Editor’s Note: Do you think we “missed” an album this week? Click here.

Each month, we always seem to come to the same conclusion when it comes to our Editors’ Picks column: Friday release days open the floodgates and unleash a seemingly endless stream of quality new music. But while some of our Editors and Contributors sit down gleefully each week to dive into this newly stocked treasure trove, others find themselves drawing a blank at the end of the month due to the breakneck pace needed to keep up to date with what’s been released. Which brings us to this Heavy Blog PSA: a weekly roundup of new albums which pares down the week’s releases to only our highest recommendations. Here you’ll find full album/single streams, pre-order links and, most importantly, a collection of albums that could very well earn a spot on your year-end list. Enjoy!

Top Picks

Absent in Body – Plague God (atmospheric sludge metal, post-metal)

Absent in Body is a new atmospheric sludge/post-metal fan’s wet dream of a supergroup. What started as just a two-man collaboration between Amenra‘s Mathieu Vandekerckhove and Neurosis‘s Scott Kelly grew to four, as they recruited fellow Amenra vocalist Colin H. van Eeckhout to front the group, as well as the legendary Igor Cavalera (formerly of Sepultura) on drums. What results is a harrowing journey through dark, textural atmospheres and Amenra’s ominous, soul-harvesting terror. Industrial touches bridge the gap between the organic and mechanical, lending to a sci-fi meets horror soundtrack feel.

 See Also: Yarotz – Erinyes (blackened hardcore, metallic hardcore)

Trent Bos

Kvaen – The Great Below (thrashy black metal)

Kvaen’s debut, The Funeral Pyre, was one of the standout releases of 2020, and this fast follow-up proves there’s still plenty the one-man black metal project has to offer. There are flashes of melodeath, viking, and even progressive metal littered throughout The Great Below, which often recalls 2007-era Naglfar and Dimmu Borgir, but it’s the heavy helping of ravenous thrash that has it standing triumphant above all the other, much higher-profile black/thrash releases out this week.

Josh Bulleid

Best of the Rest

Abbath – Dread Reaver (black metal)

Animals As Leaders – Parrhesia (prog fusion, djent)

Architects – For Those That Wish To Exist At Abbey Road (symphonic metalcore)

As the World Dies – Agonist (death metal)

Astral Tomb – Soulgazer (progressive death metal)

Tyler Bates & Chelsea Wolfe – X (dark folk, soundtrack)

Bellows – Next of Kin (chamber pop, indietronica)

Contaminated – Nihilvm (melodeath)

Croatian Amor – Remember Rainbow Bridge (minimal synth, progressive electronic)

Crystal Viper – The Last Axeman (heavy metal)

Current 93 – If a City Is Set Upon a Hill (neofolk, avant-folk)

Denzel Curry – Melt My Eyez, See Your Future (southern hip-hop)

Riuichi Daijo & Toshimaru Nakamura – Ceramic Soul (free jazz)

Dead Melodies – Memento (ambient, drone)

Departing – Somewhere… (ambient)

Desolate Shrine – Fires of the Dying World (death metal)

Destroyer – LABYRINTHITIS (art rock, sophisti-pop)

ES-K – The Canvas (instrumental hip-hop)

Falls of Rauros – Key to A Vanishing Future (progressive black metal)

Father Befouled – Crowned In Veneficum (death metal)

fmvee – Wisteria Fade (ambient pop, experimental)

Forlorn Aspect – Benthic Orations (black metal)

Fucked Up – Do All Words Can Do (post-hardcore, art rock)

Georgeson – The Solitude of an Endless Sky (modern classical)

Gewgawly I and Thou – NORCO (soundtrack, noise doom)

Guerilla Toss – Famously Alive (dance-punk, art pop)

Hardcore Superstar – Abrakadabra (hard rock, heavy metal)

Aldous Harding – Warm Chris (chamber pop, contemporary folk)

HEX – Behold the Unlighted (death-doom metal)

I Speak Machine – War (art pop, industrial)

Ibibio Sound Machine – Electricity (Afrobeat, synth funk)

Incite – Wake Up Dead (thrash)

Killing Joke – Lord Of Chaos (industrial rock, post-punk)

Mammoth Weed Wizard Bastard – The Harvest (stoner metal)

Ocean of Illusions – Unrecognizable (deathcore)

Phife Dawg – FOREVER (boom bap, jazz rap)

Placebo – Never Let Me Go (alt-rock)

Port Noir – Cuts (alt-rock)

Emma Ruth Rundle – Orpheus Looking Back (dark folk, singer/songwriter)

Soul Glo – Diaspora Problems (hardcore, experimental hip-hop)

Spiral Skies – Death is but a Door (heavy metal, blues rock)

thrown – Extended Pain EP (hardcore, metalcore)

Virocracy – Ecophagia (progressive death metal)

Yarotz – Erinyes (blackened hardcore, metallic hardcore)