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I'm happy to see this thread. Anyone that knows me will understand how much importance I place on cover art. I'm a lover of art in general, but particularly dark art.

I actually managed a list of Dan Seagrave covers on RYM for quite some time. I really should replicate that over here at some point.

I've been thinking about creating a list of all Kris Verwimp covers. There are a LOT of them, and it's pretty easy to tell who was behind them, so I'll try to get onto that soon. If you want to know what his work is like, just check out Cermonial Casting's covers from 2004's Immortal Black Art album.

Quoted Ben

I just watched a documentary I think you'd like: World of Darkness, about the culture and art behind the RPG Vampire: the Masquerade.


Necrosis - Kingdom of Hate (1987)

Necrosis were formed in 1985 and featured brothers José Miguel and Andrés Nacrur on guitar and drums respectively. They were both previously members of Massacre (Massakre) and featured on the Pissing into the Mass Grave demo I reviewed previously. The band are another Chilean band with an on/off career, splitting in 1990 after the suicide of then bassist, Alfredo Peña, reforming in 1999 only to split in 2003 due to the perennial "musical differences". They reformed again in 2006 and released three albums before splitting once more in 2017.

Necrosis have much more of a Bay Area sound than both Massacre and Pentagram and sound less extreme as a consequence, coming on more like Exodus or Death Angel. Kingdom of Hate was their first demo, 1500 copies being released in 1987, available on cassette only. The sound quality is very good for a 1980s demo release and sounds very professionally produced, the production on the guitar solos being the only aspect of the production that is really less than stellar, sounding a bit distant at times. The riffing is captured very well, though, and has a nice crunch and depth, whilst the drums and bass are served very well indeed, both being perfectly audible throughout.

Kingdom of Hate contains four tracks with a total runtime of 24 minutes and kicks off with the almost nine minutes of opener, Prayer, which begins with a nice lengthy and classy intro riff, before it gets down to the real business in hand, i.e. thrashing you goddamn ass off! This is a brilliant track that switches from a quicker riff to a slower, chuggier one and back to great effect before encompassing some manic soloing over a supercharged, thrashy blastbeat. Prayer is the kind of longer thrasher that has more progression than a lot of straight-up thrashfests, reminiscent of Metallica's classic-era tracks and is my favourite of the four on display here. Fall in the Last Summer is a track that gets itself into a wicked groove and sounds like a cross between Exodus and Spreading the Disease-era Anthrax and I imagine had Chilean mosh pits heaving. My Fears has a bit of a crossover feel to it, alternating between a throbbing main riff and quicker, punkier breakdowns. The EP closes with the title track which is pretty much a straight-up, no nonsense, Exodus-style thrasher.

Overall, this is a lot more recognisable fare for mid-80s thrash fans, particularly fans of the Bay Area sound and doesn't flirt with extremity and the emerging death metal style as both Massakre and Pentagram did previously, but rather plays it a bit safer. This is still a very good demo and shows that the classic Bay Area sound need not be confined to the US. All four of the tracks available here ended up on Necrosis' debut album, The Search, which was released in the summer of '88 and was their only official release prior to their original split in 1990.



Profane Order - Slave Morality (2019)

Genres: Bestial Black

Now that I'm exploring more bestial black metal works, usually one band every couple days, I'm finally at one of the modern icons of the scene, one that's gardered a lot of attention in recent time: Profane Order.  If you've hard their popular third album, One Nightmare Unto Another, you'd be familiar with their high jam abilities and flawless production.  They weren't always so squeaky clean, however, as many consider dirty production more "appropriate."  I, however, consider whether or not the decision works for the album and nothing more.  Before their skillful and enjoyable, but samey third album ever saw the light, they made this modern icon: Slave Morality.

The metallic rush of this album is bombastic.  The idea of a BBM's sound and production are more akin to a thunderstorm rather than the average snowstorm, so don't expect any Paysage d'Hiver atmospheres here.  We have the sound of metallic thunder at its maximum output, as one can tell from surprising tracks like "Ancient Blood" which is among one of the most metallic things I've ever heard.  I almost gave that track five stars.  And it's quite obvious that all the songs aren't QUITE the same, even though some moments feel too similar to moments from other songs not to take monotony into consideration.  But varying riffages, solos and tempo changes are must-dos in this album.  And thanks to the slightly dirtier production than their next album, we get another flawless metal atmosphere but with a stronger emphasis on what we expect from BBM.  The band easily has a masterful look on what production techniques and traits are needed for a proper metal album.  Check out the track "Perverse Demonaic" and see what I mean.

