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MetalBite's Top 10 Albums of the Month - September 2023

Welcome back to MetalBite's Top 10 Albums of the Month! This is busy season for album releases, as is evidenced by not one, not 10, but THIRTY-FOUR albums on this list that we think are worth listening to. This is hands down our biggest AOTM list in history. The floodgate of riffs has opened and we're barely able to keep up with it all!

You're not here for my intro paragraph, let's cut the shit so you have more time to delve into a literal mountain of September 2023 albums. Onward!

-Nate

HONORABLE MENTIONS

Fossilization - Leprous Daylight
Everlasting Spew

You know who bands need to rip off more? Dead Congregation. Leprous Daylight provides a great argument for this - the riffing has a real ominous vibe but doesn't have to resort to murky production or perplexing note choices to get to where it needs to go. You can follow the melody, but that doesn't detract from its emotional weight - if anything, it adds to it. You hang on each tremolo'd note.

Moreover, despite its all-consuming atmosphere, I could actually see myself moshing to this live. The drums are ardently serious, with absolutely no bounce or jig to their groove, instead immersing you in waves of double kick and mid-paced blasting that give a sort of push-and-pull. It's hard for bands to capture that immediacy in groove without shoehorning in a riff that totally kills the vibe, but this feels carefully composed and each riff perfectly meshes with what came before and what follows. Long story short, this album creates a vibe, and one that helps them to stand out in a quality group of death/doom comparables that includes Spectral Voice, Undergang, Krypts and Mortiferum.
-Nate


 

Necrotted - Imperium
Independent

Another immensely entertaining experiment by the band, not only combining elements of death metal, deathcore and black metal in a unique way, but delivering more exciting and engrossing melodies than ever before. A must-listen for anyone looking for an unusual deathcore band that doesn't overly rely on the genre's cliches, instead creating powerful, memorable and atmospheric hymns of modern metal.
-TheOneNeverSeen


 

Tomb Mold - The Enduring Spirit
20 Buck Spin

The new Lunar Chamber album did what this does but better, but it's still nice to hear more from Toronto's trendiest death metal band. Manor Of Infinite Forms is a near-certified classic at this point, and the more technical influences and Dream Unending vibes on The Enduring Spirit don't vault this past their breakout album in terms of quality, but this is still a quality listen with tons of potential to grow on you.
-Nate


 

King's Rot - At The Gates Of Adversarial Darkness
Hypnotic Dirge Records

Melodic black metal that scratches the Dissection itch, while having enough residual influence from bands like Mgla to round it out in a modern context. Think Winter Eternal, Feral Light, Perennial Isolation…there's a surprising amount of groups lurking in the underground that can pull this style off well. Hypnotic Dirge rarely misses, and this is no exception.
-Nate


 

Woe - Legacies Of Frailty
Vendetta Records

I don't have a ton to say about this, but that's not a knock on the quality of this album. Woe (i.e. one-man army Chris Grigg, the only constant of the project) has been quietly plugging away at a specific brand of USBM for some time now - long stretches of tremolo underscored by pained aggression in the vocals, a little bit of melody but not too much - adhering to the strict US black metal template perpetuated by bands like Ash Borer, early Krallice and Mo'ynoq. It does what it has to and should satisfy seasoned fans while pulling in a few more.

Semi-related tidbit: Grigg is launching his own music streaming platform, ampwall.com, which he is positioning as a Bamdcamp alternative. Check it out if you like supporting grassroots/indie music stuff that is by artists for artists and whatnot.
-Nate


 

