Kshatriya – Il Viaggio dell’Eroe (2017)

Kshatriya comes to us from that odd category of bands whose material would be great if they would just stop screwing around with the presentation, which ends up creating padding that while not terrible, detracts from the listening experience as a whole. Anyone who has sat through the first Impaled Nazarene album knows the pain of too much gimmick.

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Smoking Bans Are Killing Public Life

All of humanity exists as a conspiracy against the obvious but not fully pleasant truth. In reality, few things are absolutely good or bad; most are a mixed bag, which means that there are trade-offs between things that we like and things that we dislike. This bothers individuals, who want guarantees of 100% safety, and fails to excite groups, who love illusions because those make everyone in the group feel warm and happy, which strengthens the group as a parasitic artificial entity.

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Forgotten Silence – Thots (1996)

Most musicians view metal as a question of technique, as exemplified by their answers to the question of what defines metal, when in fact the real difficulty lies in finding something that can tie all of that technique together and have enough energy and space to express enough of relevance to achieve what we call meaning. Forgotten Silence nails the technique… only.

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Condemner – Burning the Decadent (2018)

Death metal evades acceptance through its embrace of the primitive and threatening. When you take highly detail-oriented thinking and apply it to that basic approach, the result flowers into hidden complexity and covert beauty. Condemner attempts to make interesting music within the most primitive, grinding, and nihilistic death metal vocabulary and ends with a highly listenable album.

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Deceased – Ghostly White (2018)

Perhaps the best way to describe this album would be as traditional heavy metal crafted with a death metal approach. Monotone vocals accompany a changing tapestry of guitar riffs that relocate melody to the guitar and force the use of a compelling rhythm to unite each song, giving them an anthemic but unstable quality, creating an air of mystery to the album.

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Huoripukki – Voima & Barbaria (2018)


Huoripukki – Voima & Barbaria
Fallen Temple, 2018

This reissue of two EPs as one CD/LP demonstrates clearly why the “Incantoclone” bands are all the rage: they take metal backward to rock and carefully disguise this as a wave of noise. To make an Incantoclone band, you forget about all the cool extended riffs and structures of Onward to Golgotha and focus on the rushing riff, which consists of choosing a power chord — first five frets only please! — and then wiggling your fingers in a constant chromatic fill over that note.

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Death Squad – Split You At The Seams (1991)


Death Squad – Split You At The Seams
Ever Rat Records, 1991

Speed metal — rising from Tank, Satan, Metallica, and Mercyful Fate — had a good but short run in the 1980s before enterprising poseurs worked rock and blues back into the mix, taking away the focus on riffs and song construction in favor of what were essentially pop songs with lots of muted E-chords. Split You At The Seams shows a late entry with roll-your-own spirit.

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