Dario | Nov 15, 2023 | 0
October releases are in full swing, keeping us busy and excited
Releases of the Week 41/2023 with Grinded Grin, Stortregn, Torn Soul, Tardigrade Inferno, Marco Sfogli, The Totemist (Rabea Massaad), On Thorns I Lay, Kaunis Kuolematon, Gévaudan, Electromancer & Venera
64 releases, 11 highlights: Friday 13th, October 2023 was full of doom & gloom (On Thorns I Lay, Kaunis Kuolematon & Gévaudan); brutal technicality (Stortregn & Torn Soul); two types of guitar wizardry (Marco Sfogli & The Totemist); avantgarde stoner (Grinded Grin) & avantgarde ambient sounds (Venera); circus music to headbang to (Tardigrade Inferno) and finally some Tasmanian cyber shredding (Paul Wardingham‘s Electromancer).
Discover all of them now through the Bandcamp links in the list in the article on our website or in our weekly updated Spotify playlist. Subscribe now: https://theprogspace.com/rotw-playlist
Grinded Grin - Fledge
Finally getting to start off the highlights again this week with a properly crazy Avantgarde release: Grinded Grin’s new album “Fledge”. Being completely unfamiliar with them up until now, from what I can gather from their Spotify/Bandcamp discography, all of their albums (except for the 2018 debut “Reset”) has been few songs with long playing time. And that they put out two albums in 2020 and four (!) even in 2021. On “Fledge” however, the Croatian eight(!) piece ensemble has found a nice sweet spot with the song lengths mostly between seven and nine minutes, that allow them to both go on repetitive, psychedelic tangents, but never getting boring or leaving the impression of any musical idea overstaying its welcome. Psychedelic stoner avantgarde might describe their sound best and I’m all here for it, zoning out on some spaced out Ozric Tentacles on Balkan shrooms or something like that. Up for a trip?
Stortregn - Finitude
From chill vibes to a full blast of Tech Death: Swiss masters of Stortregn are back with “Finitude”! Their sixth record overall and second in a row for The Artisan Era label, home of almost all world class Tech Death, after 2021’s “Impermanence”, they seem to spice up their take on extreme metal with anything but the usual fusion treatment, be it bluesy stuff, a subsequent dip into classical harmonies (‘A Lost Battle Rages On’) or the occasional flamenco sidequest (‘Xeno Chaos’), that the music never runs the risk of becoming one dimensional or formulaic. On the contrary, Stortregn stand out from the Tech Death crowd with engaging, interesting songwriting and will be easily battling for a place on the podium among the best Extreme Prog albums of this year with ‘Finitude’, no doubt about that.
Torn Soul - Death//Rebirth EP
Staying in brutal territories for a moment here, maybe even churning up the level of brutality a notch from Stortregn with Atlanta’s Torn Soul. Their 15 minute “Death//Rebirth” EP stirs up the violence with four tracks sitting comfortably between Tech Death, Brutal Death and Deathcore with relentless vehemence. It looks like this is their first slightly longer release after a string of singles but the fact that they got some big names within the genre like Oliver Rae Aleron (Archspire) and Phil Bozeman (Whitechapel) on some of their very first songs speaks volumes and is a testament to the talent they’re displaying. This is some serious shit right here.
Tardigrade Inferno - Burn The Circus!
Dark Cabaret Metal made by tardigrades? Don’t mind if I do, especially if it turns out to sound like Tardigrade Inferno. Somewhere between Diablo Swing Orchestra, Toehider, Faith No More, Haken’s early circus bits and Devin Townsend’s ‘Juular’ steam train running in circles, “Burn The Circus!” is a hilarious, exuberant fun affair, provided you’re into morbid humor and circus music to headbang to, you’ve come to the right place. But beware, the Tardigrade Inferno is constantly trying to burn the circus down…
Marco Sfogli - Welcome to Ooglyworld
The feelgood fusion album of the week comes from guitarist Marco Sfogli, best known for his work with James LaBrie, IceFish and Italian Prog legends PFM. On “Welcome to Ooglyworld”, he takes us on an instrumental journey. Through Ooglyworld I guess, wherever that is. But it doesn’t matter where exactly it is. It might even be somewhere else for every listener. I don’t think it’s in Milliontown or Mercy Falls though. But I had a fun time there and might just go back every now and then to visit its inhabitants. They seem like nice people and I like it there. Book your trip to Ooglyworld now!
