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.

Cannabis Corpse -- Nug So Vile
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Cannabis CorpseNug So Vile

★★★☆ Long-time readers are no doubt aware of my blatant fanaticism over this band, so it’s no easy thing to say that this is not my favorite Cannabis Corpse album. The production in particular feels like a step backward. Also, as much as I’d gotten comfortable with how far the band are willing to stray from their jokey origins, I hadn’t prepared myself for the idea of them trending a little less seriously here.

Skinlab -- Venomous
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SkinlabVenomous

★★★☆ Skinlab walk the thin line between revigoration and rehash, with just enough nu-metalisms to remind you who you’re dealing with (without the whole thing sounding dated). Most interestingly, there’s also enough shared DNA here with heavy acts like Tombs, Machine Head, and even Sepultura to make this music sound both familiar and novel.

Jinjer -- Macro
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JinjerMacro

★★★☆ The secret to this album is the free experimentation that Jinjer indulge in. The result reminds me of Destrage with less examples of inhuman shredding. But don’t worry: you’ll still get your Periphery, SikTh, and Mudvayne fix. It’s kinda nuts that Jinjer put out two excellent albums this year; crazier still that this latter release is the better of the two.