So this is easily one of the most fun things I've ever heard in a genre which has been more or less OK to me considering the classics output.  I've said it before, and I'll say it again: a classic like Fallen Angel of Doom by Blasphemy is so poorly-produced, poorly-written and overrated that it has to be easy for later BBM albums to surpass it.  But even if that was a tough challenge, this album makes it look easy.  We get all of the strengths of the popular One Nightmare Unto Another, but with whatever flaws coming later being more focused on and improved in comparison to many BBM albums of this age and the past.


So I've decided to pass this Hall of Judgement entry given the currently lop-sided vote tally of YES 5 NO 0. The necessary database adjustments have been made.

It's something I've always wanted to do. Unfortunately it would require completely rebuilding the search function, so comes at more cost than I can currently manage. I'll do it one day, but in the meantime, Daniel's solution works well enough. I'd also like to search for releases that ONLY have a particular genre or subgenre.

Quoted Ben

That's fair comment Ben. With an acceptable work around there is really no need to run to excessive expense.


So now that I have (finally) completed the Death Metal the 1st Decade clan challenge, I think I will put this thread to bed now. I have thoroughly enjoyed this time travel back to the late 80s / early 90s via the early releases of death metal and have found some absolute corkers to keep me going for many a year. As a bit of a death metal skeptic going in, it just goes to show that you can teach an old dog new tricks! I have discovered plenty of new favourites and believe I now have a much better understanding of a genre I had merely scratched the surface of before. This is not the end of my death metal exploration, not by a long shot, but I don't need this thread to log it any more and so will bring it to a close now. Thanks for indulging me and for joining me for the ride...


Yeah, I think it's a little more accurate personally but would throw Nintendocore in under the Electronicore banner too if I was them as it's simply too specific.

Quoted Daniel

I think nintendocore used to be under trancecore but they removed it a couple years ago.


Hits this month for me to check out further = The Body, Baroness

Pleasing familiar artists = Smoulder, Shape of Despair and Tzompantli

Skips this month for me = Type O Negative, My Dying Bride

Amazingly enough this was my first ever listen to Sunn O))) and although not blown away I accept that this is for a certain mindset and so doing chores whilst listening did not engage me well with it.  I plan to revisit though.

Another solid month Sonny, keep 'em coming.


My top 20s for a couple of the Big 4.


1. Raining Blood (Reign in Blood)

2. The Antichrist (Show No Mercy)

3. Seasons in the Abyss (Seasons in the Abyss)

4. Altar of Sacrifice (Reign in Blood)

5. Angel of Death (Reign in Blood)

6. Postmortem (Reign in Blood)

7. Hell Awaits (Hell Awaits)

8. Necrophobic (Reign in Blood)

9. Live Undead (South of Heaven)

10. Chemical Warfare (Haunting the Chapel)

11. War Ensemble (Seasons in the Abyss)

12. Jesus Saves (Reign in Blood)

13. Evil Has No Boundaries (Show No Mercy)

14. Criminally Insane (Reign in Blood)

15. Black Magic (Show No Mercy)

16. Metal Storm / Face the Slayer (Show No Mercy)

17. Die by the Sword (Show No Mercy)

18. Reborn (Reign in Blood)

19. Necrophiliac (Hell Awaits)

20. Piece By Piece (Reign in Blood)


1. Imitation of Life (Among the Living)

2. A Skeleton in the Closet (Among the Living)

3. Lone Justice (Spreading the Disease)

4. The Enemy (Spreading the Disease)

5. I Am the Law (Among the Living)

6. Indians (Among the Living)

7. Medusa (Spreading the Disease)

8. Caught in a Mosh (Among the Living)

9. Among the Living (Among the Living)

10. One World (Among the Living)

11. Blood (Persistence of Time)

12. Armed and Dangerous (Spreading the Disease)

13. Metal Thrashing Mad (Fistful of Metal)

14. Madhouse (Spreading the Disease)

15. Got the Time (Persistence of Time)

16. Now It's Dark (State of Euphoria)

17. In My World (Persistence of Time)

18. A.I.R. (Spreading the Disease)

19. A.D.I. / Horror of It All (Among the Living)

20. Only (Sound of White Noise)


My list obsession has led to me compiling lists of my favourite tracks by several of my favourite bands soI thought I would start threads where myself and anyone else who wants to get involved, can post their lists of bands' favourite tracks.

