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Pristina: Khe Sanh
3 out of 5 skulls

Pristina
Khe Sanh

When compared to their last EP, Khe Sanh shows a natural progression of elements that the band toyed with in the past. Embracing a more chaotic hardcore base, Pristina hit hard and often with four solid tracks of grind-influenced metal.

Don The Reader: Humanesque
3.5 out of 5 skulls

Don The Reader
Humanesque

Taking on influences from Every Time I Die to Coalesce to The Dillinger Escape Plan, this debut effort is massive in terms of its scope and sound. Often teetering on the edge of a cavernous precipice Don The Reader real themselves back in with a belying structure that could turn on you like a rabid dog going for the jugular at any moment.

Nahvalr: Nahvalr
3.5 out of 5 skulls

Nahvalr
Nahvalr

What do you get when you "open source" the creation of an album? With Nahvalr you get songs that are dense, atmospheric, dark and chaotic in nature, yet consistent across the album's duration, making for a desolate soundscape of raw, textured black metal.

Mouth of the Architect: Quietly
4.5 out of 5 skulls

Mouth of the Architect
Quietly

The sonic landscape that Mouth of the Architect has constructed on Queitly is epic, brutal and beautiful. Crushing, sludge filled riffs combine with discordant guitar noise to create a rich, textured sound while bludgeoning rhythms not only smother, but accentuate the subtle melodies found deep within each track.

Heavy Heavy Low Low: Turtle Nipple and the Toxic Shock
3.5 out of 5 skulls

Heavy Heavy Low Low
Turtle Nipple and...

This five piece from California is of the mindset that hardcore doesn't have to be completely serious and tend to take their music into obtuse directions, incorporating a variety of musical styles along the way — a frightening breathe of fresh air in a genre that sometimes can take itself a little bit too seriously

Miasma/Grauen Pestanz: Into the Fire of Isolation
3 out of 5 skulls

Miasma / Grauen Pestanz
Into the Fire of...

Into the Fire of Isolation is a brief but dark showcase of what both Miasma and Grauen Pestanz are capable of delivering. Bleak, nightmarish soundscapes mix with driving black metal to form an unholy union of diabolical proportions.

Celestine: At the Borders of Arcadia
3.5 out of 5 skulls

Celestine
At the Borders of Arcadia

The raw feel to the vocals and the down tuned, churning guitars work so well together that when you add in the crushing drums it's nearly too much to handle.

Trees: Lights Bane
3 out of 5 skulls

Trees
Lights Bane

Trees has created a dark, disturbing listening experience with their debut Lights Bane. There's so much going on in each track that it's easy to become overwhelmed within the swirling textures and abstract nature of their experimental take on black metal.

Sourvein: Ghetto Angel
4 out of 5 skulls

Sourvein
Ghetto Angel

I can safely say that anything these dudes put out in the future is going to be just plain nasty. If this EP is any indication, be prepared for more sludgy, drug-fueled mayhem than you can shake a femur at.

Tooth: Animality
3.5 out of 5 skulls

Tooth
Animality

Durham, NC based Tooth's debut EP appropriately titled Animality really is a wild combination of beastly sounds. Mixing sludgy metal, with driving rock beats and a bit of a stoner feel, this quintet fills the 4 tracks on this disc with plenty of raw, chugging energy.