Staff picks


Killing Joke - Killing Joke
05.10.2020 | Industrial Post-Punk

Quite akin to the previous album I staff picked, this is a release by a band before they became metal. It would be another 10 years before the industrial part of Killing Joke's sound became rough enough to warrant the "industrial metal" tag, but even from the beginning their cold and mechanical post-punk oozed of the sounds of industrial music, though more focused on barrages of bass, cold and anxious atmospheres, and feverishly angry vocals. It laid the groundwork for industrial rock 40 years ago today, though its influence was even more far reaching than that, and you could say that it ranks among those albums who inspired everyone who heard them. Even if Killing Joke committed the cardinal sin of having two non-consecutive self-titled albums.
Picked by:
Thumbs up:
RaduP
BitterCOld, nikarg, Daniell
Fields Of The Nephilim - Elizium
28.09.2020 | Gothic Rock

Not only did we miss this album's 30th anniversary by a couple of days, but this is also an album from before the band became metal (the opposite of what most bands are doing). Though Fields Of The Nephilim would start becoming more "brutal" with the next albums, it can't be understated how influential their gothic rock phase was to the soon-to-emerge gothic metal scene (which they would eventually join in a feedback loop of influence). Elizium is the apex of Fields Of The Nephilim's gothic rock sound, and honestly of gothic rock in general, at least out of the bits we have here. Dark, ominous, romantic, and magick. And even by goth rock standards, very atmospheric. It isn't hard to get why this was so influential, and why Fields Of The Nephilim have a Metal Storm page (and might've still had one even without their later albums) and The Sisters Of Mercy don't. All while we hope there would be another record sometime in the future.

Read review ››
Picked by:
Thumbs up:
RaduP
Mr. Doctor, nikarg, Daniell, BitterCOld
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"?

Read review ››
Picked by:
Thumbs up:
RaduP
nikarg, Daniell
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.

Picked by:
RaduP
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.

Picked by:
Thumbs up:
RaduP
musclassia
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.



Read review ››
Picked by:
Thumbs up:
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.

Picked by:
Thumbs up:
RaduP
Mr. Doctor, nikarg
Gaupa - Feberdröm
05.08.2020 | Psychedelic Björk rock
Bandcamp music player

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

Picked by:
Thumbs up:
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?

Picked by:
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.

Picked by:
Thumbs up:
RaduP
ScreamingSteelUS, nikarg, Starvynth, Darkside Momo
Root - Zjevení / The Revelation
26.06.2020 | Goofy First Wave Black Metal

Though I doubt anyone knows when this album's 30th anniversary is exactly, today Withing Hour Productions reissued this album with a whole bunch of extras, so it might be time to remember this overlooked Czech classic. Though I admittedly prefer their compatriots in Master's Hammer, and I do think the cover art and the music is incredibly goofy, it's still a pretty incredible sample of first wave black metal, mid-paced, rooted (no pun intended) in heavy metal, but with an evil doom tone as well. It's incredibly simplistic, and even as goofy as it is, it still manages to feel authentic. Big Boss was in his late 30s when Zjevení was released, so it's never to late to start your own influential black metal band, and he is still fronting Root to this day.

Picked by:
RaduP
Uriah Heep - Very 'eavy... Very 'umble
13.06.2020 | The heaviest organ solo of the 70s

"One day I will go to him
Strong enough to fight and win
The kind of a man
That he'll understand
Aaaaaaaa
*the heaviest organ solo of the 70s*
"
David Byron didn't have Ian Gillan's vocal chops, but damned if he does not give it his all here. Mick Box's guitar does have plenty of great moments here, but I'd be lying if I said that Ken Hensley didn't absolutely steal the show with his organ. While not entirely "'eavy", there's no denying that this album, released 50 years ago today, and starting Uriah Heep's career, deserves its place as an early metal classic, even if just for the opener alone.
Picked by:
Thumbs up:
RaduP
nikarg, ScreamingSteelUS
Deep Purple - In Rock
04.06.2020 | Hard Rock

I am fairly sure that the world in 1970, precisely 50 years ago, wasn't ready for Ian Gillan's screams in "Child In Time". Or for most things else in "Child In Time" for that matter. Or for Ritchie Blackmore's galloping guitars in "Hard Lovin' Man". Or Jon Lord setting a new standard for using organ in heavy music. It wasn't the first Deep Purple album, but it was the first in this lineup, the one which is the reason why we even talk about Deep Purple on a metal site. There were hard rock bands before, but none of them, sans the one that literally birthed heavy metal, was as heavy as Deep Purple was on In Rock.

Read review ››
Picked by:
Thumbs up:
RaduP
nikarg, ScreamingSteelUS, Apothecary, Dream Taster, Milena, Daniell, Darkside Momo, Ivor