TheKenWord

Destroying AMG's metal cred from within.
Firienholt – By the Waters of Awakening Review

Firienholt – By the Waters of Awakening Review

Firienholt sound pretty much exactly as you’d expect based solely on this album art. Falling somewhere in the center of a Venn diagram split between atmospheric black metal, symphonic folk-ish metal, and dungeonsynth, By the Waters of Awakening offers an experience that not only relaxes and soothes, but also evokes a desire for bone-chilling winter to return forthwith. Tambourines, flutes, strings, trumpets and French horns, and glistening synths decorate a light dusting of blackened frost across a wondrous landscape of mournful melodies and heartfelt verses. This is not an album for headbanging.” Serenity now!

Mental Cruelty – A Hill to Die Upon Review

Mental Cruelty – A Hill to Die Upon Review

“Everyone loves a good comeback story. For German brutal deathcore quintet Mental Cruelty, their comeback story begins in 2018, wherein they rolled up on your beach brandishing a weapon of divine destruction named Pergatorium. Then, Inferis dropped less than a year later. To my dismay, that record abandoned much of what made Pergatorium fun and compelling, instead resorting to cheap genre tricks, lifeless breakdowns and unsatisfying symphonics. Looking back, I probably overrated Inferis by a half-point, such was my disappointment with the album after such a strong debut. Enter third installment A Hill to Die Upon.” Obsessed by (Mental) Cruelty.

Crypts of Despair – All Light Swallowed Review

Crypts of Despair – All Light Swallowed Review

“The album title, the artwork, the music—it all fits the image of a virulent black cloud looming over an entire world, extinguishing the sun and stars only to then extinguish the life of all that is flesh and bone. Catastrophic riffs swirl through murky depths spattered with trem-picked abrasions, retched guttural emanations gurgle alongside bloodcurdling shrieks, and the world around them disintegrates amongst the falling ash as is their will. Lithuania quartet Crypts of Despair deals in the kind of metal that is not to be survived.” Grave new world.

Bushido Code – The Ronin Review

Bushido Code – The Ronin Review

“I’m a sucker for odd combos. Purple and yellow for an action movie poster instead of the boring and overused red-blue scheme? Sign me the fuck up. A crossover that’s actually also a convertible? I think that’s fucking stupid but sign me the fuck up anyway. So when I saw that Pennsylvania/North Carolina quintet Bushido Code‘s debut The Ronin came with the thrash metal tag, artwork that looks like a cross between Overwatch concept art and West Coast style graffiti, and stitched together with Japanese samurai themes which may or may not extend somewhat beyond pure aesthetics, I felt compelled to cover it.” Lone Wolf and club.

The Beast of Nod – Multiversal Review

The Beast of Nod – Multiversal Review

The Beast of Nod‘s Vampira: Disciple of Chaos was one of the coolest indie death metal albums back in 2018. The icy hunk of sharp, odd prog-death featured unique songwriting, delightfully insane humor, an entertaining story with fascinating characters, and a thousand hooks sharpened with intent to kill. Wild seems an apt descriptor, especially when you take into account the extensive lore that the project created to accompany their musical arm. While rough around the edges at times, that first icebreaker put The Beast of Nod on my map, and the maps of several more of our writers.” Nod plod.

Unflesh – Inhumation Review

Unflesh – Inhumation Review

“Unlike the New Hampshire trio’s debut Savior, which ranks among my earliest Bandcamp purchases, Inhumation flows like hot blood through open veins. Where the debut rode through a chaotic blizzard of technicality, Inhumation builds upon an ensemble of tight, catchy riffs, blackened leads and throbbing bass counterpoint. Drama drips from the walls of this cathedral of melodic tech-death. Excess has been excised from the exercise, exhibiting only that which enhances the experience.” All hail the Unflesh.

Mare Cognitum – Solar Paroxysm Review

Mare Cognitum – Solar Paroxysm Review

“There’s atmospheric black metal, and then there’s Mare Cognitum. Two sides of the same planet. On the former, the sphere is completely devoid of life, eroded by endless recycling of ideas to the point of being uninhabitable. Then you have Mare Cognitum, a one-man force of nature who consistently releases quality material. Mastermind and multi-instrumentalist Jacob Buczarski’s side of the atmoblack world thrives against the eroding tides of time.” Renewable energies.

Autarkh – Form in Motion Review

Autarkh – Form in Motion Review

“My taste in metal rapidly expanded after Autarkh‘s mastermind Michel Nienhuis obliterated my understanding of the universe with his atom-blasting Dodecahedron project. Crushing dissonance met twisted melody and horrific atmosphere in a package that was challenging but morbidly inviting not once, but twice. Autarkh falls far from that tree, not at all a continuation of Michel’s past efforts. This I respect and encourage.” Form before function.

Acid Mammoth – Caravan Review

Acid Mammoth – Caravan Review

“Stoner doom. Cool, now that two-thirds of the readers have scurried away, let’s get down to brass tacks. This genre is fucking plagued. To find prime specimens in this genre is a rare feat indeed, and as I write this I realize even I only have one or two, maybe three records to offer as modern examples of such. Everything else sounds like a litter of indistinguishable duplicates to me. Greek quartet Acid Mammoth should be able to break that mold, though, right? First of all, they’ve got one of the best metal logos in recent times. Second of all, they occupy the darker side of the stoner doom spectrum.” Diamonds and tusk.