Barishi – Old Smoke

I think most ardent music consumers go through phases. Maybe you’ll be really into folk for a bit, move on to hip hop, something like that. I have that but at a micro level. I’ll be really into specific subgenres. I’ll listen to a bunch of stoner doom for a…

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Rorcal – Muladona

The end-of-year bonanza that comprises most of November and December is both exhilarating and frustrating for music writers. On the one hand, it’s refreshing to be given the opportunity to initiate an organized, systematic retrospective on the year in music, and creating lists of surprises and favorites is always an…

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Mantar – The Modern Art of Setting Ablaze

Despite being just a guitar and drum duo, Mantar still sound just as massive as their modern sludge metal brethren. On their third album The Modern Art of Setting Ablaze, Erinç Sakarya (drums, vocals) and Hanno Klänhardt (vocals, guitars) continue their consistent trend of dropping an abrasive slab of blackened, crusty sludge every two years, all…

Gaerea – Unsettling Whispers

Black metal is formulaic in nature. The tropes of the genre have been recycled and reused on an endless spectrum. Bands have been integrating strange things into the style for a long time, yearning to breathe life into the cold and desolate sound beyond the standard helping of meat and…

ORYX – Stolen Absolution

Heaviness – that all important, ever elusive, sonic be-all and end-all – can come in many different guises. Black metal traditionally chases heaviness through tremolo-picked surging speed and haunting yet beautiful enveloping atmosphere. Doom, of course, typically retains some of the atmospheric trappings but reaches peak heaviness through slower means,…

Heavy Rewind: Lord Mantis // Death Mask

What exactly makes a good metal song or album? How does solid songwriting create a critically-acclaimed album? Some think that experimentation is the way to go, and with the recent rise in black and death metal acts that want to add different sounds—post-black metal, the new trend of “dissonant” death…