Astute readers may have noticed that we skipped the January edition of this column. That's because everything released in January sucked.

I'm kidding, of course, but January is always a slow month, so if you weren't paying attention to releases you certainly weren't alone. While I have the spotlight here, I'll briefly shout out a few key albums: 40 Watt Sun – Perfect Light, Tony Martin – Thorns, and Tension – Decay. Good stuff, I promise!

On to February—we've got four albums we can't recommend strongly enough for you, but I also need to demand that you go listen to Immolation's new album right now if it somehow escaped your gaze. The purpose of this column has always been to collect our writers' favorites and bring some more light to vital releases that readers might miss, but I also really need to make sure you hit this one.

—Ted Nubel


Ted Nubel
Sin StarlettSolid Source of Steel
February 22nd, 2022

As the gleaming album art implies, Solid Source of Steel is an album absolutely brimming with chrome-plated heavy metal. Beyond committing to an aesthetic (and nailing it), Sin Starlett's latest album succeeds due to memorable songwriting that combines extremely catchy melodies with unstoppable forward momentum. The charmingly bizarre vocals and overabundance of solos help, too, but if I'm being honest, it's the absurdly tasty melodic hooks that keep me coming back to this album.

It's fairly commonplace these days to make an album in this style and have it sound like it came out in the 1980s, but Sin Starlett achieves that and also pulls out some riffs that can contend with the best of that venerable time period.


Jon Rosenthal
SvrmЧервів майбутня здобич
February 21st, 2022

Слава Україні!

Red Cross
People in Need
International Medical Corps
Ukrainian Crisis Fund


Tom Morgan
February 25th, 2022

This was one of those albums that I fell in love with immediately upon hearing it. I was aware of Tuskar’s existence–the London sludge metal duo have been gaining traction on the UK scene for a few years now–but nothing prepared me for how much I was going to enjoy their debut full-length. The advance singles "To The Sky" and "Grave" promised a newfound confidence from the band, along with songwriting that was sharper, more elegant and jam-packed with even more ideas than their previous two EPs.

There’s an 'everything you love about this genre' quality to Matriarch. For fans of the specific branch of twenty-first century sludge metal that blended progressive, technical and stoner metal influences into its viscous brew, Matriarch is a simply irresistible creation. There's endless heavy grooves to get your teeth into, along with copious shredding (the fiddly riffs of "Into The Sea"), melody ("Halcyon Gilt'"s entrancing buildups) and raw emotion ("Shame'"s screamo-esque cathartic lulls). The energy, soul and creativity present on these seven tracks will make you fall a little bit in love with Tuskar, and get seriously excited for what their future holds.


Tom Campagna
Mortuary DrapeWisdom – Vibration – Repent
February 11th, 2022

Italian black metal legion Mortuary Drape return hot on the heels of signing a record deal to Peaceville Records with a new EP, Wisdom – Vibration – Repent; it's their first proper release of new material since 2014's underappreciated Spiritual Independence. This is second wave black metal with bass featured prominently in the mix, bouncing along with ghoulish delight and catchier than one might normally expect from black metal. Four of the tracks, including "All In One Night," are new and showcase galloping riffs and frontman Wildness Perversion's growled vocal style, all contained within typical heavy metal structures. This is black metal played without much thought for the last 30 years. Mortuary Drape evolved in their own vacuum.
"The Drape" make sure to pay tribute to black metal forebears Mercyful Fate with a cover of the classic "Nightmare Be Thy Name," one that doesn't grow stale with their own darker, heavier spin on the song. The bass lines pop on this version, but that has always been an X-factor of sorts for this band. If you want to get familiar with these legends in under 25 minutes, look no further than Wisdom – Vibration – Repent; the catacombs are always looking for another corpse for their crypt.


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