Each Friday, Editors Ted Nubel and Jon Rosenthal will share their picks for Records of the Week—not necessarily what's out this week, just whatever's on our mind or on our record players.


Jon Rosenthal


Fall-Dark Waters

Operating somewhere between gothic metal, doom metal, and darkwave, Decoryah's fairly singular final album Fall-Dark Waters is a moody masterpiece. Gathering influence from Projekt Records' '80s-'90s output and Paradise Lost alike, Decoryah did the unthinkable and made… actually gothic metal. This isn't a vampiric affair, nor are there castles or lace-clad characters, rather this Finnish trio took influence from the music that actual goths were listening to at the time (and before) and made it heavy. Fall-Dark Waters is an overwhelming listen, often deeply orchestrated with many layers of keyboards, violin, and then, of course, the canonical rock band format, resulting in deeply emotive music. While listening to it this morning while writing this paragraph a bit too late, I found myself pausing to simply proclaim just how good this album is. Decoryah broke up in 1997, a year after releasing this album, ending what was supposed to be a seven album deal with Metal Blade two albums in, but apparently songwriter Jukka Vuorinen reformed Decoryah in 2019. What happens next remains to be seen.


Ted Nubel

Funereal Presence


While editing the soon-to-be-posted "Best of Q1" feature, I happened to reread Luke Jackon's UMR blurb for Spirit Possession, which described the band as a sort of "Funereal Presence without the cowbell." First of all, this triggered a vital neuron connection in my brain that finally helped me remember the name of this damn album, and secondly, I felt a great pang of sadness. Black metal needs to be moving toward more cowbell, not less, and if there's any album that proves it, it's this one.

Combining moody and generally just odd black metal with reverb-drenched, acrobatic heavy metal, Achatius feels like an ancient, unearthed mystery. Every part of it feels delightfully cryptic, draped in intrigue and ready to reveal horrifying, yet dazzling secrets of the past. Speaking more plainly, the long-form tracks offer a sense of immersion that has yet to be truly outdone by anything that came after this album–granted, it's only about four years old, but never have I heard a black metal album (or any genre, really) that made cowbell feel so… magical.

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