Staff picks


Lychgate - Lychgate
10.05.2013 | Esoteric Black Metal

Ever wondered what Esoteric might sound like if they played black metal? Well wonder no more. Featuring Esoteric's Greg Chandler, as well as members from UK black metal masterclasses Archaicus and Omega Centauri, this has literally become the crème de la crème of England's extreme metal talent. The result is quite incredible and I predict this will top most people's black metal lists this year.

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!J.O.O.E.!
Nefarious, Abattoir, Daniell, psykometal, Mr. Doctor, Introspekrieg, Susan
Octopus - Into The Void Of Fear
22.04.2013 | Instrumental Tech-Jazz-Prog Metal

Octotastic metal.

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!J.O.O.E.!
psykometal, Introspekrieg, Mr. Doctor, Darkside Momo
The Meads Of Asphodel - Sonderkommando
14.04.2013 | Your guess is as good as mine-metal.

Quite clearly a band with no interest in pandering to the the naysayers who never wrapped their noggins around them, Sonderkommando brings The Meads Of Asphodel back to their most abstruse. Gone is most of the whimsy and the euphoric melodies of The Murder of Jesus the Jew, here we see them at their darkest, murkiest and most nuanced. Many accuse them of "stirring the shit" with regard to their lyrical content and imagery, but that's something you should most certainly read about yourself before throwing any stones.



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!J.O.O.E.!
Introspekrieg, Mr. Doctor, R'Vannith, Apothecary
Way To End - Various Shades Of Black
04.04.2013 | French Black Metal

Yes, "French Black Metal" might as well become its own subgenre because, damn, it's usually that good, and this is no exception. Way To End's 50 Shades of... I mean Various Shades of Black is a complex and proggy album and one of an initially perplexing nature but it certainly yields great rewards for the persistent. To clarify, this isn't super-ultra-mega dissonant, rather it's the snaking and morphing progressive structures and avant-garde affectations that make this a bit of a challenge to start with. It's worth sticking with though as those trying moments frequently give way to a rich, mystical tapestry of sights and sounds, often melodic and atmospheric, always intriguing and surprising.



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!J.O.O.E.!
psykometal, BitterCOld, Fat & Sassy!, Mr. Doctor
Antediluvian - λόγος
28.03.2013 | Blackened Death
Bandcamp music player

This is where you get sent when you've been too evil for Hell.


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!J.O.O.E.!
Mr. Doctor, Marcel Hubregtse, Apothecary
Dream Death - Somnium Excessum
21.03.2013 | Doomy, heavy, punky and a little thrashy.

So, what's a mere 26 years between your esteemed, one-and-only album and your come-back-cum-sophomore follow up to it? Not a thing according to Dream Death. Celtic Frost riffing-aplenty, doom and sludge-smudged punk and heavy driven thrashing, not to mention the gravel choked vocals of Brian Lawrence still feeling like having your face scraped against the road after hurtling off a bike at 80mph. This is how to make a return to music in every possible way.

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!J.O.O.E.!
Marcel Hubregtse, Mr. Doctor, Nefarious, wormdrink414
Tribulation - The Formulas Of Death
09.03.2013 | Progressive Death / Black

Anyone familiar with Tribulation's excellent The Horror record may as well delete their brain-cache as the new album is almost nothing like it. Whilst The Horror was a crusty, energy driven death metal number with a few black metal bells and whistles, The Formulas of Death has mutated into a highly dynamic and diverse mix of black and death metal that's quite progressive in nature, made even more eclectic by lengthy psychedelic soloing and clean passages and some surprising melodic harmonies. In fact the entire affair is so clever and intoxicating that the 75 minute duration will positively fly by and still leave you craving more. If you have any interest in black or death metal, or any kind of quality music, then you need this in your life as it's simply a brilliant piece of metal engineering. AOTY material.

Picked by:
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!J.O.O.E.!
Mr. Doctor, Nefarious, wormdrink414, Marcel Hubregtse, R'Vannith, Darkside Momo, Apothecary
Portal - Vexovoid
02.03.2013 | Beyond-Death Metal

Portal's brand of ultra-impenetrable death metal have afforded them a rare and paradoxical level of popularity for a band as extreme and unpalatable as they are. If you haven't heard them yet or found previous releases to be too much to handle then now's your chance to get to grips with them. Vexovoid eases up (very) slightly on the wall-of-noise approach and allows a rare glimpse into the structural mechanisms at the heart of Portal. Listen now before they submerge themselves back into the murk once again.

