Self Released

Opensight – Mondo Fiction Review

Opensight – Mondo Fiction Review

“In the case of Mondo Fiction, you get… detective metal? If we’re going to conflate movie and music genres, this description is easily the most apt for Opensight’s quirky brand of metal. Additionally, using more established musical genres is a surprisingly difficult undertaking. Broadly speaking, the album mixes elements of heavy metal, progressive metal, alternative metal and smidges of the cabaretesque and surf rock. Yes, surf rock.” Mystery is on the menu.

Krallice – Crystalline Exhaustion Review

Krallice – Crystalline Exhaustion Review

“For the better part of the last two weeks I’ve done nothing but wrap my head around the entire output of Queens, New York black metal alchemists Krallice. This was difficult enough with their mathy, progressive first four albums, but the wildly experimental, technical second half of their catalogue knocked me slightly out of phase with this reality. I see in five dimensions now. I respond to things before they happen, because they have already happened and are never not happening.” Dimensional crosstrainers.

Depleted Uranium – Origins Review

Depleted Uranium – Origins Review

Depleted Uranium scrape together the contrasting textures of the Dillinger Escape Plan and cut them with nastier shots of powerviolence. Pivoting between tense builds and haywire blasts of aggression, they try to make the best of Origins’ sixteen minutes and change, never dropping the pace for too long.” Half live.

Take Over and Destroy – Fade Out [Things You Might Have Missed 2021]

Take Over and Destroy – Fade Out [Things You Might Have Missed 2021]

“Like many of you, my allegiances are with my local scene. With Covid taking over bars and venues, it’s been challenging to keep up with the ever-changing scene as new basement bands emerge, and veterans call it quits. Thankfully, my fellow Phoenicians, Take Over and Destroy, didn’t let the pandemic get them down—quite the opposite, really. Earlier this year, they were a band that’s been quiet for almost five years. Later in the year, they surprised the entire metal community by materializing a new record out of the fucking ether. With a kickass, old-school vinyl cover and a straightforward attitude to doom and sludge, Fade Out is the Covid album we all wanted. Drop the needle, and let’s get mad.” Healthy destruction.

Lastera – From the Ashes Review

Lastera – From the Ashes Review

“If there’s one musical style I could argue “let me down” last year, it was power metal. Nothing really grabbed me, nothing impressed me, nothing stuck. That’s disappointing, mind you, because I generally love power metal in all its cheesy, crazy glory. So when I came upon From the Ashes, the debut full-length from Danish newcomers Lastera, I didn’t need much convincing to check it out.” Ash power.

Khirki – Κτηνωδία [Things You Might Have Missed 2021]

Khirki – Κτηνωδία [Things You Might Have Missed 2021]

“Hard rock and post-grunge are pretty much dead to me. After being a huge fan of that kind of stuff in the mid-aughts, my tastes started to branch out into other avenues. Once that happened, every new record in that scene sounded the same as the last one, regardless of what band released what album. Seeing no evolution or novelty anywhere just confirmed for me that there was nothing left to look forward to. Then Khirki arrives, and I’m all fucked up. How dare the Greek trio choose fucking 20-goddamn-21 to release a post-grunge debut record, entitled Κτηνωδία, that actually rocks hard back to front?!” Hellenic heroics.

Ethereal Shroud – Trisagion Review

Ethereal Shroud – Trisagion Review

Trisagion, at its core, fits the mold of atmospheric black metal to a tee. However, only fools suggest that Ethereal Shroud settle for that core sound without layers upon layers of extracurricular influence to flesh it out. In 2021, that influence takes the form of a most depressive subset of doom, a network of melodic leads which alternate between chilling and radiant, and crafty drumming that handily combines post-metallic defiance of standard beats with traditional blasts and double-bass runs.” Ephemeral glory on the precipice of oblivion.

Bloody Cumshot – Nymphomania [Things You Might Have Missed 2021]

Bloody Cumshot – Nymphomania [Things You Might Have Missed 2021]

“In a year of awful band names, Bloody Cumshot —a project by Junya of Zemeth— may be the only one that has moved several AMG staff members to boycott the band on principle. And who can blame them? It is stupidly, ridiculously over the top. I’d assume anyone with such a band name to be edgelords among edgelords, and the song titles don’t help. But you can safely ignore all of that. Here’s bloodshot in your eye.

Celestial Swarm – Gateways to the Necroverse [Things You Might Have Missed 2021]

Celestial Swarm – Gateways to the Necroverse [Things You Might Have Missed 2021]

“It seems like I routinely encounter one album within the first week of the year that sticks with me to the end. In 2021, that honor belongs to Celestial Swarm‘s immense debut, Gateways to the Necroverse. The international four-piece claim to innovate a novel subset of br00tality: “slamming black metal.” Given what I’ve spent an entire year absorbing, I think a better moniker is “brutal black metal,” but I suppose that’s splitting hairs.” At the Gateways.