Death Metal project of Dario Derna (ex-Infester, Drawn and Quartered, Evoken). I first hear the band’s music in 2013 with their demo, The Pits of Tentacled Screams. Ritual Chamber’s brand of Death Metal can be described as cavernous with its hollow/raw production along with the Black and Doom Metal influences. ‘Obscurations (To Feast On The Seraphim)’ picks up where the project has left off and ultimately becomes a more solidified and refined version of what I heard on the demo. Heavy guitars, deep vocals, and pummeling drums, the music on here can definitely be described as heavy in a claustrophobic one as it feels like you are trapped in a “chamber”. Excellent follow up and debut.
Recommended tracks include “Toward a Malignant Bliss”, “Into the Collective Coffin”, and “The Aphotic Dread”.
The Finnish Black Metal scene is known for their evil classics of Beherit, Sargeist, and Behexen. At number 4, we have the fourth album of Finnish oddity, Oranssi Pazuzu, ‘Värähtelijä’ (Click Here To Read Our Review). Oranssi Pazuzu’s sound can be described as Psychedelic Black Metal for their music is eccentric and hypnotic, but also groovy and disturbing. With three albums behind them, the band takes their listeners through a long journey, a descent into madness, as the band continues to dive deeper and deeper into their unique brand of experimentation. From the distorted guitars to the eclectic keyboards, Oranssi Pazuzu manages to keep each track varied enough that the 70 minute album can capitalize on the plethora of influences the band takes in. ‘Värähtelijä’ is a labyrinth of ordered chaos of a weird mix of eerie that will not only leave listeners bewildered and perturbed, but also oddly mesmerized and intrigued. If you like a lot of weird in your metal, this album is definitely something that you would need to check out. For my review of the album, click here. Recommended tracks to check out are “Hypnotisoitu viharukous”, “Saturaatio”, and “Vasemman käden hierarkia”.
Canada, specifically Quebec, has one my favorite Black Metal scenes. With great bands like Gris, Forteresse, Grimoire, and Csejthe, the Quebec Black Metal scene is a vibrant underground community of Black Metal musicians, especially those in the Sepulchral Circle. Sorcier Des Glaces is definitely one of the best bands the scene has to offer. At number 3, we have their new album ‘North’. Sorcier Des Glaces (Wizard of Ices), as the name suggests, plays a style of Black Metal that’s not only bleak but cold and at times melodic. ‘North’ revamps the band’s approach by going beyond their frigid atmosphere by adding more melodic, primitive, and grander parts as the band focuses more on dynamic song writing that creates a very cohesive Black Metal album. If you like Black Metal that will leave you shivering and blissfully hollow, this is a must listen album for you.
Recommended tracks to check out are “La Noirceur éternelle”, “Rites of the Black Moon”, and “Dawn of the Apocalypse”.
For my number 2, we head to the land of Scandinavia to one of the most prominent countries for metal, Sweden. Temisto, a new Swedish Death Metal band, released their debut self-titled album that goes beyond paying homage to the old school sound. Produced by Robert Andersson (Morbus Chron) and mastered by Tore Stjerna (Desultory, Watain, Repugnant), ‘Temisto’ is a ridiculously addicting slab of unrelenting Death Metal. The album’s foundation is your classic Swedish sound of Nihilist (pre-Entombed) and God Macabre, and at times Dismember and Carnage. In addition, the band is able to fuse more progressive and dissonant influences along with technicality in their sound that’s reminiscent of bands like Atheist, early Gorguts, Immolation, and Creepmine. Some Black Metal influences can be heard here and there too. The final product is a series of violent waves of savage riffs, tight drumming, and thumping bass that is sure to impress the most seasoned of fans. Temisto definitely sets the bar higher with their new album. Death Metal fans take note, you do not want to miss out on this one. Recommended tracks to check out are “Descent into Madness”, “Succubus”, and “Above Sacred Ground”.
Our final destination for my number 1 leads us to the secluded world of Iceland, home of a thriving underground Black Metal scene. The Icelandic Black Metal scene, despite its young age, is one of the most exciting scenes in the metal underground with bands like Svartidauði and Sinmara taking the reins. Naðra emerges as the scene’s supergroup of members of notable acts such as Carpe Noctem and Misþyrming. ‘Allir Vegir Til Glötunar’ is the band’s first full length album and it is a skillfully crafted one. This album would be a perfect introduction to the Icelandic Black Metal scene as the band’s sound combines the various elements of the scene’s key bands. You can expect to hear the dense and experimental sound of Svartidauði and Misþyrming, the more straightforward approach of Carpe Noctem, the more atmospheric emphasis of Sinmara and Dysthymia, and on top of all that, the band adds their own flare of folk influences. Even though the ideas may not be new, Naðra is able to conjure an album that not only showcases the band’s capabilities but also demonstrate that innovation and creativity are still and continue to be alive in the underground scene. If you enjoy Black Metal that’s more on the dynamic side, give ‘Allir Vegir Til Glötunar’ a shot. Recommended tracks to check out are “Sál”, “Fjallið”, and “Sár”.