Outliers // 2017

Welp. You’ve seen it. You’ve debated it. You’ve cried over it. But what’s done is done: Our list of the best albums of the year is behind us, and there is much rejoicing. But what about the albums we loved that didn’t make the cut? For those of you who…

Death’s Door // October 2017

Welcome to Death’s Door, nerds. We’re freshly past Our Lord and Infernal Master’s designated holiday, and I’m so hopped up on candy and the blood of the non-believers that I can’t even function. Despite my shot adrenal glands and ever-expanding waistline, there’s a whole lot of premium death metal to cover, as has been the custom in this most nefarious year of 2017. Praise be. October is typically a fantastic month for premier releases, especially in the world of metal. In that regard, this October did not disappoint. Melodic death metal in particular saw a glut of fantastic releases, while death-doom and progressive death metal both unleashed releases that are poised to transform the way we think about death metal as a whole. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, 2017 is one of the finest years for death metal of nearly every shape and type in recent memory. This is legitimately the second golden age of death metal, and I hope and pray it continues in perpetuity. Regardless, let’s celebrate the health of the music we love while it continues to fester and rot in new and unexpected ways. Our picks this month pull from many different sectors of the death metal world. Post your picks in the comments and let us know what you loved/what we missed. Let’s do this.

Spectral Voice – Eroded Corridors of Unbeing

Sometimes I listen to albums and mini-movies play in my head. Narratives that to me encapsulate the sound, the feeling, of the music I am listening to. Spectral Voice has been doing this to me for years, with demo after demo of evocative, strangling death-doom that conjures images and stories that transcend the boundaries of my typically limited imagination. Their debut full-length album, Eroded Corridors of Unbeing, is no exception. In fact, it is the apex of everything the band have thus far released. It is cavernous, ethereal, terrifying, expertly performed, compositionally sound, and an utter masterpiece of death-doom glory. This is music that soundtracks nightmares of spiteful aliens, burning space stations, decaying planets, and the coming of the end of all things. It is music constructed for the dark. Prepare yourself accordingly.

Dreadnought – A Wake In Sacred Waves

All answers to the question “what is myth?” revolve around images. When you boil down myth, a ludicrously complex term, you find archtypes, common images which percolate beneath the surface of the story being told. These images aren’t immediately approachable; we can’t access these ideas, their meaning or their relationships…

Kvlt Kolvmn – September 2017

Black metal. What does it even mean anymore? The internet kerfuffle over Sacred Son’s album artwork for his eponymous debut once again presents the age old question of what is and isn’t “trve”. For myself, I consider this argument to be a bit superfluous. Technology advances, society shifts, tastes develop and refine, and the definition of whatever is pure in art alters itself with the times. Sure, there are specific tropes that make black metal what it is, but that in no way means that this subgenre does not have room for development while maintaining the sinister core of what makes black metal, well, black metal. I would go toe-to-toe with anyone who claimed that Leviathan, with all its genre-mashing opulence, was any less fundamentally evil and true to the spirit of black metal than, say, Bathory or Mayhem. This may be sacrilege to some, but I’m sticking by it. There is plenty of room in this style of music for madcap experimentation and growth, and stifling that because an album’s art doesn’t include corpse paint is beyond ridiculous. Now that I’ve offended just about everyone, on to the delights of September! Once again, Scott and I have curated a list of black metal records for you that both fall into the traditional format of the subgenre, and also transcend its confines into more experimental territory. As always, please argue, caterwaul, and protest in the comments and provide us with the albums you found the most intriguing in the month of September. Enough exposition. Let’s get down to it.

Incantation – Profane Nexus

Metal has an abiding relationship with physical and geographical spaces. From the rolling cascades of the Pacific Northwest to the dense, foreboding forests of Norther Europe, metal has long championed music that not only exists in a specific physical place but is often consumed by it. Think the ice cold tremolo knives of Norwegian black metal, or perhaps the gentler wanderings of folk metal from across the globe, or the oppressively heavy and moderately paced trudging of Bayou sludge. To these ears, these are sounds that are intended to transport and project us into a physical space that often adds further distinction to the thematic and lyrical themes of the music. The same could be said of the music of Incantation, but opposed to feeling like the American East Coast from whence the band originates, the death metal legends have composed music for decades that feels as if it is slowly emerging from a deep, hellish cave. It is reverberating, dripping filth bathed in oppressive guitar work, echoing and cavernous vocals, and a seething, roaring rhythm section that feels like an earthquake. It is a sound shrouded in slow, creeping, all-consuming darkness that feels viscerally physical, and Incantation have molded and transformed this beastly noise into something close to perfection.

Decibel’s Toxic Nostalgia – Exploring the Magazine’s Narrow View of Modern Death Metal

The following article is a collaboration between editors Jonathan Adams and Scott Murphy.  Before we dive in, let’s make one thing clear—we and Decibel (“America’s only monthly extreme music magazine”) agree that 2017 has been an exceptional year for death metal. Jonathan has highlighted countless fantastic death metal albums this…