Arcturus

Naglfar – Cerecloth Review

Naglfar – Cerecloth Review

“These Swedes have been around a long time and, I’m sad to admit, I kinda gave up on them after 2007’s Harvest. Yet, here we are, some thirteen years later, with Naglfar‘s newest record plopped in my lap. Upon initial inspection, Cerecloth looks, feels, and smells like Naglfar. Former bassist, Kristoffer W. Olivius, is still at the mic, after replacing the mighty Jens Rydén on 2005’s Pariah. And, as it’s been since ’95’s Vittra, each instrument is as crucial as the next. The result is some of the strongest songwriting in the genre. Never groundbreaking and never meant to be, Naglfar is a true purveyor of that melodic black metal sound.” Olde and still colde.

Apotheus – The Far Star Review

Apotheus – The Far Star Review

“Every now and then you run into something that seems to have been made specifically for you. It’s like someone reached into your head, downloaded a copy of your soul, extracted exactly the sort of things you enjoy, and made something that panders to the template it found. Apotheus’ promo described a progressive melodeath band with a sci-fi concept album about interstellar colonization. Periods for emphasis, but Sign. Me. The. Fuck. Up.” Swallow the wvrm.

Borknagar – True North Review

Borknagar – True North Review

“Calling me a fanboy of Borknagar is an understatement. Because of this, the review of this year’s True North has been one of the toughest yet for ole Grier. That’s why it’s always difficult to trust the opinion of fanboys, starfuckers, or anyone getting financial ‘encouragement’ from a band or label. Wait a second, Grier, did you back yourself into a corner and admit that no one should trust this review? Hell no, plebs. I’m no n00b.” Trve North, trve journalisming.

Wolfhorde – Hounds of Perdition Review

Wolfhorde – Hounds of Perdition Review

“Taking the leap from trolling in the comments section to writing serious reviews made me realize how little I really know about an increasingly complex metal genre. Perhaps this is endemic of an ever more experimental metal scene where genre-spanning efforts are becoming more common and reviewers throw out increasingly long lists of sub-sub-categorizations. Perhaps I’m young and lack the knowledge base of my elders. Perhaps there is just more music around these days. Whatever the case, Wolfhorde have let the dogs out with the genre hopping Hounds of Perdition, but is this sophomore effort about to get Old Yellered by yours truly?” Blackened dogs.

Sunless Dawn – Timeweaver Review

Sunless Dawn – Timeweaver Review

“While I dislike music competitions as much as anyone, there’s something to be said for the worldwide Metal Battle program, involving 27 countries and hundreds of fledgling bands. Organized by Wacken, you can at least trust there will be no significant genre bias, unlike general music competitions. And while winners may be to your taste or not, they can always be deemed competent at the very least. Sunless Dawn won the 2016 Denmark Metal Battle, but it took them until now to release their debut, the hour-long progressive behemoth that is Timeweaver.” Greater Danes.

Malphas – The 39th Spirit Review

Malphas – The 39th Spirit Review

“With a concept album comes even more pressure than a typical release. Not only should the music be good, but it should seamlessly blend with the story. And it’s gotta be convincing. When I listen to King‘s The Puppetmaster, I can feel myself hanging from a hook at a long-forgotten puppet shop in “Living Dead.” I can feel the battle brewing in the barren wasteland of Iced Earth‘s “Desert Rain.” And I can feel the weight hanging on Immortal in Unleash the Archers‘ “Cleanse the Bloodlines.” What’s it feel like to make a pact with a demon to obliterate organized religion?” 39 spirits and a Grier ain’t one.

The Konsortium – Rogaland Review

The Konsortium – Rogaland Review

“If you’re into the Norwegian black metal scene, you may know bassist/guitarist/songwriter Teloch. For those that don’t know, he’s the man behind Nidingr and responsible for guitars and songwriting on Mayhem‘s Esoteric Warfare. If you do know the man, you already knew that and also know he’s a member of the once mysterious—but now not-so-mysterious—black/thrash outfit The Konsortium, where he writes and plays bass alongside the legendary black metal drummer Dirge Rep, and, together, they rip, shred, and tear shit apart.” At the Roga, Roga Cabana.

Panegyrist – Hierurgy Review

Panegyrist – Hierurgy Review

Steel Druhm‘s black metal appreciation days have largely come and gone as we’ve grown apart and developed irreconcilable differences. Because I’m such a self-aware, introspective gent, I give the genre a wide birth when it comes to promo pluckery lest I savage a band for my own lack of interest. But a strange thing happened on the way to the sump recently. Madam X was sampling new arrivals and I didst hear such a compelling cacophony that I simply had to know who was responsible.” Risky blackness.

Usurpress – Interregnum Review

Usurpress – Interregnum Review

“Consistency is a virtue, most of the time. Oftentimes, it is vital for a band’s recognizability, allowing only for incremental growth and change, both within an album and across several. But it can be taken too far with a sound growing stale, or eschewed completely for avant-garde whiplash effects (see Igorrr). Usurpress love mixing different genres into their Swedish death metal, risking consistency issues but aiming for the reward of diversity and unpredictability.” Overthrow the expected.

Dr. A.N. Grier’s Top Ten(ish) of 2017

Dr. A.N. Grier’s Top Ten(ish) of 2017

“Remember that scene in Ghostbusters (the real Ghostbusters…) where Winston tells Ray, ‘If someone asks you if you are a god, you say yes!’ Well, if someone asks you if you want to write a guide for teaching organic chemistry, you say hellafuckingno. I’m serious. Do yourself, and everyone around you, a favor. So, yeah, this year’s been nuts. Thankfully, there’s Angry Metal Guy—a solace for all metalheads to come together and be verbally abused and cat-tailed in the company basement.” Cat’s got yer list.