4.5

Selbst – Despondency Chord Progressions Review

Selbst – Despondency Chord Progressions Review

“In the blurred-boundary world of black metal, Selbst is quite special. Possessing neither the cold grit, folk-leaning whimsicality, or vivacious bombast of European and Northern American variants, the Latin American influence instead lends their sound a lilting, layered musicality. It’s been clear from the project’s beginning that this music is both incredibly personal and a way of exploring the darker and more devastating of shared human experiences. This is more true than ever with third LP Despondency Chord Progressions.” Plucking heartstrings darkly.

In Vain – Solemn Review

In Vain – Solemn Review

In Vain were clearly one of the most exciting Norwegian bands in the 2010s, boasting 2 great releases across Aenigma and Currents. The latter was even my Album o’ the Year for 2018, resulting in my unreasonable expectations for a sequel. For those unfamiliar, imagine a more varied and melodic version of Borknagar; a convenient comparator in a year that has also featured a new release from those guys too. And good though that record undoubtedly is, Solemn beats it hands down.” Vain and glorious.

Replicant – Infinite Mortality Review

Replicant – Infinite Mortality Review

“I was never a big fan of Replicant. The New Jersey quartet’s sophomore record Malignant Reality earned a high score on this here blog, but it failed to resonate with me at all. It featured solid enough tunes with big grooves and chunky riffs, but for one reason or another nothing stuck. However, every advance single for third LP Infinite Mortality struck a chord, so I snagged the promo in hopes that Replicant were about to turn the tables on me this time around.” Busted furnikits.

Hamferð – Men Guðs hond er sterk Review

Hamferð – Men Guðs hond er sterk Review

“Like so many things doomy, Hamferð doesn’t move quickly. Back in ’18, these Faroese doomsters—fronted by my golden voiced arch-nemesis and all around begrudging ‘friend o’ the blog’ Jón Aldará—released their second album Támsins likam.” I heaped love and adoration upon it and them. And given my history of fickle tastes that shift like the wind, one can only assume that I hate the followup, right?

Myrath – Karma Review

Myrath – Karma Review

“Alright, earMUSIC. We have to talk. It’s important to know that Myrath is one of my favorite bands on the planet. I’ve been listening to them for well over a decade now, so every time the Tunisian five-piece announces a new album, my rapt, anxious anticipation skyrockets. Frustratingly, since the announcement for sixth LP Karma dropped, album leaks and fake release dates ran amok and led hopeful fans like me to dead Spotify links and rampant misinformation. The repeated PR foibles alone were enough to make me worry that the album wouldn’t be any good. Then, to top it all off, you hand us stream promo? Very naughty! But, that’s okay. All is forgiven because god damn was Karma worth it in the end.” Forgiveness and my wrath.

Hulder – Verses in Oath Review

Hulder – Verses in Oath Review

“Originally from Belgium but now firmly ensconced in the Pacific Northwest of the US, one-woman black metal project Hulder caused some ripples with debut LP, Godslastering: Hymns of a Forlorn Peasantry, in 2021. Steeped in dark medieval themes and even darker folklore, it channeled both an almost second wave black metal harshness and a folk edge to create a unique sound. Although a little rough around the edges, it promised much for the future.” The future is NOW!

Spectral Voice – Sparagmos Review

Spectral Voice – Sparagmos Review

“In the frenzied ritualistic worship of the god Dionysus, acolytes would often perform the violent act known as Sparagamos—tearing limb-from-limb a sacrificial animal, or human. What ecstatic human hands would enact, Spectral Voice conjures in their sophomore bearing its moniker, their attempt to reach “the moment in which – through sacrifice – atavistic wildness is unleashed, and the ultimate exaltation of life through death is realized.”” Giving voice to the void.

Convocation – No Dawn for the Caliginous Night Review

Convocation – No Dawn for the Caliginous Night Review

“In the wretched realms of death metal, Finland’s Lauri Laaksonen is a known commodity. After a five-year stint in Sear, LL, as he’s credited on most liner notes, founded the beastly Desolate Shrine in 2010. We here at AMG have for the most part fawned in a most undignified manner over that project’s output. On the strength of that discography alone, LL could hold his head high among his most celebrated death metal contemporaries. But his impact on the genre doesn’t end there. Since 2018, LL has released some of the very finest slabs of demoralizing deathly doom in recent memory through his band Convocation.” Dark days in Finland.

Afterbirth – In But Not Of Review

Afterbirth – In But Not Of Review

“It took Afterbirth more than two decades to launch their first deep space probe with 2017’s The Time Traveler’s Dilemma. The Long Island gurglers were worth the wait, as that album and 2020’s ingenious Four Dimensional Flesh sketched out the band’s vision of prog-enhanced brutal death metal. Kronos deemed Four Dimensional Flesh “one of the most charismatic and original death metal albums you’ll ever hear,” and in the wake of that triumph a new Afterbirth slab qualifies as a full-fledged Event.” Strong Islands birth strong sounds.