Well, 2017 sure was made out bullshit, wasn’t it? Maybe 2018 will stink less? Only time will tell. Speaking of time, I’m out of here until next year. The metal was good this year and I’m hoping it’ll continue to be so in the new year.
This week’s list is mostly me checking out stuff from other people’s lists. There no more new releases left for me this year but January is already coming in full-force with some massive releases so here’s to that.
Venenum – Trance of Death
I love it when I hear a creative and unique death metal album as so many nowadays are just satisfied with sounding old school, which is fine, but the amount of praise these bands get for just doing what Dismembered did 25 years ago is crazy when bands like Venenum are around. People will say this has an old school flavor but if that’s true than Venenum are actually doing something unique with it instead of parroting it. Adding a melodic, orchestral, progressive and avant-garde styling to the mix, Venenum have a hell of a death metal album on their hands here.
Crusty Old Toad – Turn People Into Food
Insanely melodic and epically played black metal that is buried under this weird, joke band concept. It’s so bizarre because the music is so amazing but there’s this toad, swamp, comedy act that permeates the whole album. It’s kind of funny in how blatant and unencumbered the band is by it, but what a weird concept. Great album though.
Blencathra – These Bones Became the Roots of the Forest
Fucking mesmerizing, epic, atmospheric, folk oriented black metal. The melodic riffing is so fucking captivating. The only thing holding this back is the drum machine but word on the street is that this is being re-released with real drums. Awesome.
Rope Sect – Personae Ingratae
What a great year end find. Rope Sect is crashing death rock, goth styles, punk attitude, with a cult rock flair and throwing it all right in your face in a unique sound that no other band is doing. This is as good as people think Ghost is.
Vaultwraith – Death is Proof of Satan’s Power
Rough and tumble, black metal infused speed metal with a bit of a NWOBHM flair and dirty, older punk vibe. Nice and grimy with amazing cover art, so there’s that too.
Kohti Tuhoa – Pelon Neljas Valtakunta
Fucking wild, filthy, Finnish dbeat, punk rock. Sheer energy and force and amazingly intense vocals. Solid as fuck.
Isenordal – Shores of Mourning
I thought this was going to be some mournful, gloomy, violin filled black doom metal, and there’s that part to be sure, but they quickly transition into a more epic sounding, folk/nature, later era Bathory sound which took me by surprise. Decent album, some good emotions, but in the end left me a bit flat.
Sanhedrin – A Funeral For the World
Really solid traditional heavy metal with focus on writing hook ladened, catchy, metal music with a rock n roll flavor and a pissed off attitude. Instantly gets its teeth in you.
Eye of Nix – Black Somnia
Kind of like a gloomy, doomier, gothed up version of Agrimonia. Yeah, it’s a weird sound to pin down and the band is all over the place musically but it’s got a solid goth/weighty container. Very eclectic and engaging.
Mist of Misery – Fields of Isolation
There’s a ton here to like for fans of overly symphonic and atmospheric black metal with that early Dimmu Borgir sound. Luckily, I do enjoy those things so this album feels nice and comfortable for me.
The Clearing Path – Watershed Between Firmament And The Realm of Hyperborea
More I, Voidhanger weirdness and creativity. Spacey, primordial, churning, avant-garde black metal with a huge smattering of death metal weight. Always something cool and interesting coming out of this label.
Grafvitnir – Keys to the Mysteries Beyond
Grafvitnir is now a December tradition I look forward too. Releasing his newest album, annually in December for the past 4 years, this awesomely Swedish black metal band is what we need at the end of the year. Energetic, hook laden, rough, black metal that’s not only a frantic explosion of intensity, but fun as hell. Great fucking band.
Evilfeast – Elegies of the Stellar Wind
Evilfeast excel at the rawer and melodic atmospheric black metal but with a nice Polish black metal orthodox flavor. I imagine in another world this what Watain would have sounded like if they stuck with the early album directions instead of veering off into whatever that last album was. A long but another awesome album from this band.
