Staff picks


(EchO) - Below The Cover Of Clouds
15.11.2019 | In doom we trust
Bandcamp music player

The third full-length album by these Italians blends melodic death/doom metal with aerial post-rock and a touch of psychedelia. Combining deep growls with plaintive clean vocals and heavy riffs with atmospheric intersections, it showcases rawness and vulnerability in perfect balance. Mixed and mastered by Esoteric's Greg Chandler, with guest performances by members of Plateau Sigma and cover art done by none other than Costin Chioreanu, Below The Cover Of Clouds ticks all the boxes a doom metal album needs.

Let the clouds cover your dark fantasies at Bandcamp.
Picked by:
nikarg
Elvenking - Reader Of The Runes - Divination
28.09.2019 | Folkened Power/Empowered Folk/Elf Magic

I reviewed Secrets Of The Magick Grimoire in 2017 and, though I spoke very highly of it at the time, it has since grown even greater in my esteem, not only yielding many staples of my mental power/folk metal canon but also climbing the ranks to become one of my favorite albums of all time. Reader Of The Runes - Divination is already beginning the same ascent, thanks to its unmistakable aura of high fantasy and woodland elven magic. The many, many layers of metal and traditional instrumentation and sweet-sounding vocals build a beautiful atmosphere, and the songs themselves are enchanting. Elvenking is our champion of dense, folk-heavy power metal.
Picked by:
ScreamingSteelUS
Opeth - In Cauda Venenum
27.09.2019 
Bandcamp music player

Don't listen to metal. Listen to music. You'll love this album if you do.

Read review ››
Picked by:
Daniell
VooDoo KungFu - Celestial Burial
21.09.2019 | New Wave of Bruce Lee Sounds

It has been over a year since my last staff pick, so I decided to throw out a real corker to get my momentum going again. Li Nan is a maniac whose voice will leave you scarred for days after listening to this album. He's backed by a mash-up of nu/alt metal and Chinese elements that swings from brutal breakdowns to meditative atmosphere. VooDoo KungFu is a bizarre project - it's groovy, scary, freakish, and extreme, and all the while it's sui generis.
Picked by:
ScreamingSteelUS
Black Galaxy - Wrath Of The Void
29.07.2019 | Sludgy Hard Rock
Bandcamp music player

These Canadians mix upbeat Hard Rock with some Doom and StonerSludge riffs and vocals very reminiscent of Alice In Chains to smash out a seven track, sub 30 minute party for your earhole. Hunt the Spacequeen on BandCamp.
Picked by:
BitterCOld
Naxatras - III
12.10.2018 | Groovy stoner jamz

III is one of those albums that takes you back. Back to school? Back to the future? No, rather back to that golden era of 70s psych music where people were popping tabs in the hot Western sun and widdly diddlying on their instruments for the next 72 hours. Retro jamz done right: riff heavy, groovy, and faaaaar ouuuuut maaaan.

If you've been enjoying what bands like Weedpecker, The Re Stoned, and Samsara Blues Experiment have been up to lately, this one's for you.
Picked by:
Thumbs up:
Apothecary
Abattoir, ScreamingSteelUS
Night Verses - From The Gallery Of Sleep
19.09.2018 | Instrumental / Post-Metal

I'll keep it simple... From The Gallery Of Sleep is the most exciting instrumental album you'll hear all year. It's proggy, layered and fun. We're not worthy of Aric Improta's drumming. He is so good!



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Picked by:
Thumbs up:
Paź
ScreamingSteelUS
Mr Plow - Maintain Radio Silence
09.09.2018 | Stoner Rock

Hankering for a hunk of stoner rawk? Cravings a dose of riffs? Call Mr Plow, that's their name. That name again is Mr Plow.
Picked by:
Thumbs up:
BitterCOld
Apothecary
Manilla Road - Crystal Logic
28.07.2018 | Epic Metal

Mousy vocals, reedy tones, modest production... but bombastic riffs, lofty concepts, fantastical mystique, and complete mastery over the art of flaming metal systems. Touching on power, prog, speed, and traditional heavy metal, Manilla Road produced a string of the finest albums ever released in any of those genres, and Crystal Logic crowned them all with its ensorcelling grooves. In losing Manilla Road, the heavy metal genre has lost one of its most literate and classically epic artists.

