This month I was going to talk a little bit about the thought process of being able to separate art from person. I had a weird run-in with an Instagram curator for Black/Viking Metal where they were standing up for a known Nazi because he made good music. But this week has been crazy.
Let’s start off with something that is not consequential to any of you. I lost my job. A job I really, really liked. I know in the end it will all work out, the process of finding something new is just the worst.
Also last week, Will Smith smacked the shit out of Chris Rock on live TV…
Most importantly though, the world lost a true rock legend in Taylor Hawkins. I’m not particularly a Foo Fighters fan, I find their music to be in-offensive. They actually have one of my favorite music videos of the 90s with Learn to Fly. In a way, this somewhat ties into the original idea of what I wanted to write about, separating the art from the person, or vice versa. The Foo Fighters are a huge reason why I love the music I do now. When I was in fifth grade, Puff Daddy and the Family came out with the album No Way Out. This was in 1997. I was listening to whatever was on pop radio or played on MTV. Besides that one, some of the CDs I owned were from Hanson, Chumbawumba, the Spice Girls, the Space Jam soundtrack, and a smattering of Michael Jackson CDs. I got that Puff Daddy record for a couple of songs, but another one that I ended up LOVING was the “Shot Caller Remix of All About the Benjamins. It features Rob Zombie and “The Foo Fighters” (just Dave Grohl). But hearing that version and wanting to explore this sound I really wasn’t used to. From there I heard the classic Foo Fighters tracks we all loved, etc. I was a fan. Rock music anybody can enjoy. But this got me to start watching the rock-themed shows on MTV. This lead me to see the music video for The Memory Remains by Metallica, which as some of you know, changed my musical life forever. A story for another time.
I can’t think of a more important band in a genre of music that has been so stale for so long. But the Foo Fighters were the real deal. Taylor Hawkins’s passing, no matter what the cause is, is something that we all can reflect on as a tragedy. A true rock star and from what I’ve heard a true human being. RIP.
Now, let’s talk about the heavy shit for the month of March. Here are the best albums and EPs from March 2022.
Jesus Wept – Psychedelic Degeneracy
Melodic Death Metal
Redefining Darkness Records
I’m not usually a fan of melodic death metal, but Jesus Wept bends that genre to its breaking point. This is heavy and rides the line of Metalcore at times, but don’t let that scare you, because this chaotic 16 and a half minutes of music packs a punch that doesn’t exist in most modern death metal.
Kontusion – S/T
This is death metal. This is a new project from 2 death metal veterans and members of bands like Repulsion and Mammoth Grinder. At 4 tracks and just under 17 minutes, this will fill that need for OSDM fast and furious. No frills, nothing fancy, just filthy brutality.
Sanguinária – Sede Vampírica
Ambient Black Metal
This is ambient black metal that earns that Moniker. So many bands add terms like progressive or ambient, or atmospheric just to make it not fit in with the norm. The atmosphere I feel while listening to that is that of a haunted vampyric mansion and the hellish soundtrack of torture and the macabre drenches my surroundings. This feels like an Argento horror film and I love it.
Full Album Honorable Mentions
Cryptworm – Spewing Mephitic Putridity
Me Saco un Ojo Records
Nite – Voices of the Kronian Moon
Season of Mist
Konvent – Call Down the Sun
Slægt – Goddess
Century Media Records
Hath – All That Was Promised
Progressive Blackened Death Metal
Top 5 Albums of March 2022
5. Hyperia – Silhouettes of Horror
Melodic Thrash/Death Metal
I’m sure you have heard the phrase, “Jack of all trades, master of none,” before. Well, these Canadians said, “fuck that, we’ll master it all!” I’m ashamed to say I had never heard of Hyperia before this release and afterward I binged all of their material, and they all absolutely crush. Silhouettes of Horror is a longer record by today’s standards, but it doesn’t overstay its welcome. In fact, I was wanting more by the time it was over.
4. Falls of Rauros – Key to a Vanishing Future
First off, how am I not going to recommend a band named after a Waterfall from Lord of the Rings? I’m a huge fan of this style of black metal. Some call it, atmospheric black metal, some call it BlackGaze (Black Metal/Shoegaze), some hardcore trve/kvlt dorks will call it poser or hipster black metal, but I prefer calling it what I originally heard it as which is Cascadian Black metal. I first heard FoR when I was getting into bands like Panopticon, Saor, Wolves in the Throne Room, etc. They were the band that impressed me the least out of that group. I was wrong of course because they continue to deliver solid release after solid release. Music that goes beyond a stupid label or genre. Key to a Vanishing Future has this lingering hope that ultimately never comes to fruition, but that hope that stays alive is beautiful, and we need people and music like this to keep it around. Otherwise, we’ll live in a world full of cynicism and populated by the aforementioned trve/kvlt dorks.
3. In Aphelion – Moribund
Edged Circle Productions
A few months ago, I first heard In Aphelion with their debut EP Luciferian Age. Honestly, I didn’t think much of it. Sort of color by numbers black metal. Well, they either intended to swerve us from the get-go, or they took the response of Luciferian Age to heart, and when they released their first full-length album, Moribund, and crafted a truly great black metal album that doesn’t re-write the book, but merely takes it to another level. Black metal DLC if you will.
This trio consisting of members of Necrophobic as well as Cryptosis buck the system of standard black metal fare and lays down a beautifully produced album full of not overstated piano, and solos that truly take the listener to different places. This album is extreme no doubt about it. But an extreme album that every once in a while goes to a fancy dinner instead of just drinking wine in a cemetery.
2. Astral Tomb – Soulgazer
I love Bandcamp. I’ve definitely mentioned that before. I always tend to find something I end up loving. A lot of dungeon synth for sure, but every once in a while I see something on the recommended page that I can’t pass up. And when I saw Astral Tomb, a spacey death metal band from Colorado (sound like another band you know?) I had to check it out. Without even hearing a note, I preordered the tape and listened to the free song I think it was Be Here Now a few times. I liked it! I didn’t love it though. The reason was this is an album meant to be listened to as a whole. You need to unravel this story.
In the near 13 minute opener, you may become overwhelmed with what is happening, and then all of a sudden, as if you have fallen asleep, you are awakened by the interstellar ambiance that flows in and out of the song as if they are trying to reach you. And I don’t mean you like the general populace, I mean you as in the person reading this, me, the individual. That’s how these moments feel on the album.
This album carves you up and filters you through a black hole of insanity, and you’re not the same after you listened to it. You find yourself buying a copy of the Kybalion, and listening to old Carl Sagan interviews. You want to believe.
1. Véhémence – Ordalies
Epic/Medieval Black Metal
Imagine after that last album you are dropped back down to Earth, only this is not the Earth that was here when you left. This world is full of Dragons, and steel! You’ve just emerged as a medieval warrior, and this is the soundtrack to your battles and to your feasts, your war cry, and your victories.
Seriously though this French EPIC black metal band has released something that will be talked about at the end of the year for sure, but more importantly will be talked about like people talk about Bathory and Enslaved as the best in the genre. And I say that after feeling the exact same way about their 2019 album, Par le sang Versé. It’s rare that a band can live up to their best album, but then they go and not only do that but top it in every single conceivable way?! Almost never happens.
Also, the way they released the physical CDs is something that is so unique and fitting to what this album is. 3 different versions are emblazoned in various kinds of ancient wood. These are still available at the time of this writing. I am proud to call this the Soundtrack of the Void for March of 2022.
Thanks for hanging out in the Void with me. I’ll be dwelling here for a while. In the meantime, follow my Instagram page, @jimtendo86, for daily metal suggestions, conversation, and memes!
Stay disgusting my friends.