Selections from all over the metal map make up this month’s best offerings.
Ghost Bath – Moonlover
by Neil Bird
Combining melody with intensity, Moonlover is a more-than-worthy follow up to Ghost Bath’s debut that shows why they are deserving of so much hype. Their lighter moments are beautiful and the blacker moments are haunting and combine to make a cohesive and never disappointing slab of post-black metal. Ghost Bath will be seen as being in the upper tier of the sub-genre sooner rather than later.
Band of Spice – Economic Dancers
by Shawn Miller
Economic Dancers is one of best stoner albums to hit in quite some time—full of chunky riffs and meaty hooks, all pushed forward by the smooth crooning of ex-Spiritual Beggars vocalist Spice. This sophomore effort from the Swedish stoner group takes a special blend of stoner rock and stoner metal and injects a healthy dose of ’70s-flavored classic rock in the vein of Steve Miller Band and Creedence Clearwater Revival—making for one of the hookiest, catchiest albums of the year. Fans of Kyuss and Spiritual Beggars will not want to miss this one.
Tribulation – The Children Of The Light
by Nathan Hare
Swedish progressive death/black metal act Tribulation’s third album is the band’s most bizarre outing yet. The Children Of The Night mixes progressive death and black metal with psychedelic hard rock and even shades of punk and gothic rock to create an interesting, eclectic album, where Johannes Andersson’s harsh rasp is the only thing that keeping the album firmly grounded in extreme metal. But The Children of the Night isn’t some pretentious, experimental grab bag; it’s oddly accessible and contains some great songs. Some will bemoan that it sounds nothing like The Horror or The Formulas of Death—and they’re right—but, judged on its own merits, The Children of the Night is an impressive album.
Byzantine – To Release Is To Resolve
by Joshua Bulleid
April has been another fairly unremarkable month as far as I’m concerned and, to be honest, it’s the new From First To Last record (with Spencer Sotelo) that I’ve been spinning non-stop of late. Nevertheless, there’s no denying just how much of an absolute beast To Release Is To Resolve is. Having gone back and listened to Byzantine’s back catalog, I’m showing a slight preference for 2008’s Oblivion Beckons due to its sheer, overwhelming power, but To Release Is To Resolve remains the band’s most accomplished effort. God Forbid might not be giving me a proper follow-up to Earthsblood anytime soon but (until then) To Release Is To Resolve will do just fine.
Skyforger – Senprūsija
by Alex Melzer
Latvian, pagan metal, veterans Skyforger are back after a five year break with their sixth album. Senprūsija mixes black/thrash with folk and great yet unobtrusive melodies while staying away from the dreaded drinking songs and—in the full tradition of their previous efforts—touching on historic subjects instead. Covering the spectrum from slow and epic to full power, Skyforger fly the pagan flag high with passion and heart blood—staying true to their roots and showing a more pure approach to the pagan genre; with heavy guitars, delicate flute, pounding drums and Peter’s gruff snarl, which gives the Latvian’s sound this unique character. This band remains one of pagan metal’s best hidden gems!
Dawn Of Azazel – The Tides Of Damocles
by Evan Mugford
Further cementing New Zealand as a burgeoning hotbed of molten metal (and awesome flightless birds) the death metal trio Dawn Of Azazel have awoken from a nearly six-year slumber to release their fourth full-length album, The Tides Of Damocles. Powered along by the tyrannical roars of Rigel Walshe, the band execute their brand of partially grinding, occasionally blackened, notably-progressive death metal with a militant balance of fury and restraint. The songs on The Tides Of Damocles are square-jawed and calloused, intent on imposing their will with every twisted note and furious drum roll until the waters finally recede and the bones of the nonbelievers are bleached white by the sun.
Acid King – Middle Of Nowhere, Center Of Everywhere
by Ailo Ravna
Doom veterans, Acid King made a triumphant return this month with Middle Of Nowhere, their first new material in ten years. This album contains easy-riding stoner vibes at their fuzziest, and the laid back grooves and colossal weight of the acid monarchs is pure sonic bliss. Middle Of Nowhere is a monumental effort that easily ranks amongst Acid King’s best, and is a lesson in how to bust speakers seemingly without breaking a sweat. Also, the album cover is adorned with a high-as-fuck wizard riding on a flying tiger on the moon. Unbeatable.
This time last year: