The Needle Drop

progressive metal

Cynic - "Humanoid"

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Cynic has returned with "Humanoid," their first piece of new music since 2014's Kindly Bent to Free Us. Moreover, the song strikes me as a return to form following that album's disappointing mildness. The band's back to creating sharp, inventive prog-metal – and holy shit are those basslines mind-blowing!

The single didn't coincide with an album announcement, but a new one this year through Season of Mist certainly appears to be in the cards.

Slugdge - "Putrid Fairytale"

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The UK metal duo Slugdge is set to drop it's fourth full-length album in 2018, and this newest record is looking to be one the project's slimiest releases yet. As you may have already noticed from the title, much of what the band does is slug-themed (I think it's specifically giant space slugs, but don't quote me on that). However, don't let that weird narrative gimmick distract from the fact that Slugdge is one of the more versatile bands in the metal underground right now. Their sound is an even, seamless blend of progressive, death, black, and sludge metal--not something a lot of bands can pull off effectively.

While there are moments when I wish the production were a bit grimier, or that the vocals were a bit more distinct, Slugdge has got my respect. I mean, to be honest, the teaser track from this forthcoming record of theirs kicks the ass of nearly every cut from the new Mastodon album. That's gotta count for something, right?

The album's titled Esoteric Malacology, and is set to come out March 2 via Willowtip.

Spectral Lore - III

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A long, winding black metal epic from Spectral Lore on their latest album here, III. Stream it via the embed above, and take in the gargantuan crescendos, tender acoustic interludes, and incredibly hellish vocals.

Mastodon - "Chimes at Midnight"

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https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q6zU87xJoBk Back in April, Anthony talked some about "High Road," the lead single of seminal sludge and prog-metal outfit Mastodon's forthcoming record Once More 'Round the Sun. The song had a sweet soaring chorus, managing to maintain the likable catchy quality of the band's previous effort The Hunter, but thankfully the band had also amped the heaviness back up. As a single, it worked; as a song, it was decent and left us largely optimistic about the new project.

"Chimes at Midnight," the second glimpse we've been given of the album, has us even more positive. It's still somewhat straightforward, albeit to a lesser extent than "High Road" or anything on The Hunter; but it's also considerably darker and more progressive, particularly illustrated by the tromping,  synth-laced intro and coda. The art direction for this album appears to be spot-on: fantastical environments both lush and stygian. Let's hope the whole LP can handle that balance.

Once More 'Round the Sun is due our June 24 via Reprise.