Greetings duelists and welcome back to Flash of the Blade! It’s 2021! Everything is different and yet, the absolute fucking same. A monster looms and that monster is called capitalism and if we don’t get out our fucking swords, it will swallow us whole. Don’t remember what this column is about? Luckily, it’s easy to remind you: this column is about short releases that go hard. Also, swearing. Which genres are included? Fuck genres. If it goes hard and if it goes fast and if it doesn’t waste any time doing either of that, it can end up here. OK? OK. Let’s fucking get to it.
Sugar Wounds – Calico Dreams (23:08 of grindcore sweetness). Sugar Wounds are an interesting breed and their name honestly goes a lot way towards describing their sounds. While the vocals, the drumming, and some of the guitar lines are heavy and fast as all hell, channeling the fury that grindcore does so well, they also add a bunch of shoegaze-y, bubblegum sweet guitars and ideas over it. It’s like being hit in the face repeatedly with cotton candy. But the candy is made of iron? Whatever, it rules.
Herzel – Le Dernier Rempart (36:04 of sword-wielding heavy metal). The album’s name translates to The Last Stand. The music straddles the line between heavy and power metal. The lyrics are in French, borne aloft by incredibly unique vocals. What the hell’s not to like here? Absolutely nothing. See you on the battlefield, battle-siblings!
Awenden/Feminazgul – Split (30:59 of authority corroding black metal). Nothing says Flash of the Blade better than black metal, be it atmospheric or otherwise. I’ll forgive you if you don’t know who Awenden are but you’re making a mistake; the collaborative project rules. But if you don’t know Feminazgul are by now? Reading this blog? No mercy. Death to fascism. Death to patriarchy. Another world is possible!
Glassjaw – Material Control (36:41 of post-hardcore goodness). Yeah, I know I’m not breaking some obscure news when I tell you that Glassjaw are incredible. This might be one of the best comeback albums of all time? And I think more people should hear it. So there we go. Stop complaining. Start jamming.
Druids – Monument (28:16 of progressive journeys into space). This is my way of manifesting a new Druids album. Do it! Please! Some of the best progressive stoner metal of the last few years, and that’s no joke, considering how stale the genre can be. Not here; every note screams with vitality. More Druids please!