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Here's my new review:

I first chanced upon Hexer's debut, Cosmic Doom Ritual, during a random browse through Bandcamp's new metal releases not long after it's release in spring of 2017. I was instantly smitten with the band and their almost ritualistic-sounding sludge-filled doom metal and they have been a firm favourite of mine ever since. Unbelievably, to me at least, all three of their albums to date have less than 60 ratings on RYM, which is criminal for a band this good.

Cosmic Doom Ritual is perhaps a little rougher around the edges than it's successors, but I believe that emphasises the dirty sludginess of their sound more than a crisper and cleaner sound would. The album consists of three tracks each of 11 or 12 minutes duration, long enough for them to develop each track's ideas but not so long as to become self-indulgent and bloated. Each features an atmospheric sludge / post-metal building of tension and atmosphere through their runtime, arriving at a cathartic crescendo as it resolves itself, but each of the tracks has a very different character and all three have their own diverse atmosphere. They are also marvellously evocative and I always find myself conjuring amazing mental pictures to accompany the soundtrack that the album provides. Opener Merkaba, for example, begins serenely enough but soon builds into a dark and ominous sound, that brings to mind the gathering of huge, black thunderhead clouds suddenly erupting in a storm of blackened fury.  My favourite track of the three is the middle one, Pearl Snake, which combines the band's sludgey doom with mystical eastern sounds, evoking the ritual chanting of some long-forgotten Indian death cult. I am always a bit of a sucker for eastern folk sounds being used on metal records and Hexer do make excellent use of the eastern theme here. Album closer, Black Lava Flow, is a throbbing, pulsing slab of sludginess with some black metal hints that really brings to mind the flowing of dark magma from deep in the bowels of some hellish underground volcano. It culminates in a great psychedelic section, complete with analogue keyboards, that feels organic and natural and not at all like it's forced into the song in an attempt to do something unexpected, but seems entirely the way the track should complete it's journey.

I think on this debut Hexer come across as aiming for a sound similar to Ufomammut but with less of a stoner influence and more sludgey, with even a hint of a black metal flavour. Oh, and did I mention that it is heavy as fuck?! Personally I love the thick, crawling riffs and the pounding rhythms that combine to produce an atmosphere dripping with naturalistic and mystical significance and if there is any justice in the world then these guys will become held in much greater esteem in future.



1. Obelyskkh - "Aquaveil" (from "The Ultimate Grace of God", 2023)

2. Condenados - "Tierra de cementerio" (from "El camino de la serpiente", 2023)

3. Ningen Isu - "りんごの泪" (from "人間失格 (Ningen shikkaku)", 1990) [submitted by Morpheus]

4. Gore - "USA Is Calling" (from "Hart Gore", 1986)

5. Lake of Tears - "Come Night I Reign" (from "Forever Autumn", 1999) [submitted by Daniel]

6. Konvent - "Sand Is King" (from "Call Down the Sun", 2022) [submitted by Vinny]

7. Evoken - "The Mournful Refusal" (from "Antithesis of Light", 2005) [submitted by Ben]

8. Theatre of Tragedy - "Aoede" (from "Aegis", 1998) [submitted by Daniel]

9. The River - "Broken Window" (from "Drawing Down the Sun", 2006) [submitted by Sonny]

10. Tiamat - "Alteration x 10" (from "A Deeper Kind Of Slumber", 1997) [submitted by Daniel]

11. Encoffination - "The Keys of Hell and Death" (from "We Proclaim Your Death O' Lord", 2019)

12. Coffinworm - "Of Eating Disorders & Restraining Orders" (from "IV.I.XIII", 2014) [submitted by Daniel]

13. Hell - "Victus" (from "Hell", 2017) [submitted by Vinny]

14. Dolorian - "Raja Naga – Rising" (from, Voidwards, 2006) [submitted by Ben]

15. Leechfeast - "Bells of Fire" (from, "Leechfeast / Nightfucker Split EP", 2023) [submitted by Sonny]


Atheist - Unquestionable Presence (1991)

As I have iterated before on many occasions, I am not a fan of technical death metal (or tech-thrash either for that matter) but my experiences with Atheist have been nothing but incredibly positive. The reason for this, I think, is that these guys don't make the technicalities of their music the be all and end all, but rather they make the jazz elements and their technical expertise work to enhance the high quality death metal that they produce. I mean, these guys produce absolute killer riffs, some of which still contain a deal of thrashiness, such as the main riff on the title track, or on The Formative Years, and that is what I want to hear when I listen to a death metal album - riffs, riffs and more riffs... oh and a certain degree of brutality, another aspect of their sound that is well and truly taken care of. So with that aspect of their songwriting sorted they then give themselves license to enhance and elaborate upon their ideas with jazz-influenced sections, multifarious time changes and displays of technical skill a great deal of their contemporaries could only marvel at, I suspect.

The drumming and basswork are superb and sound fantastic, Tony Choy's bass playing in particular is impressive as he weaves his basslines in and out of the sound, at times in step with drummer Steve Flynn like conjoined twins, such as during the technical sections of An Incarnation's Dream where the two combine to weave musical magic. Kelly Shaefer has a pretty mean death growl, not so deep and rumbling as some, but with a nice vicious snarl to it. Shaefer and Rand Burkey also turn in some mean solos that howl and squeal nicely but, man, I just can't get over them riffs.

At a mere 33 minutes this may appear to be quite a slight album, but Atheist just pack so much into it that it is more than enough to sate the appetite. In fact I would argue that knowing when to stop is also a lost art amongst too many modern metal acts who insist on issuing bloated hour-plus efforts that can oftimes test the patience and I, for one, would much rather have half an hour of this level of quality. So, first and foremost, Unquestionable Presence is a top-drawer death metal album with enough brutal-sounding riffs to stop a charging rhino, but Atheist held ambition enough not to be satisfied with "just" that, they further employed their technical prowess and songwriting skill to push the boundaries of what death metal could be and can justifiably be considered one of the seminal bands (along with Chuck Schuldiner's Death) of the technical death movement. I'm just not sure if the later acolytes of Atheist always concentrated on writing brilliant death metal songs first and foremost like the massively impressive Floridians did, so for me, this is one of the absolute premier tech-death albums and, despite my reticence regarding tech-death generally, I could listen to this all day long.



