First new weekly playlist of the year! Based on al the bands releasing new material this year (and the ones threatening to) this is going to be a hell of year, for metal at least. The rest of the world eh, I’m not so sure. Let’s get on with it! The first week back and it’s already a doozy!
Summoning – With Doom We Come
Summoning throws no real curveballs here, nor do I expect, or really want them to. This is their tried and proven, epic black metal style that so many bands are copying or paying homage too and it’s Summoning through and through. Maybe not as captivating as some of their other albums but if you like Summoning or epic, Tolkien worshipping black metal, you’ll like this.
Watain – Trident Wolf Eclipse
I was highly curious where Watain would go with their sound after their last, let’s say exploratory, album The Wild Hunt. I kind of figured they’d try to get back to their more violent and explosive sound since their attempts to push the levels of acceptance for a radio friendly black metal style seemed to upset people. I actually liked The Wild Hunt, for the most part, but it was a tough pill to swallow. This new album doesn’t come close to that territory and like I thought, it is a more straight forward Watain. And it’s good, they’re good at sounding like Watain but what I really miss from this album is the bombastic production sound. I love hearing Watain and this one sounds really muffled. Really, subdued. I’m not sure if that was done intentionally but it really affects my enjoyment of this band given how well produced they typically are.
Hooded Menace – Ossuarium Silhouettes Unhallowed
Hooded Menace is a name that is reliable when it comes to crushing death/doom. You can’t pick a bad album from their catalog and this new one is on equal footing. Ossuarium is a great balance of the doom and death elements but this time around they’ve added some classic acoustic guitars and some more classically inspired, melodic, guitar riffing that sonically, reminds me very much of a power metal composure. Yes, it fucking does! Just listen to it. Lest you forget though, it is heavy fucking death/doom but there is some of that quality to it, in my ears at least. Killer album and the first great one of the year.
Ancst – Ghosts of the Timeless
I’m such a sucker for the blackened up, crust punk/metal sound and Ancst do it so well it’s a crime. Fused with the harder stylings is some ambient and atmospheric soundscapes which give the album a bigger sounding scope and create moments of sheer beauty. That’s no to discount the awesome, melodic Carcass sounding riffs happening as well. Is a good hodgepodge of extreme sounds that create another highly emotional and captivating release from these Germans.
Ancient Empire – The Tower
Flying under the radio with a late 2017 release (I’m counting it for 2018), Ancient Empire are a blast of righteous, straight up, driving American power metal. No frilly keyboards or orchestration. Just some killer songs and some power metal might. For fans of Pharaoh, Twisted Tower Dire, or Noble Beast fans. Super awesome.
None – None
A beautifully crafted and pregnant with emotions, atmospheric black metal album. It pulls all the feels and hits all the right notes, even if it’s nothing revelatory, but oh so satisfying.
Vargrav – Netherstorm
Vargrav exudes the grandeur of symphonic black metal in it’s more pure form with a focus on atmosphere and songwriting as opposed to an over produced, cacophonous orchestra. The PR description covers it perfectly: “a swarming, densely layered maelstrom of medieval majesty and moonlit madness”, sweeps grandly across a cobwebbed landscape, distant ruins becoming the very listener’s landscape”. Also, the bonus EP comes with a sweet cover of Emperor’s “Ancient Queen” in case you were wondering about influences.
Audrey Horne – Blackout
I expect that with a new Audrey Horne album I’ll get some exquisitely energetic and good ol’ fashioned fun hard rock, and that’s exactly what they deliver on this album. They don’t ever stray far from that formula so it’s hard to really pinpoint why I think this album is better than their last and maybe on par with Youngblood, which was just a party machine of a rock album, but I do. No pretense here, just good, heavy, rock n’ roll, straight up.
Panphage – Jord
Panphage has been on a fucking tear the past couple years and this new album, to me, is the culmination of everything the band has laid down, swirled all together and released as their finest hour. All the folk melodies and Swedish black metal force. All the spiritualism, primal, mythological power the band has played with before. All of it perfectly encapsulated in this new album. This. Album. Fucking. Rules. Panphage, crushing black metal and outdoing themselves every time.
Until next time, make mine metal…