Love month brings much to adore.
Our second iteration of The Monthly Notable is proud to host a particular set of compositions that will not only have you head over heels, but will surely resonate for months to come despite the plethora of releases still arriving.
From GODTHRYMM's Reflections to KVERLETAK's Splid, this year's Valentine's Day will host the majority of this month's elite, making it the first massive release day in the new year. With over a dozen releases to tap into on this fine day, there'll be plenty to explore with a particular few leading the charge. As crazy as Valentine's Day may be, one should not overlook last week's gems as KARG and SVART CROWN released wonders in their own right. There's variety present here, ranging from post-black metal to harrowing death doom and beyond, offering a sound palette for fans of all kinds.
Fall in love with the top records of February 2020:
KARG - Traktat (AOP Records) | February 7, 2020
Last week's arrival of Traktat marked another chapter in the long and illustrious career of frontman J.J. (HARAKIRI FOR THE SKY), one that took emotionally charged black metal to new heights. Beneath the melancholic painting of Steve Kirn lies this composition of endless pain, countered only by streaks of optimism brought forth by beautiful guitar melodies. This balance of emotional extremes is where KARG excels.
The Austrian unit does not partake in tremolo picking for the sake of tremolo picking, rather they breathe life into it. Whether it be through the shattering double bass drums or the soaring guitars, each song comes alive with hints of post-rock, grunge, and shoegaze. One could simply feel J.J.'s suffering wash over the atmospheres present throughout. Spanning at over 80 minutes, Traktat is a long lived journey that makes one of metal's rawest subgenres seem approachable to those keen to engage.
Standout tracks like Alaska and Jahr ohne Sommer are representative of the record's full potential at hand, the latter of which contains of the most heart-wrenching moments of the record. Right as the 6:59 minute mark hits, J.J. belts out a cry that is paired with one of the most ethereal guitar melodies you'll hear this year. These moments aren't far and few between as J.J. isn't a stranger to composing tracks that strike the soul. Enter this experience with your guard down and be vulnerable to the emotion lying within. With tears running down your face, you'll be pleased you did.
Stream Traktat in full below courtesy of AOP Records and order your copy HERE.
SVART CROWN - Wolves Among The Ashes (Century Media) | February 7, 2020
While KARG excelled in breaking souls down with heart ache, SVART CROWN trailblaze in the realm of catastrophe. The blackened death metal unit shatter the sound barrier with Wolves Among The Ashes with the below single Exoria being testament to that. The crystal clear production work adds damage to the gut punch delivered through Ranko Muller's explosive drum work.
With sludge and doomier elements thrown into the mix, the tempo shifts on Wolves Among The Ashes are enough to keep you guessing. At the Altar of Beauty provides the perfect example for said tempo shifts, kicking it off with a relentless black metal affair that then switches down to a heavy doom outing and vice versa. The constant changes then proceed into Down to Nowhere, the more dreary and slow paced of the offerings on Wolves Among The Ashes. As the track concludes with serene guitar melodies, Exoria kicks it right back up with a cataclysmic assault, sending one off to headbang once more. SVART CROWN have simply put together a lesson in heaviness.
Stream Exoria below and pick up your copy of the record HERE.
KVERLETAK - Splid (Rise Records) | February 14, 2020
Despite Norway's black metal recognition, the Scandinavian country produces more than just malevolent riffs with KVELERTAK's roaring rock compositions being proof of that. With a new label in Rise Records and the arrival of new vocalist Ivar Nikolaisen, Splid finds KVERLETAK venturing into new multifaceted avenues resembling that of the van Haasteren album cover representing it.
Simply said, Splid is a brilliant surge in adrenaline. Sweet heavy metal, classic rock, punk, and more collide again on this feel-good record of the month, enticing one to bang their heads along with the rumble of each bass lick. Tracks like Delirium Tremens and Crack of Doom showcase Nikolaisen at his best, alternating between blood curling screams and clean vocals while guitars soar beneath. Razor sharp riffs are scattered throughout the 11-track outing, richly layered between rollicking drum work, evident most on Bråtebrann. Kurt Ballou's (CONVERGE) contributions to the mixing and producing find the sweet spot in making this array of musical prowess sound as cohesive as ever.
