Staff picks


Megadeth - Rust In Peace
24.09.2020 | Mind-blowing Thrasher / Classic Banger

Exactly 30 years ago, on September 24th, Rust In Peace was unleashed upon the world and had the impact of an atomic bomb. Just before thrash metal's demise, Megadeth released a magnificent masterpiece that was at the same time so aggressive yet dexterous, so catchy yet progressive, so melodic yet gritty, that it would be considered groundbreaking even if it was released today. Alongside the two Daves, Rust in Peace was the first Megadeth album to feature lead guitarist Marty Friedman and the late Nick Menza on drums, thus undoubtedly forming the most talented line-up the band ever had. Titles like "Holy Wars... The Punishment Due", "Hangar 18", and "Tornado Of Souls" are carved with golden letters on the Book of Thrash's Legendary Tracks. To be consumed incessantly and irresponsibly until nuclear warfare wipes us off the face of this planet.

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nikarg
Ozzy Osbourne - Blizzard Of Ozz
20.09.2020 | Heavy Metal

I wouldn't want to crowd the main page with three anniversary staff picks, but Lee Kerslake's passing just one day shy of this album's 40th anniversary led me to realize how much Ozzy Osbourne struck gold with the lineup of this album. Kickstarting a career that would lead him from metal pioneer to Prince Of Darkness, Blizzard Of Ozz not only has some of the best songs of his career (but some questionable ones too), but also some of the best musicians: Randy Rhoads just a few years before his untimely passing, Don Airey, Bob Daisley, and, though his Uriah Heep career might be the more interesting of the bunch, there's no denying how much Lee Kerslake's drumming elevates this album as well.

That said, what the hell is a "bone movie"?

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RaduP
nikarg
The Jimi Hendrix Experience - Band Of Gypsys
19.09.2020 | Jazzy psych / funk rock

It has now been 50 years since Hendrix's passing, in September of 1970. Several months prior, at the Fillmore East with Billy Cox and Buddy Miles, he recorded the now legendary Band Of Gypsys live album. In contrast to the heavier psychedelic rock approach of his earlier material, the music on Band Of Gypsys saw Hendrix embrace a much funkier approach, more free roaming and a lot groovier in its delivery. This is as good a hint of where the man's sound may have gone had he lived on if any, into more expansive territory oozing of soul and jazz influence. Give it a whirl and mourn the planned Hendrix/Miles Davis collaborative album that never was.

Rest In Power, Jimi.
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Apothecary
RaduP, ScreamingSteelUS, nikarg, Dream Taster, Fat & Sassy!
Black Sabbath - Paranoid
18.09.2020 | Old People Metal

I'm not going to go to the same effort that I did to mark the half-centenary of Black Sabbath, but I do think that Paranoid is the superior album by far - it was one of my first metal albums (mine and the rest of the world's) and it remains one of my favorites. The guitars, bass, and drums on this album are simply flawless, and the vocals are pretty good, too. I would tentatively say that heavy metal has not yet produced another work as instrumentally well-rounded and complete as "War Pigs." Every groove of this album is the very essence of metal incarnate, and while you are correct in noting that we mostly use the Staff Picks feature just to mark anniversaries nowadays, there are few albums worth celebrating as much as Paranoid. It boggles the mind to consider that this album has been in the world for 50 years and it is still looked upon as a masterpiece.

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ScreamingSteelUS
Mr. Doctor, Starvynth, RaduP, Apothecary, nikarg, Fat & Sassy!, BitterCOld, Abattoir
SVNTH - Spring In Blue
10.09.2020 | Post-Black Metal

Colin Marston is mostly known for producing dissonant tech death, but he is surprisingly great at bringing SVNTH's post-black metal sound to new heights as well. The sound may not be at the height of popularity it once was, but SVNTH reminds us why the serene post-rock/shoegaze sound contrasted so well with the raw and visceral black metal one. And with most of the songs being over the 10-minutes-mark, you know you'll get your worth of contrasting sounds.

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RaduP
Judas Priest - Painkiller
03.09.2020 | Metal Meltdown

30 years ago, on September 3, 1990, Judas Priest released the perfect heavy metal album. Not A perfect heavy metal album - THE perfect heavy metal album, a nonstop death machine bristling with power and speed that puts all competition to shame. The title track really says it all: it's iconic from head to toe, opening with Scott Travis's merciless drum volley and closing with Rob's peremptory shriek of "PAIN!!", with some of the greatest shredding ever committed to wax in between. But the album doesn't end there; for 47 minutes, Painkiller holds its listeners captive with stratospheric screeching, face-melting guitar solos, and the sleekest, heaviest, most brutally effective solution of thrash-laced heavy metal that the world has ever heard. The snarling evil of "Night Crawler," the pummeling metallic frenzy of "Metal Meltdown," the epic and intimidating groove of "Hell Patrol" - every track is a guaranteed killer from one of the most legendary bands ever to give meaning to the phrase "heavy metal." I love the myriad styles of metal music and I embrace it in all its deathly, blackened, doomy, thrashy, folksy, grindy, djenty extremity, but when it comes to the grand tradition, the classic sound, the stuff that "heavy metal" in its purest form is made of, there is nothing better than Painkiller.

