April has been an unusually strong month for metal, and I really have struggled to keep this list down to a manageable level. So much good music, so little time! Let’s have a look at what the metal world has given us this month then…
As usual, we’ll proceed in no particular order, but we’ll start with a couple of bands with the word ‘king’ in their names, because why not? The first – Wolf King. Loyal to the Soil is a blistering trip through blackened hardcore territories. If this music doesn’t get the blood pumping and the heart racing, then I don’t know what will.
The second ‘king’ I have for you is the mighty King Goat with Debt of Aeons. I’ll be entirely honest with you about this album – I just absolutely love it. This is charismatic and emotive progressive doom metal of a singular order. If this album doesn’t end up near, or at, the very top of this year’s end of year best of list, I’ll be shocked. Shocked I say! Debt of Aeons is just brilliant in every way. It’s an important album.
So, after a write up like that, where do you go next? Death metal is the answer. In fact, I find death metal to be the answer to a surprising amount of questions. Evil Upheaval is Depravity’s debut album, and it’s an absolute monster. Filled with the kind of well-written and aggressively moreish death metal that you can just eat up by the bloody bucketful, this is a punishing album that’s a first-rate listen.
Jord by Møl is a raging slice of shimmering, ethereal beauty, one that has sharp teeth that can do a lot of damage. Combining resplendent melody with a base of blackened aggression that’s fiery and barbed, Møl’s debut album is an emotive and joyous blackgaze assault on the senses that will leave you bewildered and bleeding.
Like Jord, Feast for Water by Messa is another beautiful album with a heart of darkness. Unlike Jord, however, even though there’s a pinch of black metal in Messa’s sound, they’re a doom metal band at their core. The music on this album has been lovingly crafted and gently pulls heartstrings with ease. The singer’s emotive and captivating vocals entice you in, while the music finishes you off. Spellbinding.
Melted on the Inch by Boss Keloid is an album that’s been greatly anticipated by yours truly, and it hasn’t disappointed. Immense in both songwriting and delivery, and with the kind of singer who easily draws all attention to him with his booming, powerful voice, this is a superlative work of modern sludge/doom. This is the kind of album that could open all kinds of doors for Boss Keloid, and I can’t wait to see where they go from this.
Back into blackened waters, and it’s time for you to check out The Apostates by Glorior Belli. Have you ever heard anything as wondrously adventurously charismatic as this? Who knew that combining black metal and Southern-flavoured hard rock could work so well? The artist behind Glorior Belli clearly did, of course, as he’s been doing this for years, and The Apostates is his best work so far.
More black metal next, this time of the razor-sharp, spitting-venom variety. Nigredo’s Flesh Torn – Spirit Pierced debut full length is a dissonant, atavistic nightmare of bladed aggression and avant-garde intensity. With savage riffs and atonal melodies, this is a violent slice of darkness.
But wait, what’s that rumbling sound on the horizon? It sounds suspiciously like tank treads…Yes, Just Before Dawn are back with another rolling slab of war metal. Tides of Blood features the band’s most successful campaign yet, leaving battlefields blown wide open and strewn with the corpses of their enemies, while the band relentlessly plough forward onto their next victory. At this rate, they may actually win the entire war.
The next band I want to highlight is Altar of Perversion and their monolithic second album Intra Naos. What can you say about this album that even begins to do it justice? Here we have 114 minutes of huge songs with sinister depths. Vicious, raw black metal that’s steeped in the occult has been injected with virulent atmosphere and esoteric mood. As I said in my review, this album is a colossal achievement, one which succeeds in holding the listener’s attention throughout, despite the epic running time.
None‘s second album Life Has Gone on Long Enough may not aspire to the epic length of Intra Naos, but it’s still a very accomplished and enjoyable album. Combining the depressive and atmospheric styles of black metal into something textured and richly melancholic, None have surpassed their already impressive debut album with this new one, and despite how hideously steeped in bleak negativity may be, it’s an extremely enjoyable listen.
Es Taut is Soldat Hans’ second album, and it’s a remarkable, ambitious release. Taking a very individual and atypical approach to varied and multifaceted doom, Es Taut is an experimental album that succeeds in all aspects of its delivery. Mere text descriptions are harder to come by for a band like this, so I’ll rather lazily just ask you to read the original review, as well as insist that you give them a listen. Hugely extraordinary.
The final band on this list this month is Death Engine, with their second album Place Noire. Death Engine’s music is nuanced and charismatic, taking a modern hardcore base and building on it with all manner of post-hardcore, punk, and noise rock influences. The songs on this album are all individual and expressive. They’re completely absorbing and are all quite wonderful. Death Engine embody all that’s good and creative with forward-thinking, well-crafted heavy music, and Place Noire is a thing of vibrant beauty.