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.

Sword

Mortal SoilVeil of Dusk (35:42 of sheer heavy metal brilliance). Someone once told me that heavy metal will never die. That is nonsense because heavy metal will never die. Many raise their swords to make sure that this is the case but few of them have a finer blade than Finland’s Mortal Soil. Veil of Dusk is chock full of hard drums (seriously, these drums go so hard), galloping riffs to set your heart a-running across those golden fields, and lyricism that invokes all of the good themes we know and love from heroes through demons to magical blades. Simply put, if you love heavy metal you will love this album and you owe it to yourself to listen to it. Onwards heavy metal!

Daggers

ExistemSearching for Clarity (23:56 of progressive metal goodness). It’s truly a pleasure to be able to write about an Existem record. Their 2014 release, Phoenix, is one of the first albums I fell in love with through the blog and I used to listen to it constantly. But their work since then has not been as good, even though I stayed faithful and listened to it with an open ear. But now, they’ve finally been able to recreate the magic that made Phoenix so good. Searching for Clarity is all muscle and no fat, probably owing to its short run-time. Which is a great thing; every riff, note, and scream feel like they should be where they are and that’s what makes complex, intricate albums great.

StormkeepGaldrum (32:38 of symphonic black metal glory). While this album came out last year, Stormkeep are gearing for another (excellent) release this month so I though hey, why the hell not write about Galdrum? What we have here is blistering, aggressive, and extremely well put together that wastes zero time in going right for your throat. It rides into battle resplendent with synth tones to die for, buzz-saw riffs, and vocals so abrasive they’ll scorch your ears.

InsinneratorHypothermia (31:55 of icy-cold death/thrash). “From the arctic breath of the Elemental Ice Dragon comes Insinnerator“. Honestly what more do you want me to say? This album absolutely slays, delivering the most abrasive and aggressive sort of death/thrash you can conjure up in your tiny, delicious, human brain. Just play it fucking loud, OK?

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