Goatwhore -- Vengeful Ascension
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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.

The Monolith Deathcult -- Versus
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The Monolith Deathcult — Versus

★★★☆ This is a delightfully sillier, deathier combination of Slipknot and Front Line Assembly, with a dash of Amon Amarth’s pomp dialed up to the extreme. While long-time TMD fans won’t be surprised by this, the band are showing sounds of even greater experimentation, largely around motifs you wouldn’t expect from a metal band… but also in the occasional sparseness (a word that I don’t think I’ve ever used in the context of this band before).

Suffocation -- ...Of the Dark Light
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Suffocation — …Of the Dark Light

★★★☆ Classic technodeath from a veteran group of the form. On this, the band’s eighth album, Suffocation are tighter and more lethal than ever. They waste no time in unleashing the tempest in the front half of the album, and the punishment is meted out liberally. So what if it all just blurs together into a spasmodic assault that you won’t easily remember afterward; it’s still an impressive (and mercifully terse) metal experience.

Vallenfyre -- Fear Those Who Fear Him
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Vallenfyre — Fear Those Who Fear Him

★★★☆ The latest from Gregor Mackintosh’s grindy sludgey deathrock side project is a fun, energetic, slab of evil: nasty, unvarnished, ponderous, and gloriously dark. The album goes from rockin’ to dirgelike and back again with entertaining aplomb. Also, it does not at all sound like it’s only 38 minutes. If you can say that, and not be bored, you must be listening to something good.

SikTh -- The Future In Whose Eyes-
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SikTh — The Future In Whose Eyes?

★★★☆ SikTh manage to thread a very fine needle here, harnessing their djenty brand of prog (or proggier brand of djent) in service of a catchy accessibility that generally eludes the genre. Along the way, these veterans don’t return to form, so much as they call on old debts, incorporating elements from descendants such as Periphery, Protest The Hero, TesseracT, and many others.

Mutoid Man -- War Moans
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Mutoid Man — War Moans

★★★☆ A funkier, nastier, but still rollicking followup to their 2015 debut, “War Moans” does not stray far from the territory that the band has already claimed: tone-rich bass, propulsive drums, and Steven Brodsky’s memorably eclectic guitars and vocals are all in full effect here. If anything is a progression here, it’s the slightly more expansive sonic soundscape (more obvious on the title track than anywhere else).

John Frum -- A Stirring In The Noos
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John Frum — A Stirring In The Noos

★★★☆ DEP bassist Liam Wilson’s new supergroup (featuring members of The Faceless, Intensus, and John Zorn) go for a slightly-more-accessible-Gorguts sound with this, their debut album. Anyway, I’m assuming Wilson was the driving force of this band, as the resulting music is very firmly basscentric (never a complaint from Yours Truly).

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He Is Legend — Few

★★★☆ So much swagger! The band have expanded their already unique sonic palette since 2014′s “Heavy Fruit” (although it’s still hard to avoid thinking about modern-era Alice In Chains). The result is more surefooted, more convincingly emotional, and at times far more metallic than anything they’ve done before. Also, holy crap: they’ve got a song called “Fritz The Dog“!