Metal Release Radar: January 17, 2020

We’re looking at a pretty subdued week ahead, release-wise. Mark Morton’s acoustic EP is getting a lot of attention from publicists on both sides of the pond. It’s a quick hit — only five tracks, including two covers – Pearl Jam’s Black and the Black Crowes’ She Talks To Angels, featuring Lzzy Hale. Anesthetic easily claimed a spot on my 2019 Metal Hammer top 20; from stem-to-stern, the ten-track debut served up riff after filthy riff and with steroidal vocal turns from the likes of Chester Bennington, Josh Todd and even Mark Lanegan, the album lacked neither depth nor passion.

For me, the top release this week is the eponymous new black metal hymnal from Kaoteon, the Lebanese black metal project of guitarist Anthony Kaoteon and vocalist Walid WolfLust. Kaoteon additionally features the talents bassist Linus Klausenitzer of Obscura and drummer Adrian Erlandsson of At The Gates. Home recorded, then mixed and mastered at Ant Farm Studios with Tue Madsen in Aarhus, Demnark, all seven tracks surge with menace and brutality, due in no small part to the taut potency of the rhythm section. Kaoteon explains, “On previous albums, every Kaoteon track had over 10 main riffs that could be extended into a song each. With the self-titled upcoming album, the riffs have an identity of their own. Every riff on this album was composed during a state of flow and there are no fillers. I just didn’t want to compose riffs that fit between other riffs. I recorded whole tracks as they came to my mind after several hours of meditation.”

The second album that has me pretty fired up is the latest from Svarttjern, which promises to be an absolutely bludgeoning affair. Prior releases have seen the corpse-painted quartet mix the raw aggression of their native black metal with the speed and urgency of modern thrash. Their earliest campaigns failed to make much of a mark, languishing in the sort of generic, mechanized production that favours technicality over feel. This time around, the band have promised a continuation of the more organic approach of more recent outings like Dødskrik (2016). In a recent interview with No Clean Singing, vocalist Hans Fyrste stated, “[O]n the last album…we got a more natural sound when it comes to the guitars, and the drums as well. The vocals have never been tampered with, so I think we are just aiming now for the same sound as the last album. We prefer a more natural sound now than the over-engineered one we had earlier. Nothing pretty experimental with the sound, but speaking for myself, when it comes to the vocals then I would say, yes, I do try to experiment a bit with the pronunciation which has evolved over the years. Nothing too fancy, but a step into a positive direction.”

 

January 17, 2020
Bonded – Rest in Violence (Century Media)
British Lion – The Burning (Explorer1)
Darktribe – Voici L’Homme (Scarlet)
Horned Almighty – To Fathom The Master’s Grand Design (Scarlet)
Kaoteon – Kaoteon (Self)
Magnum – The Serpent Rings (SPV/Steamhammer)
Mark Morton – Ether EP (Rise/BMG)
Sons of Apollo – MMXX (InsideOut)
Steve Moore – Bliss (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack (Relapse)
Svarttjern – Shame Is Just a Word (Soulseller)
Victorius – Space Ninjas From Hell (Napalm)