Really hoping next post isn't titled "world war III post #1." That's the best I can do for hope as it stands. Keep safe out there.

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1. Cult of Luna – "An Offering to the Wild," from The Long Road North (Post-Metal – Metal Blade Records). In short: This is the best Cult of Luna album since Vertikal (AOTD alert). In less short: CoL is an alltime great band, we know that. But to me at least it felt like in recent years they have been somewhat guilty of rushing things, of not following through on ideas and of kinda-sorta emphasizing heavy to the detriment of dynamics. The Long Road North is a major correction, taking its time to explore moods and atmosphere, slowly building the kind of massive, emotional, and varied soundscape that is the hallmark of great albums such as Eternal KingdomSalvation, or the aforementioned Vertikal. Add (such as the case in this track) minute touches of a complete other voice such as the legend Colin Stetson and you get one of the best albums in this type of musical direction in a very long time. FFO: Isis, Mouth of the Architect, Pelican.

2. Static Abyss – "Jawbone Ritual," from Labyrinth of Veins (Death/Hardcore/Doom – Peaceville Records). Two gods among men making music that makes you mosh with your computer, that's basically it. I don't like the idea of "gods" of metal because I think it's trite and stupid. But it ain't trite nor stupid when the personage involved is Chris Reifert and Greg Wilkinson. In this specific case that title fits. And seeing that I'm a huge Autopsy fan (as evidenced here and here), and since I love everything Greg touches basically in terms of music and of production then, yeah, a no brainer. Add a sax (!) and an immense atmospheric turn in the middle of the track, and what else is there to do? DIE! FFO: Autopsy, Pentagram, Voit Rot).

3. Autosarcophagy – "Dyatlov Pass," from Dolor (Death/Black – Independent). When the Disciples of Dzoavits demo came out in 2020 I was thrilled, and even mentioned it here. It had that dumb-yet-brilliant quality of such metal bands such as Blood Incantation or even Artificial Brain, and it was wild and fantastic. Since then the band underwent a name change but also a slight style change, veering a bit toward black metal. It doesn't always work for me in the same way as the demo did, but when it does – enclosed track as a case in point – it's pretty fucking awesome. Very intriguing where they take it from here. FFO: Ulthar, Afterbirth, Cosmic Putrefaction.

4. Old Iron – "Planetesimal," from Old Iron​/​Verdun Split (Sludge/Doom – Satanik Royalty Records Search for artist, album, or track). How refreshing it is, my friends, to hear something all-encompassing and evil-sounding as this wonderful little split. Harsh sounds paced wonderfully to create that elusive combination of dread and an emotional outburst of fury and despair. Just great, great stuff. FFO: Thou, Indian, Chained to the Bottom of the Ocean.

5. Vanum – "Adversary," from Legend (Epic Black Metal – Profound Lore Records / Eisenwald). It seems like every other week lately I've been saying "Well, you know i'm not really into that trad stuff, but" to the point that I might need to rethink that first part of that statement. And no, I didn't think Vanum would be one of the bands I'd write this about, but here we are. The wizards of extreme, other-wordly black metal have taken a step back and unleashed  a majestic track that seems to combine the kind of mid-paced, heavy metal grandness of trad-style Bathory with the cinematic scope of American acts like Wayfarer or Vital Spirit. The outcome is one of the most infectious tracks I've heard so far this year and an album that just leapt into my "most anticipated" list. FFO: Vital Spirit, Wayfarer, Panopticon.

6. Deathless Void – "Crossing The Threshold," from DEMO MMXXI (Dissonant Black Metal – Iron Bonehead Productions). I mean, I dunno. What can I say? All I'd like to say is that this is how metal should sound like, like a vortex of an annihilating void booking a practice space for the afternoon and unleashing its emptiness on a couple of instruments and mics. It sounds empty, bereft, evil, and mesmerizing. Oh, and it's a demo. Sure. A demo. Fine. FFO: Vessel of Iniquity, Abyssal, Skaphe.

7. Civerous – Forms of Decrepit Brilliance from Civerous / Stygian Obsession – Anniversary of Affliction (Death Metal – Transylvanian Recordings). Basically an older split by two great bands that gets a tape reissued along with a life performance of each side. So, not the flashiest piece of "new shit" out there. But it just so happens that the debut full-length from Civerous is slowly growing into one of my favorite death-doom albums in recent memory and so a chance to celebrate these awesome dudes is always welcomed. Abrasive, non-stop, and awesome. FFO: Cerebral Rot, Mortiferum, Witch Vomit.

8. Andvaka – "Partur I," from Andvana (Doom Metal – Krummafótur). Another older release now resurfaced in my Bandcamp life, this time the debut release from Icelandic doom band Andvaka. Basically just glacial funeral doom with some very nice and interesting touches, such as the somewhat-The-Ruins-Of-Beverast-y clean/chanted voices that add a real eeriness and emotional depth. Trance-inducing, atmospheric beauty. FFO: The Ruins of Beverast, Urfaust, Wolvennest.

9. Doppelaxt – "Born for Blood," from Blood Memory (Black Metal – Independent). A bit of a gloomy post comes to its ultimate end with a splash of epic-sized harsh black metal. This actually sites quite nicely next to the Vanum above, albeit of a more raw/lo-fi nature. Catchy, melodic, but with enough bite to make you reconsider you life decisions and become a knight or something. Very, very cool indeed. FFO: Morgul Blade, Nite, Lamp of Murmuur.


ONE: Veteran Spanish post-metal act Toundra released yet another fantastic record, and here it is.

TWO: I went back and checked out the pre-SVRM project by, well, that SVRM dude. It's called Life is Hell and it's fucking fantastic crusty black metal.

THREE: Melodic death/black metal that rips your face off and makes you cry? Get it with the new single from Mist of Twilight.

FOUR: Stressed out of my mind. War, disease, maybe moving, new kid of the way. Just bolt in the middle of night worried all the time and never get back to sleep.

FIVE: A new album coming from Golgothan Remains! Yes! The previous one ruled!

ONE LAST THING, PROMISE: Head's up – the brilliant proggy/whatever-this-is/metal (?) project An Isolated mind is coming with a new album that should scratch your Toby Driver itch. Follow here.