Album of the Day: Spiral Skies – Blues For A Dying Planet

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Label: AOP Records

Blues for a Dying Planet is an album for those who like their metal to remember where it came from. The debut album from Spiral Skies is rooted in the sounds of yesterday, but manages to take its classic influences – with early metal being a prime part of that, but also folk and blues featuring prominently – and create occult rock that sounds exciting, invigorating these old sounds with new lifesblood. It’s a hugely enjoyable record, packed full of catchy hooks, strong melodies, and incredibly charismatic vocals.

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Album of the Day: Inconcessus Lux Lucis – The Crowning Quietus

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Label: I, Voidhanger Records

That The Crowning Quietus didn’t make my 2017 top five can only be explained by how late in the year I came to the album. Since encountering it towards the end of last year, the latest album from Inconcessus Lux Lucis has been one of my most listened-to albums, with its fearlessly creative take on black-thrash being a constant delight. The initial rush of energy has never worn off, and the progressive aspects of the album find new ways to impress me. It’s one of the best black metal albums of recent times, and deserves to be huge.

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Album of the Day: Motörhead – 1916

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Label: WTG Records

When it comes to discussions of the best Motörhead albums, the classics will inevitably pop up in any discussion. And rightfully so! Ace of Spades, Bomber, and Overkill are rightfully considered to be amongst the best albums by one of the best bands to ever walk the earth. Yet 1916 is also a solid choice, with the album showcasing a band sitting comfortably between heavy metal, loud’n’fast punk, and good old rock’n’roll. It also features a few more experimental numbers, which – depending on your opinion – are where 1916 shines or falters.

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Album of the Day: Iron Maiden – Brave New World

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Label: EMI

Brave New World was the first Iron Maiden album I heard, and as such it inevitably holds a special place for me. As with every single Iron Maiden album, it has some absolutely world-beating songs – but also a few moments that let the overall quality down. Songs like ‘The Wickerman’ and ‘Out of the Silent Planet’ are superb, and made obvious singles – but then there’s a song like ‘Nomad’ that never really goes anywhere, and the generally weak choruses. Even so, Brave New World is a great album, and one that I return to almost every summer.

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Album of the Day: Cirith Ungol – King of the Dead

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Label: Enigma / Metal Blade Records (reissues)

For the longest time, Cirith Ungol were a band that didn’t so much do nothing for me, as actively pushed me away. The reason is simple: Tim Baker’s vocals are very much a “love them or hate them” proposition, and for years, I hated them. But recently, something clicked, and I now feel that they make total sense within the context of Cirith Ungol’s doomy heavy metal. The result is that I’ve spent most of the past week listening to almost nothing except King of the Dead, which is surely their best album.

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Album of the Day: Ophicvs – Machine Gun Reaper

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Label: Austenized Records

Look at that cover. Look at it! A black horned goat! The non-more-80’s font of the album title! A dude in a leather jacket and gasmask, holding a scythe and a machine gun! If the cover to Machine Gun Reaper isn’t the best/worst cover you’ve ever seen, well, I want to know what is. Even better, the third album by Ophicvs sounds exactly how you’d hope from the cover; blackened heavy metal that’s stuck somewhere in the late 80’s, full of trashy heavy metal tropes that somehow, in the hands of the sole member of Ophicvs, come to sound so very vital and thrilling.

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Album of the Day: Visigoth – Conqueror’s Oath

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Label: Metal Blade Records

In power metal, as in many areas of life, one rule reigns supreme: go big, or go home. And by Gandalf’s beard, do Visigoth go big on Conqueror’s Oath. This is power metal of the most triumphant kind, full of epic battle hymns, designed to have you approaching your day at the office as if you were striding in to battle, with a muscular confidence and real power. As reminiscent of old Iron Maiden and Dio as it is more modern bands like Grand Magus, Conqueror’s Oath is an album of such quality and talent that it’s sure to win over even the more cynical and grim of metal fans.

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