Well shit, thanks to a case of the sickness and a couple small weeks of new releases, January flew by with only one weekly playlist. Don’t fucking cry, today’s post is extra long and full of blasting awesome power (that’s what she said). So here you go, nerds. Enjoy something new this weekend.

NEW STUFF:

Eternal Valley – The Falling Light
Eternal Valley don’t bring anything new to the table but their blend of doom/death/black metal with all the gloom always finds a comforting spot with me. If you like miserable, dreary, well-produced and rich metal of this ilk, this will satisfy you.

Hamferd – Tamsins likam
Doom and gloom and gothic misery from the Faroe Islands of all places. There’s not much here you haven’t heard and there’s bands that do this better but there’s some shining moments here and there, particularly in the clean vocal parts that are sung in the native Faroe Islands language. They’re quite beautiful. This album is good for what it is but if you aren’t into this sort of thing it’s probably a pass.

Harakiri For the Sky – Arson
I like Harakiri for the Sky and their posted up black metal, drama filled, melancholy music but this album has the same affect on me as they normally do: It goes on way to long. An hour and fifteen minutes and I start to fade off around forty minutes. They’re a good band and they have some truly captivating moments but man would I like to hear what they sound like at a tight forty five minutes.

Pile of Priests – Tenebrous Labyrinth
This is some fairly energetic and fun death metal with a nice spattering of thrash and a bit of an old school death metal vibe. You can pretty much sum up the bands sound with the three covers on here from Coronor, Sadus, and Kreator but the three original songs stand out much more, in particularly “Intergalactic Departure.” More solid metal from Colorado is only a good thing.

Rome – Hall of Thatch
Neofolk is a genre of music I really enjoy but rarely listen to (for some inexplicable reason). People say Rome is one of the most influential artists of the genre and despite my best effort to keep up with how prolific he is, I miss a lot of his work. His Passage to Rhodesia was brilliant and it’s good to see that he’s kept the quality up. If you like poetic, political, activist, acoustic guitar centered, melancholic singer/songwriter stuff, boy howdy, Rome is for you.

Mammoth Grinder – Cosmic Crypt
I’m touch and go with metal that incorporates or straddles the fence of hardcore, IE I don’t really get all the Nails love, but for some reason Mammoth Grinder hits with me. This new album is a well-traveled road but they bring such solid songwriting and unbridled energy to the music, just like their previous album. It’s music comfort food and it hits the spot.

Crow Black Sky – Sidereal Light: Volume One
Seems this band took eight years between albums and changed their sound from a Dimmu Borgir clone to what is on this album, which is, a post-informed, ambient/atmospheric-ish black metal that’s somewhere between Dimmu Borgir, the post French stuff like Alcest, and the ambient space black metal of stuff like Darkspace. It’s pretty interesting but a lot of it feels familiar. Not to shabby.

Portal – ION
Portal’s sick cacophony of disturbed and spastic force is back and on full display. Picking up after Vexevoid Portal falls back from the more “structured” sound of that album and produces an almost cleaner sounding album, but with all the insanity one expects from this band, who seems to exist in direct contradiction to the rest of the metal scene. I love Portal and their anti-music stylings and this new one is Portal at their best.

Tribulation – Down Below
I’ve enjoyed seeing Tribulation go from an Entombed like Swedish death metal band to the more progressive and gothed stylings they’ve come too. People keep bringing up “arena black metal” in reference to this band, as if that’s even a thing, and while yes, this is highly glossy and well produced, I think that term is just fearful of some sort of mainstream break through. Regardless Tribulation are pulling on that Sisters of Mercy leg here, classic organ rock, Mercyful Fate-isms and of course, black metal. They handle it well and this may be the highlight album of their career so far. Awesome fun.

Pestilence – Hadeon
Aside from those early Pestilence albums I’ve only every really been a casual observer of the band. I lump them in with bands like Cynic and Atheist, or the “jazz” infused metal bands for whatever that’s worth. I guess Pestilence would be the least “jazzy” of the two based on this album which is a a solid slab of exploratory, slightly progressive and technical death metal. Still riff heavy with some good head banging moments. I didn’t expect much for Pestilence and I got a solid experience so no complaints here.

Black Reaper – Celestial Descension
A Chinese band that is in total and complete Swedish melodic death metal worship. Particularly of the Dissection and Hypocrisy kind where it’s verging on the black metal side of things but less they go too far over to the black metal side there’s a sick fucking cover of Dismember’s “Life Another Shape of Sorrow.” So yeah, super melodic, super riffy with a bit of a folk flair here and there, and super fucking catchy.

A Pregnant Light – Lucky All My Life
I’m always a sucker for anything A Pregnant Light is doing and this new EP or short full-length or whatever highlights what I enjoy about this project so much. Overly emotional, post-rock/black metal combines into what the project calls “purple metal”, A Pregnant Light is always delivering solid tunes worthy of your time.

Thor – Electric Eyes
Of course “Muscle Rock” legend Thor discovered a lost album from the 70’s. I couldn’t think of anything more “Thor” than to just casually release an album that he forgot about. And of course as well, it’s a master course in cheesy 70’s musicality. It’s part garage band sound, part British invasion pop, and part 70’s funk/disco. Mostly in the bass. It’s far from the ridiculous heavy metal thunder the man is known for now but it’s still a fun, curious album from a crazy time.

Bulletbelt – Nine Centuries
Bulletbelt unassumingly blasted out of New Zealand and into my ears a couple years ago with their furious blackened thrash attack so naturally I was curious when I saw they have a new album out. Yeah, it’s more of that rip-roaring disgusting thrash in a similar vein to Skeletonwitch, that is to say, killer mildly melodic riffing and nasty vocals, courtesy of the excellent Jolene Tempest. Sadly this is to be the last recording with Jolene, and guitarist Seth Jackson, and they leave some massive shoes to fill. Part of me thinks this might be the last Bulletbelt album I’ll be interested in but if so it’s a damn fine one to go out on.

Until next time, make mine metal!

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