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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!

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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

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significant point - into the storm 

I had high hopes for this, based on its description, but it's pretty straightforward power metal. not *bad*

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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.

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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

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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.

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demiser - through the gate eternal 

I'm on a roll, I love this too! Incredible riffs throughout, fantastic drumming, great sound. blackened thrash metal is very much my thing, it turns out! immediately perhaps my second favourite album of the year, this will be going in the rotation.

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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

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revulsion - revulsion 

this is a really solid death metal album. a few interesting tracks, nothing too exceptional, but I could see myself revisiting it

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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!

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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

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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!)

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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!

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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

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ophidian i - desolate 

this is very technical death metal. some good moments, but overall not really my thing

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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

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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

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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!)

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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

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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!

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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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jinjer - wallflowers 

this album rules! it has jinjers characteristic sound, blending brutal sections with grooves and soft sections, but it feels like the heavier parts are more melodic (and less purely djenty) than in the past. i've mostly listened to jinjer via youtube videos thus far, so I might be off base on that. regardless, this is a really great listen!

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wharflurch - psychedelic realms ov hell 

this is a psychedelic death metal album out of florida and it kicks ass. the riffs are great, and the production balances fidelity and swampiness perfectly. really really good stuff

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year of no light - consolamentum 

post-metal sludge/trance rock/ambient, this album is full of heavy soundscapes. at times I found myself wanting a bit more to be happening within the soundscape they'd built but, overall, this is an incredibly enjoyable and engaging album

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space chaser - give us life 

this is thrash with a really old school vibe, but it keeps it interesting throughout the album. really good album!

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cangaço - inevitável 

really groovy brazilian folk/death metal. love it!

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the gathering - nighttime birds 

I love this. an really rich saturated sound without sounding too polished, interesting use of synths, great vocals ofc

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paradise lost - obsidian 

my first experience with a very well established band. I really enjoyed this, it's exactly my kind of music! it definitely feels like an excellent execution of an already defined sound, which makes sense. I'm excited to go back and hear more from them

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between the buried and me - colors 

I have somehow never heard much btbam, which is a pretty obvious blind spot. this is great, of course

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dvne - asheran 

dvne's signature sound is very much present here: lush and huge, very melodic and very heavy at times. this definitely cements dvne as one of my favourite bands

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jinjer - cloud factory 

I'm going back to catch up with jinjer's older albums. the grooves on this album are great, it already sounds like a very well established sound. tatiana's voice is excellent, as are the band. a thrashier sound than I was expecting, in places, as well as a doomier passage on the title track. this is a good start!

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tina guo - dies irae 

this is the first classical soloist album I've listened to since probably 00s era ludovico einaudi. I love the cello, so I was already set up to like this album, but it surprised me with some metal instrumentation (though given that I found this album because of serj tankian's feature track, perhaps it shouldn't be such a surprise). overall a really great listen, with some outstanding tracks

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departure chandelier - antichrist rise to power 

this is a black metal album about napoleon and it rules. very melodic, and atmospheric

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the gathering - how to measure a planet 

this album weighs in at 1h40 which is Too Long. the title track is a half hour and could,,, not be. beyond that though, this is a continuation of the gathering's evolution and I dig it. still some metal in here, but mostly past that at this point. anneke van giersburgen's voice remains incredible

king woman - celestial blues 

grimy doomy rock, female led. really great! haunting, affecting vocals, huge sledgehammer doom guitars, fantastic drum work, drones. the good stuff

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dim - compendium iii 

i'm not exactly sure what to call this, it's my first foray into dungeon synth-y music. I really dig it! i'll certainly be exploring more

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osi and the jupiter - stave 

this neofolk gets a little noodly and ambient for my tastes in places, but has some really cool tracks

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wharflurch - rest of discography 

this was just a few eps so only took about an hour. more of the same great grimy, oozing death metal

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the agonist - orphans 

this was a recommendation from a jinjer review, and it's kind of less prog jinjer, so it's not really my thing.

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demetrio stratos - metrodora 

this is an experimental vocal album from 1976, and it's pretty hard work. not really something I'll be revisiting, though it was interesting!

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head of the demon - sathanas trismegistos 

this is the same brand of perfectly judged doom that their 2020 album exhibits, and I love it just as much here. "armilus rides... again!" is a great track title

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aenigmatum - deconsecrate 

I love this album. hard hitting blackened death metal, there's a lot of melody to be found, and the bass is high in the mix and interesting enough to warrant it, lots of different rhythms going on. the drummer is great. love it!

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karnivool - asymmetry 

there's lots of really cool stuff going on here, and a lot of tracks going on my playlist, but as a whole this didn't really grab me

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shubh saran - becoming 

this is a cool fusion ep, I like shubh saran. hard to describe, as with much fusion, but an enjoyable 26 minutes! the drumming is a highlight

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paradise lost - gothic 

I really like this album. the atmosphere is great, and I love the instrumentation and the vocals. there are definitely moments where you can tell this is a band defining its sound still, but a great record!

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king woman - celestial blues 

@Odd_Bloke

this album is so gooood. i love that the drummer has has become more of a technician since the last album. i love the mastering on it.

i love that Coil is like the best Big Business song that Big Business didn't write.

like the only bad thing about this album is that it shows so much promise but we will likely will have to wait a minute for more because Kris has so many other projects

king woman - celestial blues 

@cicatriz_jdr yeah, it's great! i ended up listening to it over again last night, and I love it

I haven't caught up with their last album yet, but it's on my list. I'm not at all familiar with big business, what would you recommend as a starting point?

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