I'm gonna kick off with the Swedish masters of Epic Doom.

Sonny's top 20 Candlemass tracks:

1. At the Gallows End  - Nightfall (1987)
2. The Well of Souls - Nightfall (1987)
3. Solitude - Epicus Doomicus Metallicus (1986)
4. Samarithan - Nightfall (1987)
5. The Edge of Heaven - Tales of Creation (1989)

6. Black Dwarf - Candlemass (2005)
7. Dark Are the Veils of Death - Nightfall (1987)
8. Crystal Ball - Epicus Doomicus Metallicus (1986)
9. A Sorcerer's Pledge - Epicus Doomicus Metallicus (1986)
10. A Tale of Creation - Tales of Creation (1989)

11. Mourners Lament - Nightfall (1987)
12. Demons Gate - Epicus Doomicus Metallicus (1986)
13. Under the Oak Tales of Creation (1989)
14. Born in a Tank - Candlemass (2005)
15. Tears - Tales of Creation (1989)

16. Bewitched - Nightfall (1987)
17. Lucifer Rising - Lucifer Rising / White God EP (2009)
18. The Bells of Acheron - Epicus Doomicus Metallicus (1986)
19. Through the Infinitive Halls of Death Tales of Creation (1989)
20. Assassin of the Light - Candlemass (2005)


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: Circle of Dust - Brainchild

1995: Waltari - Big Bang

1996: Red Harvest - HyBreed

1997: Waltari - Space Avenue

1998: Embodyment - Embrace the Eternal

1999: Botch - We Are The Romans

2000: Extol - Undeceived

2001: Candiria - 300 Percent Density

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

2002: Red Harvest - Sick Transit Gloria Mundi

2003: Animosity - Shut It Down

2004: ISIS – Panopticon

2005: Trivium - Ascendancy

2006: Dog Fashion Disco - Adultery

2007: Dethklok - The Dethalbum

2008: In This Moment - The Dream

2009: Vektor - Black Future

2010: Whitechapel - A New Era of Corruption

2011: Trivium - In Waves

2012: Bury Tomorrow - The Union of Crowns

2013: Dethklok - The Doomstar Requiem: A Klok Opera

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

2014: The Acacia Strain - Coma Witch

2015: Sikth - Opacities

2016: Insomnium - Winter's Gate

2017: Brendon Small - II: Become the Storm

2018: Fit for a King - Dark Skies

2019: Northlane - Alien

2020: Code Orange - Underneath

2021: Trivium - In the Court of the Dragon

2022: Lorna Shore - Pain Remains

2023 so far: Dødheimsgard - Black Medium Current

2023 albums I'm looking forward to getting:

Atreyu - The Moment You Find Your Flame

Dethklok - Dethalbum IV/Metalocalypse: Army of the Doomstar

Asking Alexandria - Where Do We Go from Here?

The Word Alive - Hard Rest

Polaris - Fatalism

Code Orange - The Above

Of Mice & Men - Tether

Beartooth - The Surface

In This Moment - Godmode

Paradise Lost - Icon 30 (revisiting this band for a 30th anniversary album recording)


The past few months I have been listening to a lot of modern day Darkthrone and have reviewed a couple of recent records from the Norwegian legends of black metal, commenting how they sound very little like their bm heyday. This has been something to celebrate in my opinion as they truly have reinvented themselves in comparison to the band that dropped A Blaze... and Transilvanian Hunger some thirty years ago. If ever proof was needed that the influence of black metal era Fenriz and NC is always destined to be alive and kicking then Armagedda are it. Notwithstanding that at the time of this release, Darkthrone were dropping Plaguewielder, one of their less popular releases and one that was certainly far away from the quality of their nineties' output. There is an argument to say that come 2001, Armagedda were better at being Darkthrone than Darkthrone were at the time.

