Not Metal

Serpentent – Mother of Light Review

Serpentent – Mother of Light Review

“If all you want is raw riffs, skull-crushing rhythms, or dissonant aggression, you’ve come to the wrong place. Serpentent’s debut full-length Mother of Light flirts casually with distorted guitars and heavier percussion, but there’s no metal to be found here. The brainchild of Seattle multi-instrumentalist Anne K. O’Neill, Serpentent plays minimalist dark folk music built around O’Neill’s emotive vocals and acoustic guitars. Spring 2022 has set a high bar for folky non-metal around these parts, with Urferd releasing an intricate slab of Nordic folk and Darkher continuing to set the standard for introspective doom. Mother of Light doesn’t quite reach those lofty heights, but it’s a pleasant surprise in a crowded genre.” Snake charming.

Urferd – Resan Review

Urferd – Resan Review

“Promotional material is magical. Often it’s a poorly written, exaggerated exercise in alternate realities. That’s par for the course when you’re talking about marketing, and everyone who reads it knows what they’re getting into, but it’s funny how sometimes it works anyway. In the case of Resan, the debut full-length from the Swedish Urferd, it almost worked too well. By suggesting that Resan is “a journey through dark and olden Nordic forests” suitable for fans of Heilung, Myrkur, and Forndom, sole band member Daniel Beckman (Twilight ForceAges) certainly caught my attention, but he also set the bar sky-high. And then… well, then he took me on a journey through dark and olden Nordic forests.” Nice forest package!

An Isolated Mind – A Place We Cannot Go Review and Album Premiere

An Isolated Mind – A Place We Cannot Go Review and Album Premiere

“I’ll admit right now that after almost nine years of listening to hundreds of promos for review, there’s a ton of music that may have left an impression during that time, but honestly doesn’t stay with me once the review is submitted. Call it lack of staying power or my own need to move on to the next promo for review, but with a few notable exceptions, many albums that I’ve fallen for on first listen end up drifting to the wayside, destined to be forgotten. An Isolated Mind‘s 2019 debut full-length, I’m Losing Myself, was certainly not one of those albums. An unflinching look at mental illness, I’m Losing Myself tackled a difficult subject with care and grace, and landed my top spot of 2019 in doing so.” Isolated but not lost.

Lorem Ipsum – Vivre Encore [Things You Might Have Missed 2021]

Lorem Ipsum – Vivre Encore [Things You Might Have Missed 2021]

Lorem Ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit Vivre Encore. Despite their playful moniker, the band lose nothing to translation. The French trio use acoustic guitar, violin, piano, and voice to articulate anxiety, failure, and grief in profound and singular songs that draw from European classical music, folk, post-rock and screamo.” Res ipsa loquitur.

Wudewuse – Northern Gothic Review

Wudewuse – Northern Gothic Review

“From the forests of Norway emerges Sondre Bergersen Mæland, a man of many talents and of many names. Known largely for his work in Tusmørke and Wudewuse, the multi-instrumentalist of Scandinavian folk and rock circles certainly seems to live an interesting life. According to my liner notes, for example, he wrote most of Northern Gothic, the sophomore full-length from the latter band, “over a period of three years while [he] was living in the forest and worked at a graveyard,” a journey that involved a “cosmic psychosis, following a death trip [he] had while on various substances.” So… that got my attention.” Grave matters.

En Minor – When the Cold Truth Has Worn Its Miserable Welcome Out Review

En Minor – When the Cold Truth Has Worn Its Miserable Welcome Out Review

“Were I to begin giving the weeks of my life names like some sort of week-naming goon, “When the Cold Truth Has Worn Its Miserable Welcome Out” would be a top-level contender for this past week. As a title, it’s perfect; overly lengthy, blunt, and definitely different. In a slight deviation from the metallic usual, the American group En Minor, headed by one Philip Anselmo (Pantera, Down, Philip H. Anselmo & the Illegals), has let loose their debut album, When the Cold Truth Has Worn Its Miserable Welcome Out, to unsuspecting masses. Given my earlier week-naming sentiments, this probably should be a match made by destiny – but is it?” Cold and miserable.

Aleah – Aleah Review

Aleah – Aleah Review

“Readers of this site, and fans in general, know of Aleah Stanbridge. After doing some work on her own and collaborating with The Mission’s Andy Cousin in That Which Remains, she laid down guest vocals for Swallow the Sun and Amorphis before forming Trees of Eternity with Swallow the Sun guitarist Juha Raivio. Trees of Eternity released Hour of the Nightingale in 2016, months after Aleah tragically passed away from cancer at age 39. Since then, Raivio has been assembling and touching up Aleah’s work, and he’s finally presenting it to us now in the form of a double album.” Music is immortal.

The Moon and the Nightspirit – Aether Review

The Moon and the Nightspirit – Aether Review

“I love receiving distinctly non-metal promos. I mean, it’s the name of the site, right? Angry ‘Metal’ Guy. Receiving folk, neo-folk, ambient, and similar musical styles feels like a statement from their artists: “no, it isn’t literally metal, but it’s metal in enough ways for you, ‘Guy.’” And I’m not complaining; from Winterfylleth’s The Hallowing of Heirdom to October Falls’s Kaarna to Forndom’s Faþir, some of my favorite musical discoveries have been metal “in all the right ways but one,” and all featured on this site. Since 2005, The Moon and the Nightspirit, a Hungarian duo featuring multi-instrumentalists Ágnes Tóth and Mihály Szabó, have been making traditional folk music; Aether is their seventh full-length album, and it feels like it belongs in all three of the above fields.” Aether realms?

Secrets of the Moon – Black House Review

Secrets of the Moon – Black House Review

“Bands change and sounds evolve. These are the most inescapable truisms in music regardless of genre, with only AC/DC and maybe Sodom resisting the inevitable flux. The last time I reviewed a Secrets of the Moon album way back in 2012 they were a somewhat progressive black metal act endeavoring to mix goth elements into their sound. Now Secrets of the Moon no longer play black metal in any way, shape or form.” Evolve or die.

Witchcraft – Black Metal Review

Witchcraft – Black Metal Review

“Magnus Pelander, the sole remaining founding member of Witchcraft, takes the reins on Black Metal, seemingly completely. There is his voice, and there is soft plucking on an acoustic guitar, and these two sounds comprise almost the entirety of the Black Metal sound. It sounds very different than the Witchcraft usual — certainly, it stands completely apart from Legend and Nucleus.” One man, one guitar.