It’s only February and as far as metal is concerned, we’ve already had an amazing year. It’s like the entirety of metal looked around and saw what shit this place is and said “we’ll make it better” and then fucking did it. So thanks metal, you’re the bright spot in this shit storm of a world.
Ulvegr – Vargkult
I thought this band had a good album once. The name Ulvegr immediately informed me I should check this album out but now I can’t remember why and this new album is fairly forgettable. Just paint by numbers black metal from the Ukraine. Mercifully short at just a half hour though.
King Witch – Under the Mountain
Traditional doom done in that bluesy swaggering style with the grand Candlemass type vision. Reminds me of Death Rides a Horse if they were more into Candlesmass, and their vocalist was a little more gruff. Awesome stuff though!
Master’s Hammer – Fascinator
Master’s Hammer simply don’t make bad albums (shut up, Slagry isn’t bad). This classic Czech band is always putting out something worth listening to and their eclectic, cult-fueled, archaic black metal is one of a kind. Recently they’ve been keeping quiet and then all of sudden, BAM, a new album is out and it’s fucking awesome. This one is no exception and showcases Master’s Hammer skillset quite beautifully.
Dream Troll – The Witch’s Curse EP
Maybe I don’t remember Dream Troll’s previous album all that well but I thought it was some pretty straight-forward, cheese heavy, traditional power metal, because this new EP is miles ahead of that. It’s like a whole other band, but hopped up on epic, prog-ish, Blind Guardian storytelling like power metal, with fucking hooks for days, which is impressive considering this is only 23 minutes long. Dream Troll just went from silly fun band to officially on my radar.
Rebel Wizard – Great Addictions to Blindingly Dark, Worldly Life
I’m so fucking addicted to this band. Every time they put something out, which is usually a short EP, it’s fucking amazing. Just frenzied, enthusiastic, traditional heavy metal infused into black metal/grind/thrash all at once. It’s fucking amazing. This band is so far ahead of the rest it’s dumbfounding.
Eigenlicht – Self-Annihilating Consciousness
At one point I remember being excited about a full-length from this band but I think it just took too long or they got lost in a sea of stellar releases, but their debut is fairly decent. Atmospheric black metal that delves into Agalloch waters with some post tendencies and a love of funeral doom.
Novareign – Legends
Some by the book, Euro-flavored power metal from America. Triumphant guitars and vocals and a slight prog bend but very “been there done that.”
Visigoth – The Conqueror’s Oath
Suffice to say this is the album of the year so far. It’s almost perfect in every way and is the epitome of what heavy metal is.
Brian Fallon – Sleepwalkers
I’m fine if Brian Fallon wants to keep putting out solo albums and skip The Gaslight Anthem since that last album of theirs wasn’t all that great and now he’s put out two excellent solo albums in the mean time, even though, they don’t sound that much different from Gaslight. So why is his songwriting more clever, more emotional, and more on point on his solo albums? Who the fuck knows but Sleepwalkers is all the storytelling focussed, heart-string pulling, when we were young in middle town america gold that Fallon does so well.