The Ocean

Ahasver – Causa Sui Review

Ahasver – Causa Sui Review

“Have you ever heard the story of Ahasver, a forsaken quasi-biblical figure who ignored Jesus somewhere along the line? Now, he gets to wander around undying until the big guy comes back. That’s just a bit petty if you ask me, but if you ask Ahasver, the story functions as a much more brutal parable—a man must walk the earth in the face of all the terrors he has witnessed and ever that will unfold. But worry not, this isn’t a 90 minute rock opera nor a 60 bpm post metal languishing. This pedigree of furious Frenchman (including Julien Deyres of Gorod and Zubrowska fame) prefers to pontificate with chunky grooves, textured vocal aggression, and… a Carl Sagan reading?” Grooves and Stars.

Lybica – Lybica Review

Lybica – Lybica Review

“First and foremost, and this should come as no surprise to any of you… but this wins Cover o’ the Year for me. Hands down, no competition. Sure, you’ve got your Eliran Kantors, your Travis Smiths, and your Necrolords. And that’s all fine and dandy. But here, we have a proud, majestic cat with its tongue out, as if to say, “I’m here, world… and I shall blep.” It’s only fitting, then, that Lybica, the South Floridian instrumental band featuring Killswitch Engage’s Justin Foley and members of Gravel Kings, would name themselves after the African wildcat species often referenced as the godfather to the modern-day domesticated cat.” Cats in the belfry.

Charlie Griffiths – Tiktaalika Review

Charlie Griffiths – Tiktaalika Review

“The Side Project Era is a common part of the evolution of many successful bands. They’ve been around for a while, they’re doing pretty well, and they know what they sound like. But naturally different members have different musical preferences and want to try different things. They could leave the band, but that’s pretty drastic. Enter the Side Project. Today’s example stars Charlie Griffiths, one of Haken’s guitarists, taking an opportunity to write for six-string guitar after years of playing eight-string with his main band.” Side pieces.

My Diligence – The Matter, Form and Power Review

My Diligence – The Matter, Form and Power Review

“Allow me to be contrite for a moment. Three and a half years ago I casually dropped a 3.5 rating on My Diligence’s second album, Sun Rose. I’m not too proud to tell you that, after circling back to the album many times since, I definitely had my overrating cap on. At best Sun Rose was a 3.0, more likely closer to a 2.5. But I was somehow smitten at the time and threw caution to the wind. I’ll admit it now: I was too enamored of the strong songs, and ignored the chaff. Now here we are with The Matter, Form and Power, and I am determined to approach this stoner-prog platter with open eyes and an even keel.”” Doom Diligence.

Fostermother – The Ocean Review

Fostermother – The Ocean Review

“More so than any other genre of metal, doom relies upon momentum. If you cast your mind back to Ms. Johnson’s 6th grade science class, you’ll recall that momentum is a product of both mass and velocity. Which is to say: if you want more momentum, you either need more speed, or you need more weight. If you’re a doom band looking for a weighty metaphor, there is nothing heavier on earth than the damn ocean. And Fostermother, a trio from Houston Texas, are here to use that idea in their sophomore album to convey complex ideas about depression in a society which emphasizes personal greed over human connection.” Fostered by the sea.

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.