Solstafir

Vinsta – Drei Deita Review

Vinsta – Drei Deita Review

“Sometimes metal is addictive in its brutality. Sometimes it is so technically impressive that we come back to it time and time again. Other times, it’s catchy, burrowing its hooks into our helpless brains and infecting us from within. But, in my own opinion, the best metal is simply compelling; it has an abstract quality about it that draws you in and becomes increasingly rewarding with every subsequent listen. So it was with Drei Deita (Three Foreboders), the second full-length release from Vinsta, a solo project from Austria’s Christian Höll.” Resurgence intensifies.

Helheim – Rignir Review

Helheim – Rignir Review

“As I sit here with Helheim‘s newest album, Rignir, two things occur to me.  First, Helheim is the most-consistent band I know. Not only are all their albums good or great but they’ve been releasing a new one every 2-3 years since 1995. Second, I’ve been at AMG far longer than I realized. Having first reviewed this black/Viking metal band back in 2015, Rignir is now the third time I’ve penned some words on their music.” The olde and the reliable.

Clouds – Dor Review

Clouds – Dor Review

“Life is pain. The human condition is one of brief, fleeting moments of joy hemmed in on all sides by the ever-present specter of death and loss. The loss of loved ones, the loss of safety and comfort as your aging body fails and falls to ruin, and ultimately, the frigid closure of death. Clouds writes every note of their music from this cold place at the edge of mortality, with the debilitating awareness of the darkness that hovers just past our tomorrows.” Cold, hard truths.

Vreid – Lifehunger Review

Vreid – Lifehunger Review

“It was June 2006 and I was helping a friend move into a downtown apartment. It was hot and we were scrambling up and down two flights of stairs as fast as possible before a cop could ticket us for taking up half-a-lane of traffic with our truck. When it was finally over, we grabbed lunch and went to my favorite record store down the street. This place had the strangest collection of albums I’d ever seen and a surprisingly large metal section for a town full of hippies and reggae fans. The album I selected that day was something I had heard many things about. From a band that rose from the ashes of Windir.” Vreid it and weep.

Manes – Slow Motion Death Sequence Review

Manes – Slow Motion Death Sequence Review

“The first time I heard the Norwegian oddity known as Manes, I was in grad school. That fateful day, I was grading organic chemistry exams, locked away in that windowless closet of a grading room. With hours of work ahead of me, I took the time to find some new music to ease the pain. After getting caught in the rabbit’s hole of ‘similar artists’ and the ‘who-played-with-who’ links of Metal Archives, I emerged with Manes. And, I figured, this oughta do.” Music for destroying futures.

Skogen – Skuggorna Kallar Review

Skogen – Skuggorna Kallar Review

Skuggorna Kallar follows the dying of the light on a Nordic eve. Darkness encroaches and envelops as light fades. Previously, Skogen had crafted airier atmospheric and pagan epics. Earlier albums, especially their magisterial second platter Svitjod (one of my favorites in this subgenre), carry a lofty melodic sheen. The crunching mid-paced riff-craft of their debut was present but filtered in lighter dosages. Four years later and Skuggorna Keller — their fifth album — comes knocking at our door, draped in ash and frost. This is Skogen‘s darkest record yet.” Darkness and blackness.

Madam X’s Least Disliked Five(ish) of 2017

Madam X’s Least Disliked Five(ish) of 2017

“And with a mighty cold flourish, twenty-seventeen makes her exit! While it’s not been a bad year by any means, it has been a more demanding year than I expected, with fewer opportunity for music listening and writing. Regulars to AMG may have noticed, going back a few months now, that I’ve pretty much been absent from the Reviews section of the site.” Come back or your creepy doll collection meets Mr. Shreddy.