Taake - Et Hav Av Avstand
Dark Essence Records

When somebody mentions Taake, you instantly think of the cold and primitive riffs with pure hellish rock 'n roll energy, which are so damn "in your face". Hoest still holds up both as a vocalist and as a songwriter, and the eight full-length Et Hav Av Avstand is the direct result of that passion and dedication that's basically in his blood and this one is a banger. Sure, it may not be the best or it may not be perfect, but it is certainly classic Taake which we all know and love. Surprisingly this album doesn't feel like it's over 42 minutes long because you become absolutely mesmerized in every song that you realize suddenly it's over before you even knew it. If you are a simple man like me who is looking for a good black metal album with tons of cold riffs and frozen harsh vocals, look no further than Taake's new album Et Hav Av Avstand.
-Vlad


 

Thorn - Evergloom
Transcending Obscurity Records

This is a more serious venture for one of the guys from controversial goregrind band Fluids - harrowing death/doom with thick, viscous dissonance, a slight affinity for black metal without fully immersing itself in that sound, using the tension to plummet you further down a despondent groove. The drums are programmed from what I can tell, but it's done tastefully enough that I could see them finding a hired gun to flesh out a live outfit.

Speaking of which…Thorn shows soon? Cum 2 Canada????
-Nate


 

Uada - Crepuscule Natura
Eisenwald

It's nice to see this group has shed their "Mgla but American" origins to become a melodic black metal band that has a bit more of their own thing going without ever really moving away from the vibe they had going for them. The nods to Dissection and Agalloch are palpable and appreciated. This is really solid but it's not even my second favorite black metal album that came out this month, which just tells you how stacked this September is.
-Nate


 

Cannibal Corpse - Chaos Horrific
Metal Blade Records

It's the Corpse. What else do you need to know?

If, for some reason, you need two paragraphs of text to convince yourself that this has the exact same appealing qualities as every other Cannibal Corpse album, you can read Michael's review here.


 

Alkaloid - Numen
Season Of Mist

This is a really hard one for me to take a stance on, because the riffs absolutely fuck, and the vocals are just not my thing at all. The abundance of ill-fitting clean vocals doesn't sit so well for me, and even the harsh vocals could use a bit more volume and depth. When this gets going, it can be phenomenal - there's an all-star lineup here, after all - but some of the songwriting choices are perplexing and they cover a lot of ground, but with the caveat that not everything sticks. I guess that's what the honorable mentions are for!
-Nate


 

Baxaxaxa - De Vermis Mysteriis
The Sinister Flame

A lot of my close friends have been talking about this band non-stop and I was so tempted to give it a go with their brand new and officially second full-length album De Vermis Mysteriis. I was actually quite pleased with the result because this is some macabre, wicked and nasty black metal with hints of death metal and Brazilian extreme metal as well. The entire album's atmosphere transcends some seriously occult vibes from start to finish, and I believe that it is indeed a worthy go for fans of underground black metal.
-Vlad


 

Asinhell - Impii Hora
Metal Blade Records

If you're even a slight fan of Volbeat, you likely know that the core members played in death metal groups before pivoting to a more accessible style and exploding in popularity. Well, Michael Poulsen must have longed to return to his roots, because his new group Asinhell hearkens back to their more extreme origins - with convincing results, according to MetalBite AOTM mainstay Michael, and he should know - he's been following these musicians since they were known as Dominus back in 1994.

Full review by Michael
Interview with Michael Poulsen


 

Ethereal Tomb - When The Rivers Dry
Black Throne Productions

This young group is turning heads in the Ontario scene - go check out their Instagram page, it's exclusively clips of these kids playing packed house venues going nuts with hundreds of likes per post. I keep pretty close tabs on new music coming out in my area, and this came out of nowhere on a rapid, meteoric rise that - as someone who plays in bands and dreams of the same thing happening with my own groups - I can only watch in awe and jealousy.

