Staff picks


Dark Angel - Time Does Not Heal
19.02.2021 | Progressive thrash metal masterpiece

9 songs, 67 minutes, 246 riffs.
30 years old today. Still brilliant.

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nikarg
RaduP, Daniell

If you've ever wondered what would have happened if Chuck had a Tangerine Dream or what Death might sound like in the Upside Down, turn your 1000 Eyes on Nitelight, While some will have Zero Tolerance for such experimentation, those that listen Without Judgement might enjoy this tribute and find this approach mighty interesting. Stranger Things have happened.

Inside Bandcamp Mountain
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BitterCOld
Deadsoulman, nikarg, Mr. Doctor
Kultika - Capricorn Wolves
17.01.2021 | Post-Metal

The start of a new year always finds some people eager to look for what said year has to bring in terms of releases in hopes of picking some early favs. I still have to properly process some releases, but the one that stuck with me the most (so far) is Kultika's post-metal opus Capricorn Wolves. Horrid artwork aside, the psychedelic and progressive touches of it ensure that the atmosphere building parts of it are compensated with melodies whose flow is everchanging.



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RaduP
Dream Taster, musclassia
Tau Cross - Messengers Of Deception
15.01.2021 | Metal & Crust

When there is so much drama behind a release, it is usually because the material is not worthwhile. Messengers Of Deception is a staggering exception to this rule. Having been dumped by his label and bandmates, Rob 'The Baron' Miller ditched everything that was written by the departed band members, re-recorded his songs with new musicians and came up with the best crusty heavy metal record of 2020. This album is the product of an imaginary jam between Motörhead, Killing Joke, Amebix, and Primordial. And it is absolutely great.
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nikarg
Starvynth, Mr. Doctor
Children Of Bodom - Hatebreeder
05.01.2021 | Extreme power metal

A classic album from one of the most defining Finnish bands, with impressive guitar work. It inspired countless musicians and made the genre popular along with 2000's Follow The Reaper.

Fast, direct, dynamic, angry and expressive. A distinctive sound, a unique style, and a huge influence.

R.I.P. Alexi Laiho (1979-2020)

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Dream Taster
nikarg, ScreamingSteelUS, Mr. Doctor, RaduP, musclassia, Daniell, Darkside Momo
Mountain - Nantucket Sleighride
28.12.2020 | Heavy blues rock

I wasn't planning to do any more staff picks this year, and especially not of early protometal stuff, since I just did one in which I also linked ten other 1970 protometal songs, including Mountain's hit, "Mississippi Queen". But Leslie West, guitarist and vocalist of the band, just died. Instead of going the usual Climbing! route, I propose a different trail, with 1971's Nantucket Sleighride, whose 50th anniversary isn't that far away either. Though none of the songs here have the immediate awesomeness of the riff and cowbell of "Mississippi Queen", the blues licks and jammy tone of this one as it moves through psychedelic, progressive and heavy undertones, coupled with some fine ass drumming as well, it's one of the best showcases of why Leslie was so appreciated as a guitarist, and perhaps it's time we saw that instead of just listening to that one song. Or we could go the live route with 1974's Twin Peaks, that somehow referenced Lynch's show before it even aired.

R.I.P. Leslie West (1945-2020)
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RaduP
ScreamingSteelUS, nikarg
Motörhead - Bad Magic
28.12.2020 | We are Motörhead and we play rock 'n' roll

Five years without Lemmy. Pour yourself some Jack and coke, and listen to this last one.

"In your life you'll be amazed at all the love you lose
You can never live that life again
The one thing you will never lose is the singing in your head
That will still be with you till the end
"


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nikarg
ScreamingSteelUS, RaduP
Sir Lord Baltimore - Kingdom Come
21.12.2020 | Hell hounding proto metal

With 1970 being such a landmark year zero for metal, it's easy to forget that there were other pioneers besides the likes of Black Sabbath or Deep Purple. Released roughly 50 years ago this month, Sir Lord Baltimore's Kingdom Come is an album so heavy and energetic that it really feels like the early 70s didn't have the means to properly capture all that on wax just yet. Though they toured with Black Sabbath and were one of the first bands to get coined as "heavy metal" by journalists, a combination of poor album sales, personal differences, and drug abuse led to the band's early demise, though it's also that they were just too ahead of their time. Even though two of the three members having passed away, while the other remained in obscurity, the direct or indirect influence that Kingdom Come, and its more psychedelic follow-up Sir Lord Baltimore, had on heavy guitar music is something that lives on.

