Rounding Up Releases from Killer Mike, Queens of the Stone Age, King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard, Boris and Uniform, Thy Catafalque, Creeping Death, Christian Cosentino and Winterquilt and more.

a year ago

Top Picks

King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard – PetroDragonic Apocalypse; or, Dawn of Eternal Night: An Annihilation of Planet Earth and the Beginning of Merciless Damnation (psychedelic stoner thrash)

King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard don't always play thrash metal, but when they do, it absolutely slaps. Three years following their first, seemingly one-off foray into the world of full blown and surprisingly potent heavy metal with the gloriously titled Infest the Rats Nest (2019) the Giz brought the heavy back for 2022's more doom-oriented Omnium Gatherum and delivered what is probably their most comprehensive and consistent record to date (once you get past the first song that is...). Fourteen months, three full-lengths, two live albums and a demo-compilation later and they're back at it and, once again, very much delivering the goods.

PetroDragonic Apocalypse is a sludgier, stonier affair than the more frantic Infest the Rats Nest but also much, much, much more definitively metal than Omnium Gatherum, which was still a definitively psychedelic record. In that way, it feels like a true sequel to the former, with all the elevated experience and complexity of the latter. If Infest the Rats Nest was the sound of King Gizzard playing heavy metal, then Petrodragonic Apocalypse is the sound of King Gizzard as a fully realised heavy metal band. Whatever way you look at it, the album is an instant standout entry in the Lizard Wizards' eclectic and expansive discography, and solid evidence that—out of everything they've tried their hand at over the years—the thing they might just at their best when they put the pedal to the metal. ...which is rather ironic, given the album's concept.

Thy Catafalque – Alföld (progressive black metal)

Thy Catafalque have really refined their approach over their last few records. Their avant-garde approach to progressive black metal has always been intriguing and often impressive, but beginning with 2020's naive it's also become a lot more palatable. 2021's Vadak might not have been as idiosyncratic or unhinged as the project's earlier offerings, but it's also the only Thy Catafalque album I've found myself going back to more than once, which probably has as much to do with their compositions becoming more focused as it does with their becoming more aligned with the kind of Enslaved-leaning progressive black metal I'm personally drawn to. Either way, Alförd takes the more refined template of its predecessor and reintroduces some of the danger and unpredictability back into the mix, while also somehow making the songs more memorable and instantaneous. Fans of the unbridled experimentation of their early releases might disagree but, for me, this is the first time I've found myself fully drawn to a Thy Catafalque album as a singular statement, rather than a simple (albeit often perplexing) curiosity.

Release Roundup

A.M.E.N. – The Book Of Lies (blackened jazz?)

Alt. – Abeyance (alt metal, croon core)

Altar of Oblivion – Burning Memories (heavy metal)

Аркона – Kob’ (folky black metal)

Ascendancy – A Manifest of Imperious Destiny (black metal)

Avkrvst –  (sad rock)

Balmorhea – Pendant World (modern classical, post-rock)

Boris and Uniform – Bright New Disease (rockin' industrial doom drone)

Bend The Knee – Eyes Behind the Algorithm (mathcore, metalcore)

Christian Cosentino/Winterquilt – Portals to Perdition (progressive blackened cybergrind)

Church Of Misery – Born Under A Mad Sign (stoner doom)

Creeping Death – Boundless Domain (death metal)

Crossed Hearts – Forced Perspective (heavy metal)

Decimate Our Kind – In the Name of Our Republic (death thrash)

Denevér – A vérivók krónikái (black metal)

Diesomnia – Pray For The Flood (groove death)

Disillusive Play – Songs For The Non-Existent (symphonic metal)

Duivel – Heiligschennis (black metal)

Dvoeverie – Accipimus Dolorem (gothic doom)

EB And The Deadlights – Echoes Of A Dreamless Life (horror punk)

Elder Devil – Everything Worth Loving (grindcore, blackened crust)

The Fals – Beyond the Grave of the Moon (black metal)

Fifth Angel – When Angels Kill (heavy metal, power metal)

Fleshbound – Wounded (deathcore)

Frozen Land – Out of the Dark (power metal)

Geist Of Ouachita – Imprisoned In The Graven Wood (black metal)

Gravedäncer – The First Rite (black tharsh)

Helleruin – Devils, Death And Dark Arts (black metal)

Holy Death – Neck Wound Session (crusty death doom)

Home Is Where – the whaler (midwest emo)

Joel Hoekstra’s 13 – Crash Of Life (hard rock, heavy metal)

Killer Mike – Michael (hip hop)

Lanayah – I’m Picking Lights In A Field… (post alt metal)

Memorrhage – Memorrhage (nu metal)

Methedras – Human Deception (grovey melodeathcore)

The Mosaic Window – Plight of Acceptance (blackened death metal)

Nargathrond – Killing Season (synthwave)

New Dawn Fades – Forever (sludgy stoner metal)

Phantom Horde – Prince Of Death (deathgrind)

Pire – Grief World (gothic doom)

Pride Of Lions – Dream Higher (dudes do not rock)

Queens of the Stone Age – In Times New Roman… (portmanteautal garbage)

Rană – Richtfeuer (post black metal)

Reaping Flesh – Abyss of Existence (death metal)

Rise to the Sky – Two Years of Grief (melodic death doom)

Ritual Awakening – Yokai (melodeathcore)

Roseneath – Nowhere Safe (alt rock)

Royal Thunder – Rebuilding The Mountain (alt rock)

Sammath – Grebbeberg (black metal)

SARMAT – Determined to Strike (weird progressive death metal)

Saturnus – The Storm Within (melodeath doom)

Savage Ravage – Savage Ravage (death metal)

Sick To The Back Teeth – Where Was I? (psychedelic doom sludge)

Sigur Rós – ÁTTA (ambient, post-rock)

Speed Limit – Cut A Long Story Short (grandpas metal)

Stardust – Kingdom Of Illusion (dudes do rock, actually)

Thymata – Embraced by Death (black metal)

Todsünde – Herzjagd (groove metal, nu metal)

Torn From the Womb – Apocryphtic Preludes & Lugubrious Epoch (brutal death metal)

Trip The Wire – Trip The Wire (dudettes can rock too, y’know)

Varmia – Nie nas widzę (progressive black metal)

Vesthangarth – Ominous Path of Spectral Knowledge (black metal)

Vile Ritual – Caverns of Occultic Hatred (groovy death metal)

Vulture Industries – Ghosts from the Past (rock metal)

Vypera – Race of Time (hardish rock)

Witchskull – The Serpent Tide (doom metal)

Wonders – Beyond the Mirage (heavy power metal)

World Eater – An Insidious Remedy (death metal)

Yawning Man – Long Walk Of The Navajo (psychedelic post rock)

Joshua Bulleid

Published a year ago