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Albums of 7/5/24

The most interesting releases of the week!

Black Hole Deity – Profane Geometry

Profane Geometry, released on Everlasting Spew Records, follows up on the promise from 2021’s Lair of Xenolich EP. Black Hole Deity play proggy death metal about aliens, gods, and similar subjects. The band has a bit more bit than Blood Incantation and isn’t as melodic as Xoth. Profane Geometry is closer to a calmed down and more introspective Tomb Mold.

There’s an edge to Profane Geometry, but it feels unforced. The guitarwork is spectacular. The performer manages to fly and fret around solos and riffs with an appearance of effortlessness, and also manages to make the chugs interesting via some solid tone and intonation choices. But this isn’t a one-man guitar virtuoso show. The drums are almost too busy, yet manage to hang with the music and add a sense of controlled chaos to most songs, sounding like an evil space wizard version of Keith Moon. The bass often doubles or harmonizes with the guitar. Sometimes the bass gets lost in the mix. When the only complaint about a performance is “I wish I could hear more if it” something went right. The vocals simply rock. This guy’s tone just fits this style of cosmic death metal perfectly. Wrap it all around some stellar songwriting and put it in a 30 minute package, and you end up with something any death metal fan should check out.

Wormed – Omegon

Wormed are brutal death metal giants. Omegon, the band’s first full-length in eight years, was released on Season of Mist, and will not change your opinion of them. If you’re like me, that’s because you already thought they were great and Omegon just reinforces everything you liked about the band. This is brutal death metal on the bouncy and jovial side, far removed from something like Molesting The Decapitated, 4 – “Enduring Freedom”, or Instruments Of Torture. And while the band members and righteous brutal death metal fans might be dismayed by hearing a band described as “jovial,” hopefully hearing that this is the best album of the week and a worthy addition to an ascendant catalog will soften the blow.

There is plenty of space on Omegon. Production-wise, Wormed has given all instruments their own spot in the mix, a move which could have resulted in a more artificial sound but instead stretches out the brutality and blutness of the band’s tone. And of course, Wormed write about space and the universe. But this sense of space invades the songwriting as well. Instruments drop out, melodies pause, complete or partial silence takes over. This isn’t a brutal death metal band afraid to let go of the chugs. The songs on Omegon contain some intricate writing that enhances Wormed‘s heaviness and creates a sonic setting separate from other brutal death metal bands.

Orden Ogan – The Order Of Fear

The Order Of Fear was released on Reigning Fear Music. This is power metal done right. I’ve seen comparisons of this band to Blind Guardian, but you can also hear the Helloween/Gamma Ray influence in their music. Orden Ogan waste no time, with opening track “Kings Of The Underworld” featuring multiple earworm choruses, fast arpeggiating guitar lines that sound like stars are shooting out of the guitars when played, and a call and response made for a live audience.

This style of power metal can sound extremely hollow when all of the focus is on crafting one good chorus or riff and then forgetting to write a song around it. Orden Ogan do better than that. The big moments work because the little moments are crafted to serve them. It doesn’t hurt that the choruses are so big, so catchy, so fist-pumping, that all memory of misfires is lost when recalling the listening experience. The Order Of Fear is an album like those that you’ve heard many times before, but this archtype continues to work as well as it ever has. Of all the releases this week, Orden Ogan is the one most bursting at the seems with energy.

Malconfort – Humanism

Malconfort apparently named themselves after a reference to an alleged nazi band, which is…not great. But there’s only so many degrees of Kevin Bacon that one can play with nazi bands before it stops being useful, and there’s nothing anywhere I can find that points towards Malconfort supporting that band’s politics themselves, so here we are I guess. Outside of that, Malconfort play a style of music that is described as “black metal” somewhat inaccurately but there isn’t a better single-genre descriptor of their style. Humanism is their debut album, released on Transcending Obscurity Records.

Humanism contains free jazz blended with black metal, prog, what sounds like funk, spoken word, and I don’t know what else. The music features some groovy bass lines and high-powered energetic vocal screams, but often ends up projecting a variety of disjointed flavors into the listener’s ear than a specific, cohesive style. The result sounds entirely unique. Despite the scattered approach to song structure and music in general, Malconfort manage to built emotions through their tracks and reach satisfying conclusion. Fans of the avant-garde will absolutely eat this up.