Picked by:
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!J.O.O.E.!
Mr. Doctor, wormdrink414, BitterCOld, psykometal, jupitreas, Marcel Hubregtse, Ag Fox, BloodTears, Darkside Momo
Moth - Endlessly In Motion
11.02.2013 | Progressive Death Metal
Bandcamp music player

Denver-based death metallers have started their career on a strong note with the impressive debut Endlessly in Motion. An adept mix of forward thinking, technical and constantly interesting death metal with a few feathers plucked from melodic death's sense of melody and harmony. Vocally this sounds somewhat like the bastard child of Björn "Speed" Strid and Devin Townsend, not to to mention the band aren't afraid to explore and exploit ambient atmospherics in a subtle yet effective manner. Something for pretty much everyone I would think.

Picked by:
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!J.O.O.E.!
Nefarious, BloodTears, R'Vannith, psykometal, D.T. Metal, Susan, Mr. Doctor, Darkside Momo
Wormlust - The Feral Wisdom
28.01.2013 | Avant-Garde Black Metal / Dark Ambient
Bandcamp music player

The debut of Iceland's one-man black metal outfit isn't released on record until the Spring, but it can be streamed already via his bandcamp page. An amalgam of sprawling, cavernous avant-garde black metal and gloomy, spooky dark ambient, this is the first stellar release of the genre in 2013 and any fans of Mories' work (particularly De Magia Veterum and Cloak Of Altering) will surely find themselves at home with Wormlust.



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!J.O.O.E.!
Mr. Doctor, Ag Fox
CSSABA - Underground Lo-Fi Songs
05.01.2013 | Experimental / Industrial / Post-Black Metal

If Godflesh made a post-black metal band, well, I imagine it would sound just like this. Highly unique and brilliantly sounding approach to what is blackened and rhythmically crushing metal with deliciously thick and atmospheric industrial and ambient texturing.

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!J.O.O.E.!
Mr. Doctor, psykometal, Introspekrieg, Ag Fox, Promonex
Igorrr - Hallelujah
24.12.2012 | Umm...

It really doesn't matter what you've listened to in 2012, nothing comes within a light year of how schizophrenic, eclectic, bizarre, unique and brilliant this record is. Experimental breakcore and blasting cybergrind punctuated by modern classical piano and violin, arias, Latin guitar, chickens, fluttering bird wings, vacuum cleaners (no joke) and who knows what else.

Seriously. Unless you've heard this then you've heard nothing like this.

And it's French. Shut up and give him your money.



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!J.O.O.E.!
Mr. Doctor, Darkside Momo, Introspekrieg, psykometal, Fat & Sassy!, Ag Fox, wormdrink414
Ævangelist - De Masticatione Mortuorum In Tumulis
11.12.2012 | Haunted Blackened Death Metal

Haunted seems to be an appropriate way to describe this. Utterly dense, unnerving and swirling death metal the likes of which you probably have never heard. (Kudos to Alex Lemon for this great find).

Picked by:
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!J.O.O.E.!
Mr. Doctor, Marcel Hubregtse, Introspekrieg, Daniell, BudDa, R'Vannith, wormdrink414, Darkside Momo
Aluk Todolo - Occult Rock
22.11.2012 | Psychedelic Noise Rock/Krautrock/Drone

Not strictly metal anymore. if they ever really were; their krautish, noisy interpretation of black metal seems to have been put on hold for the time being (aside from the first track; a black metal number), but this is arguably album of the year nonetheless. If you have any love of Skullflower's early droning, noise rock days and krautrock's trippy psychedelia then this should be right up your gasse.

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!J.O.O.E.!
Ag Fox, Mr. Doctor, Introspekrieg, Marcel Hubregtse, Troy Killjoy
Flourishing - Intersubjectivity
15.11.2012 | Mind-Melting Grimy Death Metal With A Post-Hardcore Lick

Flourishing return to us once again with yet another exceptional and unique take on the death metal sound. Unapologetically caustic and acidic, Intersubjectivity is a meat grinder of angular riffs, scorched earthen rasps, dirty bass and muddy, incomprehensible drums all buried and distorted by a crusty, dense production. A twisted yet frighteningly calculated gem of the most dissonant nature.

Picked by:
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!J.O.O.E.!
Mr. Doctor, Darkside Momo, Ag Fox