4.5

Alestorm – Curse of the Crystal Coconut Review

Alestorm – Curse of the Crystal Coconut Review

“Figuring out what a band sounds like is akin to writing a biography: look first to the influences. Alestorm’s biography would need chapters devoted to a beloved and trve band named Bal-Sagoth. Early Alestorm material is based around the idea that it would be fun if Bal-Sagoth were Scottish, got drunk, played sea shanties, and kept the keyboard heroics.” Who ordered the Ale with Bals?

Black Curse – Endless Wound Review

Black Curse – Endless Wound Review

Endless Wound is so singular in its focus, so confident in its ability to do one thing extremely fucking well, that any convoluted preamble would be far too indulgent. So, convoluted, indulgent preamble aside, I will simply say this: Endless Wound feels like a future death metal classic.” Black curse, bold words.

Earth Rot – Black Tides of Obscurity Review

Earth Rot – Black Tides of Obscurity Review

“Last month I sampled an advance track for Earth Rot‘s third full-length album, Black Tides of Obscurity, and I rather enjoyed what I heard. And now that I’ve spent some significant time with the full record, I have to say that I’m completely blown away. Black Tides of Obscurity is the sound of a band that believes the answer to the question “Should we play old school Swedish death metal or true Norwegian black metal?” is an emphatic “YES!”” Rot n’ roll.

Xenobiotic – Mordrake Review

Xenobiotic – Mordrake Review

“Recently a new rule was established in the AMG offices: no more claiming promos more than a month out. Giving everyone equal opportunity makes for more entertaining gladiatorial combat in the Skull Pit, you see. But now it’s become a game for the clever, so I decided to scout the waters ahead in case I needed to be ready to pounce. When I came across a promo by Australian prog-tech-deathcore outfit Xenobiotic, stared at the gorgeous Lewandowski cover and listened to its advance track, I actually set an alarm for the day I could lay claim to it, before Kronos or Ferrous could get their claws into my precious. Because if the rest of Mordrake was as good as the single I sampled, I knew we were dealing with potential Album of the Year material.” Throw it into the fire!

Godthrymm – Reflections Review

Godthrymm – Reflections Review

“Valentine’s Day is normally reserved for lovers. Cards are exchanged, chocolates and red velvety things are consumed, uglies are bumped… Valentine’s Day is a time that romance, passion, and love fill the air. But you know what pairs well with VD? DOOM. Not just any doom metal, mind you, but rather oppressive, downtrodden, and lightless British DOOM, complete with bold typeface and italics. And who better to serve you that kind of doom than not one, but two former members of My Dying Bride?” Heavy love.

Krater – Venenare Review

Krater – Venenare Review

“Germany’s Krater began their black metal journey in 2003, and the 16 years since have seen the band in a constant state of evolution. After a debut that tended towards the pagan side of black metal, 2011’s Nocebo saw Krater moving in a more aggressive second-wave direction, and 2016’s Urere built upon that sound by adding more melodicism and wrapping it in a clear and powerful production. Venenare is the culmination of this evolutionary process, incorporating many different styles and sounds picked up along the way but at the same time transcending descriptive labels and tags by appearing as pure, unadulterated black metal.” Blackened pot luck.

The Drowning – The Radiant Dark Review and Album Premiere

The Drowning – The Radiant Dark Review and Album Premiere

“Since we got ourselves into the whole album premiere business not too long ago, I wondered what kind of album it would take to warrant a premiere of my own. Shockingly, I didn’t have to wait very long. Thanks to a certain Muppety influence, I acquired was deemed just barely worthy of access to a monumental death-doom album that very quickly rose to the top of my year-end contenders list. Imagine my sadistic ecstasy as I rushed to resuscitate The Drowning from the promo pool, only to discover that one sparkly sponge absorbed the Assign To bubble weeks beforehand. Joy Accordia! I’ll not be forgiven for this, not for an eternity.” Drinking deeply of despair.

Mayhem – Daemon Review

Mayhem – Daemon Review

“A new Mayhem release is the most exciting thing to happen in metal this year. Unlike most other bands who offer refinements and (ideally) improvements on their established sound with each release, Mayhem exhausts a sound on each full-length by exhausting a theme; as the sound’s purpose is to express the theme, the sound’s purpose is fulfilled once the theme is expressed. This means the lazy reviewer can’t merely compare the new Mayhem record to prior ones and base his analysis on that without completely missing the point of the record at hand — Mayhem’s career is an anthology, not an arc.” Mayhem‘s Hell awaits.