We aren’t going to discuss the timing of this post, nor who delayed it1. We won’t be speculating when the April Record(s) o’ the Month will appear either. Instead we’re going to live in the moment and bask in the warming glow of quality metal and good will among metal fans. Just sit back, relax and let the music do the talking. Nice, right? Why can’t it always be like this? Mostly because of you, the readers. What’s done is done, and the moment is ruined. I hope you’re all happy.
At the risk of getting a reputation for gushing over avant-garde extreme metal, we really can’t avoid gushing over Dodecahedron. These Dutch black metal maniacs craft music so unbelievably nasty and suffocating, they basically stand alone in a violently birthed new genre. It’s vicious art that comes at you like the worst horror dredged from your subconscious; your deepest, darkest nightmares made auditory. What do you call music like that? Pennywise-core? Regardless of the label, Kwintessens is another attempt to subvert the listener’s sanity and make sure you’re worse off for having heard it. Kronos described it best as “metal with a question mark at the end of the phrase, music that doesn’t fit but creates a stark space for itself by pushing out against and tearing holes in the walls around it.” If we fear what we don’t understand, every Dodecahedron release reminds us we have much to be afraid of.
Pallbearer // Heartless – With Black Sabbath closing up their legendary shop, it falls to newcomers like Pallbearer to carry the weighty banner of doom into the future. On their third full-length, Pallbearer proves able and willing to take up the mantle, experimenting with their traditional doom sound by incorporating greater progressive influences. The lengthy, soul-crushing dirges are still there, but with an occasional ray of sun, glimmer of hope and the ever improving vocals of Brett Campbell. Big set piece tracks like “A Plea for Understanding” are instant doom classics, and while the proggy touches do lighten the load somewhat, Heartless is far from an uplifting spin. Doom isn’t going anywhere soon.
Wormwood // Ghostlands: Wounds From a Bleeding Earth – Wormwood may be a young black metal act but their heart and soul dwell in the genre’s formative years. Fusing folk, viking and traditional blackened styles, Ghostlands is a vibrant, explosive blast down memory lane with modern touches and unexpected side quests into prog. So taken was Akerblogger with the album’s various quirks and foibles, he struggled to stay within prescribed AMG word count limitations. In a pinch for space he summed it up thusly: “Ghostlands moves with a ghostly smoothness that ebbs, flows, rises and falls with a mixture of beauty and malice that only impresses.”