It’s been about 6 months since I’ve touched Anti-Gravity Bunny or A Thick Mist. Life is different now. I still care about this stuff, I just have other priorities. I have no idea what the future of AGB/ATM looks like right now but I haven’t given it up yet.
I’m doing things differently this year. Probably most notably, no Top Drone list for the first time in 13 years. Not much drone in my life this year. Tons of metal, although that’s always the case. I know I’ve been “the drone guy” for a while but I’m trying to embrace change and not let the guilt from my self-imposed obligations get the better of me. Instead, I’m doing one Top Metal list with some extras.
First up are the 10 incredible records by artists that have gotten plent of attention from me before. As usual, I try to share the love. Also, a lot of them are pretty well known by now.
Then there’s 20 honorable mentions plus 2 noteworthy compilations. The honorable mentions aren’t a bunch of mediocre records that I just wanted to show off how much I listened to, these are all amazing. I included them for those of you looking to dig deeper. I didn’t write anything about them but they’re all linked to Bandcamp streams. I’m more than happy to talk about them if you are looking for more specific recommendations.
Then there’s the Top 10, and like the 2 previous lists before it, it’s unranked, for no reason other than I didn’t want to rank them this year.
As always: Thanks for reading. Thanks for listening. Thanks for making incredible music. And especially this time, thanks for sticking around.
Previously seen on AGB
Astronoid – Radiant Bloom
The Body & OAA – Enemy Of Love
Cavernlight – As I Cast Ruin Upon The Lens That Reveals My Every Flaw
Dead Neanderthals – Metal
Liturgy – As The Blood Of God Bursts The Veins Of Time
Mamaleek – Diner Coffee
Mizmor – Wit’s End and Mizmor & Thou – Myopia
Olhava – Reborn
RLYR – RLYR
Vile Creature & Bismuth – A Hymn Of Loss And Hope
Agriculture – The Circle Chant
Bad Manor – The Haunting
Black Metal Rainbows
Cabinet – Claustrophobic Dysentery and Pt. III Get In… (Enter The Cabinet)
Deathbell – A Nocturnal Crossing
Desiccation – Cold Dead Earth
E-L-R – Vexier
Gudsforladt – Friendship, Love, And War
Messa – Close
Müür – Grief Ascension
Oldest Sea – Strange And Eternal
Orphaned – Hate Has Consequences
Ostots – Madarikazioa
Pušča (пуща)- Éphémère
Send The Pain Below
Sigh – Shiki
Spider God – Black Renditions
Terra – Für Dich Existiert Das Alles Nicht
Trhä – Vat Gëlénva!!!
Weeping Coffin – F.B.I.
Black Math Horseman – Black Math Horseman (Profound Lore)
First album in 13 years and I am fuckin psyched to have them back. Absolutely vicious psych doom with Sera Timms of Ides Of Gemini on vocals here too. It’s only 25 minutes but it’s some of the best 25 minutes this year has to offer.
It Is Dead – Hell Is Now (Auris Apothecary)
Furious black sludge debut that hits hard in the first 10 seconds and never lets up. The members are politically active too, by which I mean they’ve shown up in news photos punching Nazis.
Ode And Elegy – Ode And Elegy (self released)
A majestic hour-long opus with all flavors of metal and weirdness. Conceived by Kent Fairman Wilson and Harold Taddy, this single track of doom folk classical magic features tons of additional contributions like a choir, a harp, strings, woodwinds, brass instruments, and everything else.
The Otolith – Folium Limina (Blues Funeral)
I can’t tell you how much I miss SubRosa. More Constant Than The Gods is one of my most replayed records. The Otolith is made up of 4 of SubRosa’s numerous members, including violinists/vocalists Sarah Pendleton and Kim Pack, so naturally I’m all over this. SubRosa’s main singer Rebecca Vernon isn’t present here which is a huge bummer, but The Otolith still fills that SubRosa-shaped hole in my heart. Oh and in case you didn’t notice the subtext, The Otolith sounds a lot like SubRosa (but they’ve got their own vibe going on).
Pyrithe – Monuments To Impermanence (Gilead Media)
This is without a doubt the record I’ve listened to more than anything else this year. They’re kind of like a prog-sludge version of RLYR in that they’re all over the place genre-wise and every moment is a fucking triumph.
Scarcity – Aveilut (Flenser)
The weirder the better is true almost 100% of the time with music and this is the epitome of weird metal. If I say black metal plus drone, you might envision some winterscape stuff like Paysage d’Hiver. But Scarcity make black metal drone unlike anything else you’ve heard. This sounds like it’s informed more by Charlemagne Palestine than Darkthrone, kinda like if Important Records put out a black metal album. If I had to pick a favorite this year, it’d probably be this one.
Ultha – All That Has Never Been True (Vendetta)
No idea why I thought Ultha was a new band. Although I’m not gonna lie, there are dozens of metal bands with short names that start with the letter U and I can’t keep em straight (see below), so that’s my excuse for not knowing about Ultha until now. This is just some straight atmospheric black metal that hits all the right spots. Not the most special but absolutely the best.
Unru – Die Wiederkehr Des Verdrängten (Babylon Doom Cult)
Not to be confused with Unruh or Unruhe or Unsu or Untru, Unru make some premium doomed black metal with keyboards and organs which means I am automatically in. Don’t be fooled by the 8-minute opening track of Sunn O))) worship with ethereal vocals, the remaining 45 minutes are a relentless onslaught of serious destruction and the clean vocals just fucking kill me.