When you examine the parts at play, everything makes complete sense. This power trio plays sludgy, hardcore-infused doom, a perfect sonic ballpark for a scene far more fervent about their hardcore than their metal. They fuse a trudging, groovy sound with stripped-down, very memorable and intentional song structures and transitions, underscored by the legible, goblin-esque snarl of vocalist/guitarist Alex Senum. The songs are angry, the forceful intent comes through clear as day, which makes it the perfect vessel for their message - this is a band that wears their Indigenous heritage on their sleeves, with lyrical themes based around colonialism, Indigenous resistance, and societal critiques delivered in a way that makes them feel like urgent calls to action. The riffs aren't going to blow your mind at a million notes per second, but I remember the part of the song that goes "FUCK YOUR REALITY, AND YOUR VICTIM MENTALITY" clear as day.

It's been a while since I've heard a band with such a powerful, purposeful message and music that effectively backs it up. This doesn't just make me want to mosh, this makes me want to start a revolution and slit billionaire throats.
-Nate


 

Cryptopsy - As Gomorrah Burns
Nuclear Blast

When it comes to the heavy hitters of death metal that all put out albums this month (the other two being Cannibal Corpse and Dying Fetus…there's been a ton of new death metal this month), this is the album that drew me in the most. Flo is still Flo, when it comes down to it he was one of the first to do it and he still continues to do it at a high level, and it took over a decade but any of the concerns that old-school fans might have had with McGachy and the non-Levasseur guitarists at the helm have now finally been nullified. They've fine tuned the riffing and vocal performances to be tight and intense, with less versatility in the vocal delivery but more power and the riffs aren't gonna be None So Vile groovy brutality, or even And Then You'll Beg-era discordant frenzy - but they have a personality of their own, and this is honestly the first Cryptopsy album since the early-mid 2000s I've felt really fit the Cryptopsy mold in that way. It took a while, but I think I'm finally ready to patch up my differences after the nasty divorce that was The Unspoken King and remarry this darling all over again.
-Nate


 

Cognizant - Inexorable Nature Of Adversity
Selfmadegod

Sweet jesus this is some spastic fun! Frantic, bludgeoning grindcore that literally never slows down - just riff after riff at a machine-gun pace with enough variety and Gorguts influence to make each little minute-long jaunt its own thrilling experience. It's hard to call this grindcore because there's really very little hardcore influence here. Perhaps some of these riffs might bear traces of the genre if you slowed them down, but did you read the first part of my paragraph?
-Nate


 

Ushangvagush - Pestmo'qon
Vigor Deconstruct

Indigenous-themed black metal has been percolating in the past couple of years with groups like Pan-Amerikan Native Front, but it's only with Blackbraid's recent explosion in popularity that we can truly consider this scene to be breaking out. I love Nechochwen and always longed for more music in a similar vein, so this is a change I wholly welcome. Black metal was in need of some fresh blood.

With such a fertile, blossoming scene, standout bands in the style are going to get a lot more attention, and as such Ushangvagush finds themselves in the perfect PR position to release their second full-length album. Normally I'd be wary of a band in this position because their cred is going to be slightly inflated, but I gave this a listen on chance recommendations from a couple of trusted music homies and my skepticism immediately disappeared when the d-beat riff kicked in.

Pestmo'qon is an album that chronicles humanity's disconnect with the natural world, and as much as it seems like a lazy descriptor to say this, you can actually feel the theme in the riffs. The guitars are ostensibly made up of chords that strive for a certain melodic catharsis, but it never hits, despite the abundance of kinetic energy present. At first you long for some form of melody, but in time you realize it's by design - the music being at constant odds with itself and what it wants to be conjures up an image of a modern city slicker who buys a cabin in the woods, eventually succumbing to the elements because he knows nothing about survival in nature, completely displaced from his evolutionary origin.

When an album conjures mental pictures and stories in my head like this, you know it's good shit.
-Nate


 

Iskandr - Spiritus Sylvestris
Eisenwald

I don't usually like post-punk albums in metal clothing - god, we get it, you're artistic and cultured - but I must admit, this has a very somber, heavy vibe without using the typical methods to achieve this goal. I've seen some people mention later Solstafir and even Johnny Cash as comparables, and honestly, both of those make sense.

