Pestilence -- Hadeon
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PestilenceHadeon

★★☆☆ This sounds a lot more like the Pestilence of my youth, and given what the band had been putting out lately, that’s a good thing. Twisted and unusual thrashy death metal was always their best sound, and that’s what you get here. (I could do without the vocoder, though.)

Ministry -- AmeriKKKant
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MinistryAmeriKKKant

★☆☆☆ I’ll always have a love for Ministry, but I don’t hear a compelling reason on this album for them to come out of retirement. Very dated industrial, with the musicianship shoved back behind the thoroughly predictable sound bites from hated politicians. Sludgier than the Mike Scaccia-era Ministry that we loved so much.

Between The Buried And Me -- Automata I
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Between The Buried And MeAutomata I

★★★★ This is the biggest level-jump for the band since The Parallax. The album starts out on very familiar territory, with a track that sounds like it could easily fit on either of the band’s last two albums. And then the second track starts, and all of a sudden we have a new sound for BTBAM: heavier, more anthemic, but also less beholden to old prog rock tropes.

Slugdge -- Esoteric Malacology
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SlugdgeEsoteric Malacology

★★★☆ The highly anticipated album from our favorite space-slug-themed band does not disappoint. The music is massive like Gojira, inventive and suitably alien like Gorguts, but catchy like Mastodon. And yet, Slugdge manage to avoid some of the pitfalls that have recently tripped up those progenitors. Honestly, this is far better than anyone has a right to expect.

Turnstile -- Time & Space
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TurnstileTime & Space

★★☆☆ This is Turnstile’s most experimental album to date, for good and for ill. The band shines most winsomely when they’re most clearly emulating their punk and metal heroes (especially Quicksand and Sick Of It All). The less straightforward tracks, alas, are all over the place, in a way that works against the album’s pacing, momentum, and cohesion.

Saxon -- Thunderbolt
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SaxonThunderbolt

★★☆☆ Aside from updated production values (which sound great), this is pretty much exactly what you’d expect from a British heavy metal band formed before the advent of the Compact Disc. Jokes aside, if you’re in the mood for some NWOBHM with updated audio sensibilities, this album is for you.

Rolo Tomassi -- Time Will Die And Love Will Bury It
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Rolo TomassiTime Will Die And Love Will Bury It

★★★☆ This new Rolo Tomassi album operates in two modes fairly equally: interestingly jazzy post-trip-hop and chaotic mathcore, like DEP meets Lamb meets Norma Jean. The beautiful thing here is that neither mode feels like filler against the other. It’s all internally consistent, cohesive, and compelling. And in a further evolution for the band, the album’s emotional range is almost cinematic in scope.