No Korn here, I'm afraid – but irony, to introduce a roundup of what I think are the best Metal releases from recent weeks. We've got big guns in the form of Machine Head and Mastodon, the latter of whom appeared on Later With Jools Holland recently, as well as some lesser known. So let's begin with....
Death Metal of course, and Ancient Ascendant whose debut album 'The Grim Awakening' came out a few weeks back. They’re from Reading, England (hooray!) and they play full on DM with a few thrash frills and a lot of skill. That is to say they do what they do extremely well, and as their voice develops I expect great things from them. Opener 'The Scorn Of Dead Men' sets the tone and the album benefits from being short and sweet.
Next up is Brainoil from Oakland Ca, whose 'Death Of This Dry Season' is only their second full-length in a 10+ year career. Veterans of the Oakland Sludge metal scene - populated by the likes of Neurosis, they defy their terrible name to produce psychotic sludge metal of the highest caliber. Main man Greg Wilkinson also plays in I Will Kill You Fucker. You have been warned.
Mastodon have been the next big thing in the Metal scene since their breakthrough 'Leviathan' from 2004. Previous album 2009’s 'Crack The Skye' was a mighty exploration of Prog/Metal boundaries but latest release 'The Hunter' shifts right back to short, sharp and brutal. Breathtaking musicianship and excellent songwriting put this album amongst their best.
By contrast Machine Head stick to what they know best on 'Unto The Locust' and for a band practically 20 years in existence their hot streak, which began with 2003’s 'Through The Ashes Of Empires' and continued with 2007’s outstanding 'The Blackening', is nothing short of astounding. What’s more it’s still going as 'Unto The Locust' may be their best album yet. It’s an absolute cracker, full of wrangled guitars, razor sharp drums and head shaking riffage. Perfection.
Ancient Ascendant - 'The Scorn Of A Dead Man'
Brainoil - 'Opaque Reflections'
Mastodon - 'Black Tongue'
Machine Head - 'Be Still And Know'
Machine Head - 'Darkness Within'
Listen to tracks from each of the albums in the embedded YouTube playlist above, or click here.