Gilead Media, who continue to bring forth the metal with a slew of new releases that you need to get on. The most impressive, to me, is this new LP, II, by the Colin Marston (Krallice, Gorguts, Dysrhythmia, etc) project Indricothere. I have to admit that when I first heard about the debut Indricothere LP years ago, I was not particularly excited to hear it. Didn't sound like something that would be for me, but then I heard the LP and was really anxious to hear more. Unfortunately, there had been no output from this project since that 2008 debut - until now. And Mr. Marston is still killing it, which should come as no surprise to anyone. Marston keeps himself busy - that is for sure - so how he finds the time to make these albums is beyond my comprehension. But there's no way in hell that I will ever argue with the results. Indricothere is an instrumental project, but never sacrifices intensity or melody. Marston's technical wizardry is at the forefront here, as he concocts brilliant and explosive songs with highly detailed but not overly complex riffs, enhanced by his perfectly executed drum programming. This gets a very high recommendation from me, and even if you're not a big fan of technical music or any of Marston's other projects (but how can you not be - the new Gorguts record is a freaking monster!), you really need to check this out. You can stream an/or download it at the link above, but Gilead has taken the time and effort to commit this beast to 180-gram black vinyl, packed in a thick jacket and poly-lined black inner sleeves. It also comes with a download code so you can get your digi on. The LP is available right now, and you can order it here.
Hexer, compiling their two cassette releases. Raw, primal-sounding black metal with a pretty strong thrash influence. I really dig the guitar tones on this one, and the attack is pretty relentless; visceral and and from the gut. Not much to not like. Also on 180-gram vinyl in a thick jacket, with a vellum insert containing lyrics to the 6 songs. First pressing limited to only 300 copies, and you can get it here.
Northless. Their second full-length album, World Keeps Sinking, marks a noted progression for these guys, if not in approach or overall sound, then in terms of their songwriting and execution. They've maintained the precision assault on the senses, which is very heavy and very aggressive, but their use of melody and texture on this album is clearly a step up from Clandestine Abuse, which was already pretty damn good. They managed to produce a pummeling album that still knows when to ratchet it back just a bit to create an ominous and bleak atmosphere. I really like their previous releases, but I really like where Northless is going with this record. The 2xLP is pressed on 180-gram vinyl in an edition of 600 copies, comes packed in a gatefold sleeve, and contains a download code. Can be had from Cory at Halo of Flies or from Gilead.
Lightbearer's second full-length album Silver Tongue, also out now on Halo of Flies. The second album in what I believe is a planned trilogy telling the tale of Lucifer and serving as an homage of sorts to Phillip Pulman's His Dark Materials books, Silver Tongue is a brilliant record that I haven't been able to stop listening to. It is orchestrated and calculated, yet chaotic and instinctive as it takes us through the story of the fall, attacking theism and patriarchy along the way. Unlike many records that attempt to tell a story, this one is actually successful to that end, and has inspired me to go back to Lapsus, the band's debut album (which I initially was hot-and-cold on), to feel the full force of the story thus far. It leaves me quite ready and anxious for the third record. The album can be streamed and/or downloaded from Bandcamp, but the 2xLP is clearly the way to go. It is available in a stunning limited edition, or the standard edition (which is also quite rad) from Halo of Flies.
While you're checking out these releases, you should also know that Gilead also has the new 2xLP from VHOL (featuring John Cobbett, Aesop Dekker, Mike Scheidt, and Sigrid Sheie), while Halo of Flies has terrific records available from Amber, Rorcal, and Jungbluth, as well as a pre-order from Cara Neir (which you can also get from Broken Limbs Recordings).