Satyricon -- Deep Calleth Upon Deep
avatar

Satyricon — Deep Calleth Upon Deep

★★☆☆ Here is an album that is trying its damnedest to get me to hate it immediately. The amateurish album art, the stubbornly raw production, the tired opening gambit… all of these are sure signs of tiredness, if not vacuity. But push past the first impressions, and you may be surprised by the latest from these Norwegian black metal legends.

Unsane -- Sterilize
avatar

Unsane — Sterilize

★★☆☆ Ah, Unsane. God bless ‘em. They keep on dishing out the same nasty, corrosive brew; take The Jesus Lizard, replace bourbon with ketamine, and crank the volume. It’s still as compelling and effective as ever. And also as repetitive and self-referential as I remember. But you should listen to it.

Belphegor -- Totenritual
avatar

Belphegor — Totenritual

★★☆☆ Belphegor’s well-practiced style of blackened death metal finds a slightly clearer throat, thanks to Jason Suecof’s production values. That the album isn’t particularly varied could also be thanks to Suecof, but let’s be real: Belphegor ain’t the most subtle tool in the shed in any event. New drummer Bloodhammer does a great job pouring on the blast beats, which only undergirds the band’s efforts to sound like a steam locomotive about to blow up.

36 Crazyfists -- Lanterns
avatar

36 Crazyfists — Lanterns

★★☆☆ A solidly consistent album that is more thrash than I would have expected from the band that brought us “Time And Trauma”; this one is more reminiscent of Prong or Nothingface than anything else. (The previous album’s CoC tendencies are in full control here.) The result is an album where every song feels like it should be an instant classic, a collection of emotionally raw songs… yet somehow isn’t.

Mastodon -- Cold Dark Place
avatar

Mastodon — Cold Dark Place

★★☆☆ This is at least more interesting than the band’s previous effort, “Emperor Of Sand.” By now, Mastodon have tunneled straight through their own Baroness ambitions, only to emerge in some alien post-metal proto-folkrock nowhere of their own making. So, you know, kudos for sounding unlike anything else. I’m just not entirely sure I dig it.

Arch Enemy -- Will To Power
avatar

Arch Enemy — Will To Power

★★☆☆ After a downright Otep-like opening, this album settles into an uninspired, wanky power metal mode that bears a vague resemblance to Arch Enemy albums of old. The band can still shred from time to time (and how could they not, with Jeff Loomis joining Mike Amott), but for the most part it sounds like they’re making sure this’ll sound good in the arenas that they’re filling up on the road.

Septicflesh -- Codex Omega
avatar

Septicflesh — Codex Omega

★★☆☆ Pathologically bombastic as always, although the extreme metal and symphonic passages are less disjointed on this album than they were on “Titan.” There are pleasant attempts here to push the band’s own envelope of creativity and experimentation, and Logan Mader’s production wisely emphasizes the actual band’s performances more than it did last time out.

Sannhet -- So Numb
avatar

Sannhet — So Numb

★★☆☆ Consistency seems to be the name of the game for this Brooklyn trio, and their latest slab of instrumental shoegaze metal can boast the same feats and fumbles as last time. This is engrossing and effectively moody, like the best parts of Isis and Deafheaven. At the same time, one gets the sense from the beginning that this isn’t stuff that’ll easily come to mind when the music stops.