Teitanblood - "The Baneful Choir" (2019)

What a fucking ripper of a third album from one of the best couple of bands in the war metal space in Spain's Teitanblood. In fact, I rate "The Baneful Choir" more highly than the band's highly regarded sophomore effort "Death" to be honest. They tend to lean further towards the death metal side of the black/death equation a lot of the time with a super-dark production job & some outstanding dark ambient pieces combining for a devastating atmosphere. Imagine the savage war metal of Blasphemy & Archgoat crossed with the blackened death metal of Antediluvian & you'll come close to describing this cacophony, only these guys do it better than all of them in my opinion. There's even a brilliant doom/death track included early in the blemish-free tracklisting. Loving it!


Here's my revised Top Ten War Metal Releases of All Time list:

01. Infernal Coil - "Within a World Forgotten" (2018)

02. Teitanblood - "The Baneful Choir" (2019)

03. Teitanblood - "Death" (2014)

04. Damaar - "Triumph Through Spears of Sacrilege" (2007)

05. Archgoat - "Whore of Bethlehem" (2006)

06. Bestial Warlust - "Blood & Valour" (1995)

07. Conqueror - "War Cult Supremacy" (1999)

08. Blasphemy - "Blood Upon The Altar" demo (1989)

09. Blasphemy - "Gods of War" (1993)

10. Blasphemy - "Fallen Angel of Doom...." (1990)


The highlights for me this month have been Smoulder, Chelsea Wolfe and Fistula.  I keep meaning to explore more of Monolord's discography beyond No Comfort and Vænir looks he likely candidate if I am honest.  Went all skip button on STAKE, Hanging Garden, The Wounded King and Goya (I mean not bad stuff but a tad too similar to Electric Wizard really).  Passed a wet bank holiday Monday nicely though Sonny, keep up the good work.

Quoted UnhinderedbyTalent

Thanks Vinny. For me, Vaenir is Monolord's best and I would heartily recommend it if you like any of their other stuff.


Will be taking time to check out FVNERALS, Head of the Demon and Shape of Despair from this list.  Not a fan of Dark Buddha Rising or Om upon first listen but may revisit later.


Ah, I thought it was listed under the Guardians. I'm getting a bit confused over the whole site non-metal inclusion policy to be honest.


Here's my updated list:

Beginning oldies (1984-1989)/B.M. (Before Metalcore):

1984: Voivod - War and Pain

1985: Watchtower - Energetic Disassembly

1986: Dark Angel - Darkness Descends

1987: Voivod - Killing Technology

1988: Sadus - Illusions

1989: Godflesh - Streetcleaner

Old golden classics and millennium transition highlights (1990-2001)/Metalcore's humble beginnings and light of day-seeing classics:

1990: Rorschach - Remain Sedate

1991: Old - Lo Flux Tube

1992: Sadus - A Vision of Misery

1993: Old - The Musical Dimensions of Sleastak

1994: Amorphis - Tales from the Thousand Lakes

1995: Fear Factory - Demanufacture

1996: Amorphis - Elegy

1997: Will Haven - El Diablo

1998: Embodyment - Embrace the Eternal

1999: The Kovenant - Animatronik

2000: Living Sacrifice - The Hammering Process

2001: Candiria - 300 Percent Density

Modern favorites (2002-2013)/Rise of the full Revolution:

2002: The Red Chord - Fused Together in Revolving Doors

2003: All Shall Perish - Hate. Malice. Revenge

2004: Mnemic - The Audio Injected Soul

2005: Trivium - Ascendancy

2006: Insomnium - Above the Weeping World

2007: Despised Icon - The Ills of Modern Man

2008: Dead to Fall - Are You Serious?

2009: Vektor - Black Future

2010: Crystal Lake - Into the Great Beyond

2011: Trivium - In Waves

2012: Twelve Foot Ninja - Silent Machine

2013: Living Sacrifice - Ghost Thief

The best of the most recent (2014-present)/A greater new uprising:

2014: Beartooth - Disgusting

2015: Amorphis - Under the Red Cloud

2016: Insomnium - Winter's Gate

2017: Gothminister - The Other Side

2018: The Browning - Geist

2019: Northlane - Alien

2020: Code Orange - Underneath

2021: Trivium - In the Court of the Dragon

2022: Lorna Shore - Pain Remains

2023 so far: Insomnium - Anno 1696

2023 albums I'm looking forward to getting:

For the Fallen Dreams - For the Fallen Dreams (self-recommendation)

Chelsea Grin - Suffer in Heaven

Kamelot - The Awakening (revisiting one of the only power metal bands I still want to keep)

August Burns Red - Death Below

Ne Obliviscaris - Exul

Attack Attack! - Dark Waves EP

Enter Shikari - A Kiss for the Whole World

Crown the Empire - Dogma (self-recommendation)

Deathstars - Everything Destroys You

Unearth - The Wretched; The Ruinous

The Acacia Strain - Step into the Light/Failure Will Follow (self-recommendation)

The Amity Affliction - Not Without My Ghosts (self-recommendation)

Veil of Maya - Mother

The Ocean - Holocene

Omnium Gatherum - Slasher EP (self-recommendation)

Godflesh - Purge

Saturnus - The Storm Within (revisiting a Fallen band to try to revive my interest)

Pyramaze - Bloodlines (self-recommendation)


I find this breakout of my ratings to be quite interesting too:

5 star             1.9%

4.5 star         11.3%

4 star             26.8%

3.5 star          30.6%

3 star             18.2%

2.5 star           7.7%

2 star              3.3%

1.5 star           1.5%

1 star               0.5%

0.5 star            0.2%

I'm comfortable with that spread to be honest. It shows that I save the 5/5 ratings for the elite of the elite & it also shows that I don't consciously go looking for music that's clearly not gonna fall anywhere near my wheelhouse all that often either.

