9. Atriarch - Forever the End
8. Subrosa - No Help For the Mighty One
7. Pilgrim - Demo 2011
6. Aldebaran - Buried Beneath Aeons EP
5. Fyrnask - Bluostar - Generally speaking I am never very fanatical about black metal, but this album is a notable exception. While rooted in black metal, there are obvious influences of doom, folk, and ritualistic music. Fyrnask is a solo project of Germany's Fyrnd, and his first full length album since his 2010 demo. If you think black metal has become pretty stale, try this album on for size
4. Aelter - Dusk-Dawn / Follow You Beloved Compilation - I feel a little guilty including this on my list since it can hardly be considered metal, nor is it really a new release. Rather it is a compilation of Aelter's first two very limited run albums, out now on Crucial Blast. Aelter is the solo project of Blake Green, and while much of the album is droning dark ambiance, there are many sprinklings of doomy influences that clearly remind you of Green's other band Wolvserpent. It's ethereal music that I want to walk into the sunset to. Aelter does in fact have a third album out this year, but it is again very limited release and I haven't been able to track it down quite yet, so this will have to tide me over until then.
3. Lycus - Demo 2011 - dark and evil funeral doom that reminds me of Asunder. I'm eager to hear a full length from these guys.
2. Ulcerate - The Destroyers of All - While once a techy-death metal band, after a line up change up Ulcerate seems to be going in a new direction. The Destroyers of All focuses more on atmospherics, which would normally be easy to write off as being another sludgey neuroisis snooze fest, but the amazing drumming of Jamie Merat keeps this feeling rooted firmly in the realm of death metal. Just please don't start calling it fucking "post death metal".
1. Bell Witch - Demo 2011 - You can read my little blurb about Bell Witch's demo below, but needless to say this release was amazing. Unfortunately Bell Witch's bass player is back in the studio right now working on a new Samothrace album, and will subsequently be touring to promote that. Who knows when we'll actually see an album from these two.