If April saw a lot of high quality albums released, May was ridiculous. Worse than April, I had a shortlist of 23 albums that I judged were fitting of being highlighed. Somehow, I have no idea how, I have managed to get this down to 11. I wanted to get that down to an even 10, but just couldn’t find one to cut. Anyway, here we goooooooo…
Stellar Master Elite‘s Hologram Temple is as good a place to start as any. On their fourth album Stellar Master Elite have produced an intelligent sci-fi themed release that hits hard, and sticks in the memory. Dynamic, evocative, and apocalyptic, Hologram Temple is an album I was looking greatly forward to, and it hasn’t disappointed.
It would be remiss of me to not mention Weeping Choir by Full of Hell. Returning with one of their nastiest, most varied releases to date, Full of Hell demonstrate once again why they are quite simply one of the best grindcore bands around. Inventive, nasty, harsh, and even atmospheric in places, Weeping Choir is and essential listen for any grindhead.
I really like Nyss, and I especially like Dépayser. The overwhelming promise displayed on the band’s first album has now been fulfilled, and then some. Merging harsh extremity with progressive atmosphere and avant-garde tendencies, Dépayser is an album that just gets better with every spin.
I’ve been heavily into Into Orbit‘s new album Kinesis since first hearing it. This is atmospheric instrumental post-metal of the highest order. Easy to get lost in, the band’s absorbing music is captivating and emotive. Heavy and dark, but not without its own engrossing sense of scope and beauty, Kinesis offers a nuanced and layered journey.
Up until recently Misþyrming were a band I knew were held in high regard for their blackened prowess, but Algleymi was my first exposure to their music. I’m suitably impressed. Melodic and harsh, but in its own inimitable way, Algleymi has raised the bar high for black metal with melodic bite.
It’s time for some DOOM! Mors Aeterna found Destroyer of Light operating at their highest levels of efficiency and quality, with the band’s doom metal at its most emotive and enjoyable so far. Solid songs, with top riffs, great vocals, and sterling melodies, Mors Aeterna is a firm keeper.
Kval‘s second album Laho saw the band embrace a change of direction, one which I have also heartily embraced. Deeply atmospheric and affecting, Kval’s music is black metal that’s rich and warm, like piles of autumn leaves. Compelling and absorbing.
An unexpected highlight of May for me was the atypical, highly charismatic noise/post-rock of Gravity Problems by Vordemfall. Full of quirky character and angular, unusual songs, this collection of tracks is big on personality and full of character. Distinctive and addictive, Gravity Problems is a highly recommended release for anyone looking for something a bit different.
May was the month that Sidious returned to the fray with Temporal. However, they were not the symphonic death metal juggernaut that we once knew. Instead, their new album is cold, raw, underground black metal, lethal and malignant. I have to say, as much as I enjoyed their original incarnation, their new one is even better. Great stuff.
Old Night proved that they weren’t a one hit wonder, with their gloriously rich and emotive second album A Fracture in the Human Soul. The band’s doom metal is as well-delivered and explored as ever, and has proven to be just as resplendent in emotional resonance as they were on their stunning first album.
We’ll end May’s roundup with Nightmarrow, the new album from Mavradoxa. If earthy and organic atmospheric black metal is your thing, then I can’t recommend Nightmarrow enough. Building on all of Mavradoxa’s previous strengths to produce an album that’s the band’s best work so far, this is a highly textured and individual release that has many years left of replay in it.