We have now entered the dubious time known as “more than one year has passed since the Coronavirus outbreak”. I just needed to get that off my chest; this intro will not be another one where I talk about COVID-19. But I would have felt strange not to bring it up. In general, feeling strange is mostly how I would describe the last two months of my life. Even as vaccines start to rollout (especially where I live, in Israel) and life seems to be lurching back into some sort of semblance (and only a semblance, make no mistake) of what it was before, I am filled with a strange sense of…temporality? I feel like the future is stretching before me and I can feel, more than usual even for a history student like me, the weight of the past bearing down on my shoulders.

Is it merely that I am starting to show my age? I’m only thirty-three but this feeling of the present contracting in the face of what’s to come and what has been is something that I’ve heard people of advanced age often describe. But that doesn’t feel right; I don’t feel as if timing is running any faster or if the span of my life that has gone so far was short. Maybe it was the lockdowns which contorted my sense of time, like my numerous flights in 2017 or my time in the army did. I feel as if there’s a potentiality in every moment, as if great things should be happening but aren’t and that, at the same time, everything is happening all at once. When I was a teenager, and my political leanings could best be described as “liberal left”, I handled these sorts of sensations by reading the news. But I no longer believe in the ability of the medium to accurately describe the world or give me a sense of “how things are”. Mostly because I don’t believe that “how things are” is a useful category anymore.

Which is where, of course, music comes in. If you think about it, perhaps echoing Terry Pratchett’s L-space where all libraries meet, the moments you spend listening to music cut across time. While not all music is the same, and you are certainly not the same, whenever you listen to it, you are performing the same, mostly-conscious action. Your reactions might change but there’s something running across the mood, the ritual, the physical reality of listening to music. Music, especially if you engage with it whole-heartedly and critically, can become a sort of common thread running through your life or, to be more dramatic, a lifeline. Or at least that’s what it has become for me over the last few months. Maybe it would be more accurate to say that it became that for me long, long ago, even before I joined the blog, but that during the last few months that purpose has been enhanced and made more important.

The main thing I want you to take away from this, except for the obvious “here’s a bunch of great music from March that we’ve collected for you”, is that you should try and give room for music to grow into this thing for you as well. It can happen organically, and it did for me as well, but there are a few things you can do to build that muscle, make music a central and grounding element in your life. The main one is to sit with music, every once in a while, without doing anything else. Just close your eyes and listen. It can be a track. It can be an album. It can be several. Whatever you have time for. Quantity is not really the thing here; it’s about letting music seep into you, cross the barrier from background to foreground. It’s about making your heart and your ears porous, to develop the emotional muscle that turns music from an aesthetic experience into an emotional and psychological one.

If you do that, and there are many more ways to do that, don’t get me wrong, then music can become a powerful grounding factor in your life. And who doesn’t need that in their lives? So, without further embellishment and ado, here’s the music we most loved from March 2021. Here’s the music that most touched, grounded, and changed us.

Enjoy.

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.

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!

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.

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

A Gift to Artwork

Karlo returns to dive into his favorite works of art, joined by Luis Flores of Heaviest of Art!

The Check-In: Why You Should Check In With Older Artists

Pete takes a look at our relationship with artists we’ve been listening to for a long time and asks by way of case study: is the new Rob Zombie worth it?

The Anatomy Of – Scarred

The clear collision course of influences made Scarred a perfect candidate for our latest Anatomy Of column. Indeed, the band’s individual and collective picks make a great deal of sense as I re-listened to the album while typing this, though there are a couple of surprises along the way.

Reviews

Body Void – Bury Me Beneath This Rotting Earth

Overall, BMBTRE is an encouraging evolution for the band. It’s essentially a more accessible version of what they’ve always done, just distilled into a more reasonable package. So yeah, nothing to see here, just some of the best, absolutely fucking flattening doom out there with even more replayability. Get your neighbors some earplugs, they’ll need ‘em, too.

Dvne – Etemen Ænka

It’s an intelligent, challenging, and ambitious next step in Dvne’s career and exactly the step they needed to take. It’s one of the first albums released in 2021 that I expect to take with me into the future; it has no limit on the amount of layers and meanings that can be focused on and derived from it.

Lunar Shadow – Wish to Leave

If you can stand to leave behind the shredding bombast, the result is compelling. There’s very little chance this will satisfy every Lunar Shadow fan, but if Birbaum and company have shown one thing, it’s that they have a gorgeous and endlessly intriguing sound upon which to continue iterating. I, for one, will be ready and waiting to see where they go next.

Christian Cosentino – Lawn

Lawn is one of those rare albums that feels like a lightning strike, a boisterous work of ambition that blazes through and sears what you thought was possible or, indeed, recommended. It is an oftentimes weird, messy, and even disjointed album. It somehow works so incredibly well.

Oryx – Lamenting A Dead World

Here’s what listeners ultimately need to know: a Denver underground metal band put out a damn great record. Lamenting A Dead World is similar to a lot of other records Denver bands have been putting out in recent years. It doesn’t sound like those other records nor is Oryx copying anything anyone else is doing, but there’s something about the scene here in my hometown that makes all of these bands great.

Sanguisugabogg – Tortured Whole

Is the hype (and controversy) warranted? Tortured Whole doesn’t necessarily further the genre all that much, but it is a good time, and it’s nice to know that despite their flirtation with death metal’s most problematic reaches, The ‘Bogg appear to acknowledge and address those concerns and refocus their urge for provocation into broader, more inclusive subjects while keeping the meaty riffs coming.

Perspectives

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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