Jan 022018


This is the second part of a post I began here on the last day of the old year, delayed by one day so that I could recover from a cataclysmic hangover produced by unforeseen New Year’s Eve revels; the old year died, and then I felt as if I had, too.

I’ve collected streams of six albums here, all of them released in December or November, accompanied by nothing that would justify the term “review”, only a few inadequate words of description and praise that I hope will induce you to explore the music. This won’t be the last of my efforts to catch up with music released last year, though inevitably we’ll start paying increasing amounts of attention to the march of metal in 2018.


Andy Synn already included this record on his listing of 2017’s “Great Albums”, and it recently appeared on Brendan Sloan’s list (here) as an Honorable Mention — but only because he thought it would be greedy to put more than one Alex Poole project in his Top 17 list (the other being Chaos Moon). Yet despite this attention, both at NCS and elsewhere, I wanted to give my own nudge to those who haven’t yet heard Without Veil, Nor Self. Continue reading »

Jan 252017


In this 17th part of our 2016 Most Infectious Song list, I’m adding three songs that were all made for headbanging, or at least vigorous head-nodding, knee-bobbing, and toe-tapping, even though they’re scattered across different parts of the metal musical map.


I’ve been meaning to write about WarCrab and their 2016 album Scars of Aeons (released digitally by Black Bow Records) but so far haven’t succeeded. The album did appear on Grant Skelton’s year-end list, where he wrote: “Warcrab’s breed of deathened sludge (sludgened death??) is certain to quench your rapacity for beefy slow-to-mid death metal”. And on May 1 of this year, the album is going to be released on CD for the first time by Transcending Obscurity. Continue reading »

Dec 152016

M012 digipack 3P_1CD 6 x 8mm.cdr


I listen to a lot of new black metal every week. As most serious metal lovers are well aware, the genre has become remarkably diverse, so much so that I’d venture to say that it now encompasses more variety than any of the other well-recognized genres of extreme music — which is one reason I listen to a lot of black metal every week. Some branchings of this immense, gnarled, and thorny tree have gone off in experimental directions; others have twisted back down into the roots, intertwining with them to the point that the new growth is indistinguishable from the old.

The debut EP Hail Death by the Polish black metal band UR isn’t experimental, or mind-bendingly intricate. It honors certain aspects of the genre’s roots, yet it’s also not a re-tread of the dominant forms of the second wave. But among all the varied branchings of black metal that I’ve explored this year, it has proven to be one of the most enjoyable. I’ll explain why — but I wouldn’t blame you if you chose to skip past my verbiage immediately and jump straight to the player at the end of this post, where you can launch a full stream of the EP in advance of its December 15 release by Arachophobia Records. Continue reading »

 Posted by at 8:06 am  Tagged with:
Dec 092016



I’ve been immersed in compiling LISTMANIA features the last few days, but at the same time I’ve been noticing the appearance of new songs, many of them from albums headed our way in the new year. I’ve rounded up 9 of them here that I’ve enjoyed, with a range of metallic styles. I organized them sort of like a bell curve, with things starting hard and then getting more melodic in the middle, and then descending again into increasing ugliness and violence by the end.

Also, serious question: Should I divide collections of this length into smaller parts and spread them out over the day? Or does it matter?


I’m afraid that if I googled “lock up” these days, I’d get stories about Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton. The world obviously needs to grind again, and the real Lock Up is here to help us do that. Continue reading »