4.5

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.

Valdrin – Effigy of Nightmares Review

Valdrin – Effigy of Nightmares Review

“I’m just now becoming aware of the fact that reviewing previously unknown (to me), established black metal bands with solid discographies has become one of my favorite hobbies. Last fall brought me Germany’s Krater, with their well-produced and varied venomous assault. Last month saw me covering Finland’s …and Oceans, a band that blasted onto the scene again after nearly twenty years of silence with an album that effectively displayed the band’s evolutionary past. And now I’ve spent the last several weeks spinning Effigy of Nightmares from Cincinnati band Valdrin.” Effigy of the unforgotten.

Ulthar – Providence Review

Ulthar – Providence Review

“Their debut in 2018 was received poorly by the respective probationary writer, noting that it suffered from “conflating incomprehensible fury and aimless blasting with gripping riffs and relentless aggression.” While it was slightly underrated, and this at least demonstrates that not all of the probationary writers were overrating bastards (though all the ones who made the cut are), it was far from essential and hardly suggested that there were great things to come. Enter 2020 and Providence.” New year, new gear.

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.