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 March 2016. For this segment, we will be covering the full length releases that came out in March. March is the first month of spring and is usually a good indicator of how the rest of the spring season goes. This March, I have some great albums to share! 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, this list consists of albums that I feel are highlights of the previous month. Please note, that this is only my opinion and my opinion only.
Our journey first begins in the USA for number 10, with a new band from Massachusetts called Devoured Fate. Devoured Fate is a Death Metal act that pays tribute to old school American Death Metal in the vein of Autopsy while mixing other influences like Darkthrone’s ‘Soulside Journey’. At first, I skipped over ‘Reality’s Nightmare Illusions’ for its album artwork that resembled more of a “modern” approach to death metal. After listening to the album, I was completely caught off guard by the doomy and crushing guitars that run and collide with each other while the drums just goes off on its own tangent like it has a mind of its own. Devoured Fate is able to condense many old school Death Metal qualities into one album that is chaotic but surprisingly consistent enough to revitalize the Autopsy worship approach to death metal. Fans of Autopsy, do take note of this release. Recommended tracks include “Hollow Cadaver” and “Unleashed Rapture”.
At number 9, we head to Athens, Greece with the fourth full length album ‘Change’ by the band Universe217. Universe217 plays a brand of Doom Metal that leans on the experimental side as traces of Post-Metal, Sludge Metal and even hints of Blues Music. This Greek band is fronted by the talented vocalist, Tanya Leontiou, whose vocals are drenched in emotions (almost Janis Joplin sounding). The instrumentation on ‘Change’ really help not only support Tanya’s vocals but also provides an atmosphere where her vocals can shine and fuse to create this dynamically shifting color the album presents. Vocally, this album is the strongest in Universe217’s discography. If you like the sound of Doom Metal or Post-Metal to have dark valleys, swelling soundscapes, while having outstanding female vocals ringing through, this is an album that will definitely be right up your alley. Recommended tracks include “Rest Here” and “Here Comes”.
We then fly over to Tokyo, Japan for our 8th entry. Legendary Japanese Doom Metal, serial murder obsessed, giants Church of Misery is back with their 6th full length album ‘And Then There were none…’ With a brand new line-up, it took me a while to get used to the albums. Scott Carlson’s (Repulsion, Cathedral) vocals took a while for me to get used to but as soon as everything clicked, the album hits you like a truck. Church of Misery once again delivers an album with groovy guitar riffs and thick bass lines that will leave you moving. With Dave Szulkin (Blood Farmers) on guitars and Eric Little (Earthride) on drums, Tatsu Mikami amasses a formidable instrumental fleet. If you love Stoner/Doom Metal or are already a fan of the band, be sure to give ‘and Then There were none…’ a listen. Recommended tracks include “Confessions of an Embittered Soul” and “River Demon”.
Leaving Japan, we come to the Canadian Metropolis of Toronto. At number 7, we have Blood Ceremony’s new album Lord of Misrule. The masters of Psychedelic/Occult Rock and Doom Metal returns with an album that focuses more on the Psychedelic Rock elements this time around. Comparable to Uncle Acid and the Deadbeats and Jess and the Ancient Ones, Lord of Misrule is a heavy Psychedelic/Occult Rock record that incorporates just enough Doom Metal to maintain their classic sound. Alia O’Brien’s vocals are just as starstricking as they always are. This album showcases a relatively different and new side of Blood Ceremony’s sound as some of the songs on this track can be described as “tender”, “airy”, and “graceful”. Lord of Misrule may be a step in a newer direction for the band, but I have a feeling fans of the band would still be content with this new album. The band has done a wonderful job experimenting and developing. Recommended tracks include “Half Moon Street” and “Old Fires”.
Leaving Toronto, we embark on an 8 hour drive to Quebec City. My 6th entry is the debut album ‘Cendres Célestes’ by the newly formed band, Cantique Lépreux. Cantique Lépreux is a new band emerging out of the now famous Quebec Black Metal Scene. Featuring members in prominent bands such as Chasse-Galerie and Forteresse, the band members are not strangers in the scene. Having decided to record under a new name, the members produce a quality Black Metal album worthy of the Quebec scene. With elements you’ll find from other Quebec bands like Forteresse, Monarque, Csejthe, and Sorciers Des Glaces, ‘Cendres Célestes’ is an album filled with familiarity but outgoing personality. Unlike some of their peers, Cantique Lépreux is able to create an album that instead of painting a picture of cold winter scenery, the album paints a nice warm fire in the snowy surroundings. If you like your Black Metal to be atmospheric with great vocals, non-overpowering drumming, and a good amount of melody, this is an album for you. Recommended tracks include “La Muete” and “Tourments des limbes glacials”.
With number 5, we head to the United Kingdom with Horrified’s sophomore effort ‘Of Despair’. Horrified on their new album positions their sound in the old school vs new school sweet spot of Death Metal. ‘Of Despair’ (Click here To Read Our Review) has your old school Swedish sound similar but coupled with more modern approaches for melody that you would find in bands like Horrendous, Revel In Flesh, and Obscure Infinity. If you like Melodic Death Metal that does not over rely on melody and maintain the grit of Death Metal, this is an album for you. Check out our review here to learn more about how we thought of this album. Hint, it’s pretty darn awesome. Recommended tracks include “Infernal Lands” and “Dreamer of Ages”.
