Since it’s friday, there’s a few releases today worth mentioning, and quite a diverse bunch we have – well, no need beating around the bush… let’s just start out with the one I’ve been anticipating the most…

Schammasch – Triangle (Prosthetic Records)

This album is quite a beast to get through – clocking in at 100 minutes, split into 3 (conceptually and musically) distinct parts, all conceptually interconnected in what appears to be one of the most ambitious metal projects to appear for quite some time.

Schammasch grounds their music in what could be called the post-black scene (the pr on their bandcamp page calls it “forward-thinking black metal” – a delightfully provocative statement), and even though the means of expression draws in influences from all over the place (just as an example – the delightful clean guitar-solo at the beginning of Above The Stars Of God), all is tightly integrated into the work and made to both express a whole – and become a whole.

This is definitely an album I’m looking forward to immersing myself in – both musically and conceptually. And an album that ought to make quite a few end-of-year lists (SBL doesn’t do end-of-year lists – but I imagine this album will rotate quite a bit at the SBL mansion [well – I haven’t got a mansion as such, just a run-down old house from the late 19th century – but you get the drift?]) and help vibrate its foundations.

Joy – Ride Along (Tee Pee Records)

This album starts out with some delightful slide and uses that to build quite a trip through retro-acid-psychedelia. Effects-laden vocals, generally fuzzy, dirty, lo-fi sound, acidy and spacey guitars, in fact, music great for disappearing on a psychedelic cloud, as long as you don’t mind a bumpy ride with some fast corners taken. It’s not terribly original, of course, but well-performed and definitely groovy. Actually – it is a Joy.

In effect this is an album that makes it damned hard to be sitting still – and given that I have to while listening right now, the foot-tapping gets rather intense.

Rising – Oceans Into Their Graves (Indisciplinarian)

Starts with a riff that’s almost larger than life, chugging along at mid-tempo, and an almost 80’s-like sense of melody, and representing the album excellently so.

On their new album, rebooted Danish metal band Rising have made somewhat of a change of musical direction compared to earlier releases – but it’s a well-executed one (although, as always, some fans will be disappointed)

Even though one can hear influences from all kinds of genres (black, prog, power etc.), I find there’s a definite Heavy Metal feel over this recording (yup – with captial letters, like back when…). Clarity of sound, emphasis on big, soaring vocals, guitar-centric. All of it well-executed, with both a reverence towards what inspires them, and a will to create something their own.

It actually does remind me a somewhat of the more genre-bending bands from the 80’s – Savatage comes to mind. And on top of that, throughout the album one name kept popping into my head – Dio.

Miserable – Uncontrollable (The Native Sound)

Miserable stradles that (sometimes) somewhat uncomfortable line between being misanthropic and being cheeky – where the whole difference lies in the listeners ability to recognize whether the pain and misery is for real, or if it’s just a tool. On top of that, the album in my mind places itself firmly in the Morrissey school of songwriting, where the greys are that bit more grey and intolerable, the sundays that much more unbearable.

That being said, Uncontrollable convinces me, and presents itself as a believable piece of misanthropic noise-pop (somewhat dreamy and ethereal), building layer upon layer throughout the album, reaching zenith on the endtrack, the instrumental Saudade.

Nice one to wedge in between two really mean black metal albums, to actually be able to turn the sun black.

Lord Mantis – Nice Teeth Whore (New Density)

Too fast to be sludge. Too heavy to be black. Too all around cool to be industrial. Lord Mantis incorporates key parts of all three genres in creating quite an interesting blend of caustic and unrelenting metal. The bluesy and heavy as hell riffs of sludge, the uncompromising attitude (not to speak of the screeching vocals) of black, the repetitive, somewhat machine-like groove of industrial – without falling into the trap of becoming either one of them with the other parts welded on after the fact.

Great piece of blackened sludge that makes its presence felt even after its ended.