Recommended if you're one of those weirdos who used Agalloch and Ulver as a jumping off point to get into neofolk. The clean vocals are really nice, and the ambiance takes up a surprising amount of room despite being subtle and minimalist.
-Nate


 

Ashbringer - We Came Here To Grieve
Translation Loss

It's been intriguing to see how this particular project evolves, being the brainchild and main project (or at least the longest running) of Nick Stanger, a prolific musician who is still evolving into the full range of his potential. Ashbringer has covered a lot of ground in a relatively short period of time, with their fourth full-length bringing more anguish and immediacy to the guitarwork, more sludgy doom couched in post-hardcore. There's always similar connections to the same base sound, but they find different ways to express their sound, and I look forward to hearing how they continue to evolve.

The reason this gets relegated to honorable mentions is entirely because of the production. I had similar qualms with Yugen, and try as they may they just can't seem to get a proper mix. On this one, the vocals are far too loud and dominate sections of the music where other elements are clearly meant to be in the foreground. The tracks were mixed by the band members themselves (different musicians worked on different tracks) and I'm wondering if outsourcing the engineering job might help to give some extra perspective.

If you're not too finicky about production qualities, this is absolutely worth a listen if you're a fan of the style, though! Don't let me hold you back from checking this too much.
-Nate


 

Altarage - Worst Case Scenario
Doomentia

Hella underrated nightmare death metal from Spain. I recently got into Succumb, their previous album, and already enjoyed the half-Portal half-Aeviterne styled dissonant rabbit hole. Their music is spacious and simple enough to be discernible - despite the claustrophobic guitar tone and layered, screeching vocals, there's not a ton of murk clouding the production values, and being able to clearly hear what Altarage are trying to do only makes them more terrifying. A lot of bands in this vein lean too much on noise and production values to make their point, but Altarage conjures up a harrowing atmosphere through very international, winding songwriting, which I think sends a more effective message.
-Nate


 

Terminalist - The Crisis As Condition
Indisciplinarian

I'm not typically a big thrash guy, but Terminalist is not a typical thrash band - there's a healthy amount of influence taken from black metal and modern aesthetics to give a sleek, cosmic flavour, similar to Imperialist or even Miscreance with the prog dialed back. Their debut album, released just a couple short years ago, piqued my interest and got me into their style (enough so that it got the #6 spot on the May 2021 list itself), and now they're already back with a new album very much in the same headspace.

The only critique I could possibly give (which is basically justifying to myself why this is more of an 8/10 as opposed to a 9/10 album) is that there's no significant musical evolution from the debut. The Crisis As Condition is more of the same, with perhaps a slight refinement of what was already there. That's really the only reason this is really good and not extraordinary, but shit, I liked the first album well enough, why would I dislike this? If you were buying what they were selling before, you'll almost certainly be satisfied, and if you missed the boat the last time, you have your chance to get on board.
-Nate


 

Demoniac (Chi) - Nube Negra
Edged Circle Productions

With their sophomore album Nube Negra the Chileans once again prove they are masters of their craft. Wailing seagulls and a slightly Mediterranean atmosphere signal an approaching storm, which then suddenly washes over you. Rushed like a bull seeing red, the title track obliterates everything in its path, mixing pure chaos with ingenious virtuosity - you notice the rage, but also the graceful movements of the bull like it has to teeter on a rope before resuming its rampage. This early, wild chase of the first three songs is reminiscent of old Slayer (especially in the solos). However, in the course of the album, more precisely from 'Synthèse D'Accords' on, the bull shows some restraint and the music goes in a few different directions, including unusual circus music arrangements, relaxed clarinet tones, and more thrash hammers with great melodic arcs. Nube Negra is furious, virtuosic, ugly and beautiful at the same time!
-Michael


 

