05) The Callous Daoboys, Celebrity Therapist (MNRK Heavy)
Okay, the band name is hilarious, but is the music good? Yes, yes it is. The band’s second album is just nuts, a mathcore delight for those folks missing The Dillinger Escape Plan. But let’s not hang our hats on that comparison, because Celebrity Therapist is more than that. It’s like watching one of those music videos where a traveling roadshow rolls into town and at first people are confused, but by the end of it you see old guys on wheelchairs crowd surfing and screaming along.
Key Track: “Beautiful Dude Missile”
04) Zeal & Ardor, Zeal & Ardor (MVKA)
I love watching bands flourish, and Zeal & Ardor is no exception. I played the hell out of 2016’s Devil Is Fine, then a self-released gem. Since then, every new song has showcased the band’s strengthening sound, but never losing the spirit of that first album. On their self-titled third album, Z&A bring that same spirit into a post-2020 world, and the result is one pissed-off piece of work. Manuel Gagneux is at the top of his game as a one-man wrecking crew.
Key Track: “Church Burns”
03) Blackbraid, Blackbraid I (Self-Released)
I can be picky with my atmospheric black metal. Sometimes it’s okay but doesn’t hit the right spot. And then there’s Blackbraid’s debut album, which I knew was gonna be great from the get go. In just 36 ½ minutes, Sgah’gahsowáh, the band’s sole member, delivers an album that builds upon genre conventions by embracing his Native American heritage not just in look, but in sound. Whether it’s the furious riffs of “Barefoot Ghost Dance on Blood Soaked Soil” or the contemplativeness of “As the Creek Flows Softly By,” you can almost taste the bitter cold of the Adirondack Mountains with each listen.
Key Track: “Barefoot Ghost Dance on Blood Soaked Soil”
02) Machine Head, ØF KINGDØM AND CRØWN (Nuclear Blast)
I was admittedly worried about Machine Head for a bit. After Dave McClain and Phil Demmel left, I wondered if the band would call it quits or if subsequent albums would forever pale in comparison to The Blackening and Unto the Locust. I need not have feared; The band sounds as strong as ever on ØF KINGDØM AND CRØWN. Robb Flynn continues to push himself when it comes to combining off-the-rails riffs and furious spitting choruses, as well as mournful, melodic tracks. The ten minute opener “Slaughter the Martyr” sets the stage for the rest of the album’s concept with pure confidence and vigor.
Key Track: “Slaughter The Martyr”
Tags: Blackbraid, Chat Pile, Cult of Luna, Get The Shot, Ghost, Machine Head, Midnight Hellion, Porcupine Tree, Rolo Tomassi, Sonja, Spiritworld, The Callous Daoboys, Zeal & Ardor
Categorised in: Lists