I first wrote about Curitiba, Brazil's Colligere 20 years ago, but had sort of lost touch after covering their split with Faded Grey back in 2003. So, imagine my surprise when the band hit me up last weekend regarding a brand new full-length after a 15-year silence!? (I love it when that happens!) With Fora de Mim, it seems they haven't lost a step. Expect intense melodic hardcore with technically layered guitar riffs in the vein of stuff like Strongarm and Shai Hulud, though a little more mid-paced and with a more emotive vocal delivery that leans toward singing rather than scathing shouts. Though slightly different end results, Colligere would pair quite well with fellow Brazilians Nothing in Between, who released one of my favorite albums of the year, so that's a high compliment. Crisp, clear production gives the bass plenty of room to breathe, while panning the guitars to highlight the stellar interaction between the two. This is really, really good. I'm gonna have to see if I can get my hands on their older CDs that I missed now...
The debut EP from Ekstasis, Paralyzing Impermanence, has gotten a decent amount of traction seeing as the project features Damien Moyal (Culture, Morning Again, As Friends Rust, etc.) on vocals, alongside Dave Williams (Sedatives, Crusades, etc.) handling the music. On top of that, since the time of this recording they've added freakin' Fred Estby (Carnage, Dismember, etc.) on drums!? This one cranks out three tracks plus a Morgoth cover, and hits my ears like All Out War gone gnashing, early-'90s death metal—mostly fast 'n' fierce, but not boring, and with subtle dashes of doomy atmosphere from time to time, too. I have to give them credit for not going the HM-2 route as well—there's a little of that grit in here, but not full-blown, which could have been a little overdone and "too easy" at this point, if you know what I mean. It's also interesting that the Morgoth cover fits right in, though the originals don't really give off that influence as obvious. Sound-wise, I'd probably be willing to sacrifice a dash of the clarity for added low-end oomph to beef things up, but this is a solid start, for sure.
The somewhat "mysterious" Fleshwater seemed to have an instant buzz right from the start, I suppose due to lineup ties to Vein.fm, despite the fact that there are almost no sonic similarities other than being heavy and creatively atypical. I half-jokingly referred to Fleshwater's demo as "grunge-gazing alternative post-metal emo-rock," which... is... not exactly wrong. The material is surgingly heavy, melodic and memorable, and utilizes a multi-vocal approach contrasting everything from lush singing to abrasive screams. Plus, We're Not Here to be Loved was recorded by Kurt Ballou at GodCity, so you know it sounds great. I'm kinda surprised that this one's not instantly hitting me in that "year-end favorite contender" type of way, because it totally has all of the ingredients that I tend to flip for, and at its best is very fuckin' good.
Vinyl looks to be sold out from Closed Casket Activities (a second pressing's on the way), but you can still grab a CD (which is the superior format anyway). Hit Bandcamp for digital, or stream via Spotify.
Simøne is a Calgary, Alberta, Canada duo that records live. Their latest, "To Love Eternal Failure," is a 20-minute, one-song EP of nasty doom/sludge that starts morphing into some atmospheric post-/prog vibes around the seven-minute mark; before reverting back to raw, sledgehammer-to-skull beatings after a few minutes. At times the approach starts to break down into noise-laden drones and sizzling feedback, but some of the more structured, subtly dissonant riffs (starting at 13:25, for example) are especially promising. It seems this piece was written and recorded back in 2019, so it's a little unclear how active (or not) this project might be at present...
Soft Blue Shimmer
I could've sworn I'd written about Soft Blue Shimmer once before, but apparently not!? Well, I was impressed by their debut album a couple of years back, and just-released full-length #2, Love Lives in the Body, continues to demonstrate a fantastic blend of lightly gaze-y dream pop-type material that occasionally ventures into alt.-rock energy or even a few post-punk undercurrents. Soft Blue Shimmer falls right into that niche of "hip" sounds that so many bands are exploring these days, but I must admit that they're hitting the mark in far superior fashion compared to the bulk of what's out there. The compositions aren't so spacious and dreary that they get bland, and there's enough intermittent zest to jump out and demand your attention. Great production certainly aids their entrancing overall sound, too.
LPs are available on aqua blue inside cloudy clear (limited to 300) or bone with red haze (limited to 200) through Other People Records and estimated to ship mid-November, but... mine has not, so... mentally prepare for delays, as has become the new norm. Hit Bandcamp for digital, stream on Spotify, and so on.
Weight is an absolutely ace metallic hardcore unit from Oslo, Norway. Their take on the genre reminds me a ton of the almighty True Blue—which is essentially to say that it brings to mind metal-leaning NYHC circa 1989 - 1991 (think Best Wishes, Rest in Peace, etc.). Toss in a touch of Venice-esque crossover and the occasional Clevo divebomb, and there you have it! Violence of the Divine is the group's debut eight-song LP (following a three-song 7" back in 2019), and noticeably improves upon their already strong foundation of solid writing and crisp production (note the incredibly admirable bass presence/performance). Very much recommended.
Snag an LP from The Essence (black or white vinyl) or Control Records (black or clear vinyl). If you're in the U.S. and shipping rates sting, black vinyl might float over to some distros at some point. Violence of the Divine hasn't shown up on Bandcamp yet, but you can always stream on Spotify and the like.