There we go: that number now says “2021”. And while this is not my Year in Review post (that will be posted alongside our end of year content in a few weeks) I can’t help but address that, right? So, what do we find when we turn our eyes to the below posts, columns, bands, and albums? Mostly, we find the lie of the insignificance of December, a lie pushed, in part, by the music journalism section of our scene. “Pushed” is probably too hard. Last I checked there wasn’t some council of music journalism making these calls (at least, I didn’t get the invite). It’s more of a cultural thing at this point, an assumption made by everyone to be obvious, good, and true.

Make no mistake: I am very sympathetic and understanding of the pressures of end of year reviews, lists, posts, and the such. After all, last year we were part of that grind as well. But the thing that really riles me are the fictions employed to justify that grind; instead of just saying “look, it’s just really stressful and we need to get this stuff done before the holidays”, music journalists (present company included) have built this idea that December is a barren wasteland of releases. To be honest, it’s somewhat justified: a lot of musicians a) have internalized the same narrative and avoid releasing music so close to the year’s end and b) take time off themselves, to be with their family during the holidays.

But some don’t and bands that are, mostly, in the periphery of our scene, in the interesting edges where we love to frolic, don’t have the luxury or the interest to care about release dates and industry wide norms. So, by glossing over this month and being dishonest about why we do it, we cause harm to ourselves and to our readers. It’s fine if you don’t cover December but there are other ways to discover myself other than reading blogs or magazines (shocking, I know) and by pushing this narrative that nothing of worth is out there to find, you’re telling your readers to stop looking elsewhere.

Oh damn, I guess we did end up talking about greater narratives and trends? Let’s get to the music at hand: just look at all of this fantastic music that released in December. Some of my favorite albums of the year were released during the last month and three of them are on my end of year list! So, if you decide not to cover December, that’s totally fine! But maybe don’t tell people that nothing of worth is releasing anyway so they shouldn’t bother with the month. It’s OK to say: “we can’t do it because we’re tapped out, we’re stretched thin”. That’s what we used to say and it’s perfectly fine. But building this narrative of the insignificance of the month is pointless.

We’re calling this one a mini-Missive because there’s obviously less stuff that was released in December; that’s just a fact, no narrative required. But December had plenty of amazing releases; let’s dig into them.

Columns

Editors’ Picks

Genre agnostic spotlights from the blog’s editorial staff, highlighting key releases from last month.

Death’s Door

All the death metal that’s fit to print from last month’s offerings. Riffs, licks, and gutturals curated by Jonathan and Scott.

Doomsday

When you absolutely must have your music go low and slow, Doomsday is here for you. Get ready for fuzz.

Kvlt Kolvmn

The grimmest, coldest, most abrasive column there is. Only the most premium of perma-frost, from the heart of darkness itself.

Post Rock Post

Where the horizon is always just beyond the next hill and your heart can roam free. Delay pedals, crescendos, and dreams.

Into the Pit

All the thrash riffs that are fit for print.

Rotten to the Core

Sure, you’re hardcore but are you this hardcore? The column with all the breakdowns, riffs, and gang vocals you’ll need.

Features

Angry Women: The Nervosa Interview

Prika Amaral talks metal, misogyny, and how to record in the time of COVID

Reviews

Dawnwalker – Ages

Destruction and rebirth is a musical as well as a lyrical theme that runs through Ages, expertly channeled by Dawnwalker to amplify its beauty and affect. The end result is an album that is constantly tantalizing you with the allure of fragility, of fading beauty, while crushing you with the hammer in its other hand.

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