Talk of obvious influences aside, Armagedda themselves were only two years into their existence come the release of their debut album. Having formed as Volkermord in 1999 before changing their name to Armagedda just one year later, the band certainly lived up to their apocalyptic band name with their primitive yet relentless eight song offering to the black metal world. The scathing and impertinent vocals of Graav being a perfect accompaniment to the clumsy and cumbersome riffs he was also responsible for (closing track My Eternal Journey in particular exposes these riff challenges). Yet at the same time when in full-tilt black metal mode (Deathminded), Armagedda more than make a case for them justifying those heady Darkthrone comparisons. Whilst not innovators (who the fuck was in black metal come 2001??) I would not say the Swedes class as imitators either. Their passionate sense of belonging to that second wave sound is obvious for all of The Final War Approaching.

With their thin guitar tone and strong tremolo presence, Armagedda more than make their mark on their debut full-length. If you are looking for a great second wave bm album from after the actual scene itself had been and gone, then you would be hard-pressed to find a better offering than this. Looking at their discography, Armagedda rarely seem to put a foot wrong and why would they based on this solid foundation stone to kick start their back-catalogue?



No, it is not intended that anyone can rate releases 0 stars. I don't think it was always possible, so something must have changed at some point to allow it. I will ask my developer to fix.

In the meantime, I will delete any 0 star ratings that I see.


Another solid playlist this month.  To call out the standouts for me:

Katatonia - I have this weird "bookend" scenario with this band in that I have only ever listened to the Dance... and then their latest release and nothing in between.  Brave Murder Day has been landing on a few playlists as suggestions around the streaming services I am on of late and so it is liable to be the next full-length I venture along with from this band.  This track proves to me that I am missing out by not listening to the rest of their discography in some more detail.

Saturnalia Temple - well, this is a fucked up sounding box of frogs if ever I heard one.  It is still so damn entertaining though, not in the least because it is so blatantly obvious that these guys have zero fucks to give

Mournful Congregation -  starting to wonder if these Aussies can do any wrong at all as there is virtually endless win in everything I hear from them.  Still sounding relevant thirty years on, this track bodes well for me getting around to the album at some point.

Chained to the Bottom of the Ocean - dumbass name aside, I had very little to argue with here.  Agonising sludge metal that is punishingly repetitive

Iron Monkey - more sludge metal only this time it is raging and ugly as fuck - me like.

Woorms - I have be eyeing that astonishingly good artwork on the Slake record and wondering if the music could ever be as good as the artwork.  Good news, it is.  With a measured level of confrontation in their sound, Woorms sound alienating and hostile whilst tipping their hats to some fine doom metal along the way also.


A few notes regarding the tracks selected for this month's playlist:

1. Worship of Keres - "Book 3" (from "Bloodhounds for Oblivion", 2016) [submitted by Sonny]
I was going through some of the older releases I had purchased from Bandcamp and this 2016 EP jumped out at me with it's chunky and ponderous riff contrasting with singer Elise Tarens voice to great effect. They still seem to be going, but a measly couple of EPs is all they have produced so far.

2. Decadence Dust - "Lighthouse" (from "Lighthouse", 2023)
I must admit that as far as gothic metal goes I have to rely on the RYM charts quite a lot and this month they threw up Russian duo Decadence Dust and their new album Lighthouse. They sound a lot like Lacuna Coil I thought. Vocalist Anna Dust has a really nice voice and multi-instrumentalist Alexander Kargaev does a good job on the instrumental side of things. Not exactly my cup of tea, but I actually didn't mind this track.

3. Black Capricorn - "Snake of the Wizard" (from "Cult of Blood", 2022)
Black Capricorn are another Bandcamp favourite for me and I have just obtained a copy of this, their latest, last year's Cult of Blood. Super-fuzzy stoner doom from Italy that is a nice grooviness to it. The vocals aren't so great, but I can't resist a good fuzz-fest.

4. Toadliquor - "Gnaw" (from "Feel My Hate - The Power Is the Weight - R.I.P. Cain", 1993)
Another more recent discovery, sludgesters Toadliquor only left us a single full-length despite being in existence throughout the entire 1990s. Bleak as fuck, desperate-sounding sludge, I love this track.

