September was a particularly difficult month to have to limit my choice of key metal albums to just five. As such, I’m going to skip over both An Abstract Illusion’s Woe and Gaerea’s Mirage; both are great records and are getting abundant, richly-deserved praise elsewhere, allowing me to focus on lesser-known releases. Even with this though, I still struggled with having to omit so many other worthy albums…
We’ll start with something massive. Nadja’s colossal Labyrinthine is an exceptional record. Containing a feast of drone/sludge/doom both harsh and beautiful, this is an album that’s a real treat for connoisseurs of everything slow and heavy.
Causa Sui by Ahasver was an unexpected treat. I didn’t see it coming at all and it knocked me for six. Ahasver play a hybrid style of progressive metal that’s emotive and textured. Don’t miss out on this beast of an album.
Vermilia’s captivating Ruska is essentially an underground classic waiting to be discovered. If you’re a fan of black metal that has hearty folk and pagan elements, all wrapped up with rich atmosphere and exquisite songcraft, then this is as essential as it gets.
Everest Queen exceeded my expectations with the sludge powerhouse that is Murmurations. This is an album that offers a wealth of doom, progressive, and post-metal nutrition in a tasty sludge meal.
We’ll end with some of the best no-frills death metal I’ve heard in a while. Shaped by Human Frailty delivers on Strangle Wire’s early promise big style. The album is a savage collection of classic songwriting and crushing brutality.