Quoted Daniel

Although I have only 93 releases that I have at 5 stars that still seems too high for me and so I am slowly revisiting these - I suppose 93 albums over 35 years of listening to metal isn't that high but I think there are one or two that probably got overrated.

Quoted Vinny

I'm with you there Vinny, I have 120+ five star albums and that seems a lot, although when I have revisited them I find it very hard to downgrade them because, yes they do sound that good.


I completely agree with your assessment here Sonny. "The Cage" is simply a hard rock record as far as I can see & not a very good one either it has to be said. It should never have been drawn in under the NWOBHM banner in the first place in my opinion.

This nomination has been posted in the Hall of Judgement.

Quoted Daniel

No it isn't a very good record at all. I really dislike AOR and this has all the hallmarks of that excremental genre. In fact, thinking about it again has pissed me off so much I have had to go back and dock it another half a point!


I completely agree with your assessment here Sonny. "Firepower" is a combination of progressive rock & hard rock as far as I can see & it should never have been drawn in under the NWOBHM banner in the first place. I do quite like it though.

This nomination has been posted in the Hall of Judgement.


I've always loved "Violent Restitution" so there's not much point in me returning to it at this stage as we're already well acquainted. I quite like all of Razor's earlier full-lengths (I found the speed/heavy metal of their 1984 "Armed and Dangerous" E.P. to be a bit flat) but this was the album that continually drew me back for more. It may well have benefited from being my entry point to the band back in my late teenage years but I tend to think it's the impressive consistency & gnarly energy that really connects with me at a primal level. I'd suggest that this is still Razor's best work.



This month's playlist was another success to my ears and I have a couple of new bands to check out form the list, namely Crawl and Black Oath.  I had already been listening to The Otolith (given they are basically part remnants of Subrosa who I have also been listening to).  That Ufomammut track reminded me that I already have that album in my digital library and it got quite a bashing when I was working away on the Isle of Wight one year.  I also really enjoyed that Tribulation track which is odd because I have not really gelled with much of their stuff to date.


It sounds a little confusing so I'm not sure I completely understand but are open to contributing if I know the releases in question. My available time to fill in gaps is fairly limited with a new baby coming in five days time though so I'd agree with picking the biggest bands to begin with. If there were lesser known bands selected where I had to investigate several releases in a short period then I'd be unlikely to do that to be honest. Shall we just see how we go?


I don't have time for full reviews at the moment as work & family life are too hectic at the moment with my wife due to give birth to my third daughter in a week but needless to say that I really enjoyed this feature. Conqueror have managed to produce a very consistent release here although the better tracks tend to be the tighter ones. I would have preferred there were more of the super-intense chromatic guitar solos that the war metal subgenre is known to champion (think Bestial Warlust) but that's not a major criticism because the vocals are gnarly & the blast-beats are relentless. Sure, it's really hard to make out the riffs in this wall of white noise so this isn't a record for the faint hearted but your more seasoned underground extreme metal fans should take solace in the sheer rawness & ferocity on offer which is pure savagery. War metal is very much my bag though so I think I was always gonna enjoy this one.



I went through my first The Fallen playlist this month.  My takeaway picks were The Hounds of Hasselvander, Fvneral Fvck, Mansion, Ahab and The Howling Void.  I didn't mind Admiral Angry either but I have never understood the hype around Orange Goblin and this tack didn't change my mind either.  Some cool takeaways to explore in more detail though.  Thanks Sonny.

Quoted Vinny

It's great that you enjoyed Mansion, Ahab and Howling Void Vinny as they are 2023 releases and it feels like The Fallen may be in for a good year new music-wise. Fvneral Fvck were a new one on me too that I discovered while compiling the list and really dug a lot.


It looks like you've forgotten to put your rating on the release page Sonny.


With the award winners about to be announced, I thought I'd throw in my two cents & say that the Dvvell record gets my vote for The Fallen release of the year. Well done to Sonny for nominating it for feature release status, otherwise it probably would have slipped past me as I haven't seen it getting much publicity.


Ah, that will explain it. I will update using my tablet in future as that has the app on it.


I also agree. This album is really just doomy industrial metal, with slight bits of electronica and shoegaze. If this was drone metal, it would be even slower.


1. Monolithe - "Sputnik-1" from " Kosmodrom" (2022) [submitted by Sonny]

2. Candlemass - "When Death Sighs" from "Sweet Evil Sun" (2022)

3. My Dying Bride - "Symphonaire Infernus et Spera Empyrium" from "Trinity" (1995) [submitted by Daniel]

4. Saint Vitus - "Clear Windowpane" from "Born Too Late" (1986) [submitted by Sonny]

5. Spiritual Beggars - "Angel of Betrayal" from "Ad Astra" (2000)

6. Conjurer - "Basilisk" from "Páthos" (2022)

7. Mortiferum - "Incubus of Bloodstained Visions" from "Preserved in Torment" (2021) [submitted by Ben]

8. Sentenced - "Cross My Heart and Hope to Die" from "The Cold White Light" (2002)

9. Orodruin - "Ruins of Eternity" from "Ruins of Eternity" (2019)

10. Rapture - "This Is Where I Am" from "Futile" (1999) [submitted by Ben]

11. Pantheist - "Lust" from "Amartia" (2005)

12. Horn of the Rhino - "Reins of the Warlord" from "Dead Throne Monarch" (2008) [submitted by Sonny]

13. Doomshine - " Sanctuary Demon (Chapter of Prognosis)" from "The Piper at the Gates of Doom" (2010)

14. Cavurn - "II" from "Reheasal" E.P. (2017) [submitted by Daniel]

15. Greenmachine - "Golgotha" from "Mountains of Madness" (2019)

16. The Ocean - "Benthic: The Origin Of Our Wishes" from "Pelagial" (2013) [submitted by Daniel]

17. The Otolith - "Hubris" from "Folium Limina" (2022) [submitted by Sonny]

18. Procession - "To Reap Heavens Apart" from "To Reap Heavens Apart" (2013) [submitted by Ben]


Kryptograf's debut is tagged as doom metal, but apart from one track and a bit of a riff on another, I don't think there is enough to justify a metal tag as a primary. The album is overwhelmingly heavy psych and hard rock. I propose that the album is moved from The Fallen to Non-Metal and the doom metal tag removed.


