Picks: Mutation, Decapitated, Seer

Before diving into our latest trio of newly released recommendations, take heed: there is a new Teenage Bottlerocket record out too. It’s a covers album, so we’ve dropped it behind three original albums, but we love Teenage Bottlerocket. Check out Stealing The Covers, their collection of left-field re-skins. Now, here’s some new stuff.

Mutation
Mutation III: Dark Black
Undergroove
[Spotify]

Dark Black is the latest – and, for me, the first – opportunity to explore Ginger’s, erm, industrial chainsaw side. Mutation’s new album seems to have divided reviewers, with some completely smitten and others not having it one bit. I’m all over it. ‘Authenticity’ and ‘Toxins’ scream the record into life and set a tone of all-out aggression, but the songs that follow subtly drift off into other ideas that lace the album with hints of humanity. ‘Irritant’, which has lived up to its name for some reviewers, even has a real stomp for a few seconds. For all that, it does feel like a side-project, in that it doesn’t quite have the heart and conviction of the artist’s primary business. But who cares?

Decapitated
Anticult
Nuclear Blast Records
[Spotify]

From the moment the opening track, ‘Impulse’, explodes into one of the year’s most intoxicating and most frantic riffs, Decapitated’s seventh album tears through banger after banger after banger. Reviewing Anticult was my first real encounter with the legendary Polish technical death metal crew but I’ve heard good things about their creative direction on recent albums, and this thing is a beast. By no means an easy listen for fans with no ear for the heavier side of things, it is nevertheless a more accessible outing than its roots in death metal would suggest. Huge riffs, even bigger grooves, solos to die for, and the evidence of decades of songwriting mastery. It’s fabulous.

Seer
Vol. III & IV: Cult Of The Void
Art Of Propaganda
[Spotify]

Concept albums? Pah! Concept bands are where it’s at, and Vancouver’s sludgy doomers Seer have embraced that very challenge. With Vol. I and Vol. II being released as EPs before being combined, Vol. III & IV:Cult Of The Void represents effectively their first full-length. It’s well worth your time. Its desert-friendly first half combines expansiveness and experimentation with fuzzy, gritty riffs that bring to mind some of the better known progressive metal acts. Its second half takes a different direction entirely, and if you can negotiate the somewhat abrupt jump from one to the other then the album’s conclusion is almost as rewarding as its opening.

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