Den Saakaldte - Pesten Som Tar Over
Agonia Records

Pesten Som Tar Over is the fourth offering from Greek / Norwegian black metallers Den Saakaldte. Given the extensive connection with a number of other significant bands from the same region (the band shares or has historically shared members with Shining, Gehenna, Arcturus and many more), there is a danger that this slightly less-heralded group could suffer in comparison to the lofty work of their associated projects, but in fact, this is not remotely the case. Den Saakaldte effectively bridge the chasm between the classics of the mid-90s second wave (the prominent bass immediately reminds one of De Mysteriis Dom Sathanas), and a more contemporary sound inflected by pagan metal touches, and the band's primarily mid-paced dirge considerably more compelling than the description might lead one to suspect. The album really hits its stride on the superb 'En Ode Til Spinnersken', as the classic metal harmonies evoke memories of Dissection and Abigor, and despite the marathon track lengths, the myriad twists and turns of each song, together with the strident vocals, maintains interest throughout, particularly when Svik's growl is augmented by the majestic clean vocals that are used just sparingly enough to delight when deployed. Overall, Pesten Som Tar Over is a pounding, but surprisingly sophisticated piece of work, the deft guitar harmonies weaving through each track creating a complex and fluent, but always aggressive attack, an attack that leaves this warrior perfectly sated.
-Benjamin


 

Marduk - Memento Mori
Century Media

"Has it dawned on you yet?
Have you begun to grasp
That life is not a clock
But an hourglass?"

Those iconic words from the song 'Shovel Beats Sceptre' are still carved into my mind after I heard this album. When somebody mentions Marduk, you instantly know what to expect. Sure, it may seem like a very bad thing to some, because people have pretty much become familiar with the band's signature style, but that doesn't mean that even the stereotypical and formulaic can't achieve anything great. In the case of Marduk's fifteenth full-length album Memento Mori, they did just that. In my opinion, I think the band made this one a successful album launch that managed to surpass their previous albums Frontschwein and Viktoria, which weren't bad by any means, but in my opinion, they can't even compare to this macabre funeral serenade that is Memento Mori. Their trademark sound dominates from one song to another, but there are some instant hits like the aforementioned 'Shovel Beats Sceptre' and other songs like 'Blood Of The Funeral', 'Marching Bones', 'Year Of The Maggot' and 'As We Are'. Even though the band is loved for their fast songs with tremolo riffs and blast beats, the slower sections also do a great job at creating something truly menacing. Although I do become unamused when people constantly praise Marduk as a band, I still think that no diehard Marduk fan will overlook this album or say anything bad about it.
-Vlad


 

Baroness - Stone
Abraxan Hymns

It feels weird hyping up Baroness - they're not exactly unknown - but they are low key one of my favorite bands despite cramming a bunch of fucking indie rock into sludge of all things and just repeatedly releasing absolute bangers. I don't really like anything that has to do with indie rock, and I don't even like sludge metal a ton unless it's on the fringes of extremity (Meth Drinker, Body Void) or extremely ambient and airy (Isis, Dvne), but Baroness doesn't give a shit about your genre conventions, they just write songs that fuck. The bounciness of the lighter genres they take influence from mixed with metal's gritty tones makes for songs that just have an incredible amount of energy, tons of melodic flourishes in every direction, your head starts to bang a bit, the rhythms are distinct and interesting by having the energy of metal beats without the everpresent double-bass and other beaten-to-death conventions of the genre - I mean, they recruited a post-rock drummer for chrissakes! When they do get soft and do the acoustic chanting thing, the results provide a perfect contrast to the songs they surround, and feel anthemic and rich in their delicate, sublime emotion.

This band could probably shit in a bowl, eat it with a fork, record the entire process and release it as an album and I would have it pre-ordered already. Incredible band, this album is just as great as everything else they've ever done, buy it or whatever.
-Nate


 

METALBITE'S TOP 10 ALBUMS OF THE MONTH

 

Omnivortex - Circulate

10: Omnivortex - Circulate
Independent

Beautiful, elegant tech-death that realizes you don't need to cram eleventy billion notes in a song for it to be worth a listen. There's a perfect amount of melody and restraint, much more about weaving a story through sick riffs that aren't too bare, but are never more complex than they need to be either. The gorgeous legato arpeggios bring to mind Siderean's slightly blackened, slightly techy style, while the sense of melody mixed into a riff-driven atmosphere parallels Stortregn and Sulphur Aeon.

You never hear a ton about Finnish tech death - the Swedish and German scenes have a lot more immediate clout - but if this is the music that comes out of it, I wanna hear more!
-Nate

MetalBite's Rating: 8.7/10


 

Wormhole - Almost Human

9: Wormhole - Almost Human
Season Of Mist

I'll admit this didn't slap me in the balls right away when I heard it the same way The Weakest Among Us did, but I knew better than to doubt the Kumar bros right off the bat. This is purported by its creators to be the truest iteration of "Tech Slam", a specific genre fusion that they always wanted to hear but never quite found, so they set out to create it themselves. The first album is where you make your mission statement, the second album is when you expand on it - but the third album is where you have a chance to define yourself, and I think they've done just that here. The album isn't more technical in the Blotted Science way. but rather, incorporates higher register melody like Artificial Brain (but richer) infused with the textured, multifaceted slamming of Disentomb.

The album is best experienced as a whole - I find individual tracks don't give you the full range of motion, as the full 26 minutes goes through a flowing progression of lifting you to stratospheric heights with the gorgeous melody and then pulverizing you with slams until it feels like they might wear out their welcome…so in comes an ass-rippin' solo from some of the best in the biz. Matt Tillett sounds unbelievable as always - god, what a fucking drummer. Super underrated and should probably be hyped more than he is. The new faces in the band step into their Wormhole skin so flawlessly you don't even remember or care that they had someone else there before. Yep, this band is hummin' on all fronts, and dropping this on the heels of some huge tours (and what I can only imagine are bigger tours next year) makes it feel like they have finally arrived in the "mainstream underground" and the fun is just about to really begin.
-Nate

MetalBite's Rating: 8.8/10


 

Imperial Crystalline Entombment - Ancient Glacial Resurgence

8: Imperial Crystalline Entombment - Ancient Glacial Resurgence
Debemur Morti Productions

Imperial Crystalline Entombment (or the snappier I.C.E. for acronym fans), might be slightly less prolific than Guns 'N' Roses, but the follow-up to their 2004 debut is well worth the wait. This writer will confess to being unfamiliar with their earlier work, and on the evidence of Ancient Glacial Resurgence this is quite the oversight, as I.C.E. combine savage black metal with the kind of memorable songwriting that often seems to lie beyond the legions of bands that have a nice line in brutality and aggression, but little else beyond the ability to convey their immense hatred of organised religion. I.C.E. on the other hand, have an admirable habit of throwing utterly addictive classic metal riffs into each blast of Arctic air, with the monstrous 'Ravaskeith's Crystalline Return' being possible the best example, dropping rolling death-metal grooves into the Aborym-meets-Marduk hyperspeed of the rest of the track. It's a neat trick, and one that recalls Behemoth during their Demigod / Evangelion era, before Nergal discovered Fields Of The Nephilim and outlaw country. There's something very cohesive about the concept and execution of I.C.E. as a band that allows them to transcend the simple association of their name with the grim and frostbitten nature of black metal in general, and this allows the listener to totally buy into the band, ensuring their position close to the top of the pile of 2023's most crucial black metal releases.
-Benjamin

MetalBite's Rating: 8.8/10


 