1. The Obsessed - "Brother Blue Steel" from "Lunar Womb" (1991)
2. Darkthrone - "The Sea Beneath the Seas of the Sea" from "Astral Fortress" (2022) [submitted by Sonny]
3. MWWB - "Valmasque" from "Y proffwyd dwyll" (2016) [submitted by Ben]
4. Conan - "Levitation Hoax" from "Evidence of Immortality" (2022) [submitted by Sonny]
5. Spiritus Mortis - "Death's Charioteer" from "The Great Seal" (2022)
6. The Body - "Even the Saints Knew Their Hour of Failure and Loss" from "All the Waters of the Earth Turn to Blood" (2010)
7. Tiamat - "Carry Your Cross and I'll Carry Mine" from "Prey" (2003)
8. Daylight Dies - "Dismantling Devotion" from "Dismantling Devotion" (2006) [submitted by Ben]
9. Toadliquor - "(Opening Sections Of) Inter-Stellar Space" from "Feel My Hate - The Power Is the Weight - R.I.P. Cain" (1993) [submitted by Sonny]
10. My Dying Bride - "A Sea to Suffer In" from "The Angel and the Dark River" (1995)
11. Elder - "Gemini" from "Dead Roots Stirring" (2011) [submitted by Daniel]
12. Assumption - "Triptych" from "Hadean Tides" (2022) [submitted by Sonny]
13. Candlemass - "Solitude" from "Epicus Doomicus Metallicus" (1986) [submitted by Ben]
14. Khazad-dûm - "The Forsaken Palace" from "Hymns from the Deep" (2020)
מזמור. 15 [Mizmor] - "The Narrowing Way" from "Cairn" (2019)


Well shit; it turns out that I have been remarkably tardy when it comes to the Fallen clan in recent months. In fact, my last review of a featured release from this clan was Type O Negative's World Coming Down back in July. And I feel a little regret in this because I have most likely been missing out on some crushing, Sonny nominated Doom metal such as this!

One of my biggest criticisms of the limited funeral doom that I've reviewed here is its clunkiness. What we have here on the debut album from Dvvell has the production quality of a death doom project from My Dying Bride or Swallow the Sun. There is a pristine level of polish to the instrumentals and the performances throughout the record. Even the malformed vocal timbre is precise.

What makes Dvvell stand out from those death doom albums is the suffocating atmosphere, which is heavily influenced by M.S.W. or to a lesser extent, Ahab. These four tracks have some titanic low ends, which allows for the post-metal adjacent guitar leads and vocals to pierce through the wallowing atmosphere. Which does lead into songwriting and I must admit, Dvvell did a fantastic job of defying my initial expectations. Every track is close to fifteen minutes and while it certainly feels like this is the case, each one has more than enough modulation to not make it too redundant over these extended runtimes. This is most notable in those guitar leads and vocals rather than just a monotonous implication of the open power chords for the entire runtime. RYM has drone metal listed as a subgenre and I can see it, but those lead parts are enough of a change of pace that I think we can devalue that as a subgenre.

If I had to criticize this record for anything, it would probably be how tracks end, specifically "Mother" and "Son" with their extended electronic/ambient passages that don't really develop the tune that just finished, or prepare the listener for the next tune all that well. Otherwise, this is a splendid release. This is an example of doom metal in its highest quality and continues to impress with each subsequent listen. Ahab sounds like a big influence and for me, that is the highest compliment.



1. Goatsnake - "IV" from "I" (1999)

2. Triptykon - "Boleskine House" from "Melana Chasmata" (2014)

3. Bethlehem - " Funereal Owlblood" from "Dark Metal" (1994)

4. Eyehategod - "Anxiety Hangover" from "Dopesick" (1996) [submitted by Daniel]

5. Magmakammer - "Mindtripper" from "Mindtripper" (2018)

6. Isole - " Shadowstone" from "Bliss of Solitude" (2008) [submitted by Ben]

7. Wine From Tears - "Cotard's Delusion" from "I'm Fine... " (2022)

8. Belzebong - "Bong Thrower" from "Sonic Scapes & Weedy Grooves" (2011)

9. Spiritus Mortis - "Are You A Witch" from "The Great Seal" (2022)

10. Trouble - "Psalm 9" from "Psalm 9" (1984) [submitted by Ben]

11. Tons - "Ummagummo" from "Hashension" (2022) [submitted by Sonny]

12. Old Man Gloom - "Common Species" from "No" (2012)

13. Sinister Downfall - "Eyes Forever Closed" from "The Last Witness" (2022) [submitted by Sonny]

14. The Gathering - "Strange Machines" from "Mandylion" (1995) [submitted by Ben]

15. Solitude Aeternus - "Upon Within" from "Alone" (2006) [submitted by Daniel]

16. Convocation - "Martyrise" from "Ashes Coalesce" (2020) [submitted by Sonny]


I am going to come right out and say it. It is criminal that I have been unaware of this record for the last eight years. Given I already went in for a vinyl purchase within two weeks of hearing it for the first time, this should be evidence enough of my desire to rectify this wrong. First off, although I get the Mayhem, Abigor, Dissection and even Deathspell Omega vibes, I do think this is one of the most refreshing and unique black metal albums I have ever heard.

It flirts with the progressive elements throughout the experience without ever showing full on commitment to them in the long term. The always audible bass casts some aspersions about the progressive tendencies of the record in that I do not think that it always intends to sound progressive. Unlike with Onirik (another one of my unique favourite finds from recent years) this bass is not always climbing or expanding the ether of the music intentionally. In short, it is just well played and well placed in the arrangements and overall mix.

Of course, there is a lot more to Lvcifer Liber… than just the bass. The guitars fill the very air around them with their (again) progressive melodicism and warm Hellenic style. When combined with the passages of chant and mantras they work well together to build a lush and uncomfortable cosiness to the two short instrumental tracks that open sides A and B of the record. Early in the record it becomes clear that Thy Darkened Shade can be rhythmic machine when the tendency takes them. With an almost black ‘n roll catchiness they can move from occult driven atmospheres to infectiously memorable passages with adhesive-like qualities.

