Can you believe it’s been almost twenty-five years since “Wolverine Blues” came out? Man I feel like an old wreck. Young in mind keeps one forever young. Keep calm and listen to death metal. Honesty is the first chapter in the book of wisdom. The quotes are many, here are fourteen tracks, comprising the latest EMV mixtape.
Obituary – End It Now
There are two ways to look at “End It Now”. It could be dismissed as repetitive and almost whimsical to the point of asking, if there’s any real value in the track. Or you could just recognize the caveman groove that’s sacred to hardcore fans, unwilling to admit that Obituary never did the same record twice. I’ll go for the latter.
Demon Lung – Raped By The Serpent
Album: A Dracula
Don’t be fooled by the stoner font! Demon Lung sit somewhere between epic styled Candlemass-ian doom metal and the more progressive structures of obscure UK doom heroes Solstice. There’s a hint of sludge too. Shanda Fredrick’s simplistic vocals haunts add something special the mix. Killer title right?
Woe – Exhausted
This band has impressed me over the last months. Their latest album contained some harsh sounding, aggressive black metal, which made me want to investigate a bit more. The “Withdrawal” album is a little different in terms of sound production and vocal approaches, but still packs a collosal sonic punch. The track “Exhausted” will grimly affirm said sentiments. One of the highlights in U.S. black metal at the moment.
Wear Your Wounds – Breaking Point
I just started listening to “Jane Doe”, diving into Converge’s discography. The curiosity came from listening to Wear Your Wounds debut album, a solemn path taken by Jacob Bannon, also fronting the previously mentioned band. It’s like going to a therapy session that made a difference, there’s so much release gushing out from these songs. A jagged, spacious production is used for the gothic, post metal and alternative approaches. Imagine if Porcupine Tree went darker or Type O Negative became a serious band.
Pallbearer – Dancing In Madness
“Heartless” presents a quantum leap in the Arkansas quartet’s songwriting. Everything on “Foundations Of Burden” has been amplified while the band simultaneously is deconstructing their sound and experimenting into different avenues, be it prog or gaze. Brett Campell comes across as the singer Ozzy never was. A contender for album of the year. Not giving “Dancing In Madness” a listen would be the ultimate sin in this day and age.
Netra – Everything’s Fine
One man metal strikes again. Netra is a French artist exploring DSBM, trip-hop, electronica and different ambiences all together. “Everything’s Fine” presents the black metal aspect on an otherwise schizophrenic but thrilling album. Maybe a harsher version of “Perdition City” wouldn’t be so off, it has urban misery and isolation written all over it.. and well, it has attacking guitars and screeching vocals.
Ulver – 1969
Album: The Assassination Of Julius Caesar
Patience is the key with this band. Schizophrenic to the core. Movie soundtracks, cover albums, avantgarde collaborations, and commissioned works for culture houses. The wolves finally release something a bit more “accessible” in 2017, which harkens back to the moods found on “Perdition City”, “War Of The Roses” and to some extent “Shadows Of The Sun”. The track “1969” is a synth driven track with a dreamy, Scandinavian melancholic backdrop.
Anathema – Springfield
Album: The Optimist
Although I was never completely sold on “Distant Satellites”, I’ve nothing but eternal appreciation towards this band. “Springfield” really kicks my anticipation for the new album into gear. The buildup is quintessential Anathema, first half of the track being laid back with sparse use of vocals before bursting into dreamy post rock. The layers of surging melodic guitars create a heavy tension before returning to serene soundscapes. Promising!
Azarath – The Triumph Of Ascending Majesty
Album: In Extremis
Shades of Behemoth are unavoidable, when you listen to the latest Azarath album. This doesn’t come as a shock, when you find out that Nergal’s sidekick, Inferno, is behind the kit, bashing out that trademark polish brutality with blasts aplenty and punishing grooves. This isn’t revolutionary stuff, but there’s some great blacknened death metal quality to be found. The track I’ve chosen, is the scorching opener, which has everything you’d want from an extreme metal song.
Helheim – Baklengs Mot Intet
When I listen to folk and viking metal, it often appears as pompous and far too merry for my taste. Catch my interest within these realms, do something earthen, something with an epic character without overdoing it. Helheim strike a fine balance between black metal, viking metal and prog rock, topped off by experimental escapades. Sounds like Enslaved right? Well it’s not. It’s not as dense but it certainly bears some similarities. I recommend the whole “LandawarijaR” album, solid material, especially the track “Baklengs Mot Intet”.
Cirith Ungol – Finger Of Scorn
Album: King Of The Dead
As I’ve grown “older”, I’ve discovered a passion towards quirky music, also known as cult metal. California’s heavy doom outfit Cirith Ungol fit into this description. I’ve picked a slow song of theirs, “Finger Of Scorn”, off the “King Of The Dead” album from ’84. That’s ancient and it does sound like it’s from another time. Notice the awesome banshee vocals, the awkward seventies prog production, there’s some Sabbath in there as well. Recommended to all scholars in metal.
Nachtmystium – Tear You Down
Album: The World We Left Behind
Surrounded by merch scandals, drug addiction and all kinds of controversy, “The World We Left Behind” came out at a strange time for band leader Blake Judd. It’s a bleak sounding album, that I keep coming back to every now and then. I’ve chosen a doomier track that fuses psychedelic subtleness and black metal aggression, it’s very dark and twisted and the murky vocals make a significant impact.
Soen – Lucidity
The Opeth link and stylistic similarities in both music and vocals does make it hard not to strike comparisons. However, Soen are a bit proggier in my ears and less keen on retro sound productions and woodwind instruments. It would be too easy to label the band as contemporary Åkerfeldt apprentices. “Lucidity” fires lonely, bluesy guitar licks, comforting vocal harmonies and gentle drum work, it’s a Soen ballad, unlike anything else out there.
Wolverine – Out Of Hand
Album: Wolverine Blues
This one needs no introduction! Jesus Christ. Lord of flies. In disguise. FUCK! The death’n’roll mischief of this album is legendary by now. One of my faves in the band’s discography. Listen, learn and worship, there is no try.
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