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May 2017 Highlights – TO STAFF

Music to me has always been a gateway away from reality. But these days I come to understand as to how this world’s reality shapes and influences music, while the music itself offers escapism to those that seek it during troubled times. The past few weeks have just added more reasons and examples as to why this world is turning into this terrible place. It’s good that we had some solid metal and punk releases to lean on this month. ~ Shrivatsan R

Amiensus (USA) – All Paths Lead to Death (Black / Death Metal, Apathia Records)


Minneapolis based Amiensus joins the ranks of excellent USBM bands with excellent 2017 releases with the excellent ‘All Paths Lead to Death’, a five-song EP of blackened battering and frankly stunning melody. The marvelous clean vocals supply the latter in ample amounts without being gimmicky, ascending in angelic fashion over clear-cut guitar and drum production that ripple with American flash and virtuosity. There’s no shredding here per se, but numerous standout melodies and moments will have you babbling about Amiensus in the same breath as other top related acts this year like Woe and Black Anvil. ~ Eric Seal

Burning Shadows (USA) – Truth in Legend (Heavy / Power Metal, Independent)

Burning Shadows

After an incredibly fun debut, Maryland heavy / power metallers Burning Shadows have certainly stormed onto the scene in a big way with their second release. Taking a more singular approach away from the concept album of their last effort, this one offers the same tight, crunchy riff-work that marches along at steady, mid-tempo stylings. This offers up plenty of heavy, crunchy power metal packed with plenty of melodies all coming together into one strong punch, and with the album switching nicely from mid-tempo marches to strong thrash-like gallops filled with more traditional metal riffing there’s plenty of variety throughout here. It does have a small problem with the overlong epic at the end which seems out of place and somewhat plodding, but otherwise there’s plenty to like here and becomes quite a promising effort for those that like their power metal with a heavy crunch or trad-metal fans who can appreciate power metal melodies. ~ Don Anelli

Comity (France) – A Long, Eternal Fall (Experimental Hardcore, Translation Loss Records / Throatruiner Records)


Sacre bleu! How have I never heard of this band before?! Considering my appetite for chaotic, wacky hardcore along the lines of Converge, The Dillinger Escape Plan, Car Bomb etc., these experimental Frenchmen should have been on my radar a long time ago. They are now, with the release of their latest full length ‘A Long, Eternal Fall’. While the tag says experimental hardcore, Comity tend to throw the rulebook of sub genres out the window and through the course of the album, they end up flirting with the likes of grindcore, sludge, doom, groove and even black metal. Though unpredictable, Comity does not forgo on the memorability and every nameless track here is filled with hooks to keep one coming back. If you like your music to be adventurous and rambunctious, then strap in and get on this ride. ~ Shrivatsan R

Hornets (UK) – Witch Hunt (Crust Punk, Solid Choice Industries)


Extreme music is filled with bands named after “satanic” animals like goat, rats etc. But everyone seems to forget the stingy, swarmy bastards that are truly the incarnations of evil. Northern Ireland’s Hornets get what I’m talking about. This crust punk group had been working on its debut full length ‘Witch Hunt’ for about 3 years. Now that its finally unleashed, I can go ahead and claim that this is one of the best punk releases you’ll hear this year. This record has everything one would expect from a metallic punk record from thrashcore ragers to sludgy meanderings and everything in between. This LP is chock full of riffs, with a predilection for d-beat assaults that’s sure to get one hooked. All the riffs and melodies are meticulously put together, not much different from the stunning artwork that you see above. Like a swarm of pissed off Hornets, these guys come at you with rage filled music that manages to both excite and entice. ~ Shrivatsan R

Nokturnal Mortum (Ukraine) – Verity (Blackened Folk Metal, Independent)

Nokturnal Mortum

2017 has been a series of very difficult months when it comes to picking the BEST album. I had a few contenders this May, but ultimately I have to give it to Ukranian black / pagan metal band Nokturnal Mortum. I’ve been hyping this album for a few years now, with high expectations due to their stellar previous outing, 2010’s ‘The Voice Of Steel.’ Fortunately, NM have utterly nailed it with ‘Verity’. From the first throwback horn blast to the final notes, this is a masterpiece that should be eaten up by fans of Moonsorrow and the like. The lush compositions and varied instrumentation elevate the folk metal genre to new heights; and furthermore justify the 7 years it has taken the band to put this album together. You need to listen to truly understand the talent it took to write ‘Verity’, and I also encourage you to buy one of the beautiful, lovingly crafted physical versions available. I know I did. ~ FlightOfIcarus

The Ruins of Beverast (Germany) – Exuvia (Black / Doom Metal, Ván Records)

Ruins of Beverast

The raw, primal side of bands like Rotting Christ is what drew me to black metal in the first place, and acts like Alexander von Meilenwald’s solo project The Ruins of Beverast are what’s going to keep me there. The entrancing blackened doom of Exuvia’ billows with ritual pyre smokiness, convincing me that I’ve taken a long drag off some dubious ceremonial implement. The pounding rhythms and ominous vocal performance are more potent than any mood-altering drug, providing a high I’m likely to seek out again many times this year — you should gather your friends and do the same. ~ Eric Seal

Vin de Mia Trix (Ukraine) – Palimpsests (Doom Metal, Hypnotic Dirge Records / Cimmerian Shade Recordings)

Vin de mia Trix

Let’s not mince words – this is an absolutely stunning album. It’s an ambitious release too, containing 98 minutes of colossal, weighty, emotive doom metal spread out over only four tracks. ‘Palimpsests’ is epic and adventurous, taking the listener on what is not only an epic journey, but an outright odyssey of texture, rich emotion, and dark atmosphere. Merging together elements of doom metal, post-metal, funeral doom, atmospheric doom, progressive rock, and the death / doom styles, Vin de Mia Trix have created a hideously impressive masterpiece with ‘Palimpsests’. This is an album that just needs to be experienced. I urge you in the strongest possible manner to go and do just this, as soon as you can. Bathe in the luscious, sumptuous waters that Vin de Mia Trix provide for your refreshment; this is music not commonly encountered and should be loved and savoured accordingly. ~ Nigel Holloway



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