Nòtt – Nòtt
The debut EP from Minnesota black metal entity Nòtt is a cold, bleak and blistering affair. Helmed by multi-instrumentalist and Amiensus frontman James Benson, Nòtt navigates the various realms of black metal with impressive style and precision. From traditional frostbitten sounds, to atmospheric soundscapes, to all things dissonant and hellish, Nòtt‘s debut offers something for black metal fans of all shapes and sizes. Songs like the bulldozing opener “White. Cold. Death.” bear down upon the listener with a neverending blizzard of melodic, tremolo-picked guitars and furious blast beats. The album’s fourth track “Sol” takes the project’s melodic elements further by crafting icy, shimmering clean sections that bleed into walls of atmospheric instrumentation indicative of post-black metal. The hellacious closing track “Rosa Mystica” bombards the listener with cacophonous, dissonant riffs that weave in-and-out of writhing chaos and more straightforward assaults, while also employing some atmospheric elements here and there to throw everything off balance. Nòtt‘s debut is a fine example of excellent musicianship, attention to detail, and extreme admiration for the genre in all of its forms.
Release Date: January 17, 2018
Label: Ossian Records
Favorite Tracks: “Worthless” and “Sol”
For Fans Of: Wiegedood, Craft and Uada.
Denim Casket – Demo
Denim Casket get greasy, antisocial, and pummeling on their debut demo release. Armed with concussive drumming, dueling bass guitars, and a rather vitriolic vocalist, Boise’s Denim Casket craft a sound that can be likened to being dumped into a vat of corrosive acid. Drawing influence from sludge, noise rock and hardcore, Denim Casket seems to be the lovechild of Thoughless-era Man Is the Bastard and the back catalog of Amphetamine Reptile no one knew they wanted. The bass guitars across this short release are blessed with a scraping, gritty tone that aids in making the riffs harsher. Lurching, stoner-esque grooves creep into bursts of cacophonous punk riffs that nod to early powerviolence. Galloping noise rock grooves spiral into hardcore-tinged sections that are accompanied by squalling feedback. It’s delightfully raw, grimy and eccentric from start to finish.
Release Date: April 20, 2018
Favorite Tracks: “Ham Is Hog Butt”, “Aus Jus Blanc” and “Vape Coffin”
Death Will Tremble – Departures
Death Will Tremble craft a sprawling, emotionally-charged composition for their new EP release, Departures. Following 2016’s Mona, Departures sees the Austin-based band really capitalizing on the sludgier, more post-metal aspects of their sound. Presented as a single 14-minute long, Departures balances between crushing heaviness and poignant melancholia while keeping the listener’s attention throughout its duration. For the first five-minutes of the track, the band deliver monolithic riff after monolithic riff while impassioned, post-hardcore-tinged vocals scream over the top. Then as the somber doom march fades away, sparse clean guitars rear their head and echo against an atmospheric backdrop. The heavy, down-tuned guitars soon come trudging back to the forefront as the band unleashes a final sludge assault that is peppered with melodic textures and obtuse guitar solos. Death Will Tremble‘s Departures is a solid piece of atmospheric post-metal that has one foot firmly planted in the genre, and the other foot dipping its toes into more unique places.
Release Date: June 29, 2018
For Fans Of: Cult of Luna, Mouth of the Architect and Caspian
The Pink Elephants – Interplanetary Reflections
The Pink Elephants‘ newest EP, Interplanetary Reflections, is awash with psychedelic color and dreamlike atmospheres. Blending elements of new wave, post-punk, shoegaze and more, The Pink Elephants‘ sound is glossy, pop-laden, and hard not to find infectious. The album begins with the very synth-driven “Play Pretend”, which is spearheaded by danceable beats and cascading guitars that come together in an 80s pop fashion. Songs such as “Pink Ocean” and “Celestial Towers in the Sea” walk a bit more on the gloomy side and are filled to the brim with massive washes of guitars and transcendental soundscapes, which tend to bring Grails and its sister act Lilacs & Champagne to mind. The nearly eight-minute “Bubble Boy” sees the synthpop elements and walls of psychedelic instrumentation converging, while “Sunsets On Your Mind” closes out the EP with a laid-back instrumental of dreamy beats and reflective guitar melodies. The Pink Elephants‘ Interplanetary Reflections is simply a fun and entrancing record to get lost in.
Release Date: August 27, 2018
Favorite Tracks: “Celestial Towers in the Sea” and “Bubble Boy”
For Fans Of: Lilacs & Champagne, Grails and Drab Majesty
Boethiah – Celestial Gateway
Boethiah load their spacecraft full of BOSS HM-2s and get blasted deep into galaxies beyond on their new EP, Celestial Gateway. Comprised of buzzsaw guitars, cosmic atmospheres, and cavernous vocals, this California duo attempt to give the modern death metal sound a fresh and interesting facelift. This is immediately made apparent with the album’s second track, “Charting the Unknown”, which blends Gothenburg melodies with galloping menace and interstellar sound effects. Things get pushed further into deep space on tracks like “Drifting Into the Void”. The track in question begins with sci-fi soundscapes and wavering guitar effects before launching into a lengthy onslaught of galactic death metal that ranges from straightforward, crusty stampedes, to more angular and intricate sections. From start to finish, Celestial Gateway churns out one heavy hitter after the other. While it doesn’t shy away from modern death metal trends, it provides enough unique personality and intricacy to prevent it from slipping into the banality of its contemporaries.
Release Date: September 21, 2018
Label: Camo Pants Records/Rotted Life Records
Favorite Tracks: “Drifting Into the Void” and “Black Sea (of Infinity)”
For Fans Of: Galvanizer, Gatecreeper, Taphos and Outer Heaven