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Hard Rock and Metal New Releases — April 13

There’s a whole mess of metal releases hitting the shelves this week, and we expect to see fans flock to record stores or to iTunes to snap up the embarrassingly rich plethora of albums. It’s almost too much to choose from — and that’s a damn good problem to have in the metal universe.

Bison B.C., ‘Dark Ages‘ (Metal Blade): If you are in a rush, then you ain’t got time for Bison B.C.’s sludge-slathered doomfest, ‘Dark Ages.’ The album is Mastodonian in scope — circa the ‘Remission’ and ‘Lifesblood’ era — and has the hairy, dude-metal breadth of High on Fire. And those are very good things. Long songs, ranging from five to eight minutes, and lots of knuckling down on guitars live alongside unfettered, dirt-caked jams. The power of the riff compels ‘Stressed Elephant’ and ‘Fear Cave,’ and Bison B.C. fire seven shots to the doom dome on ‘Dark Ages.’

Bleeding Through, ‘Bleeding Through‘ (Rise): Orange County, Calif.’s Bleeding Through are like a boiling cauldron of spilling over cathartic rage on this self-titled affair, which will remind longtime fans of the band’s earlier works, like ‘Portrait of the Goddess’ and ‘This is Love, This is Murderous.’ BT’s brand of metalcore has a decidedly black metal cast, thanks to the keyboard ambience and Euro-influenced speed with which they play. Sometimes you have to take a step back and summon your past in order to move forward, and Bleeding Through do just that. ‘Anti-Hero’ and ‘Fifteen Minutes’ are surly, sanguine blasts.

Cancer Bats, ‘Bears, Mayors, Scraps and Bones’ (Good Fight): God is certainly shedding his grace on thee, the ‘thee’ in this case being metalheads, since Canada’s Cancer Bats have a PhD in combining hardcore, punk and straight-up metal into an urgent, distorted, noisy but always toe-tapping sound. You’ll give it up like a virgin on prom night to ‘Scared to Death.’

Ov Hell, ‘The Underworld Regime‘ (Prosthetic): Cracked mirror, cracked mirror on the wall. Who’s the blackest of them all? Why, Ov Hell, which counts members of Gorgoroth and Dimmu Borgir amongst their ranks, of course. ‘The Underworld Regime’ functions like a gore/horror film soundtrack. You’ll get incurable case of gooseflesh from the creaking doors, the hushed whispers and invocations of murder and slaughter on ‘Post Modern Sadist’ or the speed and terror imparted by ‘Devil’s Harlot.’ Satan himself deserves a production credit on ‘The Underworld Regime.’

Son of Aurelius, ‘The Farthest Reaches‘ (Good Fight): In a word, deathcore. That’s Son of Aurelius. These California newbies play with noodly riffs, dream-haunting and throat-tearing growls and surprisingly intricate guitar work. Even with all the bluster and layered vocals, songs like ‘Let Them Hate and Fear’ are dosed with just enough melody and quirk factor to make them memorable.

Vampires Everywhere, ‘Lost in the Shadows’ EP (Century Media): Vampires and auto-tuned vocals are two prominent elements in the pop culture landscape these days, and L.A. bloodsuckers Vampires Everywhere have emerged from their coffins in the shadows to take down the city of Angels with their melodic, catchy and trend-subscribing metalcore. This bloodthirsty, two-song EP, featuring breakdowns and singalongs on ‘Immortal Love’ and ‘The Embrace,’ is available at 685 Hot Topics, undoubtedly situated next to those ‘Team Edward’ buttons.

Woe of Tyrants, ‘Threnody‘ (Metal Blade): Last week, we exclusively premiered the track ‘Venom Eye’ from Woe of Tyrants’ new album, ‘Threnody,’ so you should already have an inkling of this Ohio band’s sound. The rest of ‘Threnody’ fuses thrashy, shred-tastic riffing with death metal grunts. The result? It should incite you to headbang with the type of fury normally reserved for Slayer. If ‘Creatures or the Mire’ and ‘Tempting the Wretch’ don’t get your blood flowing, then your plasma must be a river of ice.

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