Ozzmium: The New Heavy, November 19th – November 25th

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Converge & Chelsea Wolfe – Bloodmoon: I

★★★★☆

Released on Epitaph Records

When Chelsea Wolfe first came onto my radar for 2011’s Apokalypsis there was talk of a black metal influence, which proved to be true in the same sense that Mount Eerie’s first record had a similar influence: not at all, but sort of if you thought about it hard enough. Since then Wolfe’s brand of ultra-goth ambient heavy soundscaping has flirted with crushing metal sounds, hinted at them without ever revealing them. Converge brings the chaos and the noise, and Chelsea Wolfe metamorphizes into her next form, that of a daedra ascending up from Oblivion. A living r/FearMe post, Bloodmoon bathes in fire and thrash, cresting the surface occasionally to trace paeans to the autumn night in the thin air.

Khemmis – Deceiver

★★★

Released on Nuclear Blast Records

Khemmis has the chops and some sludgy, bluesy riffing a la good doom metal, but it suffers from the same weak-kneed would-be nu metal vocals that too much of the genre suffers from.

Der Weg Einer Freiheit – Noktvrn

★★★☆

Released on Season of Mist Records

A strange and varied record that will rev the engines on a black metal course one moment and then go off into eerie, ambient post-metal the next. Does that make it blackened folk metal? Maybe blackened post-metal. Either way it’s creepy and it rocks. What more do you need?

Obscura – A Valediction

★★★

Released on Nuclear Blast Records

The tech death parts are fierce and throbbing, but the prog parts are way too Dream Theatre for comfort.

Swallow The Sun – Moonflowers

★★★

Released on Century Media Records

Gothy doom that rolls in waves, but doesn’t capitalize on the dynamics to do anything overtly interesting.

Volumes – Happier?

★★☆

Released on Fearless Records

Radio djent, which is about as insufferable as you might imagine.

Plebian Grandstand – Rein Ne Suffit

★★★★

Released on Debemur Morti

Chaos and howling pain merge to form…something. Is it eclectic avant-garde black metal? Is it mathcore? Is it ambient powerviolence? Is it secretly jazz? Is it merely noise? Yes.

Exodus – Persona Non Grata

★★★☆

Released on Nuclear Blast Records

Exodus, known best outside of metal die-hards for being the band Metallica poached Kirk Hammett from in 1983, have rolled through the years with a rotating cast of musicians and a brief period of mainstream interest that ran from 1989 until their initial breakup in 1994. After more reunions and new band members, this grandfather’s axe of a thrash band keeps putting out album long after one would think their expiration date had arrived. Despite the drummer / sole remaining original member’s cancer diagnosis in April of this year, the Bay Area legends are as heavy as they’ve ever been, even if some of the riffs don’t always connect as well as they should. If you want classic thrash in 2021, look no further.

EOS – Eldritch

★★★

Released on Scarlet Records

Prog metal is one thing; sometimes it can be great, as long as the band doesn’t let itself get overwhelmed in cheese. Eos, doomed from the start, adds prog elements into a power metal structure, making it nothing but prog cheese. Still, it’s impeccably recorded and played with real gusto, so it gets by okay.

Dream Unending – Tide Turns Eternal

★★★

Released on 20 Buck Spin

Big classic rock gestures hammered through with guttural death noise, which makes for a weird juxtaposition kind of like if Sabbath was a brutal doom band. Also it features members of Tomb Mold and Innumerable Forms, so that’s nice.

Cara Neir – Pain Gel of Purification

★★★

On one hand it’s a generic sort of wild, on the other they do have a song called “Matthew Lillard is Pretty Fucking Great.” So, if crust/grind is your thing…

The Darkness – Motorheart

★★

Released on Cooking Vinyl Records

I don’t know, some people like these joke bands. I’m not entirely convinced this was a funny enough joke to keep it going after all these years.

Gonemage – Sudden Deluge

★★★☆

Released on Xenoglossy Productions

8-bit black metal is a bit I would have come up with in 2003. OK, all honesty: 8-bit black metal is a bit I came up with in 2003. I have vidya synth covers of Darkthrone’s “Unholy Black Metal”, a Carpathian Forest song I can’t remember the name of off the top of my head, and Emperor’s “Into The Infinity of Thought” and “I Am The Black Wizards” dating back to 2003-2005, somewhere in the back 40 of my digital files. Still, Gonemage does the bit way better than I ever did, with more flair, gonzo storytelling, and vocals that aren’t souped-up Speak n Spell voices subbing in for a voice that goes nowhere at the best of times. Hats off.

Aephanemer – A Dream Of Wilderness

★★★

Released on Napalm Records

The symphonic stuff tends to distract a bit from the death metal, but the death metal is pretty standard stuff anyway so the symphonic stuff makes for a much better listening experience. The all-instrumental second disc is probably more worth your while.

2 thoughts on “Ozzmium: The New Heavy, November 19th – November 25th

  1. parabstruse

    Love this review for Gonemage. Game for a free tshirt? There hasn’t been a lot of press for the project and album and figured it’d be cool to give back to those who’ve covered it so far! Thanks again. Also love your hidden history in the incredibly niche origins of 8-bit BM.

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