As explosive as Splid is, it's a record accessible to all regardless of how you approach music. For those interested in dissecting compositions, the musicianship present here is rewarding for those patient enough to absorb the energy conduction taking place before your eyes. For those who care only to rock out, Splid makes for a kick-ass party record worthy of lighting up any venue. It's a record made for the people, by the people, so do yourself a solid and turn this up loud.
Stream Fanden ta dette hull! below and pre-order your copy HERE.
GODTHRYMM - Reflections (Profound Lore) | February 14, 2020
UK trio GODTHRYMM (ex-My Dying Bride, Vallenfyre) have brought the existential dread of early 90's death doom back to the modern age, acting as pioneers of a renaissance waiting to happen. Reminiscent of Gothic-era PARADISE LOST, Reflections isn't a homage to past greats, rather a testament to the capabilities of a trio who prove themselves as a modern force in the genre.
From it's somber opening tone to the crushing drums that follow, album opener Monsters Lurk Herein is everything you'd want to hear in a death doom outing, setting the tone for the 7-tracks to follow. Nathan Bailey's towering studio works adds an incredible amount depth to the already thunderous compositions, enveloping listeners into a chasm of epic proportions. The slow, menacing nature of The Light of You is one that is sure to take your heart for a spin, specifically as guitars spiral into the sun at the 1:53 mark. Others like lead single Among The Exalted and Cursed Are The Many set Glencross and Taylor-Steeles as a force to be reckoned within the gloomier sides of metal. Mind you, Reflections is only a debut, but the band is well on it's way to making their impact felt throughout the underground. It won't be long before GODTHRYMM ascend to reign despair upon all who bare witness.
Stream Among The Exalted below and get your copy HERE.
BLAZE OF PERDITION - The Harrowing of Hearts (Metal Blade) | February 14, 2020
Poland's BLAZE OF PERDITION have come forth to issue in their fifth-full length The Harrowing of Hearts as one of the many on this year's Valentine's Day. Despite said influx of releases, the band find no worry as the composition highlights itself as a staple in black metal creativity for it's many avant-garde qualities. It's the elements not known to the ravaging genre that spiral this composition into the wonder we at Heaviest of Art know it for, which include added vocal phrasing and rock n' roll pacing to name a few.
One should look to the The Great Seducer as a track that embodies the overall spirit for the record. From electric rock n' roll guitar solos to the sinister whispers and relentless black metal drumming, it's quite the perfect depiction of the SCHAMMASCH-like experimentation that BLAZE OF PERDITION have crafted here. With Madman's Faith carries a catchy chorus while opening track Suffering Made Bliss kicks off the album with a full frontal assault.
It goes without saying that The Harrowing of Hearts is full of life and far from simple, demonstrative of a record that is layered to perfection. Though black metal in nature, it's a departure from genre norms that finds BLAZE OF PERDITION exploring new frontiers, making this one enthralling listen.
Stream Transmutation of Sins below and pre-order your copy HERE.
TURIA - Degen van Licht (Ván Records) | February 14, 2020
Eisenwald is no stranger to introducing the world to eclectic black metal acts. From UADA to L'ACEPHALE and more, the label is home to genre defying groups that harness the world around them to great measure. Add TURIA to that list as their latest full-length Degen van Licht is scheduled to hit shores this week, marking yet another accomplishment under the Eisenwald banner.
Like the peak of the band-illustrated mountain before it, Degen van Licht stands tall as this month's most monolithic release. The Dutch ensemble captures one with frigid soundscapes created by a coalescence of black metal's defining qualities. Unyielding in nature, TURIA pummel eardrums consistently, making one be thankful for the more tamed moments of the composition. These tame moments allow for the tremolo-picked melodies to shine and counteract the otherwise high octane tempo, evident on album standouts Storm and Ossifrage. Add the fact that the band partnered with Greg Chandler of the mighty ESOTERIC and LYCHGATE for the mastering of the release and it becomes clear as to why Degen van Licht is immediately perceived as a great-sounding body of work.
Stream Storm below and pre-order your copy of this beast HERE.
As always, thank you for supporting bands and the artists responsible for enriching our lives with their creativity. Let's continue to buy merch, records, and more importantly, introduce one another to killer tunes.