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Staff picks


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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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
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X-Ray Rod
RaduP, Starvynth, Deadsoulman, Daniell, Dream Taster, nikarg, ScreamingSteelUS, Yaniv
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.)
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BitterCOld
Deadsoulman, ScreamingSteelUS
Led Zeppelin - Led Zeppelin IV
11.11.2021 | Progressive Hard Rock

We are, once again, a couple of days late to celebrate a groundbreaking album's anniversary. Led Zeppelin is a band with a complicated legacy, from uncredited "inspirations" to underage groupies to backmasking, but there's something truly mystical about their fourth album. Supposedly untitled, debuting the band's symbolistic emblems, and with the figure from the cover art taken from a Tarot card, Led Zeppelin IV is also probably the band's most consistent album. It's hard to pinpoint a song on this album that isn't a classic. There are no words needed for "Stairway To Heaven", which has became the band's trademark. "Black Dog" and "Rock and Roll" were rowdy even by 70s standards. "The Battle Of Evermore" and "Misty Mountain Hop" feel like early seeds for folk metal, "When The Levee Breaks" has one of the best grooves of all time. "Going To California" is a ballad that's so ethereal. And the only reason "Four Sticks" feels more forgettable is because it's in such good company, but it would've been some other bands' greatest song.

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RaduP
Starvynth, ScreamingSteelUS, nikarg, corrupt, Dream Taster
LLNN - Unmaker
24.09.2021 | Industrial/sludge/post-metal

Many metal albums are described as 'crushing'; few deserve it as much as LLNN. Unmaker will sonically unmake the fabric of your existence.

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musclassia
Deadsoulman, BitterCOld, X-Ray Rod, ScreamingSteelUS
Trouble - Psalm 9
23.08.2021 | Black shapes of Doom

I could have staff-picked anything from the first five Trouble albums following today's tragic news of Eric Wagner's passing. Psalm 9 and The Skull were essential for the evolution of U.S. doom metal, possessing a sound that is still being - or trying to be - replicated. When the band decided to add more heavy rock and classic rock in their formula with the self-titled in 1990 or with the Beatles-loving Manic Frustration that followed, Trouble still were one of the coolest doom bands around. Their debut though remains unsurpassable to me and it is one of the most defining albums in the history of the genre. Wagner's unique voice had so much to do with it; this was a man who was singing and you could immediately tell who it was behind the mic. He could be menacing, emotional, and hard rocking with the same ease and simply sounded like no other.

Doom metal is so much poorer today. Rest in peace, Eric. I hope you are floating in strawberry skies.
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nikarg
RaduP, X-Ray Rod, Starvynth, BitterCOld, ScreamingSteelUS, corrupt, Daniell, Yaniv
Fallensun - The Wake Of The Fall
15.08.2021 | Music of the blackened skies

Fallensun is a Canadian duo by Axis Disrupt's Taylor Pottle and James Coyle, and The Wake Of The Fall is a wonderful debut filled with melodic death metal that wears a thick black cape to face the winter and the storming winds. Fans of Insomnium, Be'lakor, Eternal Storm, and Opeth should take notice. The music is as cold and blue as the cover art suggests; emotional acoustic passages and string instruments blend with aggressive blastbeats, soulful solos and melodic leads soar over prog-like drumming, and blackened tremolo picking antagonizes chugging and devastating riffs. Incorporating a number of guitar and vocal approaches and tones, the album is bookended by two beautiful instrumentals and features four compelling compositions in between, with the second half of "The Language, Death, Eternal" boasting some of the most compelling music of the year regardless of genre. And clocking in at under 35 minutes, you will find yourself wondering why this album is over so soon every time you play it.
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nikarg
Starvynth, ScreamingSteelUS
The Who - Who's Next
02.08.2021 | Teenage Wasteland

I still have no idea why The Who are on Metal Storm, and I know it's a bit inappropriate to add another staff pick now when we're celebrating the work of the many musicians who passed last week. But one of the greatest rock albums of all time turned 50 years a few days ago. It's bombastic, showcases fantastic chemistry, it's bookended by some of classic rock's absolute best songs, it has slight forays into prog rock, and it has the beast that is Keith Moon on drums. I call that a bargain.
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RaduP
ScreamingSteelUS, Starvynth, nikarg, BitterCOld, Dream Taster
Moonspell - Irreligious
29.07.2021 | Gothic Metal

Who would have thought 25 years ago that Moonspell could create another real classic only one year after their debut, the truly grandiose Wolfheart?

Admittedly, they had to cut off a good part of their musical roots to bring Irreligious into being; the black metal of the early years has almost completely vanished. But instead the other driving force in the heart of the five Portuguese could fully unfold and bestow the still young gothic metal scene a dark and intense highlight: musically mature, full of dramaturgy, melancholy and bombast, atmospherically dense and catchy as hell, yet heavier than legions of imitators who fail to capture and copy the genius of this remarkable sophomore album until the present day.

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Starvynth
Deadsoulman, RaduP, nikarg, ScreamingSteelUS, Darkside Momo, Ivor, Dream Taster, Pierre Tombale
Metal Church - Blessing In Disguise
29.07.2021 | Heavy/Thrash/Power

As talented a vocalist as David Wayne was, his departure from Metal Church was a true blessing in disguise, for it opened the door for the man who has always been my favorite MC vocalist: Mike Howe. His distortion was beautiful, his articulation was savage, and he was one of the proudest members of the lineage of gravel-voiced frontmen alongside folks like Zetro and Bobby Blitz. Even after 20 years of absence, when he reunited with Metal Church for XI and Damned If You Do, two very strong late-career records, Mike's tone was still rich and his delivery forceful. At only 55, he sadly joins the ranks of those gone from us too soon

Blessing In Disguise has long been in competition with the self-titled album for my favorite Metal Church work, and while of course the killer riffs and rhythm work throughout make it solid gold, Mike's shredded howl sells every song so well. Perhaps I should have picked The Human Factor as a tribute, because Mike truly had a human factor in his singing that drove the lyrics to the heart more than your average head-bangers could, especially on that album, but Blessing In Disguise has "Badlands," one of my all-time favorite songs, and there's not much better you can do than that.

Rest in peace, Mike.
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ScreamingSteelUS
Dream Taster, RaduP, Deadsoulman, Starvynth, Daniell, nikarg, corrupt, BitterCOld, Yaniv
ZZ Top - Eliminator
28.07.2021 | Blues Rock Meets The 80s

Eliminator was the first tape I ever bought back when I was BitterCYoung. Perfect for it's time and place, mixed classic blues rock and shuffle with the technological and stylistic shifts music was making at the time. These Tres Hombres were THE coolest dudes on eMpTy-Vee. I even sported the ZZ key chain for a good 20+ years thanks to the vid for "Gimme All Your Loving"... never did score the bad ass hot rod, though. So adios to Dusty Hill, thanks for some great bass lines and anchoring the Top. All you beer drinkers and hell raisers out there know what to do.

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BitterCOld
ScreamingSteelUS, Dream Taster, RaduP, Deadsoulman, Daniell, nikarg, corrupt, Abattoir
Slipknot - Iowa
28.07.2021 

#1 passed away this week. An absolute legend of a musician and artist of the beat to the soundtrack of a whole generation's anger and rage. Few bands today will be what Slipknot was for millennials around the turn of the century and Joey Jordison was one of their driving forces for almost 20 years. Rest in peace you magnificent person. Many a night of teenage angst is now also a testament to your memory. And this album, at least for me, towers over those times. The symbol of a confused yet maturing generation trying to find its place in this world.
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corrupt
RaduP, musclassia, nikarg, X-Ray Rod, BitterCOld, ScreamingSteelUS, Dream Taster, Deadsoulman, Daniell, Abattoir, Darkside Momo
Pig Destroyer - Prowler In The Yard
26.07.2021 | God-tier Grindcore

I passed out for two days after celebrating the 20th anniverssary of this modern classic of the genre. Prowler In The Yard is, simply put, what most modern grindcore bands aspire to be. By the time of its release, Pig Destroyer where only trio with only two instruments at their disposal. But they still outclassed most bands in every aspect of the game. Genuinely unsettling vocals and lyrics, a near infinite amount of innovative riffs, and intense drumming that truly cemented their frightening sound. Prowler In The Yard's atmosphere is so caustic that no amount of hot showers will make it go away.

This is beautiful. This is art.

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X-Ray Rod
RaduP
Beastlor - Galaxies Of Death
12.07.2021 | Light-disrespecting black metal

Beastlor is the one-man black metal project of Mick Barr, mostly known through Krallice and Encenathrakh, and Galaxies Of Death is an adventurous sonic journey into the world of contemporary black metal done right. One can only admire the flow of inspiration and the abundance of ideas, present from start to finish; from the riff factory that is "Ignorant Sin" to the avant-garde and progressive black metal masterpiece that is the closing title track. In between lie four songs balancing intricate atonality with blazing riffology in a way that is unconventional but also palpable and comprehensive. The undeniable apex is "Become The Planet", with its swirling dissonance being driven by a demented lead guitar which offers one of the finest metal moments of 2021, equally grand and memorable as Bølzer's "Entranced By The Wolfshook". Yes, it is that good.
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nikarg
RaduP, Deadsoulman, X-Ray Rod
Type O Negative - Slow, Deep And Hard
18.06.2021 | Pissed Off Vampire

I missed the anniversary by two days, but 30 years ago, Peter Steele took the rotting carcass of Carnivore to channel the feelings post bitter betrayal and suicide attempt to create one of the most vile and hateful albums out there. This is basically the only gothic thrash album I can think of. It moves from organ dirges, slow doom riffs, gang vocals spouting "He knows you're fucking someone else", blistering crossover energy, and Steele's character going through unsuccessfully coping with his predicament and emotions.
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RaduP
Mr. Doctor, nikarg, Daniell, Starvynth, Dream Taster