Happy New Year! Happy weekend. I hope your celebrations were great and your hangovers brief. While the rest of us took a well-deserved vacation, the metal scene has not slowed down dropping cool new stuff on us. Let’s see what interesting new stuff has come up this week.

Ayyur – The Lunatic Creature

First up, we have Tunisia’s Ayyur, with their latest EP, The Lunatic Creature. They’ve been making black metal since 2007, but this EP is the first release of theirs to pop up on my radar, so I was pretty excited to check it out. It’s only four songs and about twenty minutes, but The Lunatic Creature packs in plenty of great moments. The drumming is notable – solid and powerful, with some cool fills going on here. There are some great atmospheres on this EP, particularly on album opener “Lugubrious Fields”, and the whole album in general has a very doomy feel to it. The production is a bit of a mixed bag – the instruments sound fine if rather lo-fi, but the vocal effects are a bit too heavy-handed. They sounds like there’s a lot of reverb on them, which would have been great in smaller doses but is overkill on the whole EP. Despite this, The Lunatic Creature is still a really solid effort, and hopefully the first of many from Ayyur sthat make it to North America and Australia.

The Lunatic Creature was released November 30, 2018. You can check it out here: https://ayyur.bandcamp.com

S.T.E.A.M. – Osiris

Second up is Polish djent band S.T.E.A.M., who have their second album Osiris out. S.T.E.A.M serve up a solid nine tracks of djent with a strong technical edge. Osiris is also beautifully recorded – it sounds crisp without dipping into becoming too sterile. I was also a fan of the keyboards – they add an electronic edge without taking over the guitars and bass. The only element I wasn’t the biggest fan of was the clean vocals. While technically solid, they have an oversung, American-hard-rock edge that didn’t work for me. The harsh vocals are awesome, though, and the band’s lyrics are thoughtful and interesting. Overall, my favorite tracks were some of their heavier ones, particularly “The Light Reaper”. Despite my qualms with the vocals, I still highly recommend this to djent enthusiasts!

Osiris was released December 11, 2018. You can check out the video for “Let Them Rise” here: https://youtu.be/Va4_0XnYzes

Mourning Sign – Contra Mundum

For our last album this week, let’s check out some Swedish prog-death metal, courtesy of Mourning Sign. Their third album (and first post-reformation in 2016), Contra Mundum starts as basically a pure sonic assault. The tempo changes and transitions of prog are here, but they are buried under a massive wall of old-school death metal. Over the course of the album, Mourning Sign introduces a bit more variation, including some stately clean choruses and interludes, but this is very much a death metal album at its core. Contra Mundum is loaded with great heavy guitarwork and powerful growls. I particularly liked “The Defiant Pupil”, with it’s killer riff and borderline-feral vocals. Mourning Sign have put out a fantastic album after nearly twenty years away, so here’s hoping they stick around this time.

Contra Mundum was released December 20, 2018. You can check it out here: https://mourningsign.bandcamp.com/album/contra-mundum

That’s it for now. See you all next week!