Boris -- Dear

Boris — Dear

★★★☆ The experimental trio from Japan return to a doomy form that they’ve been distancing themselves from for at least 7 years. Far from a tired capitulation, this album feels like a reinvigoration. The music here resonates with a brawny emotionality that belies the band’s laboratory leanings.

Sentient Ignition -- Enthroned In Gray

Sentient Ignition — Enthroned In Gray

★★★☆ A really interesting and lovely technodeath debut that does a remarkable job of broadening the usual scope of others in the subgenre. The music here cartwheels from Euro-style symphonic bombast to moments of mature, laid back atmosphere. Also, the shredding is nonstop (but not overbearing). Prog this busy, and yet this endearing, is a rare beast indeed.

Decapitated -- Anticult

Decapitated — Anticult

★★★☆ This is a terse, energetic, and fun Decapitated album, better than its predecessor “Blood Mantra” but not quite as insta-classic as “Carnival Is Forever.” This also feels like a gateway Decapitated album, in a couple of ways. First, while the songs are replete with stock Decapitatedisms, there’s also plenty of new influences to be found here (Meshuggah and Slipknot chiefly among them).

Powerflo -- Powerflo

Powerflo — Powerflo

★☆☆☆ The album opens up with the lyric, “…This is our time/the dawn of a new era.”  But the debut from this “supergroup” (featuring Biohazard’s Billy Graziadei, Cypress Hill’s Sen Dog, Fear Factory’s Christian Olde Wolbers, and Downset’s Roy Lozano) is in no way new.  In fact, it’s hard to not be cynical about this effort, which is a shame because there are interesting moments strewn about throughout this otherwise pervasive cacophony.

Goatwhore -- Vengeful Ascension

Goatwhore — Vengeful Ascension

★★★☆ Just as nasty as you’d expect from Goatwhore (think somewhere between Belphegor, Entombed, and Morbid Angel)… but damn is this groovy and tasty and interesting. Never have these guys sounded as self-assured and rollicking. The second half of the album is even more special than the first, so stay for the whole thing.