Havok -- V
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HavokV

★★☆☆ This album is 100% rethrash with solid performances. Fans of Powermad and Metal Church will definitely love this. The production is crisp, although hollow sounding (but I guess that makes sense as an improvement from vintage thrash). Still, I’d prefer more of an Overkill approach to the sound. At least you can hear the bass here!

Protest The Hero -- Palimpsest
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Protest The HeroPalimpsest

★★★★ Wow. PTH have created their most accessible release to date, and yet don’t lose a shred of their intricacy, stylistic omnivorousness, or overall focus on musicianship. Most impressively, there’s a new emotionality and (dare I say it) maturity to what everyone in the band is contributing to the music. And even though it’s a whopping 52 minutes long, the pacing doesn’t suffer for it, and it’s a captivating listen from start to finish.

Xibalba -- Anos En Infierno
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XibalbaAños En Infierno

★★★☆ Once again, Xibalba add to their growing witches’ brew of influences with ease, melding vintage death metal, grind, doom, hardcore, and sludge. And it all makes ferocious sense! The real surprise here comes in the last two tracks. I won’t spoil it for you, but it gives you a sense of where Xibalba may go in the future, and it’s exciting yet unexpected.

Trivium -- What The Dead Men Say
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TriviumWhat The Dead Men Say

★★☆☆ This is a bit of a step down from predecessor "The Sin And The Sentence," but there’s still plenty of the band’s metal-for-the-love-of-metal all over the album. There’s also a conspicuous accessibility in a lot of the material here that might excite the SiriusXM metal crowd, but doesn’t really do much for me.

Code Orange -- Underneath
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Code OrangeUnderneath

★★★☆ This album perfectly marries the attitude of hardcore and the sound of aggressive industrial, resulting in a post-metal, post-punk triumph, reminiscent of (Arsies winners) The Armed’s "Untitled." The riffs may not always be memorable, but the band commit to them with such gusto that it’s hard to resist their charm.

Kirk Windstein -- Dream In Motion
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Kirk WindsteinDream In Motion

★★☆☆ Crowbar’s founder and frontman finally puts out a solo album, to… free himself of the shackles of accessibility? I kid, because this is actually a really interesting and cohesive album that’s more experimental and emotionally well-rounded than you might expected, coming from a sludge standardbearer.

Lorna Shore -- Immortal
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Lorna ShoreImmortal

★★★☆ Lorna Shore go full-epic on their latest album, blending blistering deathcore with symphonic embellishments throughout every song (and I do mean throughout; think violin swells and choral pads behind blast beats). The back half of the album does run out of steam, but there’s plenty here to enjoy for at least 30 minutes.