Grand Nexion Abyss
— Guitars galore; strummed to galaxy-driven solos to technical. Textures and genres include technical death, melodic black, and a blast of proggy lurches and massive riffs. A chilling rasp of a vocalist drops perfectly to the hottest muscular. Huge album.
PUPIL SLICER (UK)
Wounds Upon My Skin
— Yes, this album is that good. Not just another Dillinger; this pulls its weight from all directions. Grind and noise make way for massive riffs and groove with unexpected moments. Her vocals are strength and agony.
— Lighten this shit UP, with some brutal hardcore. Richmond in the HIZ-HOOOOOUSE. Appropriate fist on the album cover.
MARE COGNITUM (Portland)
— Intricately woven guitar and drums, building to always something bigger. The suffocation is manageable with breaks of melody and a softened edge. Always stellar.
— A duo that has packed it all in there: sharp, angular, chaotic black metal sweetened with drama. It will take time to figure it out.
— Another 2-piece with a powerful weaponized vocal, an equally effective drum, and moments of beer rock’n’roll warming it all up.
LUNAR SHADOW (Germany)
And Silence Screamed
— 80’s heavy metal soul with poignant lyrics and reflective ballads. Emotional and solid.
— Pronounced Dune. Thick, rich sludge with proggy overtones and epic breakdowns. A cool breeze of post-metal and experimental ambient really break it apart.
— Two Scottish bands in a row! This is the most medieval warrior wintry black forest black metal you’ll hear in a while.
— I wondered how the vocalist Gray Tolhurst, son of the Cure's drummer/keyboardist, ended up in San Francisco. He was going to college here! He pushed away cold wave and post-punk for a long time, and finally broke down. We should be so lucky. This is a luscious, poppy, misting, moody, dreamy album.