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Staff picks


Satan - Earth Infernal
24.04.2022 | Heavy Metal

Talk about underrated. Satan is the only NWOBHM band that has released only quality albums throughout their career. And, if Court In The Act is an untouchable classic, these geezers have been crazy consistent in putting out stellar album after stellar album since their reunion. Earth Infernal is another incredible release and features all the ingredients that make Satan special; analogue-sounding heavy metal with an evil, sinister, and dark edge, catchy riffs that touch on thrash and speed metal, triumphant lead guitars, Brian Ross’s powerful vocals that have aged like fine wine, a hard-hitting rhythm section, and the band’s trademark bridges that are simply to die for. You will not find better classic metal anywhere else, no matter how hard you look for it.
Picked by:
Thumbs up:
nikarg
RaduP, Daniell, ScreamingSteelUS

Twenty five years ago Ulver released this paean to wolves, eight glorious tracks with blistering pace coupled with some great harmonies and production that basically buzzes like a power drill. None more lo-fi. Hell even the cover art is so cool it finds it's way into the bedroom walls of both Soprano kids, the pretentious Meadow and annoying AJ. And that's not horseshit like "this was recorded at night in the Norwegian woods", it's legit.

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Picked by:
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BitterCOld
X-Ray Rod, Daniell, Deadsoulman, nikarg
Iron Griffin - Storm Of Magic
26.03.2022 | Arcane and epic heavy/doom

Storm Of Magic is evocative, arcane, bardic, and magickal heavy/doom, with elements of folk and prog rock, making brilliant use of acoustic guitars and dungeon synths. A medieval aesthetic dominates the album, the sound is lo-fi and organic, and the songwriting and musicianship embrace the sincerity of their roughness and imperfections. Maija Tiljander’s ethereal voice along with the enchanting music both produce a charming blend of Pagan Altar, Lordian Guard, Manowar’s Into Glory Ride, and Pentagle. The epic title track is sublime. From the cover art to the last lyric, this is Oskari Räsänen’s DIY approach in making music, and it is an absolute triumph.
Picked by:
Thumbs up:
nikarg
RaduP

Paraguay is not a place for bold tastes. Mild wings at Pizza Hut have a flaming chili pepper on the menu. If this slab of blackened death were on the same menu, they'd be Carolina Reaper wings and would have 666 flaming chili peppers taking up the next half page on the menu. So what's it sound like? An assault of guttural vocals and underproduced, ugly blackened death played violently, at velocity and with frenetic energy. So pretty freaking awesome . Or pretty awful, depending upon your proclivities, I suppose. Absolute shame I spent three years there and it wasn't until a couple weeks after I left that this was dropped. Grr. So go to bandcamp and help "Spread the Vomit of Misery and Scorn" or, well, japiro!
Picked by:
BitterCOld
Bad Brains - Bad Brains
06.02.2022 | Hardcore Jah

Forty years ago, metal's cousin punk was branching off. Post-punk and new wave were already pretty established offspring, but hardcore punk is the one which would take the sound to even heavier directions. When this sound peaked is still up for debate, but few albums in 1982 were as explosive and noisy as Bad Brains' debut. Simple in its structures, heavily reliant on massive amounts of outpouring energy, sprinkled with reggae and dub to create a sound that has never been replicated. Not only is this a peak for hardcore and punk in general, a fantastic debut, and a striking genre combination, but also became the go-to black punk band.
Picked by:
Thumbs up:
RaduP
X-Ray Rod, nikarg, ScreamingSteelUS
Tenacious D - The Pick Of Destiny
23.01.2022 | Buddy movie

You've disobeyed my orders, son, why were you ever born?
Your brother's ten times better than you, Jesus loves him more
This music that you play for us comes from the depths of hell
Rock and roll's The Devil's work, he wants you to rebel
You'll become a mindless puppet, Beelzebub will pull the strings
Your heart will lose direction and chaos it will bring
You'd better shut your mouth, better watch your tone
You're grounded for a week with no telephone
Don't let me here you cry, don't let me hear you moan
You gotta praise The Lord when you're in my home


RIP Michael Lee "Meat Loaf" Aday
Picked by:
RaduP
Budgie - Never Turn Your Back On A Friend
16.01.2022 | Hard Rock / Heavy metal

Budgie's Burke Shelley died this week, which prompted some re-evaluation of their catalogue from my side. The Welsh band are probably most well known for Shelley's androgynous vocals, and for being covered by Metallica (this picked album containing "Breadfan", the most well-known case). But Budgie, while still sitting between the hard rock and heavy metal borders from the early 70s, were pretty much the original power trio, with Shelley being as creative of a bass player as he was a distinguishable vocalist. While drummer Ray Phillips and guitarist Tony Bourge deserve just as many accolades, Shelley's star power is undeniable here. And Never Turn Your Back On A Friend is pretty much their peak, equal parts prog tinged and thunderous, introspective and loud.

R.I.P. Burke Shelley (1950-2022)
Picked by:
Thumbs up:
RaduP
nikarg, Dream Taster
Uriah Heep - Demons And Wizards
16.01.2022 | Progressive rock

This sweet album is 50 years old. It inspired several generations of musicians and it is still one of the best progressive rock releases of all time. Compared to the more famous 70s powerhouse bands, Uriah Heep are likely the most influential band you have hardly known anything about until now, and it is time to remedy that.

