4.5

Portal – Avow Review

Portal – Avow Review

“Before Ion, we thought we had Portal figured out. The kings of murk would release another album of slogging dissonance, just like Swarth or Vexovoid. However, taking the path of least resistance or going with ol’ reliable has never been the esoteric Australian collective’s way, and we were greeted with Ion, a big obscure middle finger to the masses in their abruptly clearest and most pristine listen. In spite of the almost complete abandonment of murk, Ion adhered to their signature impenetrability, creating one of the most challenging listens in recent memory and showcasing that they weren’t just some disso-death one-trick pony. Avow reminds us that Portal is still king.” There will be cake.

Dordeduh – Har Review

Dordeduh – Har Review

“Until a few months ago I was only peripherally aware of Dordeduh. I had heard their debut album, 2012’s Dar de duh, and thought it was “good” but not really worth revisiting. Similarly, I was aware of the apparent amazingness of Om, Negură Bunget’s 2006 opus, in which Edmond “Huppogrammos” Karban and Cristian “Sol Faur” Popescu played a pivotal role. While that album was stunning in scope, the black metal production values turned me off. Potential, yes: essential, no. Fast forward to 2021, and on a whim I clicked on the first track released from Har, entitled “Descânt.” It was then that I knew I had to not only hear this album, but bring it forth to the Angry Metal Guy faithful.” From Romania with love.

Mānbryne – Heilsweg: O udrece ciala i tulaczce duszy Review

Mānbryne – Heilsweg: O udrece ciala i tulaczce duszy Review

“The reason many debut albums sound so good, the theory goes, is that the composer has been creating and honing these songs (at least in their head) their whole life. What the songs lack in finesse, they make up for with creativity and fresh energy. It’s why hardcore fans of many bands prefer their earlier output, before an established groove was settled into. What happens, though, when you have the shaggy exuberance of a fresh and gifted songwriter, combined with the talents of more experienced heads to hone and polish the rougher edges? Mānbryne answers that question with Heilsweg: O udrece ciala i tulaczce duszy.” Marinating in Mānbryne.

Paranorm – Empyrean Review

Paranorm – Empyrean Review

“This may be their debut full-length, but Uppsala’s Paranorm are no spring chickens in the thrash game. According to legend — and the band’s social media accounts — Paranorm was formed by three high school friends on a hot summer night in 2007 to the sound of Megadeth‘s Rust in Peace blasting from the stereo. After an initial run of a demo and a couple EPs, the band has been quiet for the last seven years. What could they possibly have been doing during such a long break from writing? If Empyrean is any indication, they spent the time searching for, discovering, and studying some powerful relic that confers ancient, arcane knowledge of the five magics of metal mastery, because this record is a progressive thrash metal monster.” Paranormal ratings.

Cryptic Shift – Visitations from Enceladus Review

Cryptic Shift – Visitations from Enceladus Review

“While I’ve traditionally identified as a basic black metal bitch, my listening habits of late have hovered firmly above death metal territory. The art of the Big Dumb Riff has held absolute command of my Spotify search bar, and it’s all thanks to the diversity the genre pool has spawned in over three decades of evolution. Just as I finish my most recent round of dick flattening at the hands of something as unflinchingly savage as Black Curse, I know I can hop to the opposite end of the technical axis to enjoy similarly aggressive highs in a fresh context. Cryptic Shift‘s debut is about as far from something like Black Curse as you can imagine on the caveman riff spectrum, but those same thrills are all here.” Up Shift’s creek.

Panzerfaust – The Suns of Perdition – Chapter II: Render unto Eden Review

Panzerfaust – The Suns of Perdition – Chapter II: Render unto Eden Review

“To prepare myself for the much-anticipated The Suns of Perdition – Chapter II: Render unto Eden, I had to commit an act of Contrition, upgrading my review of The Suns of Perdition – Chapter I: War, Horrid War to a 4.0. The fact that it has only taken this quartet of Canadians a smidge over a year to pen the follow-up to that rampaging, brvtal beast of an album was, I’ll admit, concerning. War, Horrid War combined raw intensity and crvshing riffs with moments of beauty and fragility to such stunning effect that, while I desperately wanted to get my hands on the follow-up, I wondered if Panzerfaust shouldn’t take just a bit more time to pen a worthy successor.” Burning paradise.

Faceless Burial – Speciation Review

Faceless Burial – Speciation Review

“Sometimes you know within seconds that an album is going to absolutely rule. I knew it when I heard the chimes in Desolate Endscape. I knew it when I heard the first riff of “Cognitive Sedation Butchery.” This time I knew it when I heard three notes – guitar, bass, and snare – and fell into a tetanic stupor, fists clenched in ecstasy, tongue projected out to the state line. Faceless Burial just made a modern classic in old school death metal.” Endangering species.