Moonlight Sorcery - Horned Lord Of The Thorned Caste

7: Moonlight Sorcery - Horned Lord Of The Thorned Caste
Avantgarde Music

Neoclassical symphonic melodic black metal from Finland?! Surely that can't sound good, right? Well, whatever you may be thinking, you are wrong. Finnish band Moonlight Sorcery proved exactly that you can make that happen and also make it work. Their debut full-length album Horned Lord Of The Thorned Caste absolutely dominates with melodic guitar riffs, neoclassical guitar solos and symphonic keyboards, even at times reminded me of Children of Bodom from their classic early days. Indeed, this album is not for everyone, especially if you are not a fan of any kind of Yngwie Malmsteen inspired stuff, but if you are someone who is always open to discover new things, I highly recommend that you check out this album.
-Vlad

MetalBite's Rating: 8.9/10


 

KK's Priest - The Sinner Rides Again

6: KK's Priest - The Sinner Rides Again
Napalm Records

One more shot at glory and what a shot it is! KK's Priest absolutely brought down the heavy metal thunder for those who dared to reap the whirlwind, which is what you'll get to hear on their second full-length album The Sinner Rides Again. After all these years, KK Downing still remains one of the best heavy metal guitarist and songwriters of all time, and what his new Priest has done on this album is nothing short of amazing. So much was promised with their previously released songs 'One More Shot At Glory' and 'Reap The Whirlwind', yet the entire album managed to fulfill just that with other great songs such as 'Strike Of The Viper', 'Hymn 66', 'Keeper Of The Graves' and 'Wash Away Your Sins'. Simply put, this album is "all killer, no filler", an absolute banger from start to finish and it does not need any further explanation or any kind of introduction. This band may not be THE Judas Priest we know and talk about all the time, but it is indeed the overlooked but still magnificent spiritual relative of the band.
-Vlad

MetalBite's Rating: 9/10


 

Sodomisery - Mazzaroth

5: Sodomisery - Mazzaroth
Testimony Records

I must confess, this is my first time hearing this Swedish group, but they've quickly made a new convert out of me. Sodomisery old-school melodic death/black metal, which reminds of a mixture of very old In Flames, Dark Tranquillity or ...and Oceans. The opener 'Coming Home' alone proves how multifaceted the band is as the harsh black metal alternates with soft acoustic parts and clear vocals ato create a spine-tingling atmosphere. 'Delusion' is dense and bombastic. 'A Storm Without A Wind' shows Dissection influence without losing their own individuality. This song is a highlight because of the cleaner vocals and acoustics passages, both a strength of this band - If The Gathering's first album ("Always...") wasn't an influence as well, I don't know where the sound comes from.

I could write a lot more about the individual songs here, but I think it's better if everyone listens to and experiences Mazzaroth for themselves - note the modern production, though, which might be a turnoff for some given the older elements at play.
-Michael

MetalBite's Rating: 9/10


 

Kerrigan - Bloodmoon

4: Kerrigan - Bloodmoon
High Roller Records

The side-project / other band of German funeral doomsters Lone Wanderer, Kerrigan are a considerably more up-tempo proposition to their elder sibling, even if one senses that the influences are not necessarily too different, even if they are being manifested through a different sub-genre. Kerrigan play unapologetically traditionally heavy metal in the vein of Haunt (whose vocalist bears an uncanny resemblance to Kerrigan's Jonas Weber) and Night Demon. A little more muscular than the former, without straying too close to Manowar, Kerrigan's output is oddly elegant, perhaps owing to the stately vocal harmonies deployed throughout, harmonies that call to mind a less progressive Hallas. Restrained passages of twin lead guitar add a rich depth to Kerrigan's innate sense of hooky melodicism, and their NWOBHM influences really shine through in the obvious devotion to ensuring that each song stands alone, never once devolving into the kind of forgettable murk that bands who have the riffs, but not the songs are prone to. Virtually every track contains a knockout chorus purpose built for the stages of true metal festivals the world over, and it becomes quickly clear that Kerrigan have arrived fully-formed, ready to take on all-comers. If you have been beguiled in recent years by the output of Herzel, Solicitor, or virtually anything on Gates Of Hell, you can celebrate the arrival of your next favourite band, because Bloodmoon completely slays.
-Benjamin

