"6 Bands You May Not Know, But Should" - April 26th, 2020 Edition

1. Black Vice (Austin, Texas, USA)

Album: The Alchemist’s Vision

Release Date: March 27th, 2020 (Crown & Throne Ltd.)

Genre: Modern Black

Contemporaries: Immortal, Empire of the Moon, Blaze of Perdition, The Rite

In full command of their own haunting sound is Austin, Texas’s black metal coterie Black Vice, who’s latest full-length, The Alchemist’s Vision, dropped late last month. Staying just gritty and grimy enough in the production to stay true to black metal’s essence, Black Vice applies a melancholy, melodic grace upon every composition that leans their sound to an almost atmospheric bent, but once again, the grittiness of the delivery continuously pulls you back to the more classic black approach, and the dynamic between the two is outstanding. Lush, depressive, and transfixing, The Alchemist’s Vision by Black Vice is a sneaky good album that may have slipped past your listening nets, so press play below to check it out, and make up for missing out! Rating: 8.75 / 10

2. Wake (Calgary, Alberta, CAN)

Album: Devouring Ruin

Release Date: March 27th, 2020 (Translation Loss Records)

Genre: Blackened Deathgrind

Contemporaries: Benighted, Infernal Coil, Werewolves, Plague Widow

While the classification of “blackened deathgrind” is certainly applicable, this abbreviated term still doesn’t even come close to summing up the chaotically delectable cacophony of Calgary’s Wake. Originally formed as a grind/crust act, some years back they wisely expanded their sound to also include elements of black, death, and atmospheric metals; and ever since, the upward rise has not yet abated. Released last month on Translation Loss Records, Wake’s Devouring Ruin is sonic pandemonium perfected. Perplexingly beautiful, though still heavy as all hell and damnation, Devouring Ruin represents one of the most breathtaking albums to be released so far this year, hands down. An absolute masterpiece. Rating: 10 / 10

3. Loviatar (Ottawa, Ontario, CAN)

Album: Lightless

Release Date: April 3rd, 2020 (Prosthetic Records)

Genre: Melodic Doom

Contemporaries: Sorcerer (Sweden), Doomraiser, Death the Leveller, Marrowfields

Despite residing with Prosthetic Records since the debut of their self-titled release in 2017, Ottawa’s Loviatar are still somewhat unknown outside of their own region, but the recent release of their sophomore full-length Lightless should shake things up a bit. Brimming with mesmerizing, melodic doom that is highlighted by lofty, powerful vocals and inflections of shoegaze, Lightless is another solid effort from this Canadian quartet. Deep, texturally rich, and artistically adroit, the music of Loviatar is effectually compelling and saturnine, just as all good doom should be. Highly recommended if you’re in a fuzzy headspace of deep contemplation... or perhaps just stoned out of your gourd. Rating: 9 / 10

4. Dawnwalker (London, United Kingdom, EUR)

Album: Crestfallen EP

Release Date: April 11th, 2020 (Independent)

Genre: Post-Metal

Contemporaries: Huntsmen, Krigsgrav, Opium Eater, Varaha

If you’re looking for melodically motivated post-metal from the British Isles that features sweeping accents of progressive, atmospheric folk, then look no further than London’s Dawnwalker. Canorous and cavernous, Dawnwalker’s Crestfallen is the latest EP to drop from this captivating-yet-still-unheard-of troupe. While not exactly the heaviest release of the year, Dawnwalker instead rely upon creating rich, vernal soundscapes that often fall back upon the foundations of heaviness when the tunes call for it, and not the other way around. Fascinating stuff that is a nice contrast to the constant (yet still pleasurable!) ear-raping sessions that we metalheads so often put ourselves through. Rating: 9.5 / 10

5. Venomous Skeleton (Tel Aviv, Israel, MIDDLE EAST)

Album: Drowning in Circles

Release Date: April 17th, 2020 (Everlasting Spew Records)

Genre: Blackened Death

Contemporaries: Melechesh, God Dethroned, Gatecreeper, Earth Rot, Tyrant Goatgoldrakona

Never an easy spot to start a metal act – let alone one that is of the blackened death variety – Tel Aviv, Israel’s Venomous Skeleton seek to follow in the footsteps of their better-known predecessors in Melechesh and break out of their Middle Eastern musical boundaries via the release of their debut full-length, Drowning in Circles, out now on Everlasting Spew Records (originally, this album was independently released in January, and Everlasting Spew picked them up for distro not long after). Spellbinding in composition and delivery, Drowning in Circles is an excellent first effort by a band whose very existence is challenged daily by the societal stigmas surrounding them. A little more polish and punch in the speakers would have done this release some good, but considering Venomous Skeleton’s circumstances, it’s easy to give a pass for this unavoidable faux pas; and besides, it just enhances the evil eeriness of the sound, anyway. Highly enjoyable. Rating: 8.5 / 10

6. Sölicitör (Seattle, Washington, USA)

Album: Spectral Devastation

Release Date: April 24th, 2020 (Gates of Hell Records)

Genre: Speed/NWOTHM

Contemporaries: Bütcher, Sins of the Damned, Savage Master, Orphan Devil

Seattle’s speed and traditional heavy metal newcomers Sölicitör only formed in 2018, but already they are making massive waves with the recent release of their debut full-length, Spectral Devastation, out now on Gates of Hell Records. Rough, brusque, and raw, the mixing of Spectral Devastation puts the powerful leads of vocalist Amy Lee Carlson front and center – and rightly so! Carlson’s vocals kick ass, and although the production of the rest of the band has an overall, devil-may-care feel to it, the overwhelming promise of Sölicitör is still unavoidably obvious. Great hooks, riffs, and structures abound on this respectable release. Check it out! Rating: 8 / 10

That wraps yet another edition of “6 Bands”. Thank you so much for reading, remember to support the artists, and stay safe! Nunc dimmitis. \m/


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