Stuck in the Filter – June’s Angry Misses

So here’s a segment you all likely are too young to remember/never thought you’d see again. And it comes from the most unlikely source to boot—me! I discovered this feature through one of our monthly staff review calls/execution ceremonies, and I thought it was a shame we don’t use it more often. This comes on the back of a month where many of us were swamped with life events, massive overtime at work, and other such stressors. Naturally, we missed a bunch of releases, both ones we received promo for and ones we didn’t.

But thanks to my ever-voracious appetite for new metal, I caught these right before they disappeared into the Skull Pit. I don’t have a lot of time before the Angry One swoops in and cancels my subscription to this mortal plane, so here are a few micro-blurbs for the notable releases we missed in June:

Hactivist – Hyperdialect

This is the last time you’ll see me talk about metal on the internet, and I blame Hyperdialect for that. I hate this album. I hate this album because I really dig this album. I hate the one who stans pongs on AMG’s Discord for outing me as the poseur I am by introducing me to this album. It’s everything that I am supposed to hate about the scene, where angry white-boi rap tries (and so often fails) to square up with the riffs that bind us on this corporeal existence we share. But the level of groove and hook that this atrocity releases into the wild cannot be ignored. Just listen to that big death riff at the three-quarter mark of “Anti Emcee,” or the blistering pummeling of “Planet Zero,” the oddly appropriate angst of “How Dare you Exist,” or the undeniable swagger of “Hyperdialect,” and tell me that this is the same shitty rap-metal you think of whenever someone other than me spews those two toxic terms from their vile face-hole.

Crypta – Echoes of the Soul

A supergroup/side project of sorts, Crypta deliver an absolutely irresistible riff-fest on Echoes of the Soul. Vocals rip the chord from between your vertebrae, then the big, thrashy death riffs shatter the bones themselves with enough force that the shrapnel then eviscerates your internal organs until nothing remains of your body but a slurry of viscous tissue. The first six songs, from “Awakening” to “Under the Black Wings,” never let off the gas pedal, shaking my expectations of what an album released on Napalm Records could be to the very core. Maybe I should stop underestimating releases based solely on who’s distributing beasts like this one, huh?

Plague Lord – The Silent King

This one is a bit of an anomaly. Released on a Mexican death metal label I’ve never heard of before, Australia’s Plague Lord are about as underground as they come without being self-released. This album is also dirty as fuck. Slimy, grimy, grisly doom-death peels away layer after layer of your meat suit with churning riffs that grind your skeleton to a pulp with all the mercy of a serial killer with a body horror fetish. It’s rough hewn and nasty, with moments that perhaps move too slowly to keep everyone’s interest. But even without using any kind of effects or synthetics, The Silent King crushes the ground with terrifying atmosphere of a singular malignity. You’ve been warned!

Ravager – The Third Attack

I am not a huge fan of thrash metal, unless it’s hybridized with death metal or black metal. However, Ravager won me over really fucking fast thanks to an endless stream of speedy riffs and vocals that don’t totally suck ass. This album isn’t going to shift the paradigm of thrash metal in the modern age, of course, but between the high-energy performances and hooky versework (look to “Back to the Real World,” “The Third Attack,” and “Destroyer” for prime examples of this), there’s no denying that this is one of the coolest, most aggressive modern thrash albums I’ve heard in quite some time. If you’re looking for the perfect summertime fun album to beat up your friends to, The Third Attack is for you.

Interloper – Search Party

What happens when a supergroup made up of high-speed tech death and brutal deathcore musicians team up to write a melodic metalcore album? Interloper’s Search Party happens. From the onset of opening salvo “Pathkeeper” all the way to the 90s pop inspired closer “Rio,” this group slaps you silly with twists and turns, melding all kinds of genres in small ways to keep you guessing. All the while, songs like “Dreamlands,” “Search Party,” “Drift,” “The Wishing Well,” and “Moonlight” hook you in whether you want to or not with enticing clean vocal lines and delicious melodies. There’s very little here that counts as filler, which is impressive considering the hour-long runtime. Believe me, it’s a party worth searching for.

Steel Addendum (ov Steel)

Hanging GardenSkeleton Lake

I was booked to review this release from Finnish gothic doomsters Hanging Garden back in early June, but a tidal wave of work-related fire drills and disasters kept me too buried to get it done. I feel badly about this as what the band does on Skeleton Lake is quite entertaining and captivating. Sitting someplace between Draconian, Black Sun Aeon and Insomnium, the material is entirely glum and depressive, but also quite memorable and beautiful in that dark, morose way we all love. Songs like “Kuura,” “Winter’s Kiss” and the title track demand replays and will make excellent soundtracks for the winter doldrums when they get here in 6 months or so. The beauty and beast vocal trade offs work quite well and though there are plenty of pretty, pristine sadboi melodies, the album packs enough heaviness to make it work. A solid, enjoyable album and if you missed it and want to blame me, I accept no such blame. Check it out though.

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