Returning to Canada, we arrive in the Canadian Midwest at Edmonton, Alberta, home of North America’s largest shopping mall. Begrime Exemious returns with their third album ‘The Enslavement Conquest’ at number 4. The band originally plays an aggressive style of Black/Death Metal but on their newest album, opted for something along the lines of Blackened Death/Thrash Metal. ‘The Enslavement Conquest’ is the most melodic, thrashy, and energetic release of the band to date. With the gnarly guitar sound and riffs, Begrime Exemious delivers an album that their fans would definitely enjoy, despite the sound change. The vocals became more direct while the drumming still maintained their blistering speed and ferocity that drives the music into your skull. If you like your Death Metal thrashy and blackened, this is definitely an album worth checking out. Recommended tracks include “Overpowered (Under Siege)” and “Transcendence”.
Traveling to the other side of the world, we arrive in New Zealand, a country that does not see much attention in metal music. At number 3, we have the debut album of the band Setentia, ‘Darkness Transcend’. Ever wondered what Ulcerate would sound like if they played Black/Death Metal? This would be a good answer for that question. Setentia plays an Avant-Garde style of Black/Death Metal that borrows elements from bands like Ulcerate, Portal, and Khariot (something about the water in Oceania man). ‘Darkness Transcend’ is an album that has a dark atmosphere, technical flares and progressive tendencies that will definitely fit nicely in the collection of the fans who enjoy this style of Death Metal. Definitely worth checking out if you like Ulcerate or bands like Gorguts.
Now moving over to Australia, we have our number 2, Inverloch’s ‘Distance | Collapsed’. Formed from the ashes of the legendary Australian band Disembowelment, Inverloch finally surfaces with their long awaited debut album. The album is 40 minutes of pure, crushing, gloomy Death/Doom Metal that will satisfy the dark desires of any Death Metal and Doom Metal fan. This album will leave you feeling pulverized and flattened with the heavy boulders this album will place on your shoulders with each track. If you get the digital version of this album, it will also include the tracks off their 2012 EP ‘Dusk | Subside’ (a great deal is what that is). If you like bands like Winter, Asphyx, Coffins, and Hooded Menace, a must listen album for you. The Australian legends are back, and they are back with a skull shaking, eardrum rupturing masterpiece. Recommended tracks include “Distance Collapsed (In Rubble)” and “From the Eventide Pool”.
At number 1, we return to the USA, but this time we visit Colorado, home to the critically acclaimed American Black Metal band, Cobalt. With Phil McSorley leaving the band to focus on military, Erik Wunder recruits Charlie Fell (ex-Lord of Mantis) to reform the Black Metal duo. Now in 2016, they have release the band’s 4th album, Slow Forever a double album with over 80 minutes of music. Musically, the new album is a continuous development of where the band has left off with Gin. The Sludge Metal influence on this album is much more profound as the duo isn’t afraid to experiment and expand their already unique sound. As a massive Cobalt fan, this album exceeded all my expectations and truly revitalized the forgotten act. Slow Forever is another fantastic addition to the excellent discography the band already amassed. 80 minutes may seem long, but once this album starts going, it’s hard to put it down. Welcome back, Cobalt, you have not aged poorly at all.
Recommended tracks include “Beast Whip” and “King Rust”.
This concludes our journey this month. Here are 5 other albums that did not quite make the list that I want to touch upon. Here are this month’s honorable mentions.
Ill Omen – ‘Æ.Thy.Rift’
Ill Omen is a one man Black Metal project by Mitchell Keepin (Temple Nightside, ex-Pestilential Shadows) from Australia. ‘Æ.Thy.Rift’ is a bleak, doomy, Black Metal affair that fans of the genre would definitely enjoy listening to. Recommended.
Miasmal- ‘Tides of Omniscience’
Swedish Death Metal band Miasmal return with their third and best album yet. ‘Tides of Omniscience’ is a 40 minute long Old School Death Metal epic that any old school fan, particularly the Swedish sound fans, would definitely enjoy. Great guitar riffs, vocals, and drumming all around.
Obsidian Kingdom – ‘A Year With No Summer’
Obsidian Kingdom is a Progressive Extreme Metal band from Barcelona, Spain that combines influences from Death Metal and Black Metal into their sound. ‘A Year with No Summer’ is their most ambitious effort yet. For fans of the genre and bands like Ne Obliviscaris and In Vain.
Solothus – ‘No King Reigns Eternal’
Finnish band Solothus returns with their sophomore effort ‘No King Reigns Eternal’. Great dark and murky Death/Doom that will satisfy the hunger for Finnish Death/Doom when the recent Rippikoulu material did not. If you love the old school Death/Doom Metal sound, give this a listen.
Surgikill – ‘Sanguinary Revelations’
American Old School Death Metal revival has been a trend for the past years and Surgikill is a new band on the scene. Following their well done 2015 Demo, the band releases a crushing and aggressive album that all Death Metal fans would enjoy. ‘Sanguinary Revelations’ is a debut album that is definitely worth your attention.
That concludes my list for March, 2016. See you next month. What did you think of it? What are some January albums that you would recommend to someone looking for new music? Comment below!