1. Valdrin (Cincinnati, Ohio, USA)
Album: Effigy of Nightmares
Release Date: June 12th, 2020 (Blood Harvest Records)
Genre: Melodic Black
Contemporaries: Naglfar, Dark Fortress, Hecate Enthroned, Vananidr
Returning with their hauntingly canorous methodology for a third full-length effort, Cincinnati’s Valdrin weave a monstrous web of old-school echo together with a modern melodicism, dissonance, and clarity of production to fantastic effect upon Effigy of Nightmares. Chillingly cold in structure but surprisingly warm in execution and delivery, Valdrin’s Effigy of Nightmares is six ominous arrangements laid out brilliantly, both in order and in effect. The strongest numbers? The first single, “Red Burning Candles of Hatred”, and the epic closer, “Down the Oubliette of Maelstrom”.
2. The Rite (Denmark/Italy, EUR)
Album: Liturgy of the Black
Release Date: June 19th, 2020 (Iron Bonehead Productions)
Genre: Modern Black
Contemporaries: Venom A.D., Denial of God, Funerary Bell, Master’s Hammer
First blasting upon the scene in 2018 with their debut EP, The Brocken Fires, the international black metal collaboration known as The Rite blew many a mind with their back-to-basics, almost doom-like approach to the black metal genre. And now, here amidst the plague and social upheaval that is the month of June in the year 2020 of the Common Era, The Rite have offered up their inaugural full-length mass, Liturgy of the Black, for all to devour and consume. Infernally dark and devilishly decadent, Liturgy of the Black is a stunning release worthy of all praise and adulation, and is unequivocally one of the best releases of the year, in any genre.
3. Serocs (Guadalajara, Jalisco, MEXICO)
Album: Vore EP
Release Date: June 26th, 2020 (Everlasting Spew Records)
Genre: Extreme Technical Death
Contemporaries: Cryptopsy, Soreption, Unfathomable Ruination, Carrion Vael
Prolific and punishing, Mexico’s Serocs aren’t the newest act on the block by any stretch, but since becoming an internationally dispersed venture in 2012, not only has the quantity of releases from this extreme technical terror increased exponentially, so too has the quality of each subsequent release. Still building renown, though, Serocs should get another big boost of listeners on the strength of their latest EP, Vore, out now via Everlasting Spew Records. Containing five wickedly sinister new cuts and a couple demo versions of some pre-2012 material, this mini-LP is chock full of killer music from start to finish. Don’t sleep on this sensational EP!
4. VoidCeremony (Ramona, California, USA)
Album: Entropic Reflections Continuum: Dimensional Unravel
Release Date: June 26th, 2020 (20 Buck Spin)
Genre: Progressive/Blackened Death
Contemporaries: Obscura, Gigan, Warforged, Xoth
Ramona, California’s VoidCeremony have been honing their progressively blackened and discordant craft since 2013, but until now, only EP’s had been issued from this eclectic quartet. All that changed this past weekend, however, with the official release of Entropic Reflections Continuum: Dimensional Unravel – VoidCeremony’s debut full-length – on 20 Buck Spin. Part Obscura/Beyond Creation, part Gigan, and all uniquely its own, the music of Entropic Releflections Continuum is remarkably hypnotizing, addictive, and receives full marks for individuality and creativeness.
5. Pessimist (Weil am Rhein, Germany, EUR)
Release Date: June 26th, 2020 (MDD Records)
Genre: Classic Thrash
Contemporaries: Kreator, Havok, Warbringer, Destruction
Classically executed German thrash metal: Just saying those words automatically invokes visions of legends like Kreator and Destruction, of course, but remember when an up-and-coming act named Pessimist was also vying for their own position in the pantheon of German thrash gods? Hated One Metal Reviews remembers... and so it is then that the long-awaited return of one of thrash metal’s greatest prospects has come to pass! That’s right, ladies and germs, Pessimist is back! Featuring an all new lineup built around original vocalist Michael “TZ” Schweitzer, Pessimist’s first release in seven years, Holdout, is now available worldwide from MDD Records; and the wait has been well worth it. Featuring nine ripping new cuts, Holdout is without a doubt one of the standout thrash releases of 2020. Welcome back, Pessimist!
6. Varus (Bamberg, Germany, EUR)
Album: A New Dawn
Release Date: June 27th, 2020 (Independent)
Genre: Folk/Symphonic Death
Contemporaries: Ensiferum, Moonsorrow, Suidakra, Sometimes We Make Music
Following the Ensiferum playbook step by step is Bamberg, Germany’s folk/symphonic death metal newcomers, Varus, whose sophomore full-length, A New Dawn, just dropped independently over this past weekend. Remarkably similar to their obvious main influence, Varus set themselves apart from their idol by infusing elements of their own Germanic heritage into their titles, lyrics, and dress. Hell, even their name is a reference to the Roman general whose defeat in the Teutoburg Forest at the hands of the Germanic tribes prompted Rome to never again attempt to conquer the “barbaric hordes” of what is now modern day central and northern Germany. Musically, though, Varus compliments that of their idols nicely, and is another solid addition to the rolls of symphonic folk metal’s finest. A good listen overall.
Thank you for reading, listening, and supporting these phenomenal artists in any way you can, and stay metal. Always. \m/