So whether you are a traveler in time, a wizard, or a simple rainbow demon, do yourself a favor and discover or revisit this classic album as your civic duty for 2022.

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Picked by:
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Dream Taster
Daniell, RaduP, nikarg, ScreamingSteelUS
Wilderun - Epigone
09.01.2022 | Symphonic Progressive Metal

A lot of bands fancy themselves as cinematic or epic, but very few bands manage to mirror the actual experience of a story. Wilderun so effortlessly drag you along for the ride, and Epigone rewards every bit of patience you give it.

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Picked by:
Thumbs up:
RaduP
Starvynth
Soen - Imperial
01.01.2022 | Alt / Prog

So, the year 2021 is over, welcome 2022. The first album I listened in the new year is the one that got the most plays from me during the previous one. Soen found their own sound with Lykaia, they improved it with Lotus, and with Imperial they created what I consider to be the perfect album. Superb musicianship, astonishing melodies, bass, drums, guitars in faultless sync, and vocal hooks for days. Imperial has been a constant companion for me since it came out, and it is one of these albums that make me happy that music exists.

I will be delighted if I find something as satisfying as this in 2022.

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Picked by:
Thumbs up:
nikarg
BitterCOld, Daniell, Dream Taster
Tiamat - The Astral Sleep
31.12.2021 | Blackened Sumerian Doom/Death Metal

Here's a good New Year's resolution for you: listen to what the angels are whispering from far beyond, because they mean well with you. They want you to remember and rediscover an almost forgotten treasure, created long ago by an Ancient Entity. For thirty years, this dark and hidden gem framed by black, death and doom metal, has lain dormant, slumbering deep inside the Mountain Of Doom. But now it's time for you to heed the Sumerian Cry and to embark on The Southernmost Voyage, towards a Neo Aeon. Lady Temptress and her Dead Boys' Choir are already eagerly awaiting you there.

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Picked by:
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Starvynth
Dream Taster, RaduP, nikarg, Deadsoulman
Stormkeep - Tales Of Othertime
28.12.2021 | Black Metal for Nerds

From dungeon crawl to alpine odyssey, from cave quest to fortress siege, from forest foray to blizzard-beaten battlefield, Stormkeep's debut serves as the perfect soundtrack to any adventure that can be measured with a dice roll or described while wearing a wizard hat. Though a colossal melodic black metal base defines Tales Of Othertime, the diversity of flavors is enough to put to shame any other of the millions of Tolkien-infused, medieval-themed black metal albums flooding the market. The synth passages are tastefully placed and artfully constructed, and for once, we've got an album that spends as much time with the dragons as with the dungeons: power metal from Blind Guardian to Bal-Sagoth echoes through the majestic choruses, and the riffing is catchy enough to allay your Dissection withdrawal for a time. Like a tale out of time from an ancient, forgotten tome, Tales Of Othertime is filled with magic - and it's been a long time since black metal last felt so powerful.

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Picked by:
Thumbs up:
ScreamingSteelUS
RaduP, X-Ray Rod, Starvynth
Ethereal Shroud - Trisagion
20.12.2021 | Atmospheric Black Metal

Ethereal Shroud come in the 11th hour to remind us both why atmospheric black metal can feel so majestic, and why you should wait until the year is over to make your best of lists for the year.



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Picked by:
Thumbs up:
RaduP
Deadsoulman, Starvynth, nikarg, ScreamingSteelUS, X-Ray Rod, Dream Taster
Fear Of God - Within The Veil
17.12.2021 | Thrash Metal

The 30th anniversary of this masterpiece was in March. I chose this day in particular as a way to remember the two years that have passed since our dear friend and metalstormer Marcel left us.

As Marcel would’ve point out to all of you: Fear Of God’s debut is one of the most overlooked jewels in thrash metal. It is dark. It is brooding. It is soaked in gothic misery. No thrash album has sounded this harrowing before or since. This is mostly due to Dawn Crosby’s unique persona. Her cries are filled with unshakeable anguish yet at times are most beautiful and delicate. Her tragic fate looms over Within The Veil but the music remains so infectious that you will revisit it again and again.

Yesterday is dead and gone
Tomorrow is out of sight
Picked by:
Thumbs up:
X-Ray Rod
RaduP, Starvynth, Deadsoulman, Daniell, Dream Taster, nikarg, ScreamingSteelUS
TarLung - Architect
17.12.2021 | Slowbang StonerDoomSludge

Somewhere in a Ven diagram of Stoner, Doom and Sludge metal, slightly to the Sludge side of the middle sits TarLung. Architect consists of a bunch of Slowbangers - those midpaced riffs that when banging yer cabeza along with seems like either you're enjoying some quality metal or fighting off sleep. Only nothing about this album inspires sleep. TarLung batter you with riff after riff, pounded beat after pounded beat and growl after TarLung-ed growl. If you enjoy any of the styles above, giving this album a pass would be Unthinkable. (That's a BandCamp link for those who haven't figured me out yet. Click it already.)
Picked by:
Thumbs up:
BitterCOld
Deadsoulman, ScreamingSteelUS