If I wanted to, and sometimes I do, I could just retreat into metal and tell everything else to fuck off and this year, even in its infancy, has been providing almost exclusively top notch metal. It’s the major point of enjoyment for me, media wise that is. I need that so I can just ignore all the fucking troglodites trying to piss all over and ruin everybody’s attempt to be metal fans. Fuck them.
Nasheim – Jord och Aska
God damn I’m such a sucker for beautifully crafted and emotionally powerful atmospheric black metal and Sweden’s Nasheim has been one of my favorites producing said music. Jord och Aska is very much heavy with beautiful and heavy melodic soundscapes and atmospherics, not a surprise if you’re familiar with the previous album Solens vemod. In me it stirs all sorts of emotions. Nothing specific really, just an overall awe and inspiration at the beauty of music on display here. Get Nasheim in your life.
Can Bardd – The Last Rain
For some reason I’ve been confusing Can Bardd with another band, Cnoc An Tursa. Mostly because of the odd names and because they both travel in similar musical spheres, that being highly melodic, folk infused, black metal. Cnoc has moved on to a more Saor worshipping folk style while Can Bardd go for an epic black metal sound, much like (you know what I’m going to fucking say) Summoning. Man, Summoning just so thoroughly rule this style, and did it so well that anybody even stepping into this sound will undoubtedly get compared to them. Well, Can Bardd are very similar in nature, but more folk focussed, no Lord of the Rings that I know of but these bands get so fucking obscure with that stuff this whole album could be a love letter in Elvish and I’d never fucking know. But I digress… I’m all for these epic black metal bands and even as quickly derivative as they can become there’s some fantastic bands that have come out of it. Caladan Brood, Gallowbraid, Sojourner and Falkenbach instantly leap to mind, and Can Bardd has some of that in them. I’m not sure they’re quite to those bands level yet but their album is highly enjoyable and moving at moments.
Candlemass – The Door to Doom
Candlemass may have called their new (and twelfth) album The Door to Doom but what it really is, at least what Candlemass want us to perceive, is Epicus Doomicus Metallicus Part Two. As if the cover art wasn’t subtly beating you over the head with the demon skull cross, they’ve brought back original singer Johan Längquist who only provided vocals on the original classic. Now, can anything live up to that fucking hype? No, it can’t, but that does’t mean this isn’t a fucking excellent album. There’s ton of merit in every Candlemass album, especially the ones that aren’t as heralded as say Epicus or Nightfall and to me, any new Candlemass is worth celebrating. It just so happens that this is another incredible slab of epic doom from the masters of the genre. Hearing Längquist’s voice again with the music is surely a treat and this album will forever be compared to Epicus because of it, and while that may be slightly unfair, you just can’t fucking help it. In the end, it’s Candlemass and you know what you’re getting and what you’re getting is sweet, sweet, doom metal done so fucking right.
Iron Savior – Kill or Get Killed
You might not know this but power metal is having a fucking excellent 2019 so far and Iron Savior is keeping it going. Iron Savior isn’t one of my favorite power metal bands but I’ve always got enjoyment out of their albums. As far as I’m concerned Kill or Get Killed is exactly what I want out of this Euro fueled power metal, which is huge everything. Iron Savior are a little more grounded than some of the other Euro power metal bands, or even fellow German power metal bands. They take a more direct approach, still holding onto that German speed metal influence, but on Kill they open it up a bit. They embrace the larger, soaring vocals and some of the more cheesy, uplifting, singalong moments this kind of power metal is known for. They’re still sticking to the sci-fi themes, which it wouldn’t really be Iron Savior without, but overall I think this is one of their stronger outings and one I might return more than a handful of times.
Funereal Presence – Achatius
Of all the one man black metal bands Funereal Presence seems to be flying under the radar. At least there’s some “buzz” around this new album and I’ve been seeing it pop up for review on the sites I frequent, and good for Funereal because dude is making some unique black metal. While there’s the standard black metal fury here, I love how he’s playing with thrash/punk elements, and dirtier metal. Reminds slightly of the later era Darkthrone albums. There’s a lot of sound experimentation going on here as well, similar to the more experimental Mayhem albums, where it’s a lot to deal with but it all works well together. Funereal doesn’t over use any of these sounds or styles and goes from section to section of new styles and instrumentation before any one gets to overwhelming. There’s even some slight goth elements in there, or new wave stuff. Like I said, it’s a unique vision of black metal and that’s something to be excited about.
Ghost Ship Octavius – Delirium
If you’ve ever wanted to mix the sound of Nevermore with the more ethereal, transcendent Devin Townsend sound than Ghost Ship Octavius is the band for you. It has all the riffs of Nevermore, with their slighter step into progressive rock, and the bright, airy soundscape of a Devin Townsend album but with more guitar noodling and riff centered songs. I happen to like both bands and Octavius’s blending of all those elements is pretty enjoyable even if they maybe be stronger as separate styles.
Overkill – The Wings of War
I feel like a broken fucking record talking about Overkill because they’ve been so consistently great since 2010’s Ironbound, one of the best thrash albums of ever if’n you’re asking me. The Wings of War is the fourth album since then and like the others, it’s a fucking doozy of thrash album. Of all the old thrasher still kicking it around, Overkill is the one that is making the most engaging, driven, powerful, and fucking fun thrash around. These guys do not tire or compromise. It’s Overkill all the fucking way and Overkill is only seemingly getting better with age.
Rhapsody of Fire – The Eighth Mountain
I’m not going to get into the whole thing here. Yes, Rhapsody (of Fire) hasn’t been as good since Luca Turilli bailed. No, I don’t give a shit they have a new(ish) singer. What I want from Rhapsody is outlandish Symphonic power metal and if Rhapsody can’t deliver that then we have a problem. Luckily they deliver on all their Rhapsody charm. I doubt you’ll care about this album unless you’re already a fan of some form of Rhapsody so if that’s you, I bet you’ll dig this. I sure as fuck do.