Best Albums Releasing Week of 02/23/2024

Plenty of music this past week. Enjoy!


Real Estate - Daniel
Real Estate's sixth full length continues their dreamy, jangly indie surf rock sound and it's as catchy and rich sounding as ever. I haven't really listened to this band intently since the release of Days in 2011, but this latest release makes me want to check out the three past releases I've missed. The track "Water Underground" really just sets a vibe that I could jam to all day.

Allie X - Girl With No Face
Canadian synth-pop/indie-pop with almost a darkwave undertone. Some darker, spookier vibes from the more sparse parts where the vocals take the spotlight.

Whitelands - Night-bound Eyes Are Blind To The Day
Dreamy shoegaze awash in guitar tone and reverb. Wonderful whispery, icy vocals and an overall warm and comforting feel.

Romance - Velvet
Second shoegaze for the list! More whispery goodness vocally. This release has a grungier feel- having moments where the guitar sounds a bit more indie rock or heavier- but then veers into the wall-of-sound typical of shoegaze. A bit more edge to this one.

Metal (primarily clean singing)

Toxickull - Under the Southern Light
Speed/heavy metal with a strong 80's throwback feeling from Lisbon, Portugal. The leads, the driving rhythms, great vocals- this just does everything right. Gives me strong echoes of Judas Priest, musically and vocally.

Coltre - To Watch With Hands... To Touch With Eyes
2nd Dying Victims Productions release on this list already! When they're not releasing death/thrash gem after gem, they're releasing throwback rock and metal that avoids cheese or lazy phone-in rehashes of old acts. More throwback metal done right. This is a London-based heavy metal band bringing some great 70s/80s hard rock feel on top of their NWOBHM tendencies. Great stuff.

Traveler - Prequel to Madness
Heavy metal from Calgary, Alberta. Plenty of old school influence here, with a modern flair to it. Plenty of great singing vocals with a trad vibe here. Genre influence is varied with some speed and thrash feel depending on the tracks.

Iron Curtain - Savage Dawn
Spanish speed/heavy/thrash metallers' fifth full-length. Yet another DVP release. 3rd of the week! Great heavy metal. Vocals split the difference between aggressive and clean. They don't lean too hard into harsh territory, but definitely have plenty of grit and a bit of reverb which almost gives a gang-vocal feel. Not a fan of the word "Gypsy" being used in one of their song titles, though its use has been so commonplace for so long, that I get that many don't think twice about it- but read a bit about it if you're inclined. Not excusing it, just understanding how the misstep can happen.

Acero Letal - Legiones
Chilean speed metal with some lower register vocals and fun vocal melodies and harmonies. An older style production and tone here. Nice tempo changes, a few odd time signature moments, especially given the genre. Nice guitar solos and effect choices. It's hard to explain this one without you just hearing it for yourself. It kicks ass!

Metal (primarily harsh vocals)

They Came From Visions - The Twilight Robes
Medieval black metal from Ukraine with folk-horror themes. A great majestic feel without being too bright or post-metal. Vocals are a very clear raspy high pitch yell that works perfectly with the music. Plenty of atmosphere here without being atmo-black. Some interesting sung interludes atop cleaner guitar tones that don't overstay their welcome. They play around with moments of dissonance too. This band knows how to keep things varied without falling deep into one single sound- even all within the same song. Great album art and presentation here too.

Fange - Perdition
Mentioning this again because it's great and I think got pushed from it's original February 9th release date. Industrial sludge from France- what an awesome an unexpected combo of sounds. Absolutely skull-crushing thick bass and riffs with some noisy industrial drum edge.

Chapel Perilous - The Tower of Silence
Punishing black metal from Australia, and as far as I can tell, they keep away from the problematic parts of the scene there- or at least they're so unknown we have no info to make a determination. Modern production here so this really hits hard. It's not overproduced. Expect some absolutely unhinged vocal shrieks and twisted sounds among the general sinister black metal blasts here. Great drumming, plenty of dissonance. Some really weird avant-garde intros or interludes that I cannot easily describe. You also get some electric organ spookiness that basically turns track 2, "Race with Death" into some weird layered mix of Castlevania organs mixed with black/death metal, almost like I've got Keygen Church playing at the same time. WTF. This thing is all over the place.

Chainsword - Born Triumphant
Polish death/doom Bolt Thrower worship. What else is there to say! Nice growls and beefy riffs. Get some!

Downwinder - Claws of Despair
Greek punk-influenced death metal / crust / stenchcore. Nice grimy vocals, solid punk drumming and riff influence.

Job for a Cowboy - Moon Healer
It's been 10 years since Sun Eater, and yet Moon Healer nearly feels like Sun Eater Part II. It continues with the group's breakaway from their pre-Sun Eater era which leaned far more towards deathcore/death metal. They did their old style well too- but they've definitely evolved into this proggy death metal with tons of audible bass guitar playing and just solid songwriting. Constantly keeps things interesting. Solos, shrieks, growls, blasts. Lots of elements of old JFAC but continuing with their new sound and just taking what they did on Sun Eater farther forward. It feels a bit techy at times too, without being tech-death. The bass guitar really is what sells me on modern era JFAC.

Darkest Hour - Perpetual | Terminal
A Washington DC 2000's era metalcore band (one of the standouts of the genre, in my opinion) releases their 9th full-length. To be honest, I've not paid attention to Darkest Hour since The Eternal Return from 2009. Nothing afterward really grabbed my attention and that may just be because tastes change and evolve and I just always have my plate so full of music, some things get left behind regardless. However, hearing the single made me realize it might be time to bring these guys back into rotation. I am enjoying the 2000's metalcore throwback- they're still doing it well today.