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ScreamingSteelUS
RaduP, nikarg, Troy Killjoy, Dream Taster, Abattoir
Kaatayra - Só Quem Viu O Relâmpago À Sua Direita Sabe
02.09.2020 | Acoustic Black Metal
Bandcamp music player

Though Brazil's Kaatayra has released four genre defying black metal releases in the past two years, two of them just this year, it is Só quem viu o relâmpago à sua direita sabe that stuck with me most, mostly because it was both the first one I listened to and the one that shook things up the most. Completely defying metal's longest held rule: it must have electric guitars; Só quem viu o relâmpago à sua direita sabe instead sometimes sounds like Botanist lite or like atmospheric black metal with acoustic instruments instead of electric ones, but the Brazilian folk embeddings and their layering makes it sound like more than just its gimmick, showcasing great skill and ambition for a one-man band that successfully made black metal sound natural. Though if you miss the electric guitars, you can hear them in the other album they've released since: Toda história pela frente.

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RaduP
musclassia
Lucifer's Children - Devil Worship
25.08.2020 | Retro Doom - Paraguay Style
Bandcamp music player

So a couple years after I pack up and leave Asuncion, boom, DOOM! iJapiro! In any case, underproduced, female fronted 70's doom estilio Paraguayo. If you really want the BitterCOld-PY experience, put yer stereo in your bathroom, crank the shower as hot as it goes, leave for 20 minutes, shutting the door behind you. Grab a six of watery lager, re-enter the bathroom when it's nothing but a steamy fog. Crank the music, bang along, drink your cervezas. When done, go out and find yourself a lomito. Anecdotes and humor aside, check out the tunes. Good to see PY on the metal map. Lucifer's Bandcamp
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BitterCOld
Starvynth, RaduP, Dream Taster
Nocturnus - The Key
24.08.2020 | Progressive Death Metal

Another influential album released somewhere in August 1990, this one coming from Florida, the hotbed of early American death metal. Nocturnus may not have been the first band to take death metal in a more progressive direction, fellow Floridans themselves like Death and Atheist were already making their steps, but never had a death metal band incorporated keyboards that heavily into their sound and basically birthed technical/progressive death metal's fascination with space and sci-fi. Though they're not as technical as most of their peers and descendants, the musicianship on here isn't to be taken lightly, especially considering how unusual it is for the drummer to be the vocalist as well.



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RaduP
ScreamingSteelUS, BitterCOld, Ag Fox, Mr. Doctor, nikarg, Apothecary, Darkside Momo
Blasphemy - Fallen Angel Of Doom
17.08.2020 | War Metal

In a time when black metal was in its infancy and death metal was starting to become more mainstream and polished. A bunch of Canadians wanted it to return to it being as primitive and evil as possible. Ever since Fallen Angel Of Doom... was released roughly three decades ago, every war metal band ever wanted to sound just like this and to look just like this. And in ironic black metal fashion, they were probably the first black metal band to actually have a black member.

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RaduP
Mr. Doctor, nikarg
Ysengrin - Initiatio
12.08.2020 | Dark metal

Initiatio is unfortunately the final full-length release of Ysengrin but an excellent adieu for the band nonetheless. It is a mystical, occult and avant-garde mid-tempo black metal album blended with doom and death metal, in the vein of Mortuary Drape and Necromantia, mainly due to the use of two basses as the instruments of choice for driving the songs. The sound feels raw and ancient but, most of all, dark and ritualistic. Half of the tracks have reappeared in early demos of the band and are reinterpreted here with new arrangements but always respecting their primitive nature.

Mastered on analog gear and graced with a wonderfully obscure cover art by Luciana Nedelea, Initiatio is Hermeticism in music form.
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nikarg
RaduP, Apothecary
Gaupa - Feberdröm
05.08.2020 | Psychedelic Björk rock
Bandcamp music player

What would it sound like if Björk fronted a psychedelic rock band?

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RaduP
nikarg
Kommodus - Kommodus
28.07.2020 | Atra metallum
Bandcamp music player

One-man Roman-Empire-themed black metal from Australia. What more do you need me to say?

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RaduP
Azure Emote - The Third Perspective
10.07.2020 | Transcending Death Metal
Bandcamp music player

The third album of Azure Emote, the project of Mike Hrubovcak (Monstrosity, Vile) and Ryan Moll (In The Fire, Rumpelstiltskin Grinder), is an avantgarde and progressive take on death metal. Based on inventive riffs and adorned with industrial and electronic sounds, it also incorporates violin by Pete Johansen (ex-Sirenia, ex-Tristania), keyboards by Jonah Weingarten (Pyramaze, Echoterra), as well as the beautiful voice of Melissa Ferlaak (Aesma Daeva, Visions Of Atlantis). A lot of talent gathered to create The Third Perspective, a unique and thoroughly enjoyable metal music offering that comes in two versions; a full one and an instrumental one.
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nikarg
RaduP
Various Artists - Overgrow To Overthrow
04.07.2020 | Music to fight systemic racism to
Bandcamp music player

Compiling 31 songs from bands such as Chaos Moon, Panopticon, Thou, Obsequiae and Doom, courtesy of Bindrune Recordings, this digital only release donates all proceedings to Black Lives Matter and Life After Hate.

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RaduP
ScreamingSteelUS, nikarg, Starvynth, Darkside Momo