Psychonaut -- Unfold The God Man

PsychonautUnfold The God Man

★★★☆ This is a fun old-style prog debut that’s halfway between Mastodon, Tool, and Intronaut… but with more grit than any of those. It is remarkable (in a good way) that an album this full of innovative twists and turns can come across as so unsurprising or natural. Aside from that faint praise, my only gripe is that this album feels overlong by a lot.

Protest The Hero -- Palimpsest

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

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

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

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.


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

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!