We've almost made it through January, doomsters, and that's fantastic for a couple of reasons. First off, there's no real upside to January, right? It's cold, it's dark, the godforsaken NFL is still hanging around. More importantly, though, the end of January means the metal release calendar is finally heating up after a couple of down months. This week we have three new records that I'm recommending. First up we have The Fires of Heaven, the debut full-length from Boston's blackened speed metallers Malleus. This is January metal right here - unrelenting, frigid and punishing. Check out the mid-paced thrash stomp on the title track...chef's kiss. "Into the Flesh" is so catchy that it's almost a singalong and then they drop the tempo for the penultimate track, setting up the eerie nine and half minute closer that delves back into the maelstrom, wrapping things up beautifully. Fans of Bewitcher and Midnight and that old 80's speed vibe can't miss this one.
Next up we slow things way down and head out to sea with Sorrowful Land. Beautiful, brutal and haunting, the latest release from the Ukranian one-man project, Faded Anchors of the Past, is absolutely stunning. From the very first note I got Solitude Productions vibes and guess what? This band used to be on the venerable Russian doom label that somehow churned out masterpiece after masterpiece in this very vein. (Note: This release is on Black Lion Records.) I'm a sucker for crushing doom with epic, emotional solos so I was hooked right away. The vocals shift from death growls to serene cleans (featuring a handful of guest vocalists) and it works on all fronts. This clocks in at just over an hour so be prepared for a deep dive (look...keeping the nautical theme going), but there's enough variety and shifts here that it never really drags or bogs down under its infinite weight. In fact, the layers just keep revealing themselves. Stick with this one; it's that brilliant.
Last but certainly not least, we head over to Greece for the second album from the doom trio Seer of the Void, entitled Mantra Monolith. This more of your meat and potatoes Doom Metal right here, which isn't a bad thing. You could probably generate an AI review for this one - fuzzed out Sabbathian tones, pounding drums, hamfisted riffs, etc. Again, none of that is bad. This is a really good record, almost like a more streamlined Electric Wizard. If you're into Doom, you're going to enjoy this one, simple as that.
That's it for this week. There wasn't any huge news to cover and I don't think I needed to catch up on any releases I may have missed. We'll see you back here in February and let's hope that goddamn groundhog gives us some warm news next week.