Panopticon – Roads to the North

The latest album from Panopticon not only combines black metal with bluegrass and American folk music, but it’s a bonafide musical epic as well.

Wolves In the Throne Room – Celestite

Wolves In the Throne Room come through with an electronic and ambient change of pace on this new record of theirs.

The Soft Pink Truth – Why Do The Heathen Rage?

Drew Daniel of Matmos embarks upon some truly unforseen black metal covers on this latest album of his under the Soft Pink Truth name.

Mayhem – Esoteric Warfare

Mayhem returns with a new record and an old school black metal sound.

Black Anvil – “Until the End”

New York black metal outfit Black Anvil has dropped a new single from its upcoming third full-length effort Hail Death. “Until the End” is the project’s third single and effectively confirms this new record to be the band’s most ambitious yet. Like the previous two singles, it clocks in at around seven minutes, longer than any song on their first two LPs; moreover, it contains beautifully harmonized guitar leads like  those within the disc’s nine-minute-long opener “Still Reborn.”

Give the track a listen above and look forward to Hail Death arriving on May 27 via Relapse Records.

Agalloch – The Serpent & The Sphere ft. Elliot Quinn

With fellow reviewer Elliot Quinn, I talk about the fifth full-length album from Portland blackened folk outfit Agalloch.

Mayhem – “VI.Sec.”

Next month, previously mentioned Norwegian black metal titan Mayhem will return with its first album in seven years, Esoteric Warfare. And as their label observes, they are indeed “back with a vengeance!” This latest track “VI.Sec.” goes through a number of brutal phases, whether the band be at semi-melodic crawl or amid a flurry of tremolo guitar and blast beats. The wretched vocals a little after the minute mark are particularly intense. I’d describe them as akin to the squawk of a velociraptor – abrasive stuff. Happy listening!

Esoteric Warfare is due out June 10 via Season of Mist. Stream another track “Trinity” here via Metal Insider.

The Soft Pink Truth – “Black Metal”

Drew Daniel, best known as one half of Baltimore-based electronic music duo Matmos, is back with his first album in ten years under his handle The Soft Pink Truth. The album is, strangely enough, a love letter to the black metal genre – just in case you couldn’t discern that from the title of this lead single. And yeah, it’s a compelling combination of black metal and house music, featuring vocal assistance from fellow Baltimorian artist Bryan Collins. There are some head-turning guests on this thing by the look of it – the album apparently opens with a gay spoken-word narration from Antony Hegarty and Wye Oak‘s Jenn Wasner lends her voice to a song called “Ready to Fuck.” Color me intrigued.

Why Do the Heathen Rage? is due out June 17 via Thrill Jockey.

Young and in the Way – “Be My Blood”

“Blackened crust” has got to be high in the running for nastiest genre name. Not many bands have a high enough filth factor to rise to this descriptor’s occasion, but among the furious few is Young and in the Way. Hailing from Charlotte, North Carolina, the quartet makes music that demands being set to frenetic footage of the band performing so hard that blood covers their faces, the frontman wretching at his reflection in a mirror held by a robed death figure, and naturally, myriad glass shit breaking. At least, that’s the deal with their new single “Be My Blood,” which could be called a treat if you’re into some seriously confrontational music. If that’s the case, check it out above and enjoy!

“Be My Blood” is taken from When Life Comes to Death, due out May 27 via Deathwish. It’s their sophomore LP, after 2011′s I Am Not What I Am.

Lord Mantis – Death Mask

Lord Mantis’ latest record bring noise and ambitious songwriting into the fold of their heavy, blackened sludge.