As we hurtle towards the end of the year, the inevitable lull in new heavy music releases is taking hold. Things are beginning to die down; we’re grateful, too, because we need to find some time to put together our Albums of the Year lists. So, with the new stuff drying up, this week’s Picks is something of a wrap-up of some recent records we either saw at release time or didn’t, but haven’t yet recommended.
Purely in the interests of making it official, it’s impossible for us to not include Hardwired… To Self-Destruct here having given it such a positive review. And we are genuinely loving Metallica’s new record, despite a couple of noteworthy flaws. The riffs are enormous and there’s a little run of total bangers on each disc that are the best music Metallica have made in about 20 years. ‘Now That We’re Dead’ into instant classic ‘Moth Into Flame’ into the on-a-dime tempo changes of ‘Dream No More’? Please. Bookended by thrashy ragers, Hardwired…To Self-Destruct is a hard rock riff orgy and James Hetfield is en fuego. A great Metallica album in 2016. We can’t quite believe it.
Behind The Dark Ice
Listeners of That’s Not Metal will be aware of the debut album from Swiss metal crew Frozen Gate, a release we missed at the end of the summer but which is undeniable with winter setting in. We were rendered skeptical by the promise/threat of symphonic black metal, but Behind The Dark Ice is a genuinely enlightening fusion of extreme metal and classical music – none of your half-arsed strings here. From the very beginning, through stunning compositions including but not limited to ‘I Am The Rising God’, ‘Evangelium, Pt. II – The Revelation’ and ‘Frozen Heart’, this album is absolutely sensational. A phenomenal debut record.
Serpents is the latest outing from Grenoble metallic hardcore band Eight Sins. While it’s unlikely to make a permanent mark beyond its immediate circle of influence in a year like this, it’s worth dipping in you’ve half an hour to spare. This album isn’t exactly brimming with originality but it’s riffy and it’s fun, and although it could do without the cinematic inserts there’s a lot to like. From the thudding breakdown in ‘Vultures’ and the crushing main riff of ‘Filled With Hate’ to the hardcore rumble of ‘Ten Years’ and the irresistible bounce of ‘I’m What I Fear’, there’s something here for you. That something isn’t everything, but then who’s setting the bar here anyway?
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Don’t forget: you can buy WAVE’s debut EP The First Wave digitally, or as part of a Limited Edition physical run, from our Bandcamp page.