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
Ah yes. On time, once again. I know you missed that Monday fix but at least you got it by Friday and what can I say, life you know. Anyway, last week was fairly packed but this week? Ha, PACKED like a huge moving truck with new metals so let’s get to it. Smoulder, who had one of the biggest trad metal hits of last year are back with an EP and it has bonus materials, score. Spectral Lore and Mare Cognitum team up on a fiery foray into astral black metal, Lychgate continue their wicked take on all things extreme, and The Goners put the good time in fuzz fueled doom. As always, much more to follow so crack that can of whoop ass and enjoy. Continue reading
Ah, 2018. What an absurd, exhausting and often infuriating ride you were, with death as my ubiquitous companion and co-pilot. You entailed on one hand a near-cataclysmic series of loved ones dying around me in rapid succession, while on the other, an ever-flowing stream of metal that helped make that maelstrom somehow survivable and acceptable for yours truly.
As you, the well-informed reader, likely noticed during the course of the year, and will see again when you read further below, 2018 was a banner year for death metal of all colors and shapes, but most and especially for the boundary-pushing kind that redefines and reconfigures the entire genre. Another type of metal that really resonated with me was one of transcendence and catharsis, of dreamlike journey, cosmic marvel and triumphant rebirth. Overall, the vast array of diverse evolutionary pathways, latest career pinnacles, and dazzling artistic growth and achievement in the field of metal was a compelling sight to behold and a wondrous thing to experience.
As further proof of the excellent and exciting state of metal today, albums worthy of inclusion in the below list continued to be released until the very final days of the year, resulting in perhaps the strongest December release-wise in recent memory.
With this succinct backdrop in mind, I offer the following 23 releases as a tribute to goddess Eris. Continue reading
Some things happened this week that made it an exceptionally good one for me, not that anyone cares. But it goes to show that there is still some good left to be had in this world, you just have to know where to find it. Or, it has to come to you. Either way, keep that chin up. Alrighty then, as we do here each week on Initial Descent we have another santa sized bag of good metal in store so let’s not waste another word… First up is Eagle Twin who break a six year silence with The Thundering Heard and, no pun intended, this thing is a thunder you’ll want to hear — doom meets blues meets a long player, get on it. Next up is some wicked power metal in the form of The Last Emperor from Judicator, we’re stoked on this one (see our coverage links contained within) and you should be too. Moving along is Exile Amongst the Ruins from Primordial and although they play it rather safe here it is still PRIMORDIAL and still epic if you catch my drift. Closing out the top four is Lychgate with their dynamic and avant-garde black metal on The Contagion In Nine Steps which may well resurface on many lists come end of year time. Make no mistake, these four are a strong start to the week’s offerings but there’s so much more waiting. Hang with us for awhile and see for yourself. Continue reading
There’s an aspect of theatricality to black metal that lies forever intertwined with whatever home-brewed philosophy is present. I don’t say this as a bad thing: in fact it’s a major draw to the genre, but it’s also something that’s not acknowledged enough. Lychgate seem very aware of how they want to position both the lyrical content of their music as much as instrumentation, and on latest offering The Contagion in Nine Steps this marriage of nihilistic commentary and striking erudite metal has never been as effective. It’s a deep and challenging record that isn’t afraid to let its dramatic moments fly. Continue reading