5. Liturgy - "Veins of God" (from "Aesthethica", 2011) [submitted by Daniel]
I've not listened to Liturgy before (that avant-garde tag has always put me off) and I am guessing that this isn't what they usually sound like. A repetitive trad/stoner doom riff that I have no idea what effect it has in the context of the album from which it came, but in isolation it sounds quite a bit Ufomammut-ish.

6. Church of Misery - "Come and Get Me Sucker (David Koresh)" (from "Born Under a Mad Sign", 2023)
It was only during the compilation of this playlist that I found out that Japanese, serial killer-obsessed stoners Church of Misery had a new album out. After a sample of a ranting David Koresh this kicks into gear with a hard-hitting stoner groove that somewhat belies the subject matter and is a guaranteed toe-tapper and head-nodder.

7. Nightfucker - "Poisoned Wine" (from "Leechfeast / Nightfucker Split EP", 2023)
Last month I featured Leechfeast's contribution to this split EP, so in the interests of fairness here is the second of Nightfucker's two tracks.

8. Windhand - "Halcyon" (from "Eternal Return", 2018) [submitted by Vinny]
A great track from one of my absolute favourite female-fronted psych-doom bands. This was five years ago now, so a new studio album is long overdue,

9. Messa - "Babalon" (from "Belfry", 2016)
Messa are one of the most celebrated doom metal bands of the last couple of years, pushing boundaries more than most. Babalon is from their 2016 debut and is a bit more conventional in it's approach to doom. It's still a quality release though.
10. Tragedia - "Tiamat" (from "El libro de Enoc", 2023)
I've never heard these guys before, again using the RYM gothic metal charts to find them, but this is actually pretty good as far as gothic metal goes. I will have to check it out further I think.

11. Minotauri - "Doom Metal Alchemy" (from "Minotauri", 2004)
Primitive sounding Finnish trad doom that pays homage to early exponents of the style such as Pentagram. Minotauri were contemporaries of Reverend Bizarre and sound very similar to their countrymen.

12. Capilla Ardiente - "The Spell of Concealment" (from "The Siege", 2019)
Chile doesn't just produce the best thrash metal on the planet at the minute, they also have a great epic doom band in Capilla Ardiente. Candlemass worship at it's best. Notably it keeps that prominent, growling bass so beloved of so many modern Chilean thrash bands.

13. Rippikoulu - "Pimeys yllä Jumalan maan" (from "Musta seremonia", 1993) [submitted by Daniel]
Super lo-fi early death doom from the awesome Musta seremonia demo. Awesome stuff for the doom metal historian.

14. Thorr's Hammer - "Norge"
TH have attained legendary status, despite only originally existing for six weeks in the winter of '94/'95. Sunn O)))'s Greg Anderson and Stephen O'Malley teamed up with Norwegian exchange student Runhild Gammelsæter, playing a couple of gigs and recording the three-track EP from which this track was taken. Runhild has a different vocal style to the other ladies who have featured on this month's playlist and could be the musical performance of the possessed Regan from The Exorcist.

15. Warning - "Footprints" (from "Watching from a Distance", 2006) [submitted by Vinny]
It's Warning... It's from Watching From A Distance. Thankyou Vinny, I am a happy man!!

16. Khanate - "To Be Cruel" (from "To Be Cruel", 2023) [submitted by Sonny]
The title track from Khanate's latest. The soundtrack to all your worst nightmares. My favourite album of 2023 to date.


Well, this seems to have been a bit of a damp squib as far as a feature release goes, but I am undaunted and still consider it a good record.

Blood Tsunami were formed in 2004 and when it became apparent that their original drummer wasn't up to the task, they recruited the infamous former Emperor skinsman, Bård Eithun, aka Faust, who had recently been released from prison. They started playing thrash metal at a time when the genre was in the doldrums, but by the time of the release of the sophomore, Grand Feast for Vultures, the somewhat half-hearted thrash revival was underway with bands like Gama Bomb and Municipal Waste dominating things. One bright spark though, was the resurgence of Kreator whose Enemy of God and Hordes of Chaos albums had re-established the Germans' reputation somewhat. Blood Tsunami took this aggressive approach of the "new" Kreator and married it with some good old-fashioned Iron Maiden worship and produced an interesting hybrid of blackened thrash and traditional metal that I personally found quite intoxicating and irresistible.