Krallice – Loum/Go Be Forgotten
Everybody is creaming themselves over these new Krallice albums and while I used to be a casual fan of this bands earlier work, their penchant for pretension made me less of a fan as time went on but people swear but them so here we are, trying Krallice. Again. Loum is the first of the releases and is a joint effort with the Neurosis dude and it sounds exactly like Krallice and Neurosis combined sounds. It’s a dismal, progressive, post-metal cacophony with those ominous, ritualistic Neurosis thuds and rough vocal delivery. It’s not bad, actually. It’s only a half hour long and I still found it to be a bit overindulgent, but that’s one of the aspects of Krallice I like the least. On to the next one, Go Be Forgotten. Not really feeling this one. It’s the long, wandering, wanky, pretentious proggy black metal they do now that just escapes my attention. I can see why this band gets so much praise but for me, they’re still just ok.
Cainan Dawn – F.O.H.A.T.
I was surpised to see Cainan Dawn had a new album out that I didn’t even know about especially given how much I enjoyed their last one. The band is back at their pitch as black, intensely ominous, swirling black metal nightmare. The band slimmed down the content a bit from the last, clocking in under an hour this time and it’s so well refined and direct that it hits fucking heavy. A nightmarish cacophony of violent and horrifying sounds match with a subtle melody and Cainan Dawn blows it out of the fucking water again.
Chaos Moon – Eschaton Memoire
I know Chaos Moon has been around for a good amount of time and that they’ve changed sounds over the years but I never managed to really check the band out. This new album has been popping up all over the place on year end lists, and yeah, it’s a solid album, but maybe I’m missing what’s causing all the praise. It’s a fairly decent, atmospheric, mildly cultish sounding black metal, which I enjoy, but it seems like a lot of similar sounds I’ve heard from all over. Still, not a bad outing and a good intro to this band for me.
Steel Seal – The Lion’s Den
Euro-heavy styled power metal full of all the theatrics and cheese you’d expect from a band called Steel Seal. Nothing new, like most power metal of this ilk, but fun, also like most power metal of this ilk.
Margo Price – All American Made
Classic country influence and a modern bite, Margo Price’s second album is all the things contemporary country wishes it was. Soulful, meaningful, poignant lyrics and beautifully played music. There’s even a Willie Nelson appearance that works amazingly well with their two highly juxtaposed voices.
Waxahatchee – Out in the Storm
What is this, indie rock? Indie pop? I have now idea but it’s fairly straight forward, simple instrumentation rock like music with a singer song writer vibe and a bit of electronics? Similar to Russian Red, if that helps, I guess. Regardless, the songs are what matters and every one of them is an emotional trap of awesome.
Dr. Colossus – The Dank
If you like The Simpsons and you like Stoner Doom then boy howdy are you in for a treat. This is such a gimmick but such an amazing gimmick at that. Plus there’s a song about Millhouse’s video game score entry name, Thrillho, which speaks to my soul in a way that you can’t possibly imagine. It’s a perfectly cromulant album that inbiggens the mightiest of spirits.
Imperceptum – Aeons of Saturnine Desolation
Vast, massive, and dense black/death/doom that manages to suffocate you with it’s weight while also being somber and leaving you in an ethereal state of mind. Excellent, soundscape kind of album good for getting lost in.
Amenra – Mass VI
Massively oppressive and weighty doom/sludge/death metal with beautiful moments of tranquility. But mostly dismal, grief ridden, tortured music. Beautiful.
Khazaddum – Plagues Upon Arda
With a name like that you know you’re in for some Tolkien metal love, and that’s what this is, fun, theatrical death metal that worships Tolkien. Typical, but fun.
Lock Howl – Pareidolia
This is the main man behind Hellripper, and just like he dominated the niche black/thrash genre this year I’m gonna go ahead and say he dominated the death rock genre as well. This is the only death rock album I’ve heard this year so I may be biased but he approaches this music with the same gusto and enthusiasm for great songwriting that he does with Hellripper. Awesome album if you’re in to something different.