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Aug 21, 2023
I missed the exact 30th anniversary by a couple of days because I'm still recovering from festival season, but Type O Negative is a band worth ignoring a little delay for. Bloody Kisses may not necessarily be my favorite Type O Negative album anymore, but it was the one I discovered the band through and for a very weird couple of weeks they were my favorite band. Bloody Kisses still suffers from the "way too long for its own good" syndrome that all of their albums have, but at least it has the courtesy of stacking its two greatest songs right after the classic mock intro, and after another instrumental interlude we get the tongue-in-cheek Carnivore-ish "Kill All The White People". It is quite frontloaded, but there's still plenty that's worthwhile in the second half as well.
Staff pick by:
Endorsed by: X-Ray Rod, nikarg, Redel, Daniell, Yaniv, Netzach, BitterCOld, Starvynth

Descend Into Despair - Opium

Meticulous despair doom
Jul 03, 2023
The news of Descend Into Despair disbanding because they felt like they couldn't make art that was worthwhile for anyone hit especially hard, with them being one of the first bands from my country I discovered thanks to Metal Storm, at a time when my love for extreme doom was barely starting to develop, so they're a band I also hold partially responsible for that. Though out of all the releases I could pick, it is their final one that feels most meticulous, from the ways the synths enhance so much of the atmosphere, to just how much attention was poured in the mix of painting and photography on the cover art, all of it makes the context of the disbandment even more depressing and frustrating.
Staff pick by:
Endorsed by: nikarg, Starvynth, Auntie Sahar

Sarmat - Determined To Strike

Liquid Death Metal
Jun 22, 2023
The aesthetics scream early 90s technical thrash/death, the music is the Painkiller/Naked City extreme jazz metal, so the end result is a loose and improvisational death metal album that feels as chaotic and manic as the sci-fi world depicted on the cover art. With involvement from members of Imperial Triumphant, Artificial Brain, and Cleric, and it being released on I, Voidhanger, Sarmat melt death metal to create something more free-flowing.
Staff pick by:
Endorsed by: nikarg

Kostnatění - Úpal

Bonkers Black Metal
Jun 14, 2023
It's true that some of us tend to favor some genres over others and thus tend to notice originality in those genres more, and black metal is near the top of that list. But there are albums like Úpal that validate that bias with how original the sound feels. Black metal has been oddball, progressive, psychedelic, melodic, mystical, and fascinated with other cultures before, but Kostnatění take each of those aspects and find new ways to make the sound feel vital. Taking inspiration from oriental folk in more than just vibe, but also with all its songwriting quirks that feel alien to us, like all its microtonalities and time signatures. This is coming from a band whose take on the dissonant Deathspell Omega already felt out of the usual box, but this feels like it turned the box inside out.
Staff pick by:
Endorsed by: nikarg, Netzach, Nejde, musclassia, X-Ray Rod

Pa Vesh En - Martyrs

Hell soundtrack
Jun 05, 2023
For most bands, saying that the instruments kinda blend into each other would be an insult, but Pa Vesh En are the only band I know who are so meticulous about the production and their soundscapes, that they can make it sound like the album takes place in a vast temple and yet still make it feel densely claustrophobic. There's more orchestral elements and more of a soundtrack vibe this time around to make Martyrs the most evocative and detailed of Pa Vesh En's releases.
Staff pick by:
Endorsed by: X-Ray Rod, Netzach

Enslaved - Below The Lights

Progressive Black Metal
May 19, 2023
I'll admit, Monumension and especially Madraum don't get the attention they deserve as the bridges between Enslaved's viking era and their current prog one. But when the first mellotron notes of "As Fire Swept Clean the Earth" hit, it's pretty clear that it's here that Enslaved finally came into their own progressive black metal sound. The soloing gets more melodic, the structures more intricate, the soundscapes more expansive, but there's still a neckbreaking quality to the riffing and a harshness in the vocals that Enslaved continue to play with, even twenty years since the release of this one.
Staff pick by:
Endorsed by: Daniell, X-Ray Rod, Netzach, Dream Taster, Darkside Momo
"Screamo" is still used as a derogatory term simply because of how the name was misappropriated in the MySpace era, hence why you even have to have a term like "skramz" to even be accurate. This is a genre that I've been getting more and more into lately, and while stuff like Orchid, Pageninetynine, or Saetia might be the biggest staples in the genre, the one album that really knocked my socks off and became my favorite screamo album is the debut album of a band called Love Lost But Not Forgotten, released back in 2000, simply because it feels like it pushed the actual sound to its logical extreme. The lo-fi rawness of it, occasional burst of math rock groove, post-rock injections, chaotic dissonance, these all work to create a very viscous sound, but it is the blood-curdling vocals that push this album to the extreme. The band would release another album two years later, more mature and calculated, but it's the vitriol in this album that is forever etched in my mind.
Staff pick by:
Endorsed by: X-Ray Rod, ScreamingSteelUS, Netzach

Misfits - Walk Among Us

Horror Punk
Oct 31, 2022
This Halloween celebrate with a horror punk classic that turned 40 this year. I don't think the Misfits need any other explanations.
Staff pick by:
Endorsed by: ScreamingSteelUS, nikarg, Yaniv, Redel, BitterCOld

Agalloch - The Mantle

Aug 31, 2022
It is only now that I realize how ironic it is that one of the most wintery albums out there was released in the summer. The August from 20 years ago gave us this masterpiece, and this is one of those kind of albums where it's very uncontroversial to call it as such. "In The Shadow Of Our Pale Companion" only gets competition from "East Hastings" as my favorite song of all time, and I've mentioned time and time again how discovering this album about ten years ago was a paradigm shift for me and my music taste. It's interesting see how I still connect to The Mantle after all these years, even though sometimes I feel it's either too pompous or meandering for its own good, there are very few albums with such a great interplay between electric and acoustic guitars, and that so effectively merge atmospheric black metal into post-rock structures. And all of it feels magical years later.

Bad Brains - Bad Brains

Hardcore Jah
Feb 06, 2022
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.
Staff pick by:
Endorsed by: X-Ray Rod, nikarg, ScreamingSteelUS
Jan 23, 2022
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
Staff pick by:

Budgie - Never Turn Your Back On A Friend

Hard Rock / Heavy metal
Jan 16, 2022
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)
Staff pick by:
Endorsed by: nikarg, Dream Taster, Yaniv

Wilderun - Epigone

Symphonic Progressive Metal
Jan 09, 2022
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.
Staff pick by:
Endorsed by: Starvynth

Ethereal Shroud - Trisagion

Atmospheric Black Metal
Dec 20, 2021
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.

Led Zeppelin - Led Zeppelin IV

Progressive Hard Rock
Nov 11, 2021
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.