Opening up with a one-two thrash combo, Castle of Skulls and Nothing but Contempt get us off to a breakneck start, with the early seconds of the opener grabbing our attention by channelling Slayer's Angel of Death. These two and the title track which close out the first side are where the Kreator-influenced thrash component is at it's most prominent and all three are real rip-snorters (as we say round these parts) Grand Feast for Vultures itself being an absolute face melter! The other four tracks aren't strictly thrash metal and whilst containing elements thereof, to greater or lesser effect, there is a more pronounced heavy metal presence. This is most obvious in the Maiden-esque lead work with some solos that may have just dropped in from Piece of Mind or Powerslave. Whatever persuasion they are derived from, this album is chock full of riffs with the guitar work of Pete Evil and Dor Amazon dominating almost everything.

Pete Evil (sadly, not his real name, that being Peter Michael Kolstad Vegem) has a shrieking black metal delivery which is bolstered at times by the more death metal-sounding backing of Amazon and bassist Pete "Bosse" Boström. This combination of shrieks and barks works very well and gives the vocals a very muscular tone. Pete Evil is obviously the main man here and the production does enhance and highlight his contributions with Bosse and Faust losing out in the mix it seems. This is a great shame because if you take the time to concentrate on Faust's drumming then you will hear that it really is impressive and, no matter what else he may or may not be, the guy is one hell of a fantastic skinsman, his power and precision making me think of an extreme metal John Bonham.

Side two features two epic tracks, first of which is the twelve-minute instrumental Horsehead Nebula, which could be in danger of coming over as self-indulgent, but in fact it is a very well constructed and epic instrumental track that leads us hither and thither and successfully throws in plenty of memorable moments and is the track where Blood Tsunami are at their most Maiden-esque. I've always been partial to thrash instrumentals and this is a fine example of the discipline, sitting as one of my favourites alongside Orion and The Ultra-Violence. Closing things out is my favourite track, One Step Closer to the Grave, another ten-minute plus track and with it's slower pacing it almost verges on epic doom metal in it's execution. It begins with a real lurking menace before exploding into another instrumental extravaganza with the guitarists trading solos as it storms headlong to it's maelstrom of a climax.

OK, so Grand Feast for Vultures isn't a perfect record and at times it threatens to tip over into being overblown, but the performances are excellent, the songs are great and it's suggestion of sonic excess is a plus, not a minus in my book.



While it could hardly be said I'm the biggest fan of death/black metal, I find that my distaste these days stems less from the vocals and more how everyone seems to have this habit of going full one note aggression. It irks me less in black metal since that tends to be the whole point, and thus bands tend to work it to their advantage, but death metal seems to have it bad. I have especially come to loathe any song in which the drummer just hammers the drumkit, regardless of genre. Funny thing, I wouldn't describe this endless aggression as exclusive to metal or punk, I heard some Mexican music not too long ago as I was in a Mexican fast food place, which basically just consisted of a dude singing fast over some fast acoustic guitar. Basically, have some variety.

Vocalists trying to sink outside of their range hits me pretty big too. I'm not talking like King Diamond, I'm talking like someone singing at the top of their range and you can hear their voice, and possibly your windows, cracking.


I have to admit that I don't really know what Shoegaze is, which makes it difficult for me to understand why an album is or isn't considered to be Blackgaze.

Is anyone here experienced enough with Shoegaze to provide a few examples of tracks that have a sound that's recognisable when listening to Blackgaze? To be clear, I could easily go to RYM and look up Shoegaze albums, but I'm hoping to hear something representative of what resulted in Blackgaze, if that makes sense.

Quoted Ben

Basically combine alt-rock with noise rock and dream pop.  Here's a base chart for you to find key differences:

Shoegaze: Loveless by MBV

Both: Souvenirs by Alcest

Blackgaze: Sunbather by Deafheaven


It's mostly in the last track, "Black Lava Flow". It seems to me that the atmospheric steam that has leveled up the album is lost, and therefore doesn't reach the earlier intensity.


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]


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.


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.


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.