When Brazilian thrash legends Sepultura parted ways with frontman Max Cavalera in 1996, many thought that would be the end of the road. An acrimonious divorce that seemed to favour neither party, the remaining members auditioned several well known musicians before eventually choosing Ohio born Derrick Green as the man to replace the outgoing Cavalera brother.
Blackwater Holylight – Silence/Motion
With Blackwater Holylight’s unique brand of Doomgaze getting gradually heavier with each passing album, it makes sense that their third full-length, Silence/Motion (RidingEasy Records), pushes that heaviness to its furthest extents yet.
Having established itself with a series of singles since their 2019 formation, Tasmania’s Fierce Deity takes an epic step forward with Power Wisdom Courage (Self-Released). Having three songs total to a thirty-two-minute runtime puts this release on that weird line between an album and an EP and seeing these tracks sprawl to ten-plus minute lengths results in a release with an epic scope and a compact execution. Fortunately, these seemingly contradictory elements end up coming together well to form an incredibly triumphant work of Stonerized Power Metal.
Just when you thought there were no genres left to combine, up pops Ohio act Untamed Land with Scandinavian riffs and a cowboy hat, delivering an album that sounds like the soundtrack to The Good, The Bad & The Ugly if it had been written by Satyricon.
By the time Floridian thrashers Trivium released their second album, Ascendancy (Roadrunner Records) in 2005, the band were locked firmly into an upward trajectory which promised nothing short of global domination. Unfortunately, things didn’t quite work out as planned but the four-piece still remain one of the most successful metal acts around today despite having to constantly push against an unrelenting tide of haters who decided sometime during the mid-late ’00s that Trivium just weren’t metal enough any more or something.
There is a powerful being that has arrived with one goal in mind: wreak havoc over everyone and everything until existence itself is all but wiped out. But it’s not a pandemic, it’s Praenuntius. The South-African six-piece Vulvodynia is responsible for this entity, and they’ve told its story via Praenuntius Infiniti (Unique Leader Records) in the form of crushing Deathcore and downright nightmarish lyrics.
Crystal Spiders – Morieris
With the second Crystal Spiders album, Morieris (Ripple Music), coming out just a year after Molt, it’s fair to say that it picks up where its predecessor left off. The guitar has a more noticeable presence courtesy of producer Mike Dean playing a more hands on role in the proceedings, but the songs remain primarily driven by Brenna Leath’s thumping bass and attitude-filled howls along with Tradd Yancey’s muscular drumming.
Although 1976’s Technical Ecstasy (Vertigo/BMG) is unlikely to ever be viewed as a top tier release among most Black Sabbath fans, the fact that it exists at all goes to demonstrate the Birmingham foursome’s resilience and determination in those early days, if not the focus.
Formed in 2016, Devon’s Cistvaen are building a solid reputation for themselves within the UK extreme metal scene. Taking their name (literally translating to “stone chest”) from a type of ancient burial chamber often found in the South West of England, the five-piece’s brand of doomy atmospheric black metal suits them down to the ground.
It has been thirty years since drummer / vocalist Jonas Renske and Anders “Blackheim” Nyström began a musical journey that would see them evolve from a studio-only project exploring their darker musical tastes to becoming one of the most respected purveyors of melancholic and post-Gothic music; always evolving with each album, embracing Gothic and progressive metal, and always distinctively Katatonia.