Articles by Chris Keith-Wright
Wayfarer’s fourth LP is another unique mix of black metal and dark Americana – and their most successful to date. A record that transports the listener away from 2020 to an alternatively soundtracked Spaghetti Western, is a very welcome one indeed.
Spirit Adrift serve their fourth album in five years, another heady dose of classic heavy metal worship with doom influences, too. It’s another extremely enjoyable listen, albeit losing some of the dynamic variation of their previous efforts.
With what surely seems like an overly long, overly ambitious 70+ minute experimental death metal record, Portland, Oregon mavericks Aseitas prove to be yet another new name to follow, as they present a sophomore LP that delights, confuses and, most importantly, delivers at every turn.
Horsewhip’s sophomore record is a half hour of quality blackened hardcore punctuated by exciting ideas that don’t quite come off. From legendary veterans of the scene, the future is bright for their new venture – but this album falls slightly short of greatness.
Uada prove with their third album that they may be the melodic black metal band that breaks beyond the genre’s confines and finds a large, commercial audience.
Anna von Hausswolff’s fifth full-length album is certainly not the album we were all expected, but the instrumental pipe organ LP is so fragile and infused with emotion, that one can simply not escape from its beauty.
1000 Island is a highly recommended album and although not quite a tonic to this year from hell, surely the energy boost needed to not take it lying down, to get up and scream in condemnation, in disbelief or just in sheer frustration.
There’s promise here, but this mathcore Milan quartet are still very much finding their feet on their debut LP.
An impressive atmospheric black metal album from the Icelandic mainstays, unfortunately hampered by poor production throughout.
Sunken’s sophomore album is an astonishing leap forward from an already impressive debut. An atmospheric black metal feast, with sonic surprises around every corner, ‘Livslede’s gloomy ritual is downright beautiful.
Emerging from the shadow of Kittie, Mercedes Lander and the rest of The White Swan deliver a fantastic clutch of songs. But it is yet another EP, whetting the appetite once again for their future.
Cross Bringer provide 2020 with yet another astonishing debut record. A band blending many genres together, they master dynamics and pacing to serve up a venomous LP with great depth.
This is the line in the sand, the album by which others in the niche of ‘death doom’ will now be measured.
Sprain emerge from chrysalis a radically different band to their debut EP. ‘As Lost Through Collision’ is a band finding their sound – a unique, creative, very exciting new heavy sound.
A vinyl reissue uncovers a lost, dark gem of an album from the experimental Netherlands underground.
An EP that points the way to an exciting future for the already well-respected, noisey French metallers.
One of the more oblique releases in extreme metal in 2020, Plague Organ’s debut will smother and – perhaps – delight.
Glacial funeral doom from a new monolith of the genre.
Next Life are a name we all should know, but Guru Meditation is not their finest effort.
Mass Cathexis is another dizzying, impressive display from the black metal pioneers.
A black metal album to cherish, and one for those who love the genre to delight in picking apart, discussing and deep, lights-off listens.