MetalBite's Rating: 9/10


 

Tideless - Eye Of Water

3: Tideless - Eye Of Water
Chaos Records

In a month that was overwhelming for new releases with an abundance of big name bands dropping albums, this noticeably stood out. It fuses the "ethereal, uplifting doom" vibe that Dream Unending has made marginally popular recently with more long-form, funeral doom styled songwriting, a la Mournful Congregation with more release and less torturing buildup.. "Deathgaze" has been used to describe their music, and while normally that feels like an arbitrary fusion of subgenre terms, it's wholly accurate here. There's no major black metal influence (the opening of 'Oblations For The Sun' suggests some familiarity with the style, but it feels coincidental), but nonetheless Eye Of Water uses frequent repetition in the same way to create this gliding, entrancing feel. They lock you into a riff for several minutes, repeating it for almost an absurd amount of time, but you never find yourself yearning for the next moment - you're perfectly content to immerse yourself in these full, developed riff sentences. The opening of the album is a great example - so simple, the same idea dwelt on for so long, yet it's mesmerizing all the while. I could listen to that little note bend for an eternity without getting bored.

The repetition partially justifies the absurd runtimes of these five songs, but there's more going on here. The range of motion this has is incredible. Just when you think you've got Tideless pinned down, they take you down a rabbit hole that fuses different elements of death metal, doom, shoegaze, ambient and post-rock together in ways you'd never even fathom, much less expect, much less thoroughly enjoy. The drawn out songwriting approach combined with the careful layering of styles makes for a versatile album - this can function as background music for studying, can be carefully examined with your full attention, or could serve as a thrilling soundtrack to your next psychedelic experience. I'm itching to try the latter in particular.

Easily my favorite doom album of the year, and the way I'm feeling about this right now it's challenging for a top spot on my 2023 AOTY list.
-Nate

MetalBite's Rating: 9.1/10


 

Trivax - Eloah Burns Out

2: Trivax - Eloah Burns Out
Cult Never Dies

Surely you must have thought that no other black, death or extreme metal album in general could surpass Marduk's Memento Mori, right? Well, I have got to tell you, in recent years I have not heard such a violent album that is Eloah Burns Out by the death/black metal band Trivax from Birmingham. For all those whiny elitists all over the world who keep moaning and complaining about how neither death nor black metal can look or sound dangerous, shocking or extreme, this album proves all of you wrong big time. This album was one of my most anticipated releases for the other half of 2023, and it successfully exceeded my expectations. From one song to another, it is pure misanthropic musical aggression that will make your face melt. So many great songs on this album that I just don't know where to start, but certainly keep an eye out for hits such as 'Azrael', 'Alpha Predator', 'Serpent's Gaze', 'Against All Opposition (By Aeshma's Wrath)' and 'Twilight Death'. If you are looking for something that is so aggressive and complex, but with great songwriting, look no further than Trivax and their second full-length album Eloah Burns Out. Hail Master Death!
-Vlad

MetalBite's Rating: 9.3/10


 

Dying Fetus - Make Them Beg For Death

1: Dying Fetus - Make Them Beg For Death
Relapse Records

Yet another crushing avalanche of sound with John Gallagher's bestial growls, rampant drumming and brutal and technical riffs and solos from the legendary death metal trio. Not a second to catch a breath, just a neverending ruthless wall of sound and killing adrenaline you will definitely want to feel again. 30 years after their inception, Dying Fetus still reign supreme on the throne of death metal, stopping at nothing and offering evolving yet consistently excellent music.
-TheOneNeverSeen

MetalBite's Rating: 9.5/10


Thank you for stopping by! This list should keep you busy for a while, but if you're still hankering for more cool music from this year, look no further than the links below:

August 2023

July 2023

June 2023

May 2023

April 2023

March 2023

February 2023

January 2023

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Entered: 10/13/2023 4:10:43 PM
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