Infernal Coil -- Within a World Forgotten
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Infernal CoilWithin a World Forgotten

★★★☆ A particularly nasty bit of blackened death, this debut from a trio out of Idaho packs a lot of interesting riffage and punishment into its scant 35 minutes. It’s noisy and devastating, but beneath that offputting veneer lays a progressive beast of an album. Production values may hurt the band here, but either way I’m going to be keeping my eyes open for them in the future.

Omnium Gatherum -- The Burning Cold
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Omnium GatherumThe Burning Cold

★★☆☆ After a treacly intro, OG deliver another solid suite of melodeath. There’s not a lot of envelope pushing here, which is not surprising for this band. Still, strong musicianship and standard-setting catchiness are coupled with tasty riffs in a way that proves that the formula still works well enough to get the job done.

Imperial Triumphant -- Vile Luxury
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Imperial TriumphantVile Luxury

★★★☆ This is a really interesting slab of avant-garde grindy blackened deathy metal, reminiscent of Gorguts, Artificial Brain, Torrential Downpour, and Kronos Quartet. It’s insanely ambitious and highly inventive. The album loses points for its uneven production, however. While this is certainly not for everyone, if you’re the kind of metalhead who also likes jazz, this is a must-listen for you.

Immortal -- Northern Chaos Gods
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ImmortalNorthern Chaos Gods

★★☆☆ Can Immortal still bring the frostbitten fury after parting ways with Abbath? Yep: this is classic Norwegian black metal, with all the wind-whipped ferocity you remember from albums past. Therein lies the rub: there’s not a whole lot newness here, and the album does feel a bit by-the-numbers. Still, this is a lovingly produced testament to an important band that still has plenty of bite.

Sumac -- Love in Shadow
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SumacLove in Shadow

★★★☆ First off, don’t let the 4-song-66-minutes thing fool you: there are definitely sections and breaks in those tracks. That said, this feels like Sumac’s attempt at pulling a Catch Thirty Three. And the band pull it off a surprisingly high percentage of the time. Yet, this brand of post metal can’t seem to consistently bridle their experimentalism to the yoke of listenability.

Pig Destroyer -- Head Cage
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Pig DestroyerHead Cage

★★★☆ This is not exactly what I came to expect from Pig Destroyer. It’s oddly accessible… for a grindcore boot to the teeth. It’s also full of hints at a (dare I say) progressive streak running under the surface, if not quite erupting right on the skin. More than anything, this makes me excited for the next thing PD put out.