Well shit. I guess it’s March. That’s one month better than February. Regardless of human constructed calendars the metal relentlessly keeps dominating this stupid year. Here it comes now…

Grafvitnir – Venenum Scorpionis
Grafvitnir have been quietly releasing some of the best black metal almost consistently yearly since 2014. Black metal has been such a fucking downer lately so it’s refreshing to hear a band that is just sticking to making excellent black metal that is stomping all over so many bands mired in controversy, real or not, and have yet to invoke the endless babble of dimwitted black metal basement dwelling gatekeepers. Grafvitnir return with a melodic infusion of Swedish black metal that will do nothing but make you appreciate how great this band is and how great this genre can actually be.

Primitive Man / Hell – Split
Fucking hell, could they find two more sinister, dismal, weighty as all fuck heavy doom bands to put on one split together? No? That’s what I thought. If you’re familiar with Primitive Man you’ll find what you’re looking for here. Scathingly dark and miserable doom metal with enough weight to pop your head with ease. I kind of prefer Primitive Man on this smaller, tighter releases. Nothing against the band at all but they seem more focussed which is good because they tend to wander a bit. And no noise track from them this time!
Fucking Hell. Literally. This band is so crushing dark and evil and just singularly devoted to that massively heavy doom sound. I’d be lying if I said I didn’t get this split mostly for their one song. They do go in a bit of a stoner doom direction there at the end which isn’t entirely unique for them but a bit surprising to hear after the first half of their song is that hugely vile sound they excel at. I’m not a huge fan of splits but certain bands get me to bite and these two certainly do that.

Mortanius – Till Death Do Us Part
It pleases my heart to hear bands trying new stuff with power metal. Dream Troll and Lor come to mind instantly but now Mortanius joins the list. While maybe not as adventurous as either of those bands, they are thinking more progressively and combining the genres of power metal and progressive metal. Now, that’s not new but add in the intense theatrical and dramatic elements, the exceptionally long, winding, story driven songs with various instrumentation, and the more bizarre prog timing tropes and it’s enough to make it stand out from the pack, both prog and power metal. It’s only downfall, and it’s a major fucking one, is their cover of Wham’s absolutely horrendous “Last Christmas.” I couldn’t even make it 30 seconds into it. I don’t even care if they totally reinvent that song, there’s no fucking saving it. I just deleted that song from the album and there you have a complete album that’s experimental and crazy enough to work.

Terra Mater – Holocene Extinction Parts I & II
I can’t get enough of these post-driven, crust infused metal bands like Agrimonia, or Ancst to a certain degree. It’s my new fucking weakness so naturally a band like Terra Mater, who has an album that is thirty minutes long and two songs of the most eclectic and crusted up metal around would stick itself in my fucking ears. Terra Mater weave in and out of melodic melodies, doom heaviness, crust aggression, post ethereal soundscapes, dual vocalists and even heavy use of a violin and it all comes together in one beautiful burst of aggression. Keep the crust coming.

Rontgen – KOPFLOS
This is exactly the kind of punk I need in my life. Fucking down and dirty, all fury, all drive, and sheer fun. A battle cry to others to fucking make punk rock by any means necessary and a punk inspired intro clip featuring Tim Armstrong of Rancid fame hoping kids are making punk. This is nothing like Rancid though so don’t be fooled, this is punk at it’s leanest and meanest.

TORTUR – Death Looms Graves Fill
A maelstrom of phrenic punk disorder and chaos. Pure disdain and noise. Fucking punk as fuck.

Monde de Merde – The Mess
Aggressively strong and poignant French punk that draws from both the singalong aspect of hardcore and the filth and fury of crust. Fucking as melodic and catchy as it is blistering.

Illicit – Illicit
Fucking as crust as they come. Canadian Illicit show no mercy as they rip through 22 minutes of scathing, hateful, dire, and timely punk rock of the most aggressive and direct order.

Neckbeard Deathcamp – One Party System
I don’t give a fuck what you think about Neckbeard Deathcamp. Whether they’re a novelty act or not I’ve been enjoying the novelty of it all and how much they are pissing off the oh so serious black metal warriors and the gatekeeping assholes with no sense of humor. Black metal could stand to be taken down a peg or two and if you can’t laugh at yourself then what the fuck are you even doing? Is the music amazing? Not really, but there’s something to be said about the novelty and it’s meta joking about black metal.

Devil Master – Satan Spits on Children of Light
Probably claiming the best album title of the year, Devil Master play a rowdy and sleazy mix of punk attitude, rock power drive and black metal that’s a bit rawer than similar bands. I’m thinking of Weaponizer or Midnight here. More experimental might be a bit much but their writing and riffing is a bit more creative and interesting than a lot of punk driven black metal bands. Serious fun though and would likely be a good band to experience live.

Crutches – Chaos Riders // Freedom Fighters
Fucking crazy furious Swedish crusty d-beat punk. Fucking power blasting your face with punk nastiness. Love it.

Chrome Waves – A Grief Observed
Have you ever wished somebody would take the sound of nasty punk infused black metal like Wolvhammer, fuse it with the ethereal progressive black metal qualities of a band like Amiensus and then slather it in a heavy heaping of melancholic post atmospherics? Well good news for you, former members of Wolvhammer and Amiensus did just that and it’s exactly as describe. Punk-ish and black metal-ish but heavy emotional post everything. Super dig it.