Flagg - Nothing But Death (2020)

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Delivering a swift and brutal onslaught of raw-ish Black Metal, today we have Finland’s Flagg and their killer release “Nothing But Death”. Perfectly mixing old-school savagery with funky atmospherics, create a very Tartaros, (early) Emperor-esque mixture that is quite punishing and totally enjoyable. For over 32 minutes we were taken to the early days of the genre, when bands wanted to be super brutal but also started experimenting with atmosphere and melody.

The release quickly delivers a powerful blow with the piercing “Destroy, Desecrate” and its crushing bass guitar line, mixed in with funky synths and hellish vocals. The band’s blistering pace perfectly enacts violence while more melodic passages allow for some respite amongst the chaos, as heard on “Nothing but Death”. Opting for a more tempered and darker vibe, “Dark Clouds Gathering” fully unleashes the band’s hate thanks to its incisive guitars and sinister tempo.

Sombre Héritage - Alpha Ursae Minoris (2020)

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Unleashing a barrage of punishing Black Metal anthems, today we have Quebec’s Sombre Héritage with “Alpha Ursae Minoris”. For those not paying attention, the Canadian Black Metal scene has been flourishing in the last few years and this outfit is yet another crushing band hailing from our neighbors in the North. Spanning 6 tracks and nearly 40 minutes of music, this release delivers relentless brutality and incisive precision.

Opening with the riveting “Polaris”, we get that 90’s BM vibe thanks to the punishing riffs and well-tempered drumming onslaughts. The song sets a very firm and crushing pace that is never relinquished throughout the rest of the album. “Sombre Héritage” rolls in with more of that magical intensity thanks to an early Emperor/Satyricon vibe paired with crafty tempo changes and eerie atmospheric arrangements to contrast the brutal and melodic sections.

Alestorm - Curse of the Crystal Coconut (2020)

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Unleashing an all-out pirate party, today we have Alestorm and their sixth full-length release “Curse of the Crystal Coconut”. Keeping their lively style nearly untouched since their inception, the band continues to deliver their signature playfulness and epic melodies that have captivated the masses for years. Clocking in at 45 minutes, this release gives you more Alestorm in a more bombastic and engaging way than ever before.

Opening with the hilarious “Treasure Chest Party Quest”, Christopher Bowes leads his crew with his signature playful lyrics and his legendary keytar skills. This very lighthearted opener features the band’s staples and a nod to more folky/instrumental elements making the song quite enjoyable. The band’s typical intensity will get you bopping as soon as “Fannybaws” and “Chomp Chomp” deliver their catchy chorus sections and the later unleashes dramatic guitar leads.

Sinister - Deformation of the Holy Realm (2020)

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Storied Dutch Death Metal outfit returns with a vengeance on “Deformation of the Holy Realm”. Unleashing nearly 45 minutes of crushing music, the band’s new line-up elevates their level of aggression to new heights. While many older bands keep to their guns and style, Sinister has been incorporating more modern Death Metal elements into their sound, allowing them to keep their signature style and stay relevant to new trends.

Creating a very regal and epic mood, the atmospheric opener “The Funeral March” perfectly leads the listener into the brutality of “Deformation Of The Holy Realm”. The track wastes no time in delivering blistering drumming, pummeling vocals and superbly crunchy riffs. New guitarist Michal Grall perfectly captures the band’s essence and gives it an extra level of brutality as we can hear on songs like “Apostles of the Weak” and the heabanging galore “Unbounded Sacrilege”.

A Light in the Dark - Insomnia (2020)

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Unleashing one of the most melancholic releases of 2020, today we have Russia’s one-man project A Light in the Dark and his latest full-length release “Insomnia”. Featuring over 45 minutes of completely enchanting music, this release is perfectly crafted for fans of Alcest, Lantlôs, Heretoir and Amesoeurs. Oozing melody and dreaminess since the first minute, this is one hell of an ethereal release.

