Selectbutton, I think we can do it. I think we are adult enough to have a metal thread. Don’t prove me wrong, plz.
(Name taken from Tomb Mold’s latest release, the Bloodborne themed Manor of Infinite Forms. Things I like about Tomb Mold: Their name, their From Software theme, that their drummer does the vocals. Things I don’t like: listening to them lol)
It’s about time we have a metal thread, Selectbutton. I don’t know what’s changed but this year feels more exciting for metal than any in a long time and I’ve been super into it.
Here’s a quick rundown of things that are up and things that are down in the metal world
UP: Death Metal
Death metal is in some kind of huge renaissance right now and honestly I don’t even like it enough to fully appreciate what’s all going on. If you do like death metal, though, fear not because there’s a lot of bands putting out albums in every subgenre.
UP: Blackened Thrash
Blackened thrash is generally just aggressive thrash metal with black metal vocals and it’s huge right now because it’s fun and people want fun in 2018. It also tends to have trashy, sexual cover art so head’s up on that.
Up: Black Metal
I think every year is just gonna be a good year for black metal due to the volume of releases, but this year managed to have good releases from older bands for once.
Down: Power Metal
Power metal remains my favorite genre and gosh it’s been sparse the past few years. My theory is everyone internalized the ‘lol Dragonforce sucks’ meme from the late 00’s and now younger bands are terrified of sounding fun or interesting at all. Still waiting for all the Sabaton kids to be inspired to start their own bands and drown us all in cheesy keyboard-backed vocals.
Down: Actual Thrash
Annoyingly since Marina got me way more into thrash than I’ve ever been since we’ve been together. There’s still releases every week, mostly from South America, but it’s pretty slim out there. I don’t know why it’s so rough when blackened thrash metal is so big but that’s how it is.
I think we went through the cycle of Bands inspired by their love of actual folk -> Bands inspired by folk metal -> Band inspired by bands inspired by bands inspired by actual folk and we’re just starting to turn over but it’s been pretty rough out there. Lots of bands playing boring heavy metal with like one flute or whatever. I’m expecting it to take off once India’s metal scene really gets going in the next few years, though.
Tengger Calvary got back together, so that’s good news. And new Chthonic coming up!
Here’s a semi-chronological (in the order I discovered them, which isn’t 1-to-1 with the order of their release, and even then I forgot some stuff and added it to the end) spread of stuff I liked this year (fair warning, this is me so there’s a lot of folky stuff on the list):
Finnish old-school death metal. ‘Claire, this just sounds like a slightly less downtuned Bolt Thrower!’ Haha, u kno it
Belgian black metal. Featuring the rare harsh vocals from a female vocalist.
Swedish thrash metal that occasionally dips into almost death 'n roll.
German death metal debut probably best described as ‘HM-2core’ It’s not life changing but I really like the HM-2 sound ok
Austrian folk metal. Now, I know what you’re thinking on this one, ‘Claire, this just sounds like a less-Amon Amarth-worshiping Heathen Foray with a hurdy-gurdy and also a little better, possibly because they’re trying a little less to be Amon Amarth than Heathen Foray.’ Well, I have very good news for you. This album is their last with the vocalist of Heathen Foray who quit the band to focus on making Heathen Foray sound more like Amon Amarth and they replaced him with a clean female vocalist who is super cool. So, in addition to this being one of my favorite folk metal release, moving forward, I think we can expect them to sound better.
Power metal from LA. Let’s be honest with ourselves, 10 years ago this would be a middling power metal release but here we are in 2018 and any band who wants to be Valley of the Damned-era DragonForce this bad is about to make my list.
Blackglaze split EP from two bands in Nottingham. The rare split where I actually like both bands.
German folk metal. They can’t decide if they want to be Moonsorrow or Finntroll and ended up being all over the place. In a genre that’s pretty stagnant most of the time, I support anyone who ends up being weird.
Italian folk metal. I rarely buy physical media but I fucking love this album so I now have more shit to haul around until I die. This is a bunch of punky folk metal based on various folk traditions and with explicitly communist themes. I also appreciate any band that reminds me that Italy isn’t a mono-culture (they’re unabashed proud of being from Northern Italy.)
Norwegian folk meloblack. This is the long awaited second album by the keyboardist from Windir. It sounds EXACTLY like you expect.
Czech atmospheric black metal. There’s a ton of atmospheric BM releases this year but this one stands out.
English Blackened Thrash. Metallum has them as ‘Progressive Black/Death Metal’ which whatever. I mean, sure, fair enough, they have mixed black and death style vocals and progressive-y sections but come on, this is blackened thrash metal that leans much more on the black side of things. Also, it’s fucking awesome. I was giving all of these a listen as I when through my folder and I had to stop writing while I finished this album.
Meloblack from The Netherlands. Who misses Windir? Shylmagoghnar missing Windir SO BAD!
I miss Widir T.T
We could argue about Zeal & Ardor’s genre all day, but what’s important is that it’s a mix of blues and spirituals and extreme metal and it’s easily the most exciting thing in metal right now. Album of the year, I can almost guarantee it. Anyone who’s been in my car this year can tell you how much I like this band.
Metalpunk thrash from Boston. This is their first demo and it is great, someone to keep an eye on. Thanks Remote!
Sludgewave? from Missouri. I mentioned this album in another thread. The synthwave/metal crossover is going to be huge and this album kills it by having really great Carpenter worshiping synths. I don’t like a lot of sludge but it’s hard to argue it’s not one of the better fits for it.
Melodeath from Philadelphia. They’re trying very hard to be The Black Dahlia Murder and it’s not like, offensive or anything, but I actually only bring it up so I have an excuse to post the picture of the band they use on the metal archives which is clearly from high school or something and it is adorable.
Death metal from San Francisco. This is another album I heard about from Remote and it’s very good.
Sludgy thrash from Missouri. No comment on the cover art but this is just a really fun album. If, uh, maybe a bit excessive at times.
Blackened thrash metal from Ohio. I’ve always disliked Skeletonwitch but they’ve been popular enough that I’ve been forced to sit through a bunch of their shows to see stuff I like. Imagine my annoyance when they changed singers, guaranteeing I’d have to hear about them a whole bunch, and then went and put out a really good album. I’m not even mad tho, it really is a solid thrashy atmospheric black metal album.
Black metal from Norway, but you already knew that. Immortal is another band that switched vocalists and then put out a really good album, but the difference is that I always liked Immortal and even saw their old vocalist, Abbath on his solo tour, so I was blindsided when this turned out to very good (and much better than Abbath’s solo work, sorry Abbath.)