JORDAN’S TOP 5
MADDER MORTEM – “Marrow” (2018)
Norwegian, progressive, folk, alt, doom
The latter part of this month was spent obsessively poring over every detail of Madder Mortem’s seventh album Marrow, which saw release on 21 September. Watch out for my review next week, and in the meantime, enjoy the video for ‘Far From Home,’ created by Costin Chioreanu (who also did Oceans of Slumber’s ‘No Color, No Light’). Then go and listen to the album. You won’t regret the experience. Album of the year contender.
DRUNEMETON – “Disciples of the Old Faith” (2018)
Russian, folk, pagan, black
I was instantly captivated by the evocative medieval intro, full of hoofbeats and clinking of swords, but I didn’t get my hopes up: usually these atmospheric openers give way to ear-murdering low-fi disappointment. But Drunemeton (whom I think is mainly one lone man, the mysterious Grannus) have continued the trend of genuinely consistent pagan black metal releases this year, along with (for example) Kroda’s Selbstwelt and Horn’s Retrograd EP. Modern life is rubbish, but this is epic.
<PIG> – “Risen” (2018)
British, industrial metal, rock, electronic
Industrial legend Raymond Watts has collaborated with the likes of KMFDM and Einstürzende Neubauten, and <PIG> is his long-running side project. His lyrics are dark and witty, accompanied by music that’s just plain dirty. Like Killing Joke, Depeche Mode, and many others from among his musical contemporaries in the UK, he’s getting better with age, and I think ‘Risen’ is his best and heaviest album to date.
VISIGOTH – “Conqueror’s Oath” (2018)
American, traditional, epic, power
I’ve been in love with this one since the day it came out, and it’s become a bit of a ritual with me to blast it through my headphones when I arrive at work on a Monday morning to make me feel like I’m not a sad old bureaucrat but a warrior queen. Classic riffs, rousing tunes, and an excellent performance from singer Jake Rogers. My favourite vocal moment of the year is the opener of ‘Traitor’s Gate.’ It just does something to me, as all good metal vox should.
UNTAMED LAND – “Between the Winds” (2018)
American, atmospheric, black
I don’t know who this Patrick Kern guy is, but he’s proof that spending five hours trawling through Bandcamp’s new arrivals is occasionally a worthwhile enterprise. Untamed Land is his black-metal-meets-spaghetti-western project, and it’s simply something I’ve never heard of before. I love black metal’s versatility and the way it can be combined successfully with just about any topic you can think of. This is different to the Americana/bluegrass-inspired black metal of Panopticon (but check that out too), and I hope Kern continues to experiment with these themes in his music, because he’s onto something special.