In 2020, time became a melting flat circle and the concept of eternal recurrence became far too real, mundane and inescapable. Thankfully the high quality of metal released during the year provided solace, perspective and inspiration that helped endure the blizzard of blurring days, weeks and months. Time lost all structural integrity and meaning also in the sense that you will find full-length albums, EPs and even single-track releases on my list, owing to their excellence, innovation, enjoyability, distinct identity and sound as well the evolutionary leaps the featured bands took. The fact that I could omit from my list so many fantastic releases, from the likes of Afterbirth, Havukruunu, Mare Cognitum & Spectral Lore, Serocs, Sweven, Wake and Wills Dissolve, is simply indicative of the sheer quantity of stellar-grade metal in 2020. The list is long and full of flowery prose elaborating why these particular releases resonated with me, so enough with the prefacing.Continue reading
If you’re reading this there are two possibilities at play, either of which warrant a hearty congratulations:
- It’s the end of the year, and you found the strength, courage and forbearance to get through the infested muck that was 2020. Congratulations! I don’t know what 2021 will bring, but let’s put the future aside for a moment and just revel in survival, and talk about some great music.
- It’s an indeterminate time in the future, after the apocalypse, and the collective hive mind has integrated into the data streams and come across this post in a random search string query to ascertain various data points about the distant past. Congratulations! I’m not alive to know what the Time Lords have in mind for the future, but let’s put that aside for a moment and just revel in whatever constitutes life in your existence, and talk about some great music.
Either way, it’s list time… Continue reading
I don’t think anyone expected the world to be where it was when 2020 kicked off. To even attempt to put into words the surge of feelings around a global pandemic that refuses to go away, a wretched history of systemic racism, brutality, and ignorance being exposed and reckoned with in the streets all over the world, and everything else the first six months has brought to light is reckless and futile for me right now. I continue to watch, listen, and learn as much as I can: to actively be part of a solution instead of passively being part of the problem.
In the moments between there is music, and if there’s even a glimmer of light right now, it’s in how good 2020 has been with regards to metal. So let’s see where my penchant lies as we cross the halfway mark of year that feels like forever. Continue reading
The breadth of what constitutes “heavy music” continues to expand in ways that infuriate some listeners even as it brings new ones into the fold. For every band pushing gain and clipping, blast beats and screaming to new extremes, there are an equal number challenging the notion of what it means to compose and execute heavy music, and Hail Spirit Noir, long leading that charge on their previous progressive black metal opuses, have with Eden in Reverse cast off all remaining shackles of expectation and created a revelation of psychedelic progressive rock that stands as both a natural evolution of their sound and a reinvention of what that sound is. Continue reading