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.
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.
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
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!
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
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
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!
cangaço - inevitável
really groovy brazilian folk/death metal. love it!
the gathering - nighttime birds
I love this. an really rich saturated sound without sounding too polished, interesting use of synths, great vocals ofc
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
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
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
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!
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
departure chandelier - antichrist rise to power
this is a black metal album about napoleon and it rules. very melodic, and atmospheric
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
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
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
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.
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!
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
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!
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
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
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!
thergothon - stream from the heavens
this is a very metal album, in that it pioneered the funeral doom subgenre and the band had split up before it, their only album, was released. I really dig this, it holds up all this time later, and I'm going to look for more funeral doom to listen to
tomb mold - planetary clairvoyance
I love this. old school death metal, perfectly executed with interesting twists. exactly my jam
igorrr - spirituality and distortion
this is extremely experimental (non-derogatory) metal, mixing it with classical musical forms, operatic vocals, and electronic music. a really fun and rewarding listen
between the buried and me - colors ii
this is a great album. I'll need to listen to it more to fully absorb it, but it's really, really good
fell harvest - pale light in a dying world
really great death/doom album. great grooves throughout, the death sections go hard, and the balance of it all is really well placed. definitely recommend!
hole dweller - flies the coop
extremely chill dungeon synth, really great! perfect atmosphere, and an interesting variety of sounds throughout. I've listened to this most nights before bed this week, and I love it
hole dweller - returns to roost
I loved flies the coop so much that I listened to this the next day. a definite evolution of the sound, but I love this just as much as the first album! most notably the drums are much more prominent, present on almost every track and being played in a traditional rock sort of a style
cangaço - positivo
more great death metal from brazil, this has all the melodic riffiness and grooves present in their later material. good stuff!
hole dweller - flies the coop ii
this is much more of a successor to flies the coop than returns to roost was, and it's more great dungeon synth!
piah mater - memories of inexistence
this, their first of two albums, is more derivative of opeth than their more recent offering, including a couple of what felt like direct quotes. not a problem for me, I love opeth, but I'm glad their second album moved away from being quite so close
jinjer - king of everything
once again I'm surprised by how much I loved this album: I guess I'm not used to big metal bands appealing to me so perfectly. every single track is great, they're great musicians, I love it
heavy temple - lupi amoris
female fronted psychedelic doom/rock, this is really good. the vocals are great, with cool harmonies, and the music is perfect.
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