Satanic Warmaster – Fimbulwinter (Hells Headbangers, 2015)

satanic warmaster - fimbulwinter coverAlthough Satanic Warmaster has long been one of my favorite black metal bands due to their unwavering commitment to genre traditionalism, I found myself rather underwhelmed by their last full length, 2010’s Nachzehrer.  The production was atrocious (and not in a good way) and to be blunt the songs simply weren’t there; the goofy looking werewolf on the cover and the less than insightful interview SW ringleader Satanic Tyrant Werwolf granted me that year did little to improve my opinion.

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Dodheimsgard – A Umbra Omega (Peaceville, 2015)

DHG_A Umbra Omega_frontcover_original_080115Beginning life as a traditional-sounding Norwegian black metal outfit, Oslo’s Dodheimsgard have evolved drastically with every release, to the point that if you were to play each of their full-length recordings to someone who was completely unfamiliar, they’d likely attribute them to several different bands.  This near-constant state of progression and reinvention has made DHG into one of the most exciting groups to emerge from the Scandinavian second wave, the lengthy periods of inactivity between albums doing nothing whatsoever to dull my anticipation of their next move.

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Napalm Death – Apex Predator – Easy Meat (Century Media, 2015)

Napalm-Death-Apex-Predator-Easy-MeatHow good is the new Napalm Death death album?  Against all odds, this band continues to age like a fine wine, and Apex Predator – Easy Meat continues the unfuckwithable fifteen-years-and-counting roll they’ve been on since 2000’s Enemy of the Music Business.  I pretty much said everything I have to say about the band’s late-career renaissance in my review of 2012’s Utilitarian, but it’d be downright shameful if I neglected to spill at least a little bit of digital ink on the stunning piece of work they’ve unleashed in 2015.

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Venom – From the Very Depths (Spinefarm, 2015)

Layout 1Yes friends, I realize that hating on any Venom album that isn’t Welcome to Hell, Black Metal or At War with Satan is the cool kid thing to do.  But, I’ve never been one of the cool kids, and as such I’ve found much to enjoy amidst Venom’s latter-day discography; even if those albums aren’t as ground-breaking as the first three, that doesn’t mean they aren’t entertaining.  From the Very Depths is Cronos and Co.’s thirteenth full length, and although it’s by no means perfect, it’s certainly as enjoyable a slab of throwback heavy metal as you’re likely to encounter in 2015.

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Archgoat – The Apocalyptic Triumphator (Debemur Morti, 2015)

DMP0117_1000x1000-150dpiFinland’s Archgoat have been spewing their patently barbaric brand of blackness since 1989 and are the very definition of a “cult band;” they’ve put out only three full length albums in their two-plus decades of existence including 2015’s The Apocalyptic Triumphator, which makes its release feel like a special event. But it’s not just special because it’s a rare occurrence; the simple fact of the matter is that Archgoat do this style of bestial black/death metal better than just about any other band in existence.

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Malsanctum – Metamorbid Fetishization (Iron Bonehead, 2015)

malsanctum - coverOf all the trends that have to come to prominence within the metal underground over the last several years, the murky/cavernous death metal thing is surely the least interesting (pro tip: if you really want to piss some people off, refer to this junk as “caverncore”).  In fact, I’d say my interest in bands shitting out non-riffs from underneath a pile of wet blankets is exactly zero.  But there are exceptions to every rule, and the mysterious Canadians known as Malsanctum have proven that there is something to be said for this sub sub genre with Metamorbid Fetishization, their debut(?) release on Germany’s ever-prolific Iron Bonehead Productions.

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White Spot – Father Songs. (self-released, 2015)

a1772135258_10I’ve been listening to various forms of heavy music for a long time, and as the years go on, my attention span gets shorter and shorter, especially when it comes to choosing bands to write about.  Basically, if your band can’t pique my interest within the first thirty seconds of the first song (excluding intros), consider yourselves SOL.  This has made it increasingly difficult to discover new acts to cover, as it seems that much of the scene is currently plagued by a complete and total lack of ability to self-edit.

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