[Click on band name for samples and more info]
Myrkur - M (Relapse)
While not as cohesive and stellar as her debut EP from last year, the full-length debut from this solo Danish artist is nonetheless a solid entry in the atmospheric Black Metal catalogue. From the slower, doomy parts with floating, haunting vocals to the more traditional BM sections with vicious snarled vocals, this one is kind of all over the map. There’s even a track that starts out with a straightforward classic metal riff that kind of comes out of nowhere is actually a bit jarring. The only complaint is that this feels more like a collection of songs than an album and when you’re trying to go atmospheric, it helps to keep things flowing. Other than that, it’s a pretty enjoyable listen.
Skraeckoedlan - Sagor (Razzia)
I don’t even know where to start with this one, other than the fact that it’s the best Stoner Metal album I’ve heard in a long time. The 2nd album from the Swedish quartet gets right down to business out of the gate with some of the tastiest riffage to grace my ears this year. The guitar tones are incredible and the songs are absolutely crushing. They get a little experimental in places, but I think the progressive nature serves them well over the course of 10 songs. The lyrics appear to be in Swedish, but they sound fantastic and on a record with riffs like these, the vocals are an afterthought. If you pick up one album this month, make it this one. I can’t recommend it highly enough.
Tomb of Finland - Below the Green (Mighty Music)
The debut album from this Finnish quartet is fairly straightforward, combining Doom, Death and Black Metal into a furious amalgam of sorrow. There’s not much revolutionary going on here, but it’s a solid metal album that ticks off all of the necessary boxes. There are killer riffs, anguished vocals, moody interludes and stunning leads, which is pretty much all you need. At first listen, I thought maybe these guys would be better served focusing on on genre and exploring the possibilities, but after a few rotations I kind of dig the fact that they just do everything quite well.