It’s been a while since I last posted a strictly metal-related article. You’ll probably see a bit less metal content around here, as I’m trying to branch out into some other topics. I have been writing on this blog for more than 5 years now, so I’m trying to continue to keep things interesting. These days, more people are asking me about my novels and my solar panels than my favorite death metal album, which is totally cool.
Just because I’m not writing about metal as much, doesn’t mean I’m not listening to it. And if I’m still listening, I should be telling you what I’ve been listening to. Here are some albums I’ve enjoyed recently:
Behemoth – The Satanist
As the cacophony of opening track, “Blow Your Trumpets Gabriel”, issued forth from my speakers, I could already tell The Satanist would be another incredible album. I love the way Behemoth are still able to create music that is deeply terrifying and unsettling, chaotic and tempestuous in its composition, ritualistic in its ambience. My favorite track is probably the closer, “O Father, O Satan, O Sun!”
Cynic – Kindly Bent to Free Us
Nothing Cynic does ever sounds quite like anything else in their catelog, and Kindly Bent to Free Us is no exception. Beautiful and haunting, powerful and mesmerising, this album is a prime example of how metal music can move beyond the tropes of the genre and become something else entirely. I particularly love “The Lion’s Roar” and “Gitanjali.”
Septicflesh – Titan
I’ve already talked about how much I was looking forward to Septicflesh’s Titan, and it didn’t disappoint. On first listen, I didn’t think it was as compositionally strong as The Great Mass, but now I’ve heard it several times I’ve changed my mind. The depth of the sound these guys are able to produce, that sheer force of music, is astounding. Every time I play this really loud I discover something new, a melody that inspires, a harmony that entrances, a little riff that makes me head nod. If Richard Wagner had been alive today and producing death metal, this is what it would sound like. Stunning.
Agalloch – The Serpent & The Sphere
Agalloch are one of those bands that have been darlings of the underground for a good two decades, but never seem to move beyond their core, fanatical fanbase (of which I count myself a member). With The Serpent & The Sphere, they’re likely to appeal to a wider audience and maybe, just maybe, this is their time. Rich with acoustic guitar alongside their more traditional metal sound, this album once again skillfully blends black and doom metal together into an immersive experience. I particularly love “The Astral Dialogue” and the 10-minute stunner, “Birth & Death of the Pillars of Creation.”
Casualties of Cool – Casualties of Cool
Basically, this is what Devin Townsend reckons country music should sound like. If you’re a fan of country music, you’ll probably hate it. Personally, I think it’s a vast improvement on the genre, as well as been a fascinating and beautiful.
Accept – Blind Rage
Accept are living proof that a band can produce their best work after 30 years in the biz. Ever since Mark Tornillo took over on vocals, Accept have been moving from strength to strength. Maybe the world just needed some classic thrash, updated and polished for the current times. Every song on this album has me singing along.
Epica – The Quantum Enigma
Although Nightwish may be the forerunners in symphonic metal, to me Epica have always been the standout band in the genre. Perhaps it is simply that the sounds are more complex than many of the later Nightwish arrangements, or that Simone’s vocals appeal to me more when melded with the harsher, album black metal style rasping. On The Quantum Enigma, Simone takes her vocal to a whole new level – her voice is more rounded, more radiant, than we have ever heard before. With catchy songs, soaring melodies and some flawless compositions, this is an album that can be enjoyed by metal and non-metal fans alike.
Slough Feg – Digital Resistance
Probably one of the most underrated bands in the entire history of music, Slough Feg hail from San Francisco and have been producing some of the most fun, interesting and stunning traditional metal and NWOBHM for … oh, forever. While Digital Resistance is not my favourite Slough Feg albums, it is pretty awesome. If you like Iron Maiden and you call yourself a metalhead, you’re probably gonna dig this.
What have you been listening to lately? Which of these albums have you heard, and what did you think?
The Sunken, my dark fantasy novel, is now available on Amazon.
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