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Staff picks


Candlemass - Epicus Doomicus Metallicus
10.06.2021 | Candlemassive

In 1986, when every band tried their hardest to be faster than the rest, Candlemass showed the world that the words 'heavy' and 'speed' don't always have to go together. The low end, the deep sound, and the darkness brought by the hand of doom was unparalleled on Epicus Doomicus Metallicus and remains like that up to this day. Nothing has ever come close to the sheer brilliance of this album in 35 years. More classic than the classics. More epic than the epics.

Doom. Metal. Perfection.

"Earth to earth
Ashes to ashes
Dust to dust
And please let me die in solitude..."

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nikarg
RaduP, Deadsoulman, ScreamingSteelUS, Daniell, Starvynth, Mr. Doctor, Darkside Momo, Nefarious, Yaniv
Bathory - Blood On Ice
27.05.2021 | Viking metal

For many years, an old tape from 1988/89 lay dormant somewhere in the vaults of Quorthon's Heavenshore Studio, and it was probably due to the pressure and the pestering of his fans that exactly 25 years ago - on May 27, 1996 - these almost forgotten recordings were finally allowed to see the light of day.
Thank God Odin!
For even if Bathory's ninth studio album is somewhat overshadowed by previous milestones such as Blood Fire Death and Hammerheart, it is nevertheless one of the most important albums in Bathory's impressive discography. Because on the one hand, it marks the departure from the widely unpopular retro-thrash phase of Requiem and Octagon, and on the other hand, it is a return to Quorthon's true strengths: timeless Viking metal ballads such as "Man Of Iron", "The Woodwoman" and "The Lake", and epic battle hymns like "Gods Of Thunder Of Wind And Of Rain".

"Realms of the shadows bring me no fear
I may stand or be beaten and torn
The mountains will stand but the life of a man
Was decided long before he was born."


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Starvynth
RaduP, ScreamingSteelUS, Deadsoulman, nikarg
Neurosis - Through Silver In Blood
21.05.2021 | Sludge

Wow. Some 25 years ago this slab of sludge so heavy that merely playing it aloud causes such rumbling deep below the Earth's surface that the tectonic plates themselves move. Raw, visceral power. Literature cites three forms of conflict - man vs man, man vs self, man and man vs nature. Time to add another to the list... Man vs music.

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BitterCOld
Deadsoulman, musclassia, Mr. Doctor, Daniell, RaduP, Darkside Momo
Warlord - And The Cannons Of Destruction Have Begun...
19.05.2021 | Genuine heavy metal magic

Featuring four songs that were part of the astounding debut EP, Deliver Us, the album And The Cannons Of Destruction Have Begun... is nothing less than monumental. Combining the skilful drumming of Mark Zonder, who would later join Fates Warning, and the goosebumps-inducing guitar melodies of Bill Tsamis that were brimming with lyricism, it is the perfect heavy metal album. The term 'underrated' is often used and is rarely as justified as in this band's case. Warlord never received commercial success, although they thoroughly deserved it. To quote Mark Zonder: "Not taking anything away from any of the great artists that I have had the honor and privilege to play with over the years, but I can say without thinking twice Bill was the most talented and dedicated guy I ever met. Obviously great musician, the world knows that, but just a great guy to hang with. Funny and very intelligent. One of the most humble people you would meet. Very matter of fact but never over the line and never handing out BS. Just straight up. Without Bill Tsamis and Warlord I have no idea of where I would be today. This was the beginning and I owe him everything. Thank you for showing me the way."

If you have never listened to this album, it is never too late to discover one of the masterpieces of heavy metal. If you already know it, play it once more to honour this great guitarist's memory. And don't forget to check out his other band, Lordian Guard.

Rest in peace, Mr. Tsamis. The cannons of destruction will never cease, the music lives forever.
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nikarg
RaduP, ScreamingSteelUS, BitterCOld, Yaniv
Jours Pâles - Éclosion
12.05.2021 | 50 shades of black

Born from the ashes of Asphodèle and choosing the title of that band's only album as their name, Jours Pâles is the new black metal project of Spellbound, also of Aorlhac fame. This is black metal that incorporates so many different shades of it; atmospheric black, post-black, melodic black, depressive black, blackgaze, and even black thrash at times. A gothic and melancholic aura hovers over it but less so than how prominent it was on Asphodèle because Éclosion has a more rocking / metal character due to its songwriting choices and the guitar playing of James Sloan (Uada). With Christian Larsson's (Gloson, ex-Shining) amazing bass lines and the expressive vocals of Spellbound singing lyrics in French, Jours Pâles demonstrate an impressive ability to make the different aspects of their sound feel special on their own but also to make the sum equally engaging as its parts. For a fusion of aggressive and depressive black metal, this is as good as it gets.
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nikarg
RaduP, Starvynth, corrupt, Dream Taster
Sepultura - Arise
26.03.2021 | Under a pale grey sky, we shall Arise!

