Can you believe we are already in May? Time is a sonofabitch.
Before we get to the topic at hand I would like to say a quick word about the passing of a man named Klaus Shulze. If you don’t know the name it’s understandable but you should. Klaus was a German electric and ambient music pioneer, best known for his work in Tangerine Dream, which in and of itself is an insanely underappreciated group of electronic musicians. Klaus released more than 60 solo records outside of the bands and collectives he was in. Below are some links to some of his works that I believe are his finest. Klaus passed away on April 26th, 2022 following what is being referred to as “a long illness” RIP Klaus Schulze.
Now, on to the topic of the month, and while it shouldn’t be a sensitive topic, to some it is. Where is the line to be drawn in separating the music from the artist?
I’ll start off by saying, I don’t know and don’t claim to have the answer, but I have thoughts on the matter and am interested in hearing from all of you.
Recently I had an interaction with an Instagram page focussing on Black Metal, Folk Metal, paganism, medieval, art, etc. On one occasion they posted a very in-depth appreciative post for an album from Black and later Viking metal entity known as Graveland. I won’t go into details, and you can do some digging if you want, but Rob Darken, the person behind Graveland is a known racist, Nazi sympathizer, anti-race-mixing, advocate, and so much more, all in the name of being against Judeo Christians. I pointed out that supporting known Nazis is not OK, and maybe they weren’t aware. I immediately was met with personal attacks about my musical taste and the fact that it doesn’t matter if they are a piece of shit if the music is good. I started thinking about if that was true, and of course, I came to the conclusion that no, it’s not. But for me, it differs within the individual. I have enjoyed music from both sides of the political spectrum as well as all over the spectrum of religion and personal beliefs. For me, the shift is when they start attacking individuals or marginalized people where it becomes not OK, such as Graveland, and other bands like Hate Forest, Abigor, etc. Those openly Nazis within the NSBM should not be welcomed by any person of sound mind, just because they like the music. They are dangerous racists who support a movement that pushed genocide onto 6 million people.
Another side to this is the individual. I won’t even tell you what this person did, but I doubt any human being will ever be like, “yeah, Lostprophets are awesome, I don’t care what the vocalist did.
The most polarizing that I have seen when it comes to this has been the case of the band As I Lay Dying. While I am not a fan of them as an adult, I’ll admit that in high school I was into it. I saw them early on opening for Shadows Fall (2003?) and they were killer. I didn’t care that they identified as Christians, I liked their music. Then frontman Tim Labesis attempted to hire a hitman to murder his wife. Thankfully he was caught and sent to prison. Unfortunately, now he is out, and as far as I know, still working in music. I believe he even tried to go out on the road again with AILD, and he was met with open arms. To me, that is unforgivable. I could never financially or even non-financially support somebody who did what he did. I understand that prison is meant to rehabilitate an individual, butt hat is something I cannot get past. I hear everyone that says he served his time, blah blah blah, but that is something I can’t even fathom being OK with.
Alright, the soapbox is put up! Let’s talk about some music from April!
Initially, I thought April was a fairly weak month when it came to new extreme metal releases, but looking at my monthly playlist, I am seeing that I actually have more tracks than any other month so far this year. Lots of good music but not a ton that really stood out to me. So below, here are 3 EPs and 5 full-lengths that I believe stand out for the month of April!
Reputdeath – Dissecting Goryfication
While technically classified as a demo, this Malaysian trio released an extremely polished, short but concise piece of death metal. This is that filthy death metal you have been looking for in 2022. The 4 tracks that make up this demo run at around 19 minutes and not one of those minutes is wasted. The Reek of Emptiness is a personal favorite.
Mistcavern – Into Twilight
Iron Bonehead Productions
I don’t know a ton about Mistcavern, but what I do know is that they are a 4 piece black metal project from Hungary and that this EP kicks a lot of ass. It’s that slow burn black metal that does an amazing job of building what I can only describe as a frozen swamp of sound, with some killer synths that don’t overstay their welcome but add just the touch of haunting melody that makes black metal so interesting.
Nuclear Christ – Twisted Idols for Nihilism
Goat Throne Records
First of all a huge shoutout to Texas label Goat Throne Records for showing me this literally in the 11th hour. Again, as I have said a million times, I am a sucker for cool artwork, and the artwork just screamed old-school death metal, and that’s exactly what it is, an unrelenting assault of Florida death metal. The genre these days is so overly saturated with death metal bands, but this 4 piece really has the chops to stand above a lot of them. I can’t wait to see what is next for them.
