Review: Altars of Grief – Iris

Altars of Grief - Iris Cover [2018]

Label: Hypnotic Dirge Records

Despite being “only” 55 minutes long, Iris feels much, much longer. The second album from Altars of Grief is a leviathan of blackened, gothic doom, filled with a spirit that is equal parts mournful and furious. Telling the tale of a father who abandons his sick daughter, only to die and be condemned to watch her slowly succumb to illness, it is every bit as bright as the subject matter implies. And yet, there is something curiously addictive about the album, leaving listeners coming back for more, despite the heart-breaks they know will follow.  Continue reading


Album of the Day: Celtic Frost – Monotheist


Label: Century Media

There shouldn’t be much confusion as to why the final album from Celtic FrostMonotheist, deserves to be album of the day for practically every day, but in case you’ve forgotten – go listen to it. And then again. And then listen to it some more. It might not be a perfect album, and it can be a little difficult to get in to, but once it clicks – well, at that stage, it’s obvious why this is one of the best albums released thus far in the millennium.

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Album of the Day: My Dying Bride – Turn Loose the Swans


Label: Peaceville Records

I know it wasn’t that long ago that I named an album by My Dying Bride as an album of the day, but that I do so again so quickly should say a lot about how highly I regard this band, and this album. Turn Loose the Swans is an album of infinite sorrow and grace, its sense of drama matched only by the quality of the music contained within. Grandiose to the point of self-parody, it succeeds simply because the songs themselves are so good, and played with such conviction, that to protest about the album’s weaknesses is to miss the point of it completely.

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Album of the Day: Allfather – Bless the Earth With Fire


Label: Self-released

Allfather want you to have fun when you listen to metal. Their debut album, Bless the Earth With Fire is full of the same kind of hard-hitting, powerful riffage as the likes of High on Fire, and it’s every bit as enjoyable. Wedding huge doom/stoner riffs to a hardcore sense of energy, this album is one sure to inspire headbanging and mosh pits in equal measure, making metal feel as exciting, as vital, and as fun as it ever did.

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Review: The Black Swamp – Witches


Label: Self-released

The press release accompanying this release states that The Black Swamp formed “for the love of the riff” – and judging by their latest EP, Witches, they fully understand the power of the riff. This four-track record is filled with sludge heaviness and a subtle sense of melody, with an ear for hooks that makes the EP addictive. Somewhere between Crowbar, Black Sabbath, and Mastodon, Witches is a rip-roaring feast of riff worship, as heavy and thick as the blackest sludge, whilst also possessing a blues-infused sense of groove and melody.

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Album of the Day: High on Fire – Death is this Communion


Label: Relapse Records

At what point do you realise that a band aren’t just a good band, but one that, in years to come, will be talked about as a great band; the kind who transcend genre, who practically everyone in to metal agrees that, yes, that band are awesome. For High on Fire, I think that point came with Death is this Communion, even if maybe we didn’t all realise it at the time. This is the point that proved – if there was any doubt – that High on Fire were in it for the long-haul, and deserve to be talked about in terms of the masters of the riff.

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