Published Dec 13, 2013Old Metal
By: Natalie Zina Walschots
If You Loved: Obelyskkh — Hymn To Pan
Then Listen To: Cathedral — The Last Spire
With a new generation of doomsters, like Hungary's Obelysskh, just lighting their lamps and releasing wild and decadent records that evoke a feast as well as a wake, the old guard proved this year that they still throw the best funerals. Pioneering doomsayers Cathedral erected their own monument with The Last Spire, a gravely ceremonial and intricately gothic capstone to their career. Lee Dorian and company had meticulously planned the project's funeral and executed it perfectly.
If You Loved: Anciients — Heart of Oak
Then Listen To: Amorphis — Circle
While the lush, shivering and snarling intensity of old-school blackened folk metal is still very much alive in the work of newcomers like Anciients, many of the older guard are coming increasingly quiet and introspective. Since the release of their landmark Tales from the Thousand Lakes, Amorphis have been the gold standard of death-tinged metal that draws on ancient legends and folk melodies for inspiration. Circle is their most reserved yet, pensive as an old warrior looking back on their past battles.
If You Loved: Gris — À l'Âme Enflammée, l'Äme Constellée…
Then Listen To: Von — Dark Gods: Seven Billion Slaves
If there is one genre most indebted to the pioneers of the genre, it's black metal, and from the raw production values and buzzing riffs to the fierce rejection of institutionalized religion. Von are generally recognized as the first American black metal band, and though the group (who were originally active from 1987 to 1992) initially released only a pair of demos, in 2012 they released a debut full-length debut and re-visioning of their earlier material, Satanic Blood. This year, they released the first instalment an all-new project, entitled Dark Gods: Seven Billion Slaves. Their influence can still be felt in the most blackened and blistering edges of younger bands, from Watain to French Canadian act Gris.
If You Loved: Beastwars — Blood Becomes Fire
Then Listen To: Hypocrisy — End of Disclosure
While old-school death metal possesses a feral, untamed ferocity that often sacrifices finesse for brute force, newer bands like New Zealand's Beastwars are doing an exceptional job balancing brawn and brains. It's clear to see how they are indebted to death metal regents Hypocrisy, who have long sought to embody both the violent and the cerebral. Hypocrisy have explored new subject matter while incorporating melodic and blackened elements throughout their career, culminating in the thunderous End of Disclosure.
If You Loved: Skeletonwitch — Serpents Unleashed
Then Listen To: Voivod — Target Earth
Though they've been around for nearly a decade, comparative spring chickens of the thrash genre Skeletonwitch are pushing limits on Serpents Unleashed, a twisted, tentacled effort defined by eerie, boneless strength. They've clearly been inspired by predecessors like Voivod, who released a towering, post-apocalyptic effort in 2013 that once again elevated the thrash genre. Bravely forging on after the passing of guitarist Dennis "Piggy" D'Amour, Quebec-based progressive thrash metallers Voivod sound positively triumphant on Target Earth.