1. Ashtar (Basel, Switzerland, EUR)
Release Date: May 15th, 2020 (Eisenwald)
Genre: Blackened Doom
Contemporaries: In the Company of Serpents, Culted, Seventh Circle, Head of the Demon
The Swiss-born blackened doom duo known as Ashtar have returned with their sophomore full-length, Kaikuja; and immediately, the immense promise and talent of these newcomers is palpable and unavoidable. Vocalist, bassist/guitarist, and violinist Witch N. and drummer/guitarist/backing vocalist Marko Lehtinen have crafted an album that both stuns and stupefies the listener from start to finish by brilliantly bridging the yawning divide between black metal and doom. Shamanic repetitiousness enhanced with folky, psychedelic inflections accent these five phenomenal tracks, of which “Between Furious Clouds” is the longest and most striking. Fantastic and darkly delicious.
2. Shadow in the Darkness (Keratsini, Greece, EUR)
Album: Erstwhile Befell
Release Date: May 19th, 2020 (Sliptrick Records)
Genre: Technical/Progressive Death
Contemporaries: (Early) The Faceless, The Zenith Passage, Virulent Depravity, Virvum, Symbolik
Slowly germinating for the past decade in the Greek metal underground, Keratsini’s Shadow in the Darkness have finally emerged and ascended with their debut full length, Erstwhile Befell. Highly reminiscent of Planetary Duality-era Faceless material that has smashed head-on with the oncoming train of technology à la The Zenith Passage and Symbolik, the eight tracks of Erstwhile Befell twist, turn, and tick by with enjoyable ferocity. Seemingly a long time coming, Shadow in the Darkness have emphatically announced their (overdue) arrival with this kick-ass collection of tunes. Great stuff.
3. Wolftooth (Richmond, Indiana, USA)
Release Date: May 22nd, 2020 (Ripple Music)
Contemporaries: (Early) The Sword, Black Rainbows, Elden, Spirit Adrift, Sumerlands
Expertly blending traditional heavy metal chord progressions and vocal stylings with the ever-popular foundations of stoner sludge are Richmond, Indiana’s Wolftooth, whose sophomore full-length Valhalla just dropped late last month on Ripple Music. Easy to sing along with and enjoy, Wolftooth’s Valhalla joins with Black Rainbows’ Cosmic Ritual Supertrip and Elden’s Nostromo as some of the finest metal of not only their own genre, but also overall, to be released so far this year. You do not want to miss out on this amazing album, so get it in your earholes now!
4. Devil with No Name (Arizona, USA)
Album: Devil with No Name EP
Release Date: May 22nd, 2020 (Independent)
Genre: Modern Black
Contemporaries: Krater, From the Vastland, Horned Almighty, The Rite
Drawing from aspects of blackened sludge and progressive black are Arizona’s Devil with No Name, and this should come with no surprise, as current members of Chicago’s blackened sludge juggernauts Lord Mantis and Madison’s progressive/atmospheric black gems Tragic Death comprise two-thirds of this remarkable new project. Their eponymous debut EP officially released independently a couple weeks ago, and immediately, the underground was abuzz with excitement about these four excellently produced cuts by Devil with No Name, who are, ironically, beginning to make quite a name for themselves already. Do not sleep on this wicked good shit. Rating:
5. Ruadh (Glasgow, Scotland/UK, EUR)
Album: The Rock of the Clyde
Release Date: May 22nd, 2020 (Independent)
Genre: Atmospheric/Folk Black
Contemporaries: Wolves in the Throne Room, Aethyrick, Blaze of Sorrow, Gloosh, Fellwarden
From the mythic, grey-green mists of Scotland comes the reverberated, melodious folk black of Ruadh (pronounced “ROO-ah”), who despite only forming two short years ago have already produced their second full-length album, entitled The Rock of the Clyde. Although the production is a bit thin, this independently produced album is spectacular in every other way, from composition, to songwriting, to dynamics, and beyond. Resplendent ebbs and flows abound throughout the five meandering tracks that make up this magnificent effort. Hear for yourself by clicking play below now!
6. The Hallowed Catharsis (Vancouver, British Columbia, CAN)
Album: Killowner EP
Release Date: June 2nd, 2020 (Lacerated Enemy Records)
Genre: Progressive Death
Contemporaries: Obscura, Beyond Creation, Inanimate Existence, Gorod, Svengahli
Featuring short compositions that are jampacked with progressive/technical death delectableness and enhanced by jazzy influences and interludes, Vancouver, British Columbia’s The Hallowed Catharsis (or THC for short) have just released their fourth EP in seven years, Killowner, out now on Lacerated Enemy Records. Despite having never released a full-length album, The Hallowed Catharsis have still built a solid reputation upon tight, technical performances replete with uncontained vim and fury. Killowner? Absolutely killer. Next from THC? A full length. Pretty please, with sugar on top. And a cherry.
That wraps up yet another edition of “6 Bands You May Not Know, But Should” from Hated One Metal Reviews and Interviews. Thank you as always for reading. Stay safe and strong, EVERYONE. Diversity of life and all its existence (which thus includes humanity’s art, which thus includes metal) is all around you, and always has been... Embrace it, don’t hate it! \m/