best new metal albums September 2022

MetalMatters: The Best Metal Albums of September 2022

September’s best metal albums feature Autopsy re-affirming death metal sovereignty, City of Caterpillar’s return to off-kilter post-hardcore after 20 years, and so much more.

Nordjevel – Gnavhòl (Indie Recordings)

Nordjevel - Gnavhol

When it comes to achieving a sense of brutality in black metal, some bands like Hadopelagyal (reviewed elsewhere in this column) augment the genre’s elements in amplitude, saturating the soundscape and shaking souls by making riffs sound like monumental grinders and blast beats like the thwacking of a planet-sized tom. Others, such as Norway’s Nordjevel, maximize their barbarity in the time and frequency domains. 

Similar to their previous two full-lengths, Gnavhòl is a pummeling aural assault rooted in a deranged reflection of second-wave black metal that sounds as if a hammer drill and a circular saw were turned up to eleven and let loose to wreak havoc. There is no slowing down and there is no respite anywhere to be found on the hyper blast beats driven, inhumanely savage nine cuts. Within this trundling mass, the waves of screaming tremolos and groovier riffs that swarm and swirl around the core rhythms might appear strangely melodic, almost inviting. But listeners beware! It’s all a deceit, a portal that leads to an experience akin to dipping a scythe into honey before going on a limb-severing rampage—sweet, but deadly! – Antonio Poscic

OvO – Ignoto (Artoffact)

OvO - Ignoto

Ignoto means “unknown” in Italian and is quite a fitting title for Stefania Pedretti and Bruno Dorella new album as OvO that sees the duo descend even further into strange sonic lands. While their basic instrumentarium and palette of sounds are familiar and rooted in industrial, drone, sludge, dark ambient, and black metal, no one else dabbling with the same aesthetics sounds quite like them. There is a certain unnerving, idiosyncratic quality in their approach to mixing these genres together as if they were primarily led by some mystical philosophical concept, an abstract, nightmarish idea manifested by their music.

Divided into two multi-part compositions, “La morte muore” (“death dies”) and “Distillati di tenebre” (“darkness distillates”), the album gradually evolves from rhythmless, oppressive ambient into filthy, martial industrial, before spiraling down squishy, fluttering noises and finally dissipating into muted abstract noise. Dorella’s commanding yet fluid drumming and percussion work is again on point here, but it is Pedretti that steals the show. Her mercurial voice is both a guiding light and a decoy that shifts from demonic growls to angelic whispers. Her inflection takes shape around her equally deranged lyrics, using them as a map of this descent into madness. – Antonio Poscic

Petbrick – Liminal (Rocket)

Petbrick - Liminal

Petbrick remains probably the most interesting post-Sepultura project by either of the Cavalera brothers. Iggor Cavalera and Big Lad’s Wayne Adams create an enthralling sort of ruckus that occupies the liminal (!) space between industrial, post-punk, the tribal inclinations of Sepultura, and groove-driven electronic music. All of that, but put in a blender and splattered violently across rough walls of noise, of course.

While not quite as out-there and intense as their 2020 collaboration with Deafkids, Deafbrick, Liminal packs a significant punch in each of its 11 cuts, whether riding down the techno-pop-industrial, 1980s neon horror synth-drenched streets on “Primer”, wobbling along the Black Dice-evoking elastic noises of “Raijin”, moshing with the digital techno punk of “Grind You Dull”, or just soaking in the Beastie Boys noise hip-hop energy of “Lysergic Aura”. Add to that the several excellent vocal contributions from rappers Lord Goat and Truck Jewelz, Converge’s Jacob Bannon, Neurosis’s Steve von Till, and Rakta’s Paula Rebellato—her disembodied, shivering screams a standout on “Distorted Peace”—and what you get is an utterly brilliant if completely insane record. – Antonio Poscic

Slugcrust – Ecocide (Prosthetic)

Slugcrust - Ecocide

Formed by members of the excellent death/grind act WVRM, Slugcrust share a common extreme metal lineage with their brethren band. Having released a number of independent offerings, Slugcrust now present their first full-length record in Ecocide, a work defined by the grindcore mindset. This is the basis of it all, the lightning-fast pace and relentless havoc that only grind can provide. “Buzzard Czar” reveals this in-your-face attitude, while the combination of deep growls with the main cutthroat vocals in “No Heirs/Dead Souls” reveals the deathgrind roots. In this mode Slugcrust feel unstoppable, unleashing pure hell in the likes of “Echoless” and “Swap Mind”.

This is not all though. Slugcrust travel back to the place of origin, revealing an allure for the punk ethos. The second half of “Demise Promise” reveals as much, as the disdain for structure and order becoming apparent. “Drag Me to Agony” carries on with this D-beat approach, alternating between the awkward groove and the grind blasts. It is something that gives a polemic quality, making tracks like “Scoundrel/Wraith” and “Juris Domina” feel anthemic. Yet, Slugcrust travel to the gloomier side, adding a healthy dose of doom and sludge to Ecocide.

The very introduction to the record sees them in that mode, the heavy riffs raining down over the intoxicating groove. As the record progresses this side becomes more ominous. “Arachno-Mariticide” offers a destructive onslaught moving towards a drone/doom domain, while the devastating sludge ending with “Event Horizon” is the perfect closure. In this encapsulation of different styles, Slugcrust have created a short yet potent and very enjoyable ride with Ecocide. – Spyros Stasis

Tension Span – The Future Died Yesterday (Neurot)

Tension Span - The Future Died Yesterday

Formed by Noah Landis of Neurosis, Asunder’s Geoff Evans, and Dystopia’s Matt Parrillo during the complete isolation at the start of the COVID pandemic, Tension Span aims to rejuvenate the post-punk days of old. Setting out in June with their self-released What Future? EP, Tension Span now return with their fully-fledged full-length, The Future Died Yesterday. From the get-go with “Cracked Society”, so much of the ethos of post-punk comes through. The punk lineage, aggressive and assertive in “The Crate Song” and “Human Scrapyard” provides a sense of urgency, but there is something lurking under the surface. The dark and ominous tonality is ever present, shining like obsidian in “Ventilator” and then taking on the new waveform in the title track. 

While this old-school approach and the DIY ethos provide the foundations, the trio actually looks also outwards. The tinges of psychedelia soon come in to verify this. “Filaments” takes on a cosmic perspective, relishing the krautrock grandeur and sense of wonder. It also takes a turn for the darker when combined fully with the post-punk perspective, resulting in the darkwave inspirations of “I Can’t Stop the Process” and the dystopian sceneries of “Trepidation”.

Yet, Tension Span still favor the directness of post-punk, not just its dark aura. The weaving melodies of the title track display this sardonic sense of melody, turning towards the dark side in moments like “Covered in Blood” or the dissonant swirl of “Problem People” and the unstoppable force that is “I Have to Smile”. The Future Died Yesterday is mostly constructed on a sense of nostalgia, yet Tension Span’s grasp on the scene and its core components makes it transcend that. – Spyros Stasis



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