Spellcaster – Night Hides the World

2016 is shaping up to be a treasure trove for the traditional metal style. Bands like Sumerlands or Spiritus Mortus are tapping back into their metal roots and dredging forth intensely moving albums that more than succeed at holding a light to the greats of yesteryear. However, perhaps the most successful of these 2016 excursions is Spellcaster’s Night Hides the World, an album steeped not only in the aural trappings of traditional metal but also in the iconic aesthetics that have always accompanied the style. One needs only look at their video for the title track from the album to appreciate the level of dedication these Portlanders have for the aesthetic: aviator goggles, wolves crying at the moon, absurdly over the top solo gestures, leather jackets and much more combine to create that Iron Maiden circa the late 80’s feeling, channeling that over the top, rock star swagger that had captured an entire generation during the time.

Darkthrone – Arctic Thunder

Once upon a funeral moon, Darkthrone was a band cloaked in mystery and steeped in intrigue. They rarely gave interviews except for a select few underground fanzines, were never seen photographed aside from album layouts, and never played live. They were the personification of “kvlt”; a band feared and revered for their complete abandonment of the self-described “silly, trendy death metal” style and full embrace of the aesthetics and sound of minimalist black metal. Taking cues from Burzum and pioneers like Celtic Frost, Venom, and Bathory, they endeavored to set the underground ablaze with the most raw and primitive black metal to possibly be generated by a shoddy basement recording. The results are well documented history.

Mantar – Ode to the Flame

Most music fans have a section of their digital and/or physical library dedicated to boisterous background music; albums that digest quickly and provide instantaneous satisfaction. The inverse of spinning Tangerine Dream after popping melatonin, these albums provide the sonic stimulus of the body without necessitating the involvement of the mind. German sludge duo…

Abbath – Abbath

If this is all we as metal fans get out of the Immortal dispute, then this is more than acceptable olive branch. While the album certainly could have been enhanced with the natural chemistry that Abbath had with his former band, it still feels like the most well-rounded album that he’s released since 2003’s masterpiece, Sons of Northern Darkness. It’s got a great mixture of rawness, accessibility, brutality and cheese, and is 2016’s first essential release for all fans of extreme metal. A must have for fans of unending grimness.

Singled Out (7/25 – 7/31): New Music From Born of Osiris, Dark Sermon, Kylesa and More!

In case you haven’t been following, Singled Out is our new weekly column to round-up all of the singles and new tracks from the past week dropped by bands we cover. Consider this our weekly mix to help keep you all on top of the latest releases from across the metallic…

Heavy Movie Is Heavy: Metalhead

Metalhead is the tale of Hera, a young Icelandic woman who witnesses the tragic death of her beloved older brother at a young age. Set in the early 90’s, the film focuses on Hera as well as her parents; simple dairy farmers in a remote area of the country. A poignant scene…

Venom – From the Very Depths

Venom might be the single most influential extreme metal band in existence. Their first two albums, Welcome to Hell and Black Metal, almost single-handedly defined the straightforward and blistering sound of the genre named after their sophomore effort, and they are still cited today as an important factor in the…