"Ear Hunters" 8/5/2020 Edition

“Take heed! Vicious, bloodthirsty metal acts with recent releases are on the prowl and hunting for the fresh ears of new fans!”

· Bloodfeast Ritual (Los Angeles, California, USA)

Release: Altars of Sacrifice EP

Date: July 24th, 2020 (Independent)

Genre: Melodic Death

FFO: Allegaeon (Ezra-Era), Amon Amarth, Kataklysm, Wolfheart, Valgrind

With plenty of classic death metal influence to make older heads happy, but with also just enough melodicism to impress modern ears, L.A.’s newest arrivals Bloodfeast Ritual are as fresh as they come. Their independently issued Altars of Sacrifice EP represents this neophyte act’s very first release, and what a release it is! Featuring five expertly composed melo-death offerings that rumble and roil, Altars of Sacrifice is one dazzling debut from Bloodfeast Ritual, so keep an eye out, for this act is coming up hard and fast. Rating: 93 / 100 (A-)

· Pale Horseman (Chicago, Illinois, USA)

Release: For Dust Thou Art

Date: July 31st, 2020 (Independent)

Genre: Sludge/Doom

FFO: Isis, Black Cobra, Indian, Bongripper, Dining with Dogs

Chicago’s Pale Horseman have been sludging and trudging their wares since 2012, and they’ve been fully fruitive in those eight years, to be sure. The recently released For Dust Thou Art marks the fifth independent full-length to come from this as yet unsigned quartet, but if the potency of For Dust Thou Art is any indicator, Pale Horseman will not remain unsigned for much longer, and they'll soon join the ever-growing list of Chicago acts who’ve made the leap from indy to major in the past few years. Upon first listen, do not skip “Scourge” or “Archangel”. Rating: 90 / 100 (A=)

· Æpoch (Cambridge, Ontario, CAN)

Release: The Scryer EP

Date: July 31st, 2020 (Independent)

Genre: Progressive Death

FFO: Revocation, Inanimate Existence, Neck of the Woods, Colosso, Brain Stem

Combining loads of riffs, changes, and a multitude of influential inflections are Cambridge, Ontario’s Æpoch, whose latest EP The Scryer is now available for consumption by the masses. Profuse with progressive guitar and bass work that borders on breakneck, stunning drums, and confident, capable vocals, The Scryer EP is akin to the cherry on top of Æpoch’s 2018 full-length opus, Awakening Inception, and should serve to only further increase this formidable trio’s visibility to fans and major labels. Excellent, excellent stuff all around. Rating: 92 / 100 (A-)

· Drouth (Portland, Oregon, USA)

Release: Excerpts from a Dread Liturgy

Date: July 31st, 2020 (Translation Loss Records)

Genre: Black Metal

FFO: Jordablod, Black Fucking Cancer, Highland, Nefarious Dusk, Serene Dark

Coming with the cacophonous, apocalyptic swirl that has become quite prevalent amongst modern black metal acts are Portland, Oregon’s Drouth. While applying a classic, muddier, black metal production style to the drums, rhythm guitars, bass, and vocals, but still allowing the lead guitars a modicum of clarity and cleanliness, Drouth’s production is best described as a hybrid between traditional and modern styles, and frankly, it just fucking works. Voluminous and venenose, Excerpts from a Dread Liturgy is the latest offering from these Portland-based prodigies, and while they may be signed to the Translation Loss family, Drouth are still seeking to build a bigger fan base outside of their home territory, so don’t delay! Get this stout release in your ears posthaste! Rating: 90 / 100 (A=)

Thank you for reading this installment of “Ear Hunters”, for checking out the bands, for listening, and for supporting metal regardless of what else is going on in the world. Stay strong and stay fucking metal. Always. \m/


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