The Ocean

Sunken State – Solace in Solitude Review

Sunken State – Solace in Solitude Review

“Though childhood friends and siblings surrounded me with the stuff, the only two metalcore releases that stuck were Trivium‘s Shogun and God Forbid‘s IV:  Constitution of Treason. And, depending on the mood, As I Lay Dying. The rest ain’t my bag. The reason I grabbed Sunken State‘s debut record was mainly for the vocal performances. It’s an interesting melding of barks, rasps, and shouts. Solace in Solitude also combines their metalcore sound with melodeath, Lamb of God groove, and subtle hints of death metal. It’s an interesting combination of elements—especially for a band from South Africa.” Core tour.

Ophiuchi – Shibboleth Review

Ophiuchi – Shibboleth Review

“For one, I wouldn’t have guessed that the topics of the band’s doomy black nightmares revolved around Greek mythology. But they do. While the abduction of Persephone inspired Bifurcaria Bifurcata, this year’s Shibboleth is inspired by Homer’s Odyssey. If you’ve heard the music, you know it’s deeper than just a concept album. Like the music, the lyrics are waves on the ocean. Metamorphesizing in color and shape, gathering secrets as they move to shore—patiently waiting their turn to smash you into the rocks. It’s been four years, and I still don’t know Bifurcaria Bifurcata‘s secrets. And Shibboleth proves once again that Ophiuchi is as mysterious to me as it was in 2017.” Mysteries abound.

Grabak – Scion Review

Grabak – Scion Review

“I was worried about the metal scene when the world shut down, but a simple glance at the promo bin quells any fear with the rapidity of lightning – if black metal is your poison. Yes, we’ve got our blackened heavyweights that we’ll keep arguing about at AMG Headquarters. But when I predicted that, like cockroaches, small-time black metal projects would emerge from the dust of a silent world to wreak blackened havoc on the underground, I was right. Caliber is another question entirely, but quantity over quality seems to be the name of the game. Will veteran black metal collective Grabak wreak big havoc or be squashed under the sole of my ruthless “JUST CUZ IT’S KVLT DOESN’T MEAN IT’S GOOD MMKAY” boot?” Progeny of the plague.

Thermohaline – Maelström Review

Thermohaline – Maelström Review

“Thanks to that one boozy pirate-themed power metal band whose name rhymes with “Sail Dorm,” it’s difficult to take oceanic themed albums seriously. There are plenty of bands that have torn it up, Ahab showcasing mammoth waves with their breed of crushing funeral doom, Isis displaying the uncaring expanse with shoegaze-y post-metal, and Firtan and Déluge offering some respective symphonic black and post-black to reflect he majesty of the oceans. Scrolling through my black metal collection and each album’s respective themes goes something like this: winter, winter, occult, winter, occult, occult, evil, winter, etc. Oceanic-themed black metal is few and far between, and you’d be hard-pressed to find the good stuff. Will Thermohaline kickstart a new trend or will it end up drowning in its own ambition?” The sea was angry that day, my fiends.