RIP Mark the Shark.
Picked by:
Thumbs up:
ScreamingSteelUS
BloodTears, Daniell, Dream Taster, Mr. Doctor
Blind Guardian - Nightfall In Middle-Earth
29.05.2018 | Music, in the truest sense of the word

I'm about a month late for the exact anniversary, but Nightfall In Middle-Earth is 20 years old now, and for the last 10, it has been my favorite album of all time. Andre Olbrich's guitar solos, Hansi Kürsch's vocals, the songwriting, the production, the choirs, the drama, the emotion, the cover art, even the cavalcade of excessive interludes - just about every characteristic of this album is, for me, the gold standard by which that characteristic is measured in all other works of music. I can still clearly remember hearing "Nightfall" for the first time and thinking within the first ten seconds, "This is the perfect band for me." Ten years later, I feel the same sentiments I did that first time. Happy birthday, Nightfall. Happy anniversary, Bards of Metal.

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Picked by:
Thumbs up:
ScreamingSteelUS
BloodTears, BitterCOld, Demonic Tutor, Daniell, Darkside Momo
The Body - I Have Fought Against It, But I Can't Any Longer.
22.05.2018 | Industrial noise dark ambient sludge something or other
Bandcamp music player

There's not much new here out of Chip, Lee, and company, but when their atypical, genre-bending formula has been working so well lately, what's really worth fixing? Here industrial, sludge, noise, and black metal influences combine yet again into a frightening yet oddly beautiful maelstrom. Certainly not for everyone, but definitely for those who love nightmarish music that has no qualms in smashing down artistic boundaries.

Listen.

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Picked by:
Apothecary
Dew-Scented - Inwards
19.05.2018 | Brutalityyyyyyyyy

After 26 years and ten albums whose titles all start with the letter "i," Dew-Scented have decided to make the world a nicer, calmer, gentler, and overall suckier place by taking themselves out of it. This was one of the bands that first acclimatized me to harsh vocals and more extreme forms of metal, and what a band to start with; to this day, Inwards is one of my go-to albums whenever I need something that is loud, fast, brutal, angry, unsubtle, and wicked sick in equal measure. I hate to see them go, but we've still got in "Bitter Conflict" one of the finest metal songs ever written.
Picked by:
ScreamingSteelUS
Death Grips - Bottomless Pit
01.04.2018 | Krokodil

Is you a hot head bent on giving bad people good ideas? Or just some trash trying to ring a bell with some Houdini magic tricks? Eh, it don't really matter I suppose. But if you're looking to avoid the warping spikes in the bottomless pit and the BB poison in the bubbles buried in this jungle, please dial 80808 to find the three bedrooms in a good neighborhood.
Picked by:
Thumbs up:
Apothecary
Mr. Doctor
Eryn Non Dae. - Abandon Of The Self
26.03.2018 | Post-stuff

Eryn Non Dae. continue their chaotic sonic journey, exploring some more ambient territories this time.
While the first contact will probably be disappointing after the beast that is Meliora, don't be fooled: this is another exceptional release. Mellower, but probably more difficult to tame (hint: use headphones )...



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Picked by:
Darkside Momo
Long Distance Calling - Boundless
19.03.2018 | Post

If you want post metal done right, Long Distance Calling should be your first pick this year. Boundless is an album full of absolutely breathtaking music true to its name. With an excellent production to match it soars freely in the sky and you'll enjoy every moment of freedom of imagination it brings.

Try the first two tracks of the album: "Out There" and "Ascending".
Picked by:
Thumbs up:
Ivor
BloodTears