It’s fucking November so my metal nerdiness has taken over and I’m in the midst of preparing my “best of” list for the year. I know it’s all subjective and all that but I enjoy this ritual once a year plowing through so many albums again and reanalyzing them. It’s fun, and we can all use some fucking fun in this dumpster fire of a year. Some contenders for the list were released this week, as well as some other new awesome stuff so let’s get down to it.

NEW MUSIC:

Cannibal Corpse – Red Before Black
I was honestly surprised by how much I enjoyed this new album from a band that hasn’t been that relevant to me in years. I usually give their new stuff a try, find it to be decent like most of their output, then move on with my life. This time though there’s a sense of urgency, and enthusiasm that I haven’t fell in this band for a long time. Not counting the first 4 albums (which I think are classics) this one reminds me of how vital Cannibal was and how they still can be. This is one of the better Cannibal albums from their entire career and a good solid statement from a band that helped build this genre.

Procession – Doom Decimation
Procession are solid in their epic doom tag that they relish in all aspects of it. It’s hard not to sound slightly like Candlemass when you’re in this genre but instead of letting it dominate their sound like so many it informs Procession and is just part of the flavor. Nothing new or revelatory here, just some fucking killer, heavy, well written and executed epic doom metal. Just a killer band.

Barrowlands – Tyndir
With so many bands borrowing from the atmospheric and “cascadian” style of black metal, Barrowlands reminds me of when those genres seemed fresh and creatively inspiring. Mixing in a healthy influence from Wolves in the Throne Room, Agalloch, hell, even Panopticon, and covering it all with a slight progressive bend and some dominating lead guitar, Barrowlands has a solid album on their hands. The way they effortlessly move through instrumentation and write technically proficient music while not trying to be flashy about it invites me in in ways I couldn’t really grasp bands like Krallice or some of those more pretentious east coast, black metal expanding bands. Still, nothing wholly unique but enough to make this style seem a bit more fresh than it has been.

Kimi Karki – Eye for an Eye
Kimi Karki, or maybe better known as Peter Vicar from the awesome Reverend Bizarre, has crafted his second solo folk album. Far from the weird and strange doom he’s known for, this is a more somber, intimate side of the man and the music is downright unforgettable. And as if that wasn’t enough, Patrick Walker from the fucking insanely amazing Warning and 40 Watt Sun makes an appearance on the song “Beyond Distance” which might be the best song I’ve heard all year, anywhere.

Midnight – Sweet Death and Ecstasy
What’s to say? It’s Midnight. They’re crushing it again with their sleazed up, Venom-like, nasty speed metal full of all the depravity and humor you expect from this band. I’m sure if you’re a fan, which I am, you’ll enjoy this, and I do.

Lustre – Still Innocence
Not going to lie, I was hoping this would be a black metal album. It’s not really, it’s a synth album to be sure, but it’s kind of in the black metal vein. Lustre used synth in their other albums along with black metal and it was a good mix, the synth alone doesn’t do anything for me.

Ram – Rod
Ram is fucking awesome. They’re like an evil version of Judas Priest, amped up on speed metal with riffs for days. They bring down the house with the six part “Ramrod the Destroyer” songs that take up the last half of the album, getting a bit conceptual. Another example of a band doing the classic heavy metal sound but not getting stuck in simply aping the sound.

Autopsy – Puncturing the Grotesque
Autopsy doing Autopsy. There’s not much else to say. It’s good as they typically are, horror and gore soaked death metal masters. There’s a fun cover of the old US Bloodbath’s song “Fuck You” at the end. If you like Autopsy I’m sure you’ll like this.

Stworz – Wolozoary
This is one W. from the amazing Wędrujący Wiatr other bands, and probably the more folkish/pagan of the bunch. Not that those themes don’t run through most of his work but the instrumentation and musical themes are much more in that spirit. This one, like the last, is highly emotional, etherial, and grand in scope working the black metal elements seamlessly in with more melodic and classic folk elements. The vocals aren’t entirely clean, more gravelly I’d say but they’re not black metal growls and roars which emphasizes the passion of the music. W. can do no wrong, seemingly, and the more music he’s making the better.

OTHER JAMS:

Zuul – To the Frontlines
Mutoid Man – War Moans
Darkenhold – Memoria Sylvarum
Merciless – The Awakening
Tau Cross – Pillar of Fire
Wolves in the Throne Room – Thrice Woven
Avenger – Mir v Haremu smrti
Mammoth Grinder – “In & Out”
Dodsrit – Dodsrit
Nokturnal Mortum – Verity

Until next time, make mine metal…

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