I read a quote somewhere recently that said something to the affect of “it’s been a lousy year for people but a good year for metal.” I can’t really argue that. Metal has been one of the brightest points of the year and not just because we so desperately need good things amidst this horrifying reality, but because metal has been on top of it’s game all year so far. Excellent release after excellent release and this week has some more:

NEW STUFF: (Click those fucking title links)

Ruby the Hatchet – Planetary Space Child
I was taken up but that vest rock, cult metal, psychedelic trend that hit it’s peal a couple years ago but most of those bands have faded out of my playlist. Ruby the Hatchet, however, has been a mainstay and I’m glad to hear this new album the pull further away from the metal side of things and go more rock. Yeah, it’s still that same “vest” style but I thin they have a strong grasp on it and add enough flair and catchy songwriting to justify it. Solid album from a good band.

Crimfall – Amain
Prepare yourself for cheese territory. Crimfall pops up now and again and I know I really liked one of their albums I just don’t remember which one. This one is symphonic power metal meets symphonic folk metal of the viking variety and if you’re a fan of that kind of folk metal, there’s plenty to like here. Soaring vocals courtesy of Helena Haaparanta, epic guitar solos and atmosphere, chanting sing alongs. Oddly I like it when it veers more towards that symphonic power metal aspect instead of the folky, viking, “for our honor” sort of stuff. When they’re more reserved, which for a power metal viking band is not very much, I think they really shine.

Argus – From Fields of Fire
I was pretty confident that Argus was going to deliver another riff-tastic, epic, doom/power metal album, and sure enough they did. Some bands you like for their ingenuity and some you like for sticking with what works for them. Argus rule at this style of metal and that’s all I want them to do, which is be fucking awesome, and they are.

Fvneral Fvkk – The Lecherous Liturgies EP
On the surface this is some very well written and performed classic styled doom with some modern sensibilities and it would be a solid little EP based just on that alone, however if you notice the not so subtle name there’s a depraved sense of humor going on with the band and their lyrics. I’m not sure if they’re a joke band or sincere in their self described attempt to “bring depravity back doom metal” but as far as the music goes, it’s top-notch.

Insanity Cult- Of Despair and Self-Destruction
Highly atmospheric, pounding, melodic, Greek black metal. Almost depressive black metal in it’s velocity and scope bit still remains anchored in just blasting, unrelenting black metal. Really fucking good.

Marsh of Swans – From Ashes Beneath EP
More highly atmospheric and melodic black metal but this time with a lot of post influence thrown in as well as some death/doom and some progressive riffing. Interesting combo and highly infectious sound.

Septic Flesh – Codex Omega
I like Septic Flesh, especially their older stuff (nerd) but a little Septic Flesh goes a long fucking way, especially with their hyper orchestral and symphonic death metal sound they’ve been doing for years now. So yeah, this new one is good and does more of that but like I said, a little goes a long way and when I have that itch they scratch it.

Serpent Column – Ornuthi Thalassa
Even more furious engorged black/death metal. This time Greek history based. The drumming and the speed of the riffing add an slight punk vibe to it. For the most part it’s pretty straight forward at first but it builds and builds to a huge second half which is pretty impressive.

Botanist – Collective: The Shape of He to Come
Botanist has always been on the extreme end of experimental metal music  what with the focus on the dulcimer and extremely bizarre and complex timing structures. Now the band has grown from one dude to a full fledged band and the music has become more… traditional, if that’s the right word. It’s far less reliant on complexity and avant-garde experimentation and falls closer in line with a post black metal sort of atmospheric style. It’s still a bit out there and experimental but not like the others. It’s supposed to be a “collective” of all the musicians that make Bontanist happen live with all of them contributing creatively to the project, and from what I can determine, is a separate project or entity of the main Botanist sound. If that’s true than it’s a fucking phenomenal album. If this is the new sound of the band, I’ll kind of miss the weirdness of the previous style. It’s a challenge to be sure but an excellent, maybe amazing album.

Mist of Misery – Shackles of Life EP
Black Lion Records has been growing a steady staple of orthodox, but wholly satisfying Scandinavian black/death/doom bands over the past couple years and it’s gotten to the point where I’m likely to check out whatever they release (as it’s always free on their Bandcamp). Mist of Misery is another project from the Eufori and Hyperion guys which is kind of a melding of both bands. The hyper melodic sensability of Hyperion and the dramatic atmospheric qualities of Eurfori’s DBSM makes for some engaging and riff filled symphonic black metal. Won’t turn the world on it’s head but it’s super fun to hear.

Motorhead – Under Cover
A collection of covers by Motorhead. Some that have been released some that haven’t. I’m not going to pad this one out. If you like Motorhead it’s fun, if not, I don’t know what to tell you.

OTHER JAMS:

Sons of Crom – The Black Tower
Adversam – Animadverte
Initiated – World on Fire
Death Rides a Horse – More God Than Man
NettleCarrier – Black Coffin Rites
Satyricon – The Shadowthrone
Saor – Guardians
Devin Townsend – Sky Blue
Concrete Blonde – Bloodletting
Rotting Christ – Non Serviam

Until next time, make mine metal!

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