The digital version sits at 6 tracks but if you order the tape, you get an absolutely killer cover of Blood Feasts, Remnants.
The Spirit – Of Clarity and Galactic Structures
What is it with me and spaced themed death and black metal bands? I think for far too long we were inundated with gore and satan (foreshadowing for later down this list) for so long that the newest space hype is real. It’s no secret that Blood Incantation is my current favorite band, and last month I absolutely loved Stargazer from young up and comers Astral Tomb as well.
This is the 3rd album from this German duo and IMO their best so far. It takes a much more subtle approach than its peers, yet channels its aggression and ferocity in much more sophisticated ways. I know the word progressive get’s thrown around so much when people can’t properly classify something but this is in every good way a piece of fantastic progressive metal that knows exactly what it wants. This one will be talked about a lot on end-of-the-year lists.
Incandescence – Le Coeur De L’homme
Profound Lore Records
Another duo, this time from Canada. This is the pair’s fourth full-length album. Incandescence consists of a musician in Phillipe Boucher. If you don’t know the name you should, he performs in two other bands that always deliver in Beyond Creation and Chthe’ilist. In 2018 he was accompanied by vocalist; Louis-Paul Gauvreau.
Often times I hear the phrase “mature black metal which is a bit cringy, but this band understands what that means and delivers something that almost seems sandboxy, meaning that no matter where you are in the album, you may be experiencing something different, but you always know you’re in that sandbox. This album feels epic, without being too fanservicey. If I had one complaint is that something feels off about the mix. I can’t put my finger on it, but it’s so minimal that I assume most won’t pay any mind.
Satan – Earth Infernal
Metal Blade Records
Satan has a strange history when it comes to album releases. They formed in 1979 and were part of the New Wave of British Heavy Metal or NWOBHM along with bands like Iron Maiden, Saxon, Tygers of Pan Tang, and many more. They released their first full length in 1983, changed their name to Blind Fury and released their second album in 1985, then after that changed their name back to Satan and released a third album, but technically second album (?) in 1987.
In most cases, the quality of bands from this ear begin to spiral but not Satan. They took a long hiatus from 1987 to 2013 reuniting with the original lineup for some one-off shows. Releasing a brand new full length in 2013 called Life Sentence, after that they would release 2015’s Atom by Atom, 2018’s Cruel Magic, and this year’s Earth Infernal. All better than the previous. Seriously, I’ve never seen a band have this much of a renaissance this late in their careers!
Riddled with eloquent social commentary, amazing riffs, and mid-range yet surprisingly melodic vocals, it all spews into a heavy metal masterpiece. Literally.
Sentient Horror – Rites of Gore
Redefining Darkness Records
Now here we go! Just some straight-up death metal! This is what OSDM worship should be. An homage to the past without seeming like a copy and paste/paint by numbers death metal album.
New Jersey should be proud of what this 4-piece is doing. This album is monstrous. The production is punishing while maintaining a clean and polished sound that is often overdone, especially on technical death metal albums.
This is their third quality release in their existence and I don’t see them slowing down anytime soon. This album would stand alone on the battlefield of death metal this month if it wasn’t for one band…
Undeath – It’s Time… To Rise from the Grave
I first became familiar with Undeath when I first heard their 2019 demo Sentient Autolysis. It was recommended to me by a friend because I was talking about how much I was loving what bands like Tomb Mold were doing. That demo is definitely rough around the edges but I liked what I heard as far as potential goes.
Their first full length came out right before my birthday in 2020 and I picked it up digitally from Bandcamp as shows weren’t happening at that point. While I really like their full-length debut, at the time I was a little disappointed, maybe the mix just wasn’t agreeing with me, but something seemed off. Hell maybe it was 2020 and we were all off.
When Rise from the Grave was announced I immediately preordered the tape. I knew this one was going to be killer, I just had a feeling we weren’t going to experience a sophomore slump from this 5 piece from upstate New York. I was right! Within the first few tracks, I knew this was going to be an album-of-the-year contender. Production is a little muddy but it works. Plus who doesn’t love songs about zombie androids?!
Well, there we have it! April 2022 is now a thing of the past and we will never live through it again. Please support all of these incredible bands by visiting their Bandcamp pages all linked above and buying their music or giving them a follow.
You can support Ranting Media by following our social media labeled on the left side, and below is the Sounds of the Void Instagram page. At the time of writing this, I am 2 follows away from 600 followers! I want to be a safe haven for people to talk and appreciate all that is amazing about extreme metal. As always, stay disgusting.