Alkaloid

Record(s) o’ the Month – November 2021

Record(s) o’ the Month – November 2021

“October and November can, without a doubt, be said to have saved 2021 for me. After last month’s pile of elite records, it was hard to imagine that November could be better. But two big things happened in November: 1) I successfully defended my PhD thesis, thus finally making me Dr. Angry Metal Guy; and 2) the rest of the big releases for 2021 dropped hard, fast, and heavy.” How to choose from this bumper crop?

Redemptor – Agonia Review

Redemptor – Agonia Review

“End of year chaos is upon us to conclude another turbulent 365, as we stave off rushing deadlines, responsibilities and festive madness. As we all know, it is also time for the AMG crew to sharpen their blades and make the tough choices to consolidate the annual list fest of fine tastes. But we must not forgo our reviewing responsibilities completely in the historically lackluster schedule for December. A small pile of quality albums can unexpectedly drop and throw a spanner in the works. Following a long break between drinks, unsung Polish juggernaut Redemptor make their welcome return.” Late year redemption.

Hannes Grossmann – To Where the Light Retreats Review

Hannes Grossmann – To Where the Light Retreats Review

“I have a confession to make. I have a pathological aversion to bands named after people. Unless your name is Ozzy or Dio, I’m probably not going to listen to your album. Ok, I guess I love the solo stuff from Warrel Dane and Michael Romeo, but that’s it! I honestly can’t explain why, but I’ve just always thought that metal is a band’s genre. Anyways, I’ve said all that to immediately contradict myself.” What’s in a name?

Dark Fortress – Spectres from the Old World Review

Dark Fortress – Spectres from the Old World Review

“Back in 2014, Madam X covered the release of Venereal Dawn by Bavarian brutalists Dark Fortress. Our Marchioness de Machiavelli didn’t particularly care for the album’s progressive expansion of melodic black metal. I, on the other hand, adored it. Since Morean joined forces with V. Santura, their sonic shade has substantially deepened. The duo’s combined involvement in projects as diverse as Alkaloid, Triptykon, Noneuclid and Hannes Grossmann has wrought one my favorite writing partnerships in extreme metal. Six years on, and Dark Fortress are poised to drop eighth album Spectres from the Old World.” Old world, new blackness.

Howling Sycamore – Seven Pathways to Annihilation Review

Howling Sycamore – Seven Pathways to Annihilation Review

“Last year’s self-titled debut from prog “supergroup” Howling Sycamore was one of my more positive surprises. On paper it shouldn’t have really worked: extreme drumming married to down-tuned guitars, then mashed in with over the top old-school vocals and the occasional crazed baritone sax. Yet the whole thing gelled in some weird, freakish way, and I was left hoping it wasn’t a one-off project. Well, here we are less than a year and a half later, with Seven Pathways to Annihilation, the band’s follow-up.” Screaming trees.

Warforged – I, Voice Review

Warforged – I, Voice Review

“The Artisan Era has been on a decent roll lately, releasing good to great albums left and right for just over a year. Warforged seemed like a bit of an odd duck for the label though. The Chicagoan five-piece of progressive blackened death metal don’t really fit the tech-death-heavy mold The Artisan Era have curated for themselves. It was this fact that initially drew me to I, Voice.” War by another name.

Obscura – Diluvium Review

Obscura – Diluvium Review

Obscura‘s 2009 release, Cosmogensis, dropped right when I was getting back into metal in a big way. I, like most people who heard it at the time, hailed it as the spiritual successor to Necrophagist and crowned the band the Kings o’ Noodly Death Metal. They have, in my estimation, never lived up to these expectations. Both Omnivium and Arkóasis fell flat, and both suffered from similar weaknesses; ballooning song and album-lengths, often at the cost of compositional focus and coherence.” If that’s not a cliff-hanger that makes you need to click, nothing is!