Well, alright alright alright! It’s time for the first “proper” issue of 2021! No disclaimers, no special rules, no nothing! Right? Wrong. March’s Missive comes to you hot on the heels of our end of year drop, which means that we were focused on summarizing 2020 while January and February were very much happening. Yes, even if it doesn’t feel like it because time has collapsed, we are now two whole months into 2021. Not giving those months as much attention is fine to be honest, since very little happens in them, at least where the music industry is concerned; people are still away for much of January and even during February, things are still ramping up. But here’s the thing: we work in a vast industry, so you’re always going to have someone releasing something at any point of time. And we don’t want to miss on all of those fantastic albums, right?

So, we present to you March’s Missive, covering both the month of January and the month of February. Double trouble! Or something like that. You’ll find all of our regular columns below (plus two deep dives that we’re very proud of), simply covering both of those months. We also have one new column, called The Prog-nosis and covering, as you might be able to tell, everything that’s progressive in metal, and Jazz Club is also finally back! For those of you who might have missed it the first time around or might have forgotten what it’s about, Jazz Club is a column spearheaded by Scott, covering jazz and jazz-adjacent releases with some of the other jazz heads on the blog (we have a lot of those, perhaps unsurprisingly). Exciting stuff.

While I have you here, may I please remind you that taking care of your self and the people that you love is the most important thing right now? I’d like to remind you, just because I have your attention for a few minutes here, that the world seems to always re-assert itself but that there is nothing out there that matters most than your friends? And, lastly, can I remind you that it is OK to rest, to take a break, to not do things as well as they might possibly be done in your head, that the best version of you is the version of you that loves itself? It seems as if, every few Missives or so, I use this space to do so and I don’t really see a problem with that. Beyond the blog, beyond even the music, we are just two people you and me: me writing this and you reading this. And what better thing can one person do for another than remind them that they are enough, that they can rest? Not much.

Please enjoy this month’s content and remember: I love you.

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.

The Prog-nosis

Odd time signatures lie ahead! Too many notes stalk these waves! Loud synths on everything! It’s progressive metal time, baby.

Doomsday

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

Flash of the Blade

Music that is both fast, pissed off, and goes hard. Oh, and swearing. Lots of it.

Jazz Club

Where it’s always ’round midnight and filled with smoke.

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.

Heavy Buys

Jimmy and friends walk you through their recent merch purchases, including vinyl, t-shirts, and more!

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.

Unmetal Monthly

Head on through to turn down the distortion.

Wave//Breaker

Throw on your trench-coat, put on your favorite pair of sunglasses, and get ready to jack-in to the future in all its neon splendor.

Features

Relentless Mutation: How Right Does Metal Get Genetics?

Ahmed dives deep into how metal uses genetics in its lyrics and compositions.

Maps of Meaning – Clutch’s New American Mythology

Eden takes a look at Clutch’s long career, analyzing their lyrics for traces of mythological beasts, fantastic science and spirituality.

Reviews

Architects – For Those Who Wish to Exist

Ironically, for all its (largely undeserved) fan backlash, For Those that Wish to Exist is an album that’s likely to cement Architects as stadium headliners, when they’ve spent the better part of a decade recovering from a record that was far more focused, consistent and, some might argue, genuine seeming.

Dreamwell – Modern Grotesque

Dreamwell’s sophomore album caught me off guard, in that I didn’t expect it to instantly become the new skramz classic I’ve been waiting for since Pianos Become The Teeth’s 2014 hit Keep You. There isn’t a single wasted second among its ten tracks, navigating the waters between discordant grit and lilting harmony with a steady hand.

Lizzard – Eroded

I don’t think I’m speaking out of turn when I say that heady modern rock albums are something of a dying breed these days, so you have to jump on these sounds when you know they’re out there. Eroded and Lizzard are doing truly interesting and unique work these days. This band, and this album, are can’t misses.

Orden Ogan – Final Days

Final Days will do for now, but they might need to step things up on their next release in order to stave off the likes of Unleash the Archers who have found both critical and commercial success by leaning into the more extreme elements of their sound –as Orden Ogan once did themselves.

Perspectives

Ask Metal Anything

Monthly questions from the blog’s Facebook group about…anything!

The Void Screameth

We’ve all got our pet issues, big and small, and sometimes you gotta just write it all out and digitally scream into the black void of the Internet. This is that, just written much better.

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