One of the adjectives that have most accompanied me during the last few months in regards to music is “fun”. Don’t get me wrong, I still listen to plenty of dour and “serious” music but as time goes on and summer kicks in, alongside the endless blend of time called “working from home”, I look more and more towards energetic, irreverent, and expressive music. What some might call “fun”. Luckily, it seems as if metal is more than happy to meet my demand, spewing forth a host of fast, unapologetic, and bristling with energy bands. Like Snakeblade! This one man black metal project from Canada, spearheaded by Mike Redston, wastes no time in pushing the pedal to the metal and letting it all go. No, seriously; the very first track on his new album, The Kingdom, has an insanely flamboyant and satisfying guitar solo, breakneck drums, and vocal shrieks aplenty. Sounds good? Head on down below to check it out for yourself in full!

Yeah, that second track is called “To the Pits with the Balrog”, why do you ask? In fact, one of the things that makes The Kingdom so fun is its unapologetic dedication to fantasy. Add that to its muscular, fast, and straight-to-the-jugular approach to blackened death metal, echoing Immortal just as much as it echoes Death, and you’ve got yourself one hell of a formula for rocking out. The approach here is to blend death metal’s brutal aggression, mostly felt on the guitar/drum heavy barrage combo, with the abrasiveness of black metal’s vocal lines and guitar tone. The result is not music that makes you ponder or pine for ancient forests (though a cool forest would be nice right now) but rather to get up from your chair and dance, scream, head-bang, and jump around. Lastly, there’s this heavy metal flamboyant edge to everything, most felt on third track “The Nine”. It manifests in some tasty, larger-than-life solos and vocal shenanigans, straight from the grab-bag of 80’s Iron Maiden. This embellishment adds even more energy to the album, giving it the lightning-bright finish it deserves.

And if all that’s not enough, the album also features killer guest spots from other Canadian heroes from bands like Truent and Protosequence, a fact which should seal the deal for anyone reading this. Oh, and did I mention that Snakeblade is named for Mike’s first D&D character, a bugbear? You love to see it folks.

The Kingdom releases this Friday, July 31st, and you can pre-order it right here. Don’t forge to do so! Support independent artists, especially these days.