Time marches on, and we've got ourselves another month of 2021 in the can without much positive to note on the worldly affairs side of things. We lost Trouble singer Eric Wagner to COVID-19 literally mid-tour, so that fucking sucked. If you're able to attend shows right now, make sure to treasure them (and get vaccinated), as their future is looking increasingly dubious. Here's hoping 2022 isn't a total wreck, I guess, because it's coming up real quick.

Ignoring the horrors of reality, there was a lot of great metal out this month (as always), and we have a few picks for you below. If you're looking for more things you might have missed this month, I've got a few recommendations: we talked to Portrait about their new album, and although their album is from earlier this year, this interview with Ghastly is a good read. Writer Colin Williams also reviewed the stellar new Wolves in the Throne Room album, and Colin's scene dive into Porto, Portugal is an amazing, immersive plunge.

On with the picks!

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Ted Nubel

Lucifer's FallIII - From the Deep
August 8th, 2021

True, undiluted doom is a little rare these days. Every possible offshoot you can think of is thriving, finding new ways to inject the dismal certainty of the genre into everything from black metal to grindcore, but peel away even the stoner rock offshoots and the field of "traditional doom metal" is pretty slim. The community behind it, though, is mighty—every year we still get a few records that show the ancient torches are still burning bright. Lucifer's Fall's new album III - From the Deep squarely falls into this camp; although there's obvious elements of heavy metal here, they're a necessary byproduct of being "true" doom when the metal landscape has stratified so much since that term came into creation. What was 'doom' thirty years ago is not easily classified now, at least if you want to get to any useful level of specificity.

The essentials are all here: hearty, passionate vocals, massive solemn riffs, and a healthy dollop of sheer insanity. Lucifer's Fall has no issue going slow, as the old ways dictate, but doom 'n' roll (hell, with even a song named after it) helps the band raze their way through a massive full-length offering of classic, timeless doom. Long-winded melodies and heartfelt solos wind their way through the album, providing a nice counterpoint to the titanic riffs and generally over-the-top occult lyrics. There's a lot to love here that doesn't require puritanical devotion to the classics, but the band's passion for being completely, inarguably doom comes through all the same.

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Tom Campagna

Filth Is EternalLove is A Lie, Filth Is Eternal
August 27th, 2021

Filth Is Eternal is the new moniker of Fucked and Bound, Seattle’s hardcore purveyors responsible for 2018’s tour-de-force Suffrage. Love Is A Lie, Filth Is Eternal is roughly 20 minutes of metallic hardcore played at blazing fast speeds with pained vocals via a pissed off Lisa Mungo. “The Chain” powers through all of what you want from this genre, especially something turn of the millennium-ish, with lots of thanks given to their heavy leanings on proper hardcore punk. Rah Davis’ fat bass line introduces “Private Room” properly with a slower tempo than the songs previously heard—think Converge without the wild tempo changes, but with all the aforementioned rage in aplomb.
“The Ritual” is a stop and go affair prone to circle pits and moshing...and as a matter of fact it begs for it. The album closes with the band’s title track, a 4 minute monster akin to sludgy hardcore. Mungo finishes her masterful performance behind the mic with some of the most acute pain she can muster for the last bit of this album. If you need a quick hit to get you going and pissed off, look no further.

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Colin Dempsey

Dea ArtioNebelfelder
August 13th, 2021

So much of heavy music is championed for its repulsiveness that a release best described as “refreshing” seems increasingly rare. Nebelfelder isn’t refreshing to the extent of being a boundary-shattering take on black metal, and in fact its beauty is distinct from most metal that’s routinely heralded as beautiful. By that, Nebelfelder doesn’t lift souls by paying lip service to twinkling post-rock. Dea Artio wholeheartedly embraces an atmospheric one-man black metal aesthetic, yet it typifies the splendor in that approach. It’s not beautiful like how, for example, brutal death metal can sink to such putrid levels that its revelry in filth is artful in itself. No, the Austrian artist plays to black metal’s underlying wanderlust.

With all that taken into consideration, Nebelfelder is as beautiful as it is quirky. The plodding pace is never taken to throttling extremities. Most of the time Dea Artio follows a rhythm akin to walking through the woods. Where it gets quirky is how that pace is punctuated with accordions, low chanting vocals, and synths that peer through the patchwork in the trees. While listening to Nebelfelder, these elements make sense due to Dea Artio’s phenomenal pacing. It’s only when taken in isolation that you’re struck by how quaint those accordions and synths truly are, as they don’t pierce through the mix so much as they accent the journey. They’re like fireflies cutting through the fog. Actually, that was probably their exact motivation, seeing as how nebelfeld is the German word for “patch of fog.” Again, little surprise. Dea Artio holds ancient forests, misty mountains, and the occult as his largest inspirations. Nebelfelder then plays like his own interpretation of nature through the vehicle of black metal.

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