Drummer Hannes Grossman (credited only in a “guest” capacity) gives a great performance, varying between blastbeats and more measured elements he shows a real array of skills over an hour and near twenty minutes. This is not a rampant display by any means – his impact is much more subtle and considered in comparison to the rest of the instrumentation. With Semjaza handling everything else barring vocals, it is left to the mysterious The A to add a very Mayhemesque influence to the construct. I did find the vocals to be the weaker part of the machine initially, largely because they were so predictable, but they are well balanced with the cleaner mantras from Semjaza that I soon concluded that overall, they work without them necessarily needing to be on a par with everything else that is going on.

This is an album that rewards with repeated visits, subtly pushing your experience of the boundary expansion with each return listen. For me at first it just sounded like a melodic bm record with some clever parts but it is a lot more calculated than that and it has taken me seven or eight listens to truly get my head around what I have now proudly adorning the shelves of my vinyl collection.



1. Sky Pig - "The Scag" from "Hell Is Inside You EP" (2020)

2. Lord Vigo - "Memento Mori" from "Danse de Noir" (2020) [submitted by Daniel]

3. Theatre of Tragedy - "Fair and 'Guiling Copesmate Death" from "Velvet Darkness They Fear " (1996)

4. Sore Throat - "Phase I" from "Inde$troy" (1989) [submitted by Daniel]

5. Paul Chain Violet Theatre - "In the Darkness" from "In the Darkness" (1986)

6. 16 - "Monday Bloody Monday" from "Bridges to Burn" (2009)

7. Slow - "Déluge" from "V - Oceans" (2017) [submitted by Ben]

8. Solitude Aeternus - "Scent of Death" from "Alone" (2006)

9. Draconian - "The Sacrificial Flame" from "Under A Godless Veil" (2020)

10. Acid Mammoth - "Caravan" from "Caravan" (2021) [submitted by Sonny]

11. Dystopia - "Control All Delete" from "Dystopia" (2008) [submitted by Daniel]

12. Possessor - "Twisted Nerve Endings" from "The Speed of Death EP" (2022)

13. Solstice - "Death's Crown Is Victory" from "Death's Crown Is Victory" (2013) [submitted by Ben]

14. Hell - "Mourn" from "Hell III" (2012) [submitted by Sonny]

15. Acid Witch - "October 31st" from "Witchtanic Hellucinations" (2008)


The revenue is now coming from streaming - a digital world that was nonexistent back in the day.

Quoted SilentScream213

From everything I've read & heard, bands actually make bugger-all off streaming their music unless they're at the extreme top level. I have several friends that produce music that's sold on streaming platforms & they're always complaining that they make next to nothing from it. All but the absolute elite metal bands make most of their money from touring & merchandise sales these days. The importance of producing their own music is so that they can get people to book them for live shows.

Quoted Daniel

Yes, that is my understanding of the situation too. Artists want their music streamed by as many people as possible in the hope that those people will then buy tickets to shows, t-shirts and hoodies etc. This is the only real explanantion for streaming services being so cheap (or even free if you're not bothered by advertising) and the price of merchandise and physical copies of music are so high. I pay a tenner a month for Spotify and can (and often do) listen to dozens of albums in a month, yet to buy a single CD from a local record shop or off Bandcamp costs more than a month of Spotify and for my preferred format of vinyl records, two or three months. You can buy a t-shirt from Primark for three ot four quid, but stick a Maiden or Judas Priest transfer on it and it'll set you back £20+.


1. Temple of Void - "Deathtouch" from "Summoning the Slayer" (2022)
2. Candlemass - "Tears" from "Tales of Creation" (1989) [submitted by Daniel]
3. Celtic Frost - "Obscured" from "Monotheist" (2006) [submitted by Sonny]
4. Bog Body - "Ice Stained Kurgan" from "Cryonic Crevasse Cult" (2022)
5. Hangman's Chair - "Who Wants to Die Old" from "A Loner" (2022)
6. Mastodon - "Crusher Destroyer" from "Remission" (2002) [submitted by Daniel]
7. BlackLab - "Abyss Woods" from "In A Bizarre Dream" (2022)
8. The Gates of Slumber - "Bastards Born" from "The Wretch" (2011) [submitted by Sonny]
9. Esoteric - "Sinistrous" from "The Pernicious Enigma" (1997) [submitted by Daniel]
10. Come to Grief - "When the World Dies" from "When the World Dies" (2022)
11. Skeleton Gong - "Nephilim" from "For the World Is Hollow and I Have Touched the Sky" (2015)
12. Slomatics - "Futurian" from "Estron" (2014) [submitted by Sonny]
13. Witchfinder General - "Death Penalty" from "Death Penalty" (1982) [submitted by Sonny]
14. Wolf Counsel - "Aeons" from "Initivm" (2022)
15. Churchburn - "Scarred" from "Genocidal Rite" (2021)
16. Type O Negative - "Creepy Green Light" from "World Coming Down" (1999) [submitted by Daniel]
17. Until Death Overtakes Me - "Missing" from "Prelude to Monolith" (2003) [submitted by Ben]


I am not as focussed on current year releases as perhaps other members are so any releases I stumble across from the current year that I like enough to retain a copy influences how "good" a year it is.  I still find far more interesting releases from days gone by and it is these I seek out ahead of staying on top of any current year releases.  Wiegedood is the only release of note (still getting to grips with Blackbraid) from the year so far.  Have not heard anything else off that list from Ben barring the odd BAN track and I was unimpressed.  Celeste are on my radar but I am still in 2017 in terms of their discography.

Queenwryche aren't that proggy, though, except for a few songs.  I really don't understand where the prog tag comes from.

I didn't hear any guitars on "The Ashes of Light" at all to be honest. If they were there they must have been so far back in the mix that I couldn't pick them up. The programmed drums were nothing out of the ordinary for New Age music as far as I could see so I think we'll have to agree to disagree on this one.