Here's some more unpicked year zero stuff: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10
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RaduP
ScreamingSteelUS, Mr. Doctor, nikarg, Daniell
Warning - Watching From A Distance
18.12.2020 | Marcel Doom

The album that got me into Doom. Still love each and every track a decade and change later. Thanks, Marcel.

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BitterCOld
nikarg, RaduP, Daniell, ScreamingSteelUS, Troy Killjoy, Dream Taster, Mr. Doctor, Starvynth
King Crimson - Lizard
11.12.2020 | Progressive Rock

Lizard is definitely one of the most underappreciated of King Crimson's albums. Being caught between the Greg Lake era and the John Wetton era, it was one of the two transitional lineups which never performed live. However not only was it the first King Crimson record to include Mel Collins, who is still a member today, but it was also the only one to have Gordon Haskell in the lineup doing vocals and bass, and whose passing this year might bring just a bit more attention to Lizard. Though there has yet to emerge a properly cropped version of the cover art, it's fantastic how Lizard shuffles between the grandiose symphonic prog and meddlings with avant-jazz and just a bit of absurd quirkiness.
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RaduP
Killer Be Killed - Reluctant Hero
07.12.2020 | Greg, Max, Troy, Ben.

A sick line-up originating from the wettest collective dream of millions of metalheads. A supergroup doing justice to the term 'supergroup'. Riffs to break every-fucking-thing that can (or cannot) be broken. Seismic groove to test how much the neck muscles can take. Choruses that dominate the brain's functioning. Killer Be Killed took the myth of the 'difficult second album' and smashed it to little pieces with the sledgehammer that is Reluctant Hero. Crank it up to 11; it's the only way.
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nikarg
RaduP
Pothamus - Raya
07.12.2020 | Post-Metal

Fans of the recent release by Psychonaut would do well to check out this debut album from another power trio post-metal band from Mechelen; Pothamus bring atmosphere in spades on Raya.

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musclassia
RaduP
Saxon - Strong Arm Of The Law
14.11.2020 | British heavy metal thunder

1980 is the year that was generous enough to give us the debut albums / masterpieces by Iron Maiden, Diamond Head and Angel Witch. It was also the time that Saxon released their two (!) greatest records, Wheels Of Steel and Strong Arm Of The Law, thus making 1980 the year that marked the explosion of New Wave of British Heavy Metal. Today is the 40th anniversary of "Heavy Metal Thunder", "20,000 Ft", "Dallas 1PM" and the other five heavy metal anthems of Strong Arm Of The Law, which makes it a great opportunity to blast this all-killer-no-filler album in its entirety.
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nikarg
RaduP
The Bipolar Disorder Project - Anna
09.11.2020 | Avant-garde / Progressive Metal

Yesterday I was greeted by the tragic news of Robert Cotoros' passing. I didn't personally know him, but I know a lot of people who did, and it was indeed a really great loss for the music community in my country. Though his talents would find him as a producer more often than a musician, his musical career would find him guesting on the latest E-an-na album, being a longtime member of Hteththemeth, and releasing a collaborative split with Karmic Thread (review here); but all pale in comparison with Anna, the labor of love project concept album that was 6 years in the making. Meticulous and creative beyond belief, the progressive and slightly avant-garde metal of it is something I wish would have lead to an even more matured follow-up. That will never happen now.

R.I.P. Robert Cotoros (1994-2020)

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RaduP
nikarg, ScreamingSteelUS, BitterCOld, Dream Taster
Motörhead - Ace Of Spades
28.10.2020 | Lemmy

So this turned 40 years old this week... so pour yourself a pint of Jack & Coke and crank it up. (Didn't feel any additional text to pimp or promote the album was needed. Either you have it and love it or may the Ghost of Lemmy stalk you forever.)

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BitterCOld
RaduP, Apothecary, nikarg, Daniell, ScreamingSteelUS, Darkside Momo, Mr. Doctor