The Totemist - Less We Know EP
Guitar tone guru Rabea Massaad brings us some very tasty instrumental Prog Metal this week with “Less We Know”, the second EP under the The Totemist moniker. Four songs that explore an all out riffs and grooves approach with focus on songwriting and production quality rather than lightning fast fusion licks. Something like the antithesis to solo guitar shred albums. I mean, it shreds, alright, just not in the traditional sense with a screaming, roaring lead guitar. It’s very proggy without being flashy or coming across as another show off. It djents without resorting to the standard, boring (not-)genre tropes. Very cool stuff!
On Thorns I Lay - Fallen From Grace
On Thorns I Lay know how to celebrate an anniversary. Over 30 years in their career, the Greek veterans release their 10th, self-titled full length album and their first one on the renowned Season Of Mist label. After an experimental first phase, in which the band gradually shifted from death metal through doom to gothic metal and melancholic rock, the band went on hiatus in 2005 to be never heard of again. Luckily, that did not last and On Thorns I Lay returned with a new studio album in 2015. Having found their comfort zone in melodic doom/death metal, consequent releases have been in the same style, so fans know what to expect by now.
To put it shortly, “On Thorns I Lay” offers no surprises in terms of style, but it does in terms of quality. From the very beginning, it is clear that this is an excellent doom/death metal album with solemn riffs, deep growls and an atmosphere drenched in melancholy. The average song length is over 7 minutes, which is barely noticeable due to the high quality of songwriting and the dynamic approach to the songs. While the album’s foundation is deeply rooted in doom/death, the gothic influences are never far away and we can even hear progressive influences. Top it off with some tasteful guitar solos, as well as an excellent production and you have a lot of reasons here to celebrate with On Thorns I Lay. Fans of My Dying Bride, Paradise Lost and even the older albums of Opeth and Anathema know what to do.
Kaunis Kuolematon - Mielenvalta
If any band can be considered consistent, it must be Kaunis Kuolematon. Over 10 years in their career, the band haven’t had a single line-up chance and a new album has been released every three years since 2014. The newest release is called “Mielenvalta”, by which Kaunis Kuolematon bring us another piece of quality Finnish metal. Not unlike many other Finnish bands, the band offer a melodic blend of death, black, doom and gothic metal with great melodies and dynamic songwriting.
While I wasn’t too impressed with the somewhat blunt opening track ‘Surussa Uinuva’, “Mielenvalta” picks up instantly afterwards with a bunch of excellent songs. Melancholic riffs go hand in hand with more extreme passages, delicate orchestration and a wide-ranged vocal delivery. Different types of growls are being applied, to be offset by the clear, melancholic voice of Mikko Heikkilä (Dawn of Solace, Sinamore) and even some female vocals, like in the excellent title track. The attention to detail is amazing on this album, giving the impression that it was made with a lot of love and care. So, if you’re into some well-crafted, typically Finnish melancholy, look no further. You will not be disappointed.
Gévaudan - Umbra
The third proper doom album this week after Greece (On Thorns I Lay) and Finland (Kaunis Kuolematon) is coming from the UK (despite the French name) to spread some proper gloom at the beginning of fall: Gévaudan’s “Umbra”. Telling the all too familiar tale of someone plagued and tormented by depression, albeit by means of some cosmic eldritch horror shadow (visualized impressively on the cover artwork from Erskine Designs) they went all in this time and put together a single 43 minute song. The softer, more ambient passages are as compelling as the colossal, monumental riffs, making for a haunting trip into the darkness. It doesn’t get much doomier than that without neglecting gripping songwriting and mourning, melancholy hooklines.
Electromancer - Metal Messiah
After this strong doom triple, we slide over to retro-futuristic synth-metal, as Tasmanian guitar wizard Paul Wardingham is back under the moniker Electromancer with another instrumental, sci-fi inspired album that got the promising title “Metal Messiah”. While the releases under his own name are mostly guitar focused, he puts the synth more into the spotlight with this project and melts the heartbeat of an 80s disco night with dystopian Terminator vibes and mighty cyber metal shredding. The result is catchy and groovy, yet with a good heaviness, and could transport the listener in time and space depending on what movie plot might appear in front of your inner eye.
