Originally known as The Badeda Ladies between 2011 and 2013, the three-piece psych/sludge/post-metal outfit Thera Roya have been hard at work in the studio as of late. Since the recent name change they have issued two EPs, participated on three splits, and unleashed their Stone & Skin full-length independently earlier this year. While sticking to a similar sound most of the time, each release tends to stand as it’s own experience. But does Masterful Universe, their latest effort, live up to those same expectations, or is it more of a rushed endeavor to wrap the year up with?
One of Austria’s most recognizable metal exports, Belphegor have returned to unleash their specific brand of hell with Totenritual. As it stands, Nuclear Blast Record has issued a few lyric videos for this release, all of which seem to showcase a slightly different, more calculated rendition of the act. With hints at leaving behind the madness of their most recent efforts in favor of a traditional black/death metal recording. But are these glimpses evidence of another shift in creativity, or will it be business as we have become accustomed to as of late?
Incantation, death metal’s most prolific proveyors of profane punishment, have built their name around unrelentingly brutal material one release after another. Including 1992’s debut outing Onward to Golgotha, they have issued ten full-length efforts among a myriad of miscellaneous recordings, and have seen a number of line-up changes as well including the fairly recent departure of Immolation guitarist Alex Bouks in 2014, the very same year of the group’s last studio offering titled Dirges of Elysium. However, it’s now 2017, and we find the entity moving from Listenable Records to Relapse Records for the release of Profane Nexus, their eleventh opus of nightmare fuel. But have the past three years and aforementioned line-up alteration further refined their beloved sound, or has all of this only crippled an otherwise crippling experience?
Iced Earth: A band whose name brings up a great deal of praise and nostalgia within the metal community. The group’s signature sound has led to the release of a number of classic albums since storming on the scene in 1990 with their self-titled debut and renowned follow-up Night of the Stormrider a year later. They have gone through a number of vital line-up changes since then, but have always come out strong until recent years. Despite mixed reception to the prior two albums featuring new vocalist Stu Block, the group continues to carry on, evident with their latest offering Incorruptible, their thirteenth studio full-length. But is it a return to the aggressive early days as the lead single “Seven Headed Whore” alludes to, or is that tease simply a mask on the face of the deceiver?
Clouds Taste Satanic, one of doom metal’s best hidden secrets, is a four-piece hailing from New York City, New York. Originally formed in 2013, the group has since unleashed two surprisingly different sounding full-lengths since inception, both of which meeting with plenty of critical and fan approval. Roughly one year after Your Doom Has Come dropped in 2015, which followed 2014’s To Sleep Beyond the Earth debut, we now face their third creation tited Dawn of the Satanic Age. Is it a successful new outing or change in direction? If not, does it continue to expand on their most recent effort?