Twelve

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Árstíðir lífsins – Aldrlok Review

Árstíðir lífsins – Aldrlok Review

Árstíðir lífsins seem to not believe much in fanfare. Since I discovered the Icelandic/German group via their very good fourth full-length Saga á tveim tungum I: Vápn ok viðr, I never learn about their releases until AFTER they show up. The followup to Saga I never reached the Angry Metal Promo Sump, and their most recent release, the enjoyable Hermalausaz, arrived quietly at the end of last year. Now they’re back with Aldrlok (“Death [of an age]”), their sixth full-length release, which follows the band’s familiar vein of mountainous black metal adorned with gorgeous folk passages and lyrics sung in Old Norse-Icelandic.” Unexpected pleasures in the ice.

Kati Rán – Sála Review

Kati Rán – Sála Review

“Neofolk is a special style of art. It encompasses the achingly simple to portray stunning complexity. Everything is done with earnest emotion, and often the onus is on the artist not to simply entertain, but to transport the listener, through time, through places, and through very states of being. When I first learned of Kati Rán and her debut full-length release Sála, I was heartened by a single line in its promo copy: “Recorded in a barn in Húsafell, Iceland”—and I didn’t read further.” Barn razing.

Tomorrow’s Rain – Ovdan Review

Tomorrow’s Rain – Ovdan Review

Tomorrow’s Rain is an interesting beast. The Israeli six-piece treads between doom and gothic metal, and made a splash with their debut Hollow in part because of the sheer number of guest musicians who participated in the album. Now, four years later, the band returns with their sophomore full-length, Ovdan (“Loss”), an album with a deeply personal backstory. This was recorded after vocalist and founding member Yishai Swartz suffered a heart attack severe enough to warrant open heart surgery.” Rain and recovery.

Leaves’ Eyes – Myths of Fate Review

Leaves’ Eyes – Myths of Fate Review

“Symphonic metal is a tricky genre to review; it is, at this point, so steeped in clichés that critiquing it for leaning on clichés is itself starting to feel like a cliché. Ever since Nightwish lobbed Once at the masses, it’s been easy to feel like everyone else is trying to do the same thing. Sometimes it’s effective, and sometimes you’re damaging your fist on a completely intact and rather thick layer of ice. For Leaves’ Eyes, who have been around for over twenty years now, I get the sense that the goal is consistency.” Do the Eyes have it?

The Dread Crew of Oddwood – Rust & Glory Review

The Dread Crew of Oddwood – Rust & Glory Review

“We’re no strangers to “pirate metal” ’round these parts, are we? There’s just something about the enduring and relatable ideals of pirate-themed music that we at Angry Metal Guy universally love, commenters, readers, and writers alike. I’ve opened my review with this entirely uncontroversial statement as a way to share with you my own excitement when I received the promo copy for Rust & Glory, the fifth full-length release for the U.S.-based pirate musicians that make up The Dread Crew of Oddwood.” YAAARR’s revenge.

Tvinna – Two – Wings of Ember Review

Tvinna – Two – Wings of Ember Review

“As I sit down to write this review, it’s occurring to me belatedly that I’m not fully sure how to describe the music I’m sitting down to describe. The four members of Tvinna, in their sophomore full-length album, demonstrate that they are many things. They are European, with members hailing from Germany and Switzerland. They are experienced musicians, with members in Eluveitie, Solarcycles, and Faun. They are well-read and well-researched, presenting in Two – Wings of Ember an album that is entrenched in folk tropes and rich in both history and mythology.” Two wings, one band.

Frostbite Orckings – The Orcish Eclipse Review

Frostbite Orckings – The Orcish Eclipse Review

Frostbite Orckings may have claim to the most interesting premise in metal, at least in 2023. Based on recordings from hired session musicians, the project is a work of purely AI-generated power metal. The Orcish Eclipse is the project’s debut full-length release, and heralds itself as “the world’s first AI-generated heavy metal album.”” Orc in the machine.

Burden of Ymir – Heorot [Things You Might Have Missed 2023]

Burden of Ymir – Heorot [Things You Might Have Missed 2023]

“Joe Caswell, of Ontario, Canada, is having quite the year; his newest band, Swamp Fiend, released their debut full-length this year, and both of his solo projects, Drowstorm and Burden of Ymir, put out new releases within two weeks of each other. It would be understandable if these solo releases were only fine; it would be impressive if they were decent. But instead, they’re actually good, and Burden of Ymir’s Heorot in particular stands as a shining example of folky black metal, playing with a level of quality that would make you think it’s the only thing Caswell had worked on all year.” Idle hands and such.