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.

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.

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.

Caligulas-Horse-Rise-Radiant
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Caligula’s HorseRise Radiant

★★★☆ Like other Australian prog bands that I happen to love, C-Horse deliver a fascinating suite of tunes that are heavy yet dynamic, with captivating vocals, unusual riffs, and tasty shredding throughout. This reminds me a lot of what I love about Leprous and Textures. I don’t know that it’d go on heavy rotation, but it’s a worthwhile listen if you get a chance.

Oranssi Pazuzu -- Mestarin Kynsi
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Oranssi PazuzuMestarin Kynsi

★★★☆ I did not expect this. Oranssi Pazuzu’s latest album is a blend of… their previous black metal excellence, plus Nine Inch Nails? plus Steve Reich?! Also, why hadn’t I really considered how well black metal and industrial sensibilities would blend together before now? It’s potent and methodical and devastating. Run, don’t walk, to your headphones!

Shadow Of Intent -- Melancholy
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Shadow Of IntentMelancholy

★★★☆ I had no idea that technical death metal and symphonic metal could coexist so comfortably! Sure, we’ve all heard tech death albums with "orchestral" intros, but those always seem to be only loosely related to each other. Melancholy is the first example I can think of where both genres feed off each other.

Despised Icon -- Purgatory
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Despised IconPurgatory

★★★☆ Just plumb mad dog mean deathcore. This album ticks all boxes for any and every trope you could ever want from the genre (and then some), but the interplay, timing, and pacing of it all lead to a cohesive masterclass in aggression. What it lacks in memorability, the album more than makes up for with unbridled energy.