Venera - Venera
Bonus highlight: Venera’s self-titled debut album, a spellbinding, at times disturbing piece of dark ambient. A duo comprised of Korn’s James ‘Munky Shaffer and Chris Hunt featuring some guest vocalist on four of the nine songs, Venera’s sonic realm is ambient electronics and cinematic noise, and it only seems fitting that their music is published through Mike Patton’s Ipecac Recordings. So, if you’re familiar with that label and know what kind of music they put out usually, you should definitely check out Venera. Or if you’re just looking for something very different for a change, as far away from traditional ‘Prog’ (an oxymoron?) as possible.
More releases for 13 October, 2023
- Source - Emergence Bandcamp
- Biledriver - Let The Sun Swallow All Bandcamp Read Our Review
- Pictures on Silence - Mental Haze (N-Vox Prod) Bandcamp
- Lovesplash - Melting Metal Bodies EP Bandcamp
- Manzanera Mackay - AM.PM (Expression Records)
- SAWCE - Life is Temporary, Sawce is Forever Bandcamp
- Mouche-Miel - Satellites (Hummus Records) Bandcamp
- Ohmwork - In Hindsight
- Laster - Andermans Mijne (Prophecy Productions) Bandcamp
- 35 Tapes - Fabric of Time (Apollon Records Prog) Bandcamp
- Airbridge - Openings Bandcamp
- Goat - Medecine (Rocket Recordings) Bandcamp
- Eye of Horus - Noxium (Oct. 14) Bandcamp
- Sulphur Aeon - Seven Crowns And Seven Seals (Ván Records) Bandcamp
- Dead and Dripping / Prophecy of Suffering - Catharsis of Silent Despondency Bandcamp
- Arborescence of Wrath - Inferno (Transcending Obscurity Records) Bandcamp
- The Answer Lies In The Black Void - Thou Shalt (Black Void Records) Bandcamp
- As the Sun Falls - Where the Silence Reign (EP) Bandcamp
- Mors Subita - Origin of Fire (Out of Line Music) Bandcamp
- A Mourning Star - A Reminder of the Wound Unhealed (Daze) Bandcamp
- Mortuary - Sublime the Decline Bandcamp
- State of Deceit - Stalked by Daemons (Eclipse Records) Bandcamp
- ONI - The Silver Line
- Comaniac - None for All Bandcamp
- Droid Killer - The Terminator vs. the Preacher (Oct. 10) Bandcamp
- Decembre Noir - Your Sunset | My Sunrise (Lifeforce Records) Bandcamp
- Theocracy - Mosaic (Atomic Fire Records)
- CrowsVsRavens - Within The Depths (Oct. 11)
- Vanishing Kids - Miracle of Death (Aural Music)
- First Came the Shadow - First Came the Shadow Bandcamp
- Dark Citadel - Dark Citadel Bandcamp
- Slow - Abîmes I Bandcamp
- Body Void - Atrocity Machine (Prosthetic Records) Bandcamp
- The Lion's Daughter - Bath House Bandcamp
- Mondo Generator - We Stand Against You (Heavy Psych Sounds Records) Bandcamp
- Selenoplexia - Exalt and Despair Bandcamp
- Furia - Huta Luna (Oct. 10, Pagan Records) Bandcamp
- Fortíð - Narkissos (Prophecy Production) Bandcamp
- Sacred Ruins - Ov Tartarvs
- The Behest of Serpents - Regicide Bandcamp
- Koudeta - Koudeta (Season of Mist) Bandcamp
- Fortress Under Siege - Envy Bandcamp
- All Its Grace - To What End?
- Jennifer Reiser - Golden Stake Bandcamp
- Hooveriii - Pointe (The Reverberation Society) Bandcamp
- Årabrot - Of Darkness And Light (Pelagic Records) Bandcamp
- False Fed - Let Them Eat Fake (Neurot Recordings) Bandcamp
- Crabe - Visite Du Temple Inné (Les Disques Dure Vie) Bandcamp
- GGGOLDDD - PTSD EP Bandcamp
- The Vintage Caravan - The Monuments Tour (Live) (Napalm Records) Bandcamp
- Amorphis - Queen of Time (Live at Tavastia 2021) (Atomic Fire Records)
- Tanertill - Tanerthos (Remastered) Bandcamp
- Syrup Moose Records - IV (Compilation) Bandcamp