Hear ye, hear ye! I was busy during July and didn’t have time to properly categorize and rank the best releases the month had to offer–but that doesn’t mean they werent there! Below are the best jams I experienced during the last two months (in order!). If you missed one, better make sure you un-miss it.
5) Villisca – The Antagonist [Full Length]
With such an overwhelming emphasis on low, slow music these days, it’s rare that pure, punishing deathcore has a votive offering substantial enough to capture the attention of the limelight—which is why Villisca’s debut album is such a pleasant surprise. The Antagonist is an album that is one part brutalizing beatdown, one part tedious technicality and completely evil. With razor sharp riffs and bone-busting breakdowns alike, there is no way the listener will escape this album unscathed.
4) Volumes – No Sleep [Full Length]
Who cares if djent is a taboo term in many music circles these days? Volumes practically coined it and surely ushered into popular acknowledgement, meaning their latest album is one fans of any groove-based metal should check out. Jam-packed with voracious, vicious heaviness and pretty, twinkling portions of atmosphere alike, No Sleep is the crowning achievement of the band’s career, with some portions beautiful enough to inspire love-making, and many violent enough to inspire acts of unbound aggression.
3) Within the Ruins – Phenomena [Full Length]
Within the Ruins have always been that band that has had a hard time juggling technicality and focus. Where they are straightforward and streamlined, they appeared boring and uninspired—or where they were at their most shreddy and sinister, they were scattered and incoherent. The days of that band is no more, as Phenomena is a truly miraculous album that redefines the band, ushering them in as kings of technical deathcore. Every note plucked, syllable screamed and smack of the drum is done with pure intent, making this one release that will not only please old fans, but make many new ones.
2) I, The Reverend – Hands of Mercy [EP]
Let’s say you’ve gotten bored of the trendy (yet awesome) down-tempo deathcore bandwagon. Unenthused by the beefy, belligerent heaviness or hate-filled harassment of the lyrics, you see no point in checking out another low’n’slow band…until I, The Reverend broke onto the scene. Combining enormous doom metal atmospheres with bone-splintering disregard for human life, Hands of Mercy is an EP that is anything but merciful. If you wanted to know what the hands-down, balls-to-the-wall heaviest release in July was, look no further.
1) Ghost Orchid – Bloodbound//I [EP]
There aren’t truly words to describe the effect Bloodbound//I has on the listener the first time they experience it. It’s almost like listening to an exorcism—every chill-inducing scream, hair-raising harmonic and skin-peeling breakdown is more haunting than the last, lingering in the listener’s head as Ghost Orchid seeps in through the listener’s ears and takes over their body. This is an EP that will keep fans of Sworn In’s moody darkness engaged while appealing to the speed and fury of Barrier and Beacons fans. In brief, this is an EP that takes the best and most dynamic nu-metal influences and bakes them into a fluffy, delicious hardcore crust.
5) Epiphany from the Abyss – The Emptiness of All Things [Full Length]
When The Black Dahlia Murder sprinkles some of it’s decrepit, dark blackening over the lovechild of Fleshgod Apocalypse, Make Them Suffer and Oceano, you get something close to the majesty of Epiphany from the Abyss’ sophomore album. The Emptiness of All Things is indeed full of riff-induced insanity, gut-wrenching heaviness and gory, grotesque—but beautiful—vocal prowess, the likes of which will appeal to fans of pure death metal, raunchy hardcore and everything in between.
4) Acrania – Totalitarian Dystopia [Full Length]
English heirs to the slamming deathcore throne, Acrania have proven with Totalitarian Dystopia that they have what it takes to become crowned king of ultra-heavy deathcore. Driven by perfect percussion, refined by razor-sharp riffing and perfected by visceral vocals, Acrania take the talent hinted at on their debut EP and expand upon it, crafting a marvelous release that contains everything from straightforward heaviness to crafty, cunning—but blood-curdling—riff-lead, slam-heavy brutality.
3) Triumph Over Shipwreck – Forever.Ending [Full Length]
Dissonant, dynamic destruction—incarnate—is what the listener can expect upon pressing play on Triumph Over Shipwreck’s full length album. Forever.Ending is a lesson in chaotic hardcore, combining frenzied, furious riffing with blood-pumping, neck-snapping breakdowns and grooves that are so grimy it’s impossible to tell where they begin and where the mud, filth and muck coating them ends. To put it simply, no two portions of this album are the same, but every second of it is completely riveting.
2) REX – Possession [EP]
Fans of low and slow heaviness—meet REX, the aptly named kings of the genre. Possession is prolapse-inducing, pure and simple. The drums are beefy and over-the-top, while the grooves go right for the listener’s throat and the vocals do the same. REX are a band determined to take conventional heaviness and make it seem featherweight, as they are constantly crushing, belligerently brutal and bewildering—all in the best ways possible.
1) I’ll Be An Empire – Thelema [EP]
Ever since Between the Buried and Me opted for a more progressive sound and removed many of their “-core” influences, I’ve found myself distanced from them–but much closer to Georgian juggernauts I’ll Be An Empire. What is there to say that hasn’t already been said? They have the heaviness of The Acacia Strain, the progressive mindset of Between the Buried and Me and the technical, yet awesome atmosphere of The Contortionist–all packed into one neat package: Thelema.
1) Victims – Sickness, Vol. I [EP]
At first I thought I was making it too easy for bands combining nu-metallic influence with ultra-heavy breakdowns and somber, depressive lyrical themes, to make the tops of my lists, but the simple truth is that Victims are just that good. Sickness, Vol. I is not just August’s best EP, but the best EP of 2014 so far. Every second is evil enough to make the listener’s skin crawl, but catchy enough to stay lodged in the listener’s head for eons. On top of it all, it is home to guest spots by some of the best vocalists metalcore and hardcore have to offer—so even if you somehow get sick of vocalist Nicho Brewer’s batshit-crazy vocals, you’ve got more than enough to fall back on.