The masterful progressive work of Caligula's Horse, the reinvigorated spirit of Winter through Goden and Old Man Gloom's return alongside a healthy dose of black metal, hardcore-infused outbreaks, and noise rock highlight the month of May in heavy metal.
In times of quarantine we listen and we write, so here are 20 extreme (and some experimental) records to spin during these times.
February in heavy music features long-awaited returns from Psychotic Waltz, Envy, and Today Is the Day, along with a healthy dose of black metal and experimental music.
Electronic music is a huge tent with so many diverse approaches, and it's more international than ever with producers around the globe pushing music forward. The year's best albums featured returns from established talents, as well as ground-breaking newcomers, and a host of women changing the old boy's club of electronic music.
In an age when the personal is political feels as necessary as ever, we identify most with experimenters who transcend the throwing-shit-at-a-wall, banging-on-pots-and-cans approach. These artists occupy the earthly just as much as they occupy the mechanical and the celestial.
October is dominated by heavyweight returns from noise rock pioneers Swans and Lightning Bolt, while also filled with the black metal bleakness of Blut Aus Nord and the Great Old Ones, while Vastum continue 20 Buck Spin's death metal master class streak.
September is filled with exciting heavy releases, most notably the return of post-metal icons Cult of Luna, the sophomore record of post-black metal mavericks White Ward, and the resurrection of experimental proto-black metallers Mortem.
For what is generally considered to be quiet month, the unearthly forces of the underground have produced a surprising amount of excellent works, with death metal and its black/death extension taking the lion's share.
Unconventional rock albums, from poppy sludge outfit Torche, noise rock masters Uzeda and post-hardcore outcasts Cherubs, along with the black metal fury of Falls of Rauros, False, Arkhaik, Celestial Grave and Sanguine Eagle and uncategorized extremists Immortal Bird are among this month's extreme output.
Saint Abdullah Weave Sublime Electronic Music That Transcends the East and West on 'Mechanical Flirtations'
Throughout Mechanical Flirtations, Iranian duo Saint Abdullah deal in weaponized compassion and empathy, tuning their boundless music to start fires. Theirs is a sound of protest and resistance, of warmth and reconciliation.
Slough Feg carry on their heavy metal journey while Darkthrone keep digging towards their proto-punk/heavy metal core. Baroness return with their most ambitious work to date, while Pinkish Black continue to explore the endless possibilities of synth driven extreme music.
On their debut Naomi, Portuguese duo HRNS channel memories and feelings into impressionistic ambient drones.
Masters of drone Earth return with their more minimal record to date, Full of Hell continue their rampage through power electronics and No Negative carry on bouncing around garage, punk and post-punk. Newer acts Vale, Suspiral, Onkos, and Verwoed take the next step and sound like veterans of the scene.
Sunn O)) return with a magnificent beast, Vaura fully embrace their experimental new wave tendencies, and Dead to a Dying World solidify their position in the extreme metal pantheon, among more exciting new works. And a few announcements regarding the column.
From Drastus' monumental second LP to Mystifier's righteous comeback, to Venom Prison's evolution towards death metal infamy, and enthralling debut full-lengths from Devil Master, VLTIMAS, Heaume Mortal, and more, March's MetalMatters highlights a bounty of subversive brilliance.
Welcome to PopMatters' monthly metal feature, MetalMatters. Each month we listen to a number of exciting releases across metal's many subgenre's to distill the swarm down to what we deem worthy of your precious time.
Welcome to PopMatters' new monthly metal feature, MetalMatters. Each month we'll take a look at a number of exciting releases across metal's many sub-genres to distill the swarm down to what we deem worthy of your precious time.
Japanese black metal stalwarts Sigh explore madness through folklore and experiment with new sounds on Heir to Despair.
Norwegian art rock band Manes contemplate death and human existence on their electronica and trip-hop infused full-length Slow Motion Death Sequence.
Brooklyn-based black metal band Mutilation Rites hone their style and with Chasm deliver their best album so far.