March proved to be this year’s strongest month for metal releases yet. I was hard-pressed to keep this list as short as it is, and any of the albums listed below are worthy of your attention.
So here we go then, and in no particular order we’ll start off with the vampiric blackened sharpness of Akasha. Canticles of the Sepulchral Deity is an album that is harsh, violent, and bloodthirsty, while also having a penchant for inventive, atypical riffs and ideas. The guitars on this album are a particular highlight, although in reality pretty much the entire album is a highlight in my humble opinion.
Next up is the post-blackened majesty of Heaume Mortal’s Solstices. This album is full of harrowing, unsettling blackened nightmarescapes birthed from an unholy union of black metal and doom. Solstices has a rich, involving delivery and is backed up by songwriting that draws you back again and again. An album like this takes you on a journey into blackened lands less explored, and to take a trip such as this is a rare privilege.
The impressive and ferocious Venom Prison returned in March with their latest ripping death metal masterpiece Samsara. Boasting some of the most savage and vicious death metal that you’re likely to hear this year, Venom Prison’s second album is everything you could have wanted from the band, only more so. This is an absolute must for any fan of hyper-aggressive extreme metal.
Mammoth Weed Wizard Bastard‘s gargantuan Yn Ol I Annwn was unveiled in March, and hugely impressed. Further developing and broadening their doom metal sound to enable them to explore fresh pastures, Yn Ol I Annwn is a triumph for the band, and their best, most expansive work yet. Emotive and confident, Mammoth Weed Wizard Bastard are now a true force to be reckoned with.
I like Contrarian a lot, so was very pleased when their new album Their Worm Never Dies turned out to be their best yet. Uniting old and new styles of progressive death metal with their highly enjoyable and involving take on the style, Contrarian’s new release is a firm winner.
Now it’s time to slow things down, with the funereal death/doom of Illimitable Dolor‘s Leaden Light. This colossal album is achingly emotive in its delivery, and bleakly resplendent in its atmosphere. Dripping with sadness and loss, Leaden Light is a highly accomplished work, one which I thoroughly recommend.
More doom for you now, of a different variety, but no less crushingly effective. Body Void‘s You Will Know the Fear You Forced upon Us may be classed as an EP, but is hefty and substantial enough to be more than worth your time. Body Void’s brand of nihilistic droning doom has reached its apex on this release, and I can’t wait to hear where the band take themselves in the future.
We’ll finish March’s roundup with the expressive atmospheric black metal of At Dusk‘s Condemned. This album demands your attention as its emotive and atmospheric music sprawls out before you, unfolding with both violence and restraint. Dark and personal, Condemned is the type of album that you keep returning to over and over again, sometimes without even realising that you’re about to play it once more.