Another week is in the books, which means another batch of metal records have been committed to the genre's canon and it's time to review some of them!

But first — we've got an exclusive song premiere from German stoner metal quintet High Fighter. "Darkest Days" comes off their forthcoming debut album, but I'll let singer Mona Miluski fill you in on the details:

"We all know them. Those moments you feel they are the darkest days of your life. Struggling with all your demons, the wounds and scars the past or presence may have caused. But isn't it also about to learn to live with them? 'Darkest Days' is very personal to me, and so is our entire debut album, Scars & Crosses. We are looking forward to release June 10, 2016 on Svart Records.

We all have our scars and darkest days. None should feel ashamed having them, they turn us into who we are, with all the good and bad sides. They engrave us, even if we have learned to deal with them. We must learn to love also those, who have their scars, their very own history and darkest days,without judging them for who they are. Let's drown into some darkest days, turn it up loud and enjoy the first single from High Fighter's upcoming album!"

Well said. Pre-order High Fighter's Scars & Crosses on vinyl or CD.

Stream "Darkest Days" below and get to some reading! First, we've got a small news recap and then album reviews for Blaak Heat, Coffin Lust, Electric Citizen, Gridfailure and Phobocosm!


Archaic Decapitator are set to drop their second EP in two years, Light of a Different Sun on June 7. The melodic death metal outfit tapped drummer extraordinaire Kevin Talley and they've just unleashed the new track "The Three Poisons." Bursting with melodies wrought from acts like Hypocrisy and Dark Tranquillity, they've become quite adept at severing heads clean off.

Front are Finland's latest warbringers, combining the best of natives Archgoat and their neighbors to the West, Marduk. Their Iron Overkill debut will be released on June 24 through Iron Bonehead and they've served up the new track "Heathen Resistance." Thrashy elements weave in and out, hinting at Destroyer 666-like moments in the process.

Novembre stormed back with what is possibly their best album yet, Ursa. You may remember them from a previous column in an interview with mainman Carmelo Orlando. They've just released a music video for the gorgeous track, "Annoluce."


Blaak Heat, 'Shifting Mirrors'


Blaak Heat are back with their third record, Shifting Mirrors, The psychedelic groove-riders push out a tremendous amount of sound, embodying what it means to be a power trio. Anchored by driving and hypnotic bass rhythms, the guitars routinely take on Middle Eastern melodies heightened by the cultured drumming.

A delicate balancing act between fortified riffs and hazy, desert-wandering leads, songs like "Black Hawk" are no mirage and almost to good to be believed. "Ballad of Zeta Brown" is an unrelenting uptempo instrumental and not the only track to be bereft of vocals. When they do appear, they add a perfect element and act as a bit of a secret weapon in the Blaak Heat formula.

Listen to Blaak Heat | For fans of Clutch, The Bakerton Group, Kyuss

Coffin Lust, 'Manifestation of Inner Darkness'

Hells Headbangers

Australia's killer metal band per capita might best any other country on the planet. Coffin Lust have been kicking around since 2010 and the duo have finally presented their debut record, Manifestation of Inner Darkness.

This is death metal the way they used to make it. Swirling, cavernous and claustrophobic, Coffin Lust rip off eight unadulterated and devilishly sultry tracks. "Excoriation of Mortality" brings it all on the opening track, going through Swedish-inflected grooves, blackened overtones and sustained, doomier passages. "Damnation's Bringer" is another standout track with strong-armed riffing and a dynamic arrangement.

Listen to Coffin Lust | For fans of Sadistik Exekution, Asphyx, Sempiternal Deathreign

Electric Citizen, 'Higher Time'

RidingEasy Records

Metal and rock have been a boys' club for too long and the retro / occult rock revival has done more to invite women into the fold with a surge of female-fronted acts in the last decade. Electric Citizen are among the standout acts of this ever-growing class as does their sophomore record Higher Time.

Of course Black Sabbath's influence is felt from front to back, but Electric Citizen move far beyond imitation. The groove-laden opener "Evil" is a real head-bobber that allows you to get lost in the enchanting voice of singer Laura Dolan. My personal favorite here, "Devils in the Passing Time," screams of Alice Cooper with a seeming nod to the indomitable "Black Widow." Understated organ work weaves in and out of the unwavering proto-metal riffing, so fans of the '70s take heed!

Listen to Electric Citizen | For fans of Black Sabbath, Blood Ceremony, The Devil's Blood

Gridfailure, 'Ensuring the Bloodline Ends Here'

The Compound Recs

This one is a bit more niche than a lot of other stuff featured in this column, but if you're reading this, Gridfailure probably fit into your wheelhouse. In the nebulous realm of power electronics and dark ambient, Ensuring the Bloodline Ends Here is a suffocating record from David Brenner (Theologian) that features unconventional instrumentation including the use of chains and the recording of "bizarre weather patterns."

Layers and layers of unused recordings were twisted and contorted to give birth to this hideous delight. The tension pours on as static dominates the aural spectrum, backed by frightening, warped shouts, sudden bouts of rigid stomping and dissonant droning make Ensuring the Bloodline Ends Here an unsettling release.

Listen to Gridfailure | For fans of Brighter Death Now, Anenzephalia, Archon Satani

Phobocosm, 'Bringer of Drought'

Dark Descent

Phobocosm have defied the 'sophomore slump' with a four track slab of oozing, dripping death metal that is Bringer of Drought. Obvious comparisons bring Incantation to the forefront, but Phobocosm deliver plenty outside of that realm.

"Engulfing Dust" earns its name with the crawling pace over the first two minutes before the oppressive weight of the guitars come in, picking up the tempo ever so slightly. Gargled gravel vocals keep the atmosphere dark and foreboding as each track fades out into the pitch black beyond with low, unnerving hums signaling something more sinister lying in wait.

Listen to Phobocosm | For fans of Incantation, Mitochondrion, Paroxsihzem

Top 25 Extreme Metal Albums of All Time

Three Times 'DOOM' Took Inspiration From Pantera