1. Goatsnake - "Flower of Disease" from "Flower of Disease" (2000)
2. Dusk - "Mourning Shadow" from "Dusk EP" (1994) [submitted by Sonny]
3. Cemetary - "Bitter Seed" from "Black Vanity" (1994) [submitted by Sonny]
4. Year of the Cobra - "White Wizard" from " the Shadows Below" (2016) [submitted by Sonny]
5. Evoken - "Embrace the Emptiness" from "Quietus" (2001) [submitted by Daniel]
6. Strange Horizon - "Fake Templar" from "Beyond the Strange Horizon" (2022)
7. Solitude Aeturnus - "Tomorrows Dead" from "Alone" (2006) [submitted by Ben]
8. YOB - " Burning the Altar" from "The Great Cessation" (2009) [submitted by Sonny]
9. Acid King - "Four Minutes" from "Free EP" (2014) [submitted by Daniel]
10. Deathwhite - "Quietly, Suddenly" from "Grey Everlasting" (2022)
11. The Wounded Kings - "Bleeding Sky" from "Visions in Bone" (2016) [submitted by Sonny]
12. Unholy - "For the Unknown One" from "Rapture" (1998) [submitted by Ben]
13. Corrosion of Conformity - "Pearls Before Swine" from "Deliverance" (1994) [submitted by Daniel]
14. Megadrone - "I" from "Transmission II: Jovian Echoes" (2022)
15. Lord Vicar - "The Temple in the Bedrock" from "The Black Powder" (2019)
16. Come to Grief - " Death Can't Come Soon Enough" from "When the World Dies" (2022)
17. Tzompantli - "Yaotiacahuanetzli" from "Tlazcaltiliztli" (2022) [submitted by Ben]


When I find the time, I am going to read up on the origins of the Chilean thrash scene. Following Sonny’s sharing of not just this month’s feature release but various recommendations throughout the site, it is clear that this is a scene that needs further investigation. Although, any cursory listen to Parkcrest straight away shows the influences that permeate the sound with Sepultura, Kreator and many other classic thrash bands prevalent here.

I do find the vocals to be the least appetising element of most of what goes on here though. Although I would not describe Javier Salgado as a poor vocalist by any means, I would go as far as to say he is one of limited capacity and the record shows this. It is fair to say that he is carried somewhat by the guitars (which of course he plays alongside Diego) with those textbook loops and bloops doing a fine job. Overall though it is the sheer intensity of what Parkcrest deliver that is most impressive to my ears. Setting a solid foundation early on the band build and build with each passing track and they certainly do have a penchant for song writing that can only get better with time.

The album does run out of legs I find though as we get near the finish line and I am not sure if this is just fatigue due to the sheer quantity of material that they throw into the track listing here. There is a lot going on during this album and absolutely all of it deserves your attention, however it does feel like the old shearing scissors got left in the draw too much as some tracks could do with a trim. For example, the middle section of the record that contains largely shorter tracks, not all of these are in the same league in terms of quality and I think we could easily cut one of these out and move the seven minute track that heralds the start of the final third of the album into a more appropriate position.

Arrangement gripes aside, Parkcrest have delivered a fine sophomore release here on which they are able to display a range of styles and technical ability without becoming boring. It is good to see a young band capable of delivering the riffs and yet keeping things interesting at the same time. I will certainly keep an out for Parkcrest in the future.



Yeah it’s probably worth doing but there’s really not a lot we can do about it to be honest. I don’t think it’s worth changing the playlists when there could be any number of licensing concerns depending on what part of the world you’re streaming from.


These aren't ordered but it was real interesting going through my ratings and seeing how many bands had their breakout album on their 2nd or 3rd instead of their debut. Way more than I imagined, these were some of the most interesting ones I could find without listing any duplicates, since Devin Townsend, Emperor, Ne Obliviscaris, and Ahab would have made the list for me.

  1. Neptunian Maximalism - Éons (2020)
  2. Rage Against the Machine - Rage Against the Machine (1992)
  3. Blood Incantation - Starspawn (2016)
  4. Opeth - Orchid (1995)
  5. Cryptic Shift - Visitations From Enceladus (2020)
  6. Stormkeep - Tales of Othertime (2021)
  7. Kayo Dot - Choirs of the Eye (2003)
  8. Altesia - Paragon Circus (2019)
  9. Epiphanic Truth - Dark Triad: Bitter Psalms to a Sordid Species (2021)
  10. Herzel - Le dernier rempart (2021)


The content of the list is fairly irrelevant as any list compiled by a corporate entity means FA to me. If I'm going to read a list of greatest metal albums I would much rather read one compiled by someone who actually gives a shit about metal in the first place - at least it's gonna be honest. The point I was trying to make is that metal was originally derided and scorned, when not just ignored, by the established music commentators. Compare this to the advent of punk rock when everyone in the music press wet themselves over it from the get-go because it was controversial and would sell copies -  which is the only thing that ever matters to these cultural vampires. 

In fact, here in the UK, metal and hard rock (that wasn't The Stooges or the New York Dolls) got even more of a hard time and was mercilessly derided. That is unti the advent of the NWOBHM when suddenly everyone in the music press - surprise, surprise - were smelling money and were suddenly lifelong mealheads. This was all in pre-internet days obviously when the only alternative to these charlatans was our friends and peers who helped each other to form and pollinate their own metal taste and so form bonds within a scene that no amount of corporate bullshit could penetrate.

I guess what I'm trying to say is that I view Metal Academy as very much akin to that clique of friends and peers who helped shape my metal world in the face of outside derision and hostility, as represented not only by the corporate media, but also clickbait-addicted hipsters on other sites (hello RYM) who's sole purpose seems to be to deride metal and metalheads. So let's all keep on doing what we're doing and fuck those assholes who just don't "get it" because we don't need their scorn and we don't need their approval.

Sorry - rant over.


My two cents:

Pagan Black Metal = Black Metal music that utilizes tools borrowed from Folk &/or Viking Metal music without sacrificing on the trademark Black Metal atmosphere & aesthetic.

