Holy moly! look at that new logo! It’s the most disgustingly beautiful thing I have ever seen! I want to send a huge shoutout to Arketipe! He does incredible work, incredibly fast! I will certainly be working with him again in the future.
Can you believe we are halfway through with 2022 already? Sheesh man, I feel like I just was starting this blog back in January and here we already are! This summer is also special for me because this is my 25th anniversary in metal. The year was 1998. I was 11 years old and addicted to MTV (back when they showed music videos). 1998 was actually a killer year for music in general. Not only that, pop culture as a whole was nothing but awesome. I’m sure I am looking at that through nostalgia glasses, but I don’t care. Life was good and the music was awesome.
But you’re not here to listen to me talk about pop music in the 90s (although I really could), you want to hear me talk about metal!
So, beginning of summer 1998 I have MTV on in the background as I did most mornings, but I was packing for a trip to Austin for a week. I had everything pretty much packed up, and the Christmas prior I had gotten my first CD walkman. It was a Sony, black with a flat top and rounded bottom with the stabilizer that didn’t work and bass boost. If you’re in your 30s like me, you either had this or knew someone who did. The one thing I did not have was a CD binder, so I had to be very meticulous with what I was packing. I couldn’t take everything. So I took the essentials: Spice Girls, Hanson, Puff Daddy, and the Space Jam soundtrack.
I feel like I must interject here to let you know that I did not have parents that were into metal, nor cousins, friends, or anybody. The closest would be my Dad who at the time I thought just listened to old people’s music (as 11-year-olds do) when really he was listening to the best of the best of prog rock from the 60s and 70s. Another story for another time. But for me, heavy music had to be discovered on my own. All I had was the local pop station 104.1 KRBE, everything else in my eyes at the time was garbage. OK, back to the story
All of a sudden as we are wrapping up getting ready for the trip a new block of videos came on under the banner of MTV’s Return of the Rock hosted by Tommy Lee, and the very first music video was The Memory Remains by Metallica. I had never heard music like that before. It literally spoke to me. I also remember my dad walking into my room and saying in a “metal” type voice, “METALLICA!” I asked him if he had ever heard of them and he was like, yeah, they are the biggest heavy metal band in the world. I begged him to take me to Walmart (the only place that sold CDs near me) so we could pick this up. He said yes, and we were off. That’s when I saw it, an album that looked like a bunch of fire and blood mixed together (not what it was…) and on the back what looked like demons on the back. We got to the car and then I opened it up so fast, popped it in, and I was greeted with the into lines of the song Fuel, I felt a rush of adrenaline I had never felt before. My life was different There is Jim BM and Jim AM, before and after metal.
Alright, that was then, this is now! I’m sure you are here to see what were the best extreme metal albums of May 2022. May was a slower month. Slower than April for sure. Probably the slowest month we have had all year as far as new releases go. A ton of cool stuff was announced and a lot of great dungeon synth and other ambient styles of music, but for metal, not much. However, the albums that did kick-ass, kicked a lot of ass. Here are my picks for the three best EPs and five best LPs of May 2022.
Mournful Congregation – The Exuviae of Gods, Pt. 1
20 Buck Spin
Funeral Doom has never been my favorite. I do tend to like something a little more fast and more intense. However, when done right, you have some of the best heavy music to exist. Just look at Worm’s Foreverglade album from last year. I think that album is a masterpiece. Literally, it’s pretty much perfect. While I don’t believe this 3 track EP from Australia slow-burners is up there with that, I do believe this is my favorite piece of Funeral Doom so far this year. Coming in at just three tracks but at a whopping 37 minutes, you know what you’re getting yourself into. Dark and evil stuff here, but presented in the most beautiful way.
Haserot – Throne of Malice
Redefining Darkness Records
I love it when I get to say this. Haserot is a death metal band from HOUSTON, TEXAS BAY-BAY! Sorry, I just like it when bands start to become noticed that are from my home. I was giddy when Malignant Altar booked MDF. This EP is heavy! Riffs on riffs for days. This is no-frills death metal. As pretty as the Mournful Congregation EP was, this album is just as filthy in the best ways possible. Also, their logo and artwork used in this presentation are absolutely killer. you know I’m a sucker for that. This may be just me, but I swear, and this is especially on the track Incantations at Dusk, I hear a little bit of early Opeth in it as well. Very cool EP.
Clairvoyance – Threshold of Nothingness
As the cover art hints, this EP is absolute darkness and chaos. This EP is a war that lasts for a bit over 23 minutes before it comes to a blistering end. the riffs are chugging at their finest, the solos here would make Jeff Hanneman smile, and the drumming is spot-on, not too over the top but literally exactly how you’d want them to sound. All in all this unrelenting wall of death metal from this Polish 5-piece will have you thrashing around your living room for days.
Vital Spirit – Still as the Night, Cold as the Wind
One thing I didn’t realize would happen when starting this blog, a blog that I predominantly wanted to focus on death metal, was that I’d discover how much amazing black metal there is out there. I’ve always had a love-hate relationship with the genre because of the not-so-savory aspects, but I feel like today, so many bands are embracing how deep the genre can go, and how far you can bend it without breaking it. Two albums on this list did that masterfully this past month, one of which comes from this amazing Canadian duo in Vital Spirit.
