January saw a TON of killer releases. In fact, early 2016 has me believing that this year might be the best overall year for metal releases that we have seen in some time. So today I decided to take a look back at January and mention nine releases that you may have missed but should absolutely take the time to get to know better. This should be a monthly piece moving forward. Each month I will recap nine releases from the prior month that were well wroth checking out. Obviously this list isn’t conclusive and it might not always just be THE BEST music. If it was merely the best music released Chthe’ilist’s debut Le Dernier Crépuscule would be above and away the #1. The idea is to present music that flew somewhat under the radar in relation to how simply great it is.
Pink Mass – Slvt Kvlt
An incredibly fun band that we were unable to cover in January. We do have an upcoming profile with the members but that doesn’t do this little EP justice. A thrashy, grindy gem of crusty goodness. Aimed at sexual liberation, Pink Mass will also liberate your eardrums from the everyday monotony of boring metal.
Conan – Revengeance
“Conan have grown as songwriters and musicians, moving in a direction that should delight old fans and draw in new ones. This new album sonically conveys battle-axe swinging destruction while retaining the sludgey soul of their earlier recordings. More than any of their prior records, Revengeance channels the barrel chested, sword wielding Cimmerian that Robert Howard created over 80 years ago.” – Jeremiah Nelson
Lycus – Chasms
“It may be early in the year, and many metal listeners are still catching up on the albums they missed last year, but Chasms is setting the bar high for doom metal in 2016. At the least, it will become the measuring stick for other funeral doom albums this year. Highly recommended listening.” – Dustin Grooms
Naðra – Allir vegir til glötunar
This album was an absolute favorite among the staff. We will have a review up shortly from the one and only Caryn Havlik. But for now, please listen to this work of melodic black metal genius. We’re talking perfectly layered guitars with composition that drives towards one unending goal—sonic nirvana.
Slægt – Beautiful and Damned
“From crusty blackness to harmonizing guitars over wide open drum beats, the band has launched itself out of the catacombs and into the iron armor wearing castles of epic metal. Yet, despite the change, the band has retained enough of its, albeit brief, roots to provide an added layer of darkness to their now more traditional brand of heavy metal. It’s an exciting work that is definitely worth many spins and fist pumps.” – Manny-O-War
Agoraphobic Nosebleed – Arc
“Immensely heavy and wholly powerful, this will be the surprise no one saw coming. Who knows what the remaining three EPs will sound like, but with the success of this left turn on Arc, the creative possibilities are endless.” – Josh Stewart
Classhole – Classhole
“There is no poetry, no pomp and certainly no circumstance. Merely and album of raw anthems replete with sing-along aspects and curb stomping brutality. The revolution is now and the soundtrack to the black bandana faced throwing of molotov cocktails will be Classhole… So, dig out those combat boots and Carhartts, cover your face with a black flag and get ready to “take your fucking shot.” ” – Manny-O-War
Spinebreaker – Ice Grave
“Spinebreaker plays some pretty top notch equipment, they deliver their brand of death metal with the fury of a hardcore/punk band fueled on teenage angst and dreams of stage-diving. But make no mistake about it, Spinebreaker are a roots death metal band.” – Manny-O-War
Latitudes – Old Sunlight
“Seven tracks spanning a mere forty-four minutes feels almost like a successful therapy session as the album fades out leaving you emotionally wrecked but hopeful for the future. It is, in that way, an interactive experience. You will find yourself humming along, bobbing your head and potentially slowly rocking back and forth with your eyes closed. Enjoy it, it’s not everyday that an album this simple yet brilliant comes along.” – Manny-O-War
So there you have it. Nine releases from January that are absolute must-listens. They are ranked in some semblance of an order but feel free to start wherever. All of these albums deserve your full and undivided attention.