Folk Metal = Metal music built around Folk melodies & attributes. Often borrows the tools of Black Metal however the Folk components play the role of the protagonist & this doesn't allow the music to consistently achieve the dark & evil atmosphere & aesthetic that defines a genuine Black Metal release.

I've never seen the need for a Pagan Black Metal subgenre to tell you the truth & that may be something that we look at in the future.


1. MWWB - "Logic Bomb" from "The Harvest" (2022) [suggested by Ben]

2. Crowbar - "Confess to Nothing" from "Zero and Below" (2022)

3. Night Hag - Phantasmal Scourge" from "Phantasmal Scourge" (2022) [suggested by Ben]

4. Godflesh - "Merciless" from "Merciless" (1994) [suggested by Daniel]

5. Rifflord - "Thunder Rider Cremation Ground Meditation" from "7 Cremation Ground / Meditation" (2018)

6. Yith - "Beholder" from "Immemorial" (2018) [suggested by Sonny]

7. Scald - "Sepulchral Bonfire" from "Will of Gods Is a Great Power" (1996) [suggested by Sonny]

8. Esoteric - "Beneath This Face" from "The Maniacal Vale" (2008)

9. Place of Skulls - "Song of Solomon" from "Nailed" (2002) 

10. Lacuna Coil - "Circle" from "In A Reverie" (1999)

11. Spectral Voice - Terminal Exhalation" from "Eroded Corridors of Unbeing" (2017) [suggested by Daniel]

12. The Hidden Hand - "Sunblood" from "Divine Propaganda" (2003)

13. Mizmor & Thou - "Indignance" from "Myopia" (2022) [suggested by Ben]

14. Monarch! - "Blood Seeress" from "Omens" (2012) [suggested by Daniel]

15. Hell - "Helmzmen" from "Hell" (2017) [suggested by Sonny]

16. Woods of Ypres - "Alternate Ending" from "Woods 5: Grey Skies & Electric Light" (2012)


This nomination has now been posted in the Hall of Judgement.


This nomination has now been posted in the Hall of Judgement.


I just finished blasting this playlist while working out on the floor in front of the kids (yes the missus is away) & I've gotta say that I fucking loved it. The Firebreather, Mares of Thrace, MonumentuM, Bismuth, Electric Wizard, Type O Negative, Hangman's Chair & The Ruins of Beveerast tracks are all mind-blowing. The Down, Mar de Grises, Isole, Ard, Profetus & Ufomammut tracks are really solid too. The Obsidian Sea & Acid Bath songs were probably the ones that I enjoyed the least which is mainly due to the inclusion of some groovier riffs but I still quite like them. The balance of known tracks with underground ones is excellent, as is the mix of subgenres. This is about as good a playlist as I've heard to be honest.


I have to admit that the Hall situation is frustrating. I do think it's something the site needs, so it's disappointing that we haven't attracted a large enough membership to make it really tick. I also have to admit that I struggle to stay on top of all the submissions (I'm currently close to 5o behind!). I guess there's not a lot of encouragement for me to put in consistent effort in that area when very few submissions go past a couple of votes.

Daniel and I have been talking about it though, and I think I'm going to hand him the keys to manage the whole process. I'd rather not lower the amount of votes required, but since submissions can be completed manually, I think we just start calling them successful or unsuccessful when it looks like a forgone conclusion. For example, if a submission has around 6 yes votes and 0 no votes, I think we just need to call it successful and move on, at least for now.


I'd certainly heard the name Internal Void around the traps over the years but can't say that I've ever committed to checking them out before now. In fact, I wasn't aware that they'd released anything else after this debut album which proves Sonny's point about being a particularly underappreciated artist. After giving "Standing On The Sun" a few spins over the last couple of days I've achieved a firm opinion on the music that lies within & while I can't say that I find the same level of appeal as the elder statesman of our Metal Academy community there's definitely a fair few positives here. The warm 1970's production job is a great start as it really compliments the band's sound & gives the record that authentic old-school doom atmosphere. The inclusion of psychedelia in the lead guitar work is something that I've always found appealing while I can easily pickup the Alex Lifeson influence that Sonny mentioned above. Unfortunately though there's a fairly major stumbling block for me here in J.D. Williams' vocals. He's clearly trying his level best to be Ozzy Osbourne but sadly doesn't possess anywhere near the level of talent required so he often ends up sounding more like Lee Dorrian's weaker moments. There's no question that he's trying really hard but it should all come a lot more effortlessly for a genuine front man. For this reason I found that two of the three tracks I enjoyed the most were the instrumental pieces in short acoustic interlude "Eclipsed" & album highlight "The Peace Song". The other element that places a cap on my rating is the inclusion of a fair few groovy stoner metal riffs. While those riffs may sound very much like Black Sabbath, I have to admit that even the mighty Sabbath can't completely win me over when they go in that direction for any sort of period (as they did on a record like "Vol.4" which I've always considered to be a bit overrated). Epic closer "Desolate Cemetery" is my pick of the vocal tracks as it manages to overcome a significant doom-to-groove ratio through an impeccably dark atmosphere, some stellar riffage & lead work & a pretty cool lyrical approach. 

Overall I find "Standing On The Sun" to be a mildly enjoyable listen that has the edge taken off an excellent instrumental representation of the traditional doom metal philosophy by a couple of aesthetic & compositional flaws. I'd be surprised if the vast majority of Saint Vitus, Pentagram & 70's Black Sabbath fans don't find enough to keep them interested here but I'm not sure too many of them will consider Internal Void to compete with the premier traditional doom metal bands that influenced them.



Thanks Daniel, they all sound like perfectly feasible reasons. Strange how strict drinking laws are in The States, which could have been a factor as you say, not just the opening hours restrictions (they were still very strict here in the UK at that time), but also age restrictions. Don't you have to be 21 to buy booze in a lot of states (or at least had to be back then)? Plus, in most of Europe when the cops came to break up a rave they just chased people off and maybe gave them a slap ot two, they didn't turn up fully armed looking for a Waco-style shoot-out, as seems to be the MO of a lot of police forces in the US!


