baest - necro sapiens
again, bounced after a few tracks. pretty decent death metal, with an old school vibe, but it just stayed at one level the entire time, which I tired of.
brand of sacrifice - lifeblood
I threw this on my list because it was hyped but, nope, still not into deathcore
black crown initiate - violent portraits of doomed escape
this one was much more my thing, but I ended up switching it off regardless. the mix really wasn't working for me, it felt kind of indistinct? maybe worth a revisit on headphones
iotunn - access all worlds
ok, NOW we're talking. I love this: huge sounding melodic progressive death metal. really nice high clean vocals, great growls, very atmospheric, great stuff!
paranorm - empyrean
I really dig this. it evokes what I love about thrash metal while bringing enough other stuff to keep it fresh and interesting. lots of interesting harmonies, great drums, great mix. I think they could probably have dropped a track: at 54 minutes, this is extremely long by thrash standards but it does *almost* earn it
significant point - into the storm
I had high hopes for this, based on its description, but it's pretty straightforward power metal. not *bad*
fantasy - beyond the beyond
70s prog rock. a lot of it feels incidental, easy listening but not much to engage with. more evocative of good prog than good itself. other parts are just good! afterthought, for example, and worried man.
atramentus - stygian
45 minutes and 3 tracks of atmospheric doom metal: sub 50bpm, organ, growls, assorted drones. what's not to love? (nothing. this rules.) I can see why this made a lot of 2020 album of the year lists
celtic frost - morbid tales
this is an early metal album, from 1984. it's still a good listen, but most of it has since been done better. still, the riff on circle of the tyrants (which opeth covered, so I had heard before) stands up, as does the half-time on dethroned emperor.
dialith - atrophy
this EP came out just last week. it's symphonic metal, but with a heavy power metal sensibility, and I love it! they released a full length last year, I'm excited to go back and listen to that
revulsion - revulsion
this is a really solid death metal album. a few interesting tracks, nothing too exceptional, but I could see myself revisiting it
cangaço - rastros
brazilian folk/death metal, this is really great! it's very dense, rhythmically complex and driven, really great bass work. it took me a few tracks to get into it, but listening for a second time now it's all great. it doesn't really sound quite like anything else. highly recommend!
dvne - progenitor
this is the first ep by dvne, from 2014, who released one of my favourite albums of this year in march. lots to like in here, and it's recognisably the same band (albeit sans synth), but not up to etemen aenka. the lack of synth is likely responsible for much of that
gaupa - feberdröm
this is fairly straightforward proggy stoner rock, except for the vocals. the vocal performance is arresting, reminiscent of bent knee, and meshes well with the band. for me, the drums stop it from really hitting, though this is more a reflection on my enjoyment of rock drumming than the drummer, I suspect (not a double kick to be heard!)
sanguisugabogg - tortured whole
I am very much not into explicit gore and their lyricist very much is, so I bounced off this pretty quickly, sadly
steel bearing hand - slay in hell
this is a good time! death/thrash is right in my wheelhouse, this has some really good riffs and grooves, though is a touch inconsistent. the closing 12 minute track, ensanguined, is particularly great! will definitely be excited to hear more from them
havukruunu - uinuos syömein sota
this was a consensus pick from 2020, and I can see why. really incredible black/folk metal, atmospheric, brutal in places, groovy in others. a real masterpiece
the gathering - mandylion
i LOVE this. anneke van giersburgen has an amazing voice: I've heard her collaborating in so much other stuff, so I'm surprised I've not listened to this before. the band and composition are also incredible. it's a very simple sound in some ways, but they do an awful lot with it. definitely an inspiration for my own music
dialith - extinction six
this is INCREDIBLE, I love it!! symphonic metal drawing from power and melodeath, every track put a huge smile on my face
abiotic - ikigai
this is a mixed bag for me. some excellent moments, and some great individual tracks, but the brutal/technical sections don't really land for me: the drums get a bit ticky tacky at that speed (only really in those sections though, there's a lot of the drumming I do like!), and that takes the life out of them.
good album, I think, but not quite to my tastes
iotunn - the wizard falls
I loved their first album from February of this year so went back to listen to this EP. some good tracks!
felled - the intimate earth
this is a black metal band with a violinist. that sounds like it could suck but it very much doesn't
ophidian i - desolate
this is very technical death metal. some good moments, but overall not really my thing
wode - burn in many mirrors
this is a pretty great black metal album, I think. it doesn't really click with me, but I'm weird about black metal sometimes
at the gates - the nightmare of being
not a fan of the vocals here, so bounced off pretty quickly. that dude definitely sounds like he's been screaming since 1996, the band were solid tho
leprous - aphelion
this album largely continues leprous' move towards rock, and I think it's the poorer for it. einar's vocals continue to impress, and move, but the music behind him often lacks the dramatic flair of previous releases. the strings sound the same across the album, and there's a lot of homogenous singing over pads. I still enjoyed it, but am less excited for their future releases, I think. nighttime disguise, the closing track, is the standout (and gives me some hope!)
hooded menace - the tritonus bell
this just came out, and I've heard good things about hooded menace so I checked it out. I love this album! death/doom with 80s heavy metal inflections throughout, this sounds very melodeath to me, which is perfect. everything about this is great, the riffs, the songwriting, the production. I'm excited to check out more of their back catalogue (spoiler alert, I already did) as I've heard they mix up their sound each time out
hooded menace - ossuarium silhouettes unhallowed
this is hooded menace's second most recent release. I really liked this, but didn't love it as much as the tritonus bell. it feels darker, more sombre, less accessible (but by no means inaccessible). not a bad thing, just means I need to listen to it some more!
piah mater - the wandering daughter
this album is very much a spiritual successor to opeth's 00s output: heavy sections (mostly death, but some other sounds there too) with lyrical, flowing sections interspersed. the execution is excellent, so I love this! it does occasionally veer towards derivative, but never for long enough to be a problem. I'm very interested to hear what they'll do next, I'd like to hear them develop their own sound further
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