Arise is the final chapter of one of the most celebrated trilogies in the history of thrash metal. The death metal element of Sepultura's previous albums is toned down and in its place we find industrial touches with the use of samples and sound effects. Raw fury and breakneck death/thrash is still present but it is now complemented by big chunks of mid-tempo, heavy groove. The Brazilian / tribal approach in the drumming is a standout and original feature, and the drums got extra attention by the production of Scott Burns which is one of the best he ever did. The mix by Andy Wallace makes it sound killer still after all these years, slightly favouring the percussion and the lead guitar parts. The cover art by Michael Whelan reminisces Obituary's Cause Of Death, maybe because Sepultura were still gutted because that cover was initially planned to be used for Beneath The Remains but Roadrunner Records had convinced them to go with the red skull. When it came out exactly 30 years ago, Arise was a perfect and very forward-thinking thrash metal album. Its immense value for the style can be appreciated simply considering that the same would be said about it, if it were released today.

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nikarg
RaduP, Deadsoulman, Dream Taster, Starvynth, ScreamingSteelUS, Mr. Doctor, Darkside Momo, Yaniv
Jethro Tull - Aqualung
19.03.2021 | Progressive Rock

Back in the early 70's, metal was just in its infancy, not yet able to walk on its own feet. For most of that decade, not much other than Black Sabbath were heavy enough to be called metal, but heavy music was still abound, at least by the decade's standard. Jethro Tull would end up snatching a Grammy from Metallica, but Aqualung finds a band that can write some heavy guitars, but their progressive rock is most of all whimsical, comical, vulgar, clever, and witty. The image of Ian Anderson standing on one leg playing flute is just as iconic as the riffs on "Cross-Eyed Mary" or "Aqualung". It's a fantastic album even regardless of its connections to metal, one of the best prog rock albums period, almost best Jethro Tull album, and released exactly 50 years ago today.
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RaduP
nikarg, ScreamingSteelUS, Dream Taster, Daniell
Paradise Lost - Gothic
19.03.2021 | The one and only true Goth

As fresh-sounding as Lost Paradise was, its doom death metal style was not something that hadn't been tried before. But thirty years ago, Paradise Lost unleashed the first and greatest - still to this day - gothic death metal album. Albeit engulfed in darkness, Gothic has a 'lighter' guitar approach than its predecessor, relying very much on the eerie lead melodies instead of on the earth-shattering riffs of the debut. The ethereal female vocals and the creepy keyboards made it an even more divisive affair among the fans and most people dismissed the band at the time for "selling out". Luckily, this band never cared about metalheads' opinions and they made it very clear from very early in their career. Gothic is the pinnacle of gothic metal and Paradise Lost's most groundbreaking album in a tremendously successful career characterized by groundbreaking albums.

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nikarg
RaduP, Starvynth, Deadsoulman, Mr. Doctor, Dream Taster, Darkside Momo
Opeth - Blackwater Park
12.03.2021 | Pure, Unadulterated Passion

It's hard to believe that human civilization peaked on March 12, 2001, but we of Metal Storm are well aware of the fact that Opeth's Blackwater Park is the single most important and amazing work of art ever to grace our unworthy human senses - and today this pillar of sonic achievement turns 20 years old.

Now, iconic reviews aside, I don't actually believe that Blackwater Park is the greatest album ever released - in fact, it's not even my favorite Opeth album - but there's no denying that it is a milestone in its genre, easily one of the definitive recordings of progressive metal. It ranks among the most significant and influential works in its sphere, standing tall even within Opeth's discography; with a career practically founded on the production of successive magna opera, Opeth will likely never have a single, incontrovertible outlier to be crowned their best, but Blackwater Park does have something like a mythology surrounding it. Maybe you don't have to treat it like the apex of heavy metal, but it's still a damn good progressive death metal record that we can all enjoy, and what more reason do you need to give it a spin?

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ScreamingSteelUS
RaduP, musclassia, Starvynth, corrupt, Deadsoulman, Daniell, Mr. Doctor, Dream Taster
Entombed - Wolverine Blues
09.03.2021 | Groovy, Hard Rockin' Death

Wolverine Blues is the album that those who were alive and loathed it when it came out are often the same ones that today call it underrated. It was even roasted by Beavis & Butthead back in the day. It was aggressively marketed at the time by Earache Records (hence the version with Marvel's Wolverine on the cover) but all that was not the band's idea. Yes, this album is not as fast and brutal as Left Hand Path and not as crushing as Clandestine, but it is super fun, still heavy, and very forward-thinking. Many death metal bands were looking for new directions in 1993 and Entombed, who were already pioneers of Swedeath, made Wolverine Blues groovy, hard rocking, and at times even punkish. And that's how they became pioneers of what later became known as death 'n' roll.

Lars-Göran Petrov returned for this one. His vocals were less guttural than before but they were still ferocious and menacing. And the last thing heard on Wolverine Blues was him roaring "FUCK!"

Rest in peace LG.
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nikarg
Starvynth, RaduP, Deadsoulman, ScreamingSteelUS, BitterCOld, Mr. Doctor, Daniell
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, Yaniv

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, ScreamingSteelUS
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
04.01.2021 | 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