Don’t be alarmed, this is not becoming a metal blog, but over these winter months when indie rock and hip-hop hibernate, extreme music comes alive. Not only were some amazing metal albums released in the later part of 2010, but 15 days in, 2011 is shaping up to be a good year as well. More on that to come.
For now, I want to recommend 3 albums I slept on last year. To be honest, my metal comes to me in 3 ways…a e-mail distribution group of about 10 guys with a Box.net account, my Decibel subscription and a handful of websites (most that don’t even focus on metal), so it’s not hard for me to miss or pass over relevant releases throughout the year. So during this downtime over the holidays, I have gone back and spent time with a dozen albums that appeared on year-end lists from people I respect. Out of those, these 4 stuck out. It’s a fact that I have listened to them more than most albums listed on my Children of the Damned post, and if I were to rewind time, they would replace some of those albums.
Winterfylleth – The Mercian Sphere (Candlelight Records, 2010)
Taking their name from the Anglo-Saxon word for October, Winterfylleth have released another great black metal album that serves as the perfect soundtrack to driving over the Berthoud Pass to Winter Park in the ice and snow. This sophomore release reminds me a lot of the usbm I hear coming out of the Pacific Northwest, but this is pagan black metal from Manchester, in the northwest of England. The transitions are perfectly timed between the hard stuff, the instrumental stuff and the acoustic interludes. Albums like this prove why black metal is the most exciting kind right now.
Deathspell Omega – Paracletus (Norma Evangelium Diaboli, 2010)
The third album in a metaphysical trilogy representing God, The Devil and Man, the latest release from French black metallers Deathspell Omega is the most difficult listen on this list. I was actually aware of this album when it was released in November, but it’s taking me a few months to wrap my head around it. This is progressive, dense, heavy, (almost) guttural black metal. Deathspell are dark, very serious about their Satanic beliefs and prefer to remain anonymous. One of the most critically acclaimed extreme releases of the year, I kept coming back to see what I was missing and though this isn’t an album I can listen to every day, it is one of the most ambitious and unique albums of the past year.
Dawnbringer – Nucleus (Profound Lore, 2010)
Another album I first heard a few months ago, but didn’t spend time with until recently. When I first played this one I immediately thought ‘well, why don’t I just go back and listen to the albums I loved from the 80’s’. That’s my problem whenever I hear a new straight-up heavy metal record, I just want to go back to what I know. What’s the point in listening to metal that sounds like the classics? Well, in the case of Dawnbringer, the answer is because it f’in rocks! And as much as that 80’s nostalgia coats every verse, every chorus and every riff…this is something new. This is something worth spending time with.
Twilight – Monument To Time End (Southern Lord, 2010)
Monument To Time End is the only album to show up on all my friend’s year-end lists but remain absent from mine. The truth is, I have had this album for a very long time and had never listened to it. Twilight is a usbm supergroup of sorts. The current line-up includes members of Leviathan, Nachtmystium, Krieg, N.I.L., Minsk, Isis and The Atlas Moth. I’m still not sure this would have cracked my 2010 list, but if you want an introduction to what the United States has to offer in terms of black metal, this is a great album to start with.