Greetings duelists and welcome back to Flash of the Blade! It’s the middle of 2021! Time continues to inexorably move towards the heat death of the universe. 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. Half year column! What is this column is about? Luckily, it’s easy to figure out: this column sums up the first half of the year in 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 and it was released in the first half of 2021, it can end up here. OK? OK. Let’s fucking get to it.


That’s right, swords, plural. No fucking daggers this time around, no time, too many great releases to cover. Yes, I know they’re short but I want this to be the sharpest of the last six months, the absolute most massive blades chopping down on the heads of landlords. Let’s do it!

Molten Chains – Torment Enshrined (32:09 of weirdo blackened heavy metal). When I first wrote about this album, I merely really liked it. Well, I was fucking wrong because now I’m absolutely in love with this album. Seriously, nothing really sounds like this album. It’s weird, it’s heavy metal to the extreme and it goes really, really hard. Let it into your heart and it will burrow deep and consume it. It’s worth it though because nothing else will quite scratch this itch. Also yes, I know this album dropped in December of last year but I’m including it for reasons (because I missed it last year)

Steel Bearing HandSlay In Hell (39:26 of non-stop, demon-slaying riffs). Come on. Come on. For fuck’s sake. No band should be this heavy, this brutal, this unleashed. Steel Bearing Hand just don’t give a crap about anything other than playing wild, unrestrained, no holds barred, extreme heavy metal. And that’s what they fucking do.

Obsolete Animate // Isolate (36:35 of technical, face-melting death/thrash). This is probably the most intricate of the releases on this post but it’s intricate in a very particular, very heavy sort of way. The riffs on this one buckle and twist like snakes, adding layer over layer of suffocating, serpentine flesh as the album unfolds. It’s hard to keep up but keeping up is not really the point: let the snake carry you away into a land that’s all hate, guts, and anger.

Perilaxe OcclusionRaytraces of Death (21:33 of murky death metal). If you know me, you know I’m not huge on the whole “filthy OSDM” craze that’s been everywhere these past few years. But when it’s done with as much swagger and attention to detail as Perilaxe Occlusion do it, even I must succumb to its shadowy wiles and temptations. If you like your death metal thick and aggressive then look no further.

Empty Throne – Glossolalia (22:53 of riffs, riffs, riffs). Ough. OUGH. OUGH OUGH OUGH OUGH OUGH OUGH OUGH OUGH OUGH OUGH.