The ferociousness of the first two tracks coupled with the interludes and moments of calm before the storm doesn’t seem forced or formulaic at all. They fit together like a perfectly cut jigsaw puzzle that displays the darkness of our origins as a western society and the cruel history that make it up.
This entry and the number 1 entry, that you’ll see in a bit have so much in common. they bend the forks of what black metal can be much like I mentioned before, and I believe this as well as the 1st entry will be talked about a lot not just at the end of the year, but beyond that as well.
Mutilatred – Determined to Rot
Brutal Death Metal
Redefining Darkness Records
Ready to have your skull caved in? I mentioned no-frills earlier on the Clairvoyance EP, well this has even fewer frills than that. If you want me to explain the intricacies and the ideas behind this album, why? This is a fucked brutal death metal album. You will either like it by that definition or won’t. One thing I will say though is that the production is fantastic! Really drives home the guttural brutality of this record. If you’ve been clamoring for a new Sanguisugabogg or 200 Stabwounds record and you haven’t given this a spin, do it now!
P.S. How come every killer death metal band is coming out of Ohio, or like some random mid-west state?
Obscene – …from Dead Horizons to Dead Horizons
See?! This quartet is from Indiana. Look, hopefully, you don’t think I am disparaging your states or anything. I live in texas. A lot of not cool things are happening here right now.
Anyway, if you’re a fan of OSDM (old school death metal) and not listening to this new crop of bands, what are you even doing. These aren’t just your run-of-the-mill Obituary or Cannibal Corpse clones, these bands are taking the groundwork that was built for them and re-thinking everything. And with much better production!
This is the second full-length album from Obscene and there is no sophomore slump here. I absolutely love the vocals on this album. It compliments every other aspect of this death metal album without sticking to all of the traditional norms that we expect from the genre. At first, I thought the eerie intro was a bit out of place before getting punched in the face by sheer metallic terror with, “I Shall Drink the Earth’s Blood,” but when listening to it all together and listening to the misanthropic tone of the album on a lyrical basis, it makes sense and really adds to the originality of this one.
Cosmic Putrefaction – Crepuscular Dirge for the Blessed Ones
Profound Lore Records
Do really talented people make you mad? Like, they obviously shouldn’t but sometimes jealousy just can’t be fought off. I listened to this album without any previous knowledge of Cosmic Putrefaction. This came as a recommendation from KMäNriffs (definitely go give him a follow). When coming up with this list I knew I wanted this album here. After doing a little bit of research, I see that it’s a solo project… A SOLO PROJECT!!!! This album has everything; killer artwork, an amazing logo, and the music is all from one person named Gabriele Gramaglia. And he’s still so young too. Literally, he can take over metal along with Phantomslaughter from Worm if he wanted to.
This album is clever. As it doesn’t feel like a non-stop death metal assault. It definitely has some very creative progressions that are still pummeling but different enough from the norm to stand out like a sore thumb, in the best way possible. The subtle keys in tracks like Amniotic Bewilderment are especially complimentary. And the bass work is wonderful. Perhaps my favorite bass mixes so far this year. All in all an absolute banger from start to finish.
Nechochwen – Kanawha Black
Folk/Black Metal, Neofolk
Bindrune Recordings is a label that is the epitome of quality over quantity. What the lack in releases they make up for almost every one of them is an absolute classic of their respected genres. I became familiar with the label in 2015 when I heard Panopticon’s masterpiece, Autumn Eternal, which is probably my favorite metal record of the 2010s. From there I of course wanted to check out the rest of their roster, and the other band that stood out to me was Nechochwen. That same year they released an incredible full length called, Heart of Akamon. I was in love. I became obsessed with bands identified as, “Cascadian Black Metal”. Their lyrics meant something. It was incredible-sounding music that took you on a journey that was different than everything else. it wasn’t just darkness, war, satan, etc. They were singing about historical atrocities and real people in real aspects of time. It told a story not told in black metal or really anything outside of storytelling folk music.
In the seven years since their last full length, they have released a couple of splits (one with Panopticon) and a live album. But in 2022 in a post-pandemic world where so much ugliness has come to life, they deemed us worthy of a new release titled Kanawha Black.
This album is beautiful. In a world of darkness, this is the light we need. They definitely took a step back on the black metal aspects of the album and the native American aspects are still very present, but now we are presented with doom riffs and 70’s style prog rock that isn’t just Kansas worship. You can tell so much love not only for the music but also for the story that this album represents.
I can’t pick out but one track to listen to give you a full sense of what this album is. Maybe, The Murky Deep, but I implore you to listen to this one from start to finish.
Not only is this so far my favorite record of the year, but I would also say this may be up there with Worm’s Foreverglade and Stormkeep’s Tales from Othertime as albums of the decade.
Thank you so much for taking the time out of your day to check this out. If you found this blog from other means than my Instagram page, please consider giving me a follow. I post daily metal content and then some. If I hit 700 followers by the end of June 2022, I’m going to have stickers made up of the new logo. Please click the image below, and as always…