The album opens with the very lively and dynamic “Aimless”, a song that has a certain Harakiri For the Sky edge as it delivers very poignant guitars and harsh vocals. Shifting the pace more into the Post-Metal/Blackgaze lands, “Let it Guide You” delivers sweeping atmospheric passages and interesting electronic elements thrown into the mix. Both “Vortex” and “四” take thing into more depressive rock territories with a similar approach to Violet Cold and their use of samples for extra ambiance.

Blight - Temple of Wounds (2020)

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Canada’s Metal scene has been on fire in the recent years, with plenty of bands unleashing masterful creations. Today we have Blight, a band that is just releasing their ‘debut’ release after more than a decade of combined existence, but “Temple of Wounds” clearly shows why it was worth the wait. Featuring a monstrous and sinister sound, the band unleashes nearly one hour of crushing Black/Death Metal filled with ravaging riffs and hellish vocals.

Setting a relentless mood with the pummeling guitars of “Dar-Akh-Qayin”, the band creates a very ritualistic and mysterious aura. Similar to Behemoth, but with its own brand of evilness. The band’s melodic edge creates very sinister atmospheres, and intoxicating passages as we are presented in the opener, “Elsewhere & Elsewhen” and the magical “Before the Monolith”. Perfectly blending in and out of chaotic brutality and incisive melody, the band has a very refined and effective style.

Fellahin Fall - Tar-A-Kan (2020)

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Hailing from the USA, today we have a band that we never thought we would find ourselves listening to as much as we do. Fellhain Fall has a certain commercial alt-rock edge that is sneakily built on superbly catchy Gothic, Industrial, Darkwave elements, making the sound behind “Tar-A-Kan” quite intoxicating and engaging. While the band’s music lies more in Metal foundations, the band’s unique accessibility makes this release very easy to digest and highly enjoyable.

Opening with the lush atmospherics of “A Fading Whisper”, we get a playful dynamic between heavy distorted guitars and the charismatic lead vocals. It is a staple of Gothic Metal to have a signature singer and this band clearly has one. The music nicely experiments with Industrial/Darkwave elements in tracks like “Rover” and “My Hollow” deliver, while the Doomy elements surface on songs like “Caught Between”, keeping their sound quite dynamic and versatile.

Centinex - Death In Pieces (2020)

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Keeping the Swedish Death Metal flag flying high, today we have another gargantuan release from legendary Centinex titled “Death In Pieces”. While the band went through a full line-up change before this album, Martin Schulman has pulled together a great cast and delivers the goods in the ten songs unleashed in this release. If you like older Grave, Entombed, and the usual Swedish suspects, this album will certainly bring back some good memories.

As the horns blow on the opening track “Only Death Remains”, we are instantly transported to the 90’s with the band’s timeless sound. In your face drumming and crafty riffs are just what the doctor ordered as tracks like “Derelict Souls” and “God Ends Here” continue to flow as an initial blast of energy. The band does not fuck around, and their craftiness is clearly demonstrated with the superbly catchy and traditional chugging riffs of “Tomb of the Dead”, one of our favorite tracks.

Omination - The Pale Horseman (2020)

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Always keeping us on our toes, Canadian label Hypnotic Dirge Records always delivers something truly unique and engaging. Today we have Omination’s one-track EP “The Pale Horseman”. Clocking in at around 26 minutes, this one-song gargantuan contribution delivers tons of influences perfectly blended together to create one hell of a memorable and captivating experience.

As the brainchild of Fedor Kovalevsky, this outfit delivers a very emotional piece that slowly progresses from church-like spoken sections to Neurosis-like harsh screams and then some. While the central features are slow Doomy riffs and lush atmospherics, the way that other influences are weaved between is quite unique and engaging. Dramatic synths and crafty vocal arrangements perfectly complement weeping guitars lead way to weird experimentation around the half-way mark and close off with some old, old Septic Flesh/On Thorns I Lay Doom dreaminess.

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