Brief thoughts on this month's playlist:

1. Spirit Caravan - "Dead Love / Jug Fulla Sun" from "Jug Fulla Sun" (1999) [submitted by Sonny]
Spirit Caravan is a Wino-led trio that laces their stoner doom with acid. This is my favourite track from their debut and is one of my all-time top stoner metal tracks.

2. Anathema - "Radiance" from "Eternity" (1996) [submitted by Daniel]
Builds really effectively to a Comfortably Numb-style guitar solo climax.

3. Worm - "Empire of the Necromancers" from "Foreverglade" (2021) [submitted by Ben]
Heavy as fuck blackened doom from one of last year's great albums.

4. Cult of Luna - "Cold Burn" from "The Long road North" (2022)
It's CoL doing what they do and doing it supremely well. Quality atmo-sludge no more no less.

5. Crowbar - "Like Broken Glass" from "Broken Glass" (1996) [submitted by Daniel]
It's Crowbar doing what they do and doing it... What? I've used that one already? OK, but you know what I mean yeah?

6. Lethian Dreams - "Shades" from "Red Silence Lodge" (2014) [submitted by Ben]
I really like this album - I have a CD digipak with a nice message and signed by Carline Van Roos that I bought from Bandcamp when it was released This is a gorgeously melancholy track with terrific vocals from Carline that eventually explodes towards the end.

7. Internal Void - "Utopia of Daze" from "Standing on the Sun" (1992) [submitted by Sonny]
This is one of the great unheralded early 90's Sabbath-influenced trad doom albums and Utopia of Daze is my favourite track from it. I finally tracked down an original CD copy recently on Discogs from a guy in South Africa and it was worth every penny!

8. Melvins - "Vile" from "Ozma" (1989) [submitted by Sonny]
Melvins are one of those bands who baffle me with how they can go from ridiculous to sublime seemingly at will. This is a sublime moment and one of my favourites from the US sludgelords - what a brilliant crawling, creeping riff this is.

9. Converge & Chelsea Wolfe - "Blood Moon" from "Bloodmoon: I" (2021) [submitted by Daniel]
The Fallen Album of the Year for 2021 is well represented by this track which beautifully illustrates the strength of this collaboration and the contrast between the two protagonists.

10. Khazad-dûm - "Transmuted" from "Hymns from the Deep" (2020) [submitted by Ben]
If you are a fan of the LoTR books or movies then you will recognise exactly what Khazad-dûm are aiming for - to use funeral doom to recreate the atmosphere of the dwarven mines from whence the band get their name, a task at which they have been supremely successful and no more so than on this brilliant track. Another criminally underappreciated album from the last couple of years.

11. Candlemass - "The Well of Souls" from "Nightfall" (1987)
A genuine classic of epic doom from the Swedish masters with Messiah in full flow. Epic doom doesn't get much beter than this!

12. Swallow the Sun - "Keep Your Heart Safe From Me" from "Moonflowers" (2021)
A real heartbreaker from one of the more emotionally-charged albums in metal.

13. Abandon - "Pitch Black Hole" from "The Dead End" (2009) [submitted by Sonny]
It kind of came out of nowhere and blew me away this one. A mix of sludge and funeral doom that really hits the spot for me.

14. Windhand - "Woodbine" from "Soma" (2013)
I fucking love that uber-fuzzed guitar tone on this album and Dorthia's washed-out vocals suit it just brilliantly. One of the best female-fronted doom metal albums out there.

15. My Dying Bride - "A Doomed Lover" from "Songs of Darkness, Words of Light" (2004) [submitted by Ben]
My old pals are back on the playlist! Still, this is MDB at their best - fortunately Aaron Stainthorpe puts in a quite restrained vocal performance that doesn't overdo the ham. Builds really nicely too.

16. Ufomammut / Lento - "Infect Two" from "Supernaturals - Record One " (2007) [submitted by Daniel]
The January Fallen feature was pretty much universally praised by the membership and with damn good reason too. Black hole-density metal fused with space rock aesthetics for some truly mind-blowing astral projection.


1. Dawn of Solace - "Erase" from "Flames of Perdition" (2022)
2. Penance - "A Wayfarer's Tale" from "The Road Less Travelled" (1992) [Submitted by Sonny]
3. Neurosis - "Through Silver in Blood" from "Through Silver in Blood" (1996) [Submitted by Daniel]
4. High On Fire - "Return to NOD" from "Death is This Communion" (2007) [Submitted by Sonny]
5. Mournful Congregation - "As I Drown in Loveless Rain" from "The Monad of Creation" (2005) [Submitted by Ben]
6. Mansion - "Traitor's Dirge" from "Altar Sermon EP" (2015)
7. Counting Hours - "To Exit All False" from "The Will" (2020) [Submitted by Ben]
8. Thou - "Inward" from "Magus" (2018) [Submitted by Sonny]
9. Space Coke - "Bride of Satan" from "Lunacy" (2022)
10. Deathbell - "The Stronghold and the Archer" from "A Nocturnal Crossing" (2022) [Submitted by Sonny]
11. Paradise Lost - "Gothic" from "Gothic" (1991) [Submitted by Daniel]
12. Konvent - "Pipe Dreams" from "Call Down the Sun" (2022) [Submitted by Ben]
13. Messa - "Serving Him" from"Close" (2022) [Submitted by Ben]
14. Inter Arma - "The Survival Fires" from "Sky Burial" (2013)
15. Ahab - "The Hunt" from "The Call of the Wretched Sea" (2006) [Submitted by Daniel]


At least it was a good album!

Quoted Ben

The best! Funnily I have been considering it for some time, but most regulars are familiar with it I think, so I've stuck with less well known ones.


I've updated my Best of my Post-Sludge Elemental Star Spotify playlist to make sure all 7 bands I've chosen are post-sludge. If any of you have the time, please check it out and see which of these tracks are more suitable for The Fallen and/or The Infinite:

Jesu's Infinity has more drone, but I think there's some post-sludge potential in that 50-minute track.