Week ending November 7th, 2021.

1) Ad Infinitum – Chapter II: Legacy

As Melissa Bonny said in her interview with This Day In Metal, Ad Infinitum “can’t be put in the box”. And it’s true. While it’s easy to describe them as “modern symphonic metal” there’s all sorts going on here. From the powerful riffage and death growls of songs like Into The Night and My Justice Your Pain to the pop sheen of Animals and the heart-soaring power metal of Unstoppable, Ad Infinitum spread their musical wings on this follow-up to last year’s Chapter I: Monarchy and fly high. Chapter II’s a fave here at This Day In Metal as it really does feel like an album that takes inspiration from all eras of our beloved genre, from the classic to the modern, to produce an insanely addictive album.

2) Cradle of Filth – Existence is Futile

Existence is Futile kicks thing up a gear for Cradle of Filth after a run of albums that felt like they were circling around something great but not quite finding it. This is where they find it. Arguably, new female singer, keyboardist and lyre player Anabelle Iratni adds her own unique melody to this but also, the pandemic has clearly been rough on Dani Filth’s psyche and he comes out the gates (of Hell) with his most aggressive lyrics in years. The whole album takes no prisoners and really does deserve a listen from all fans of extreme metal. It’s an absolute rager from start to finish and has exquisite brutality to equal anything bands a quarter of their age can offer.

3) Omnium Gatherum – Origin

For me, Finland’s Omnium Gatherum have always existed a little in the shadow of more prominent and successful melodeath bands, most notably Dark Tranquillity. Like so many other bands, they’ve been doing this since the 90s and never quite finding their own identity. I didn’t have particularly high hopes for Origin – even though they’ve had a big line-up change recently – but wow, this was a huge surprise. Described only semi-ironically by the band as “Death Leppard”, Origin introduces AOR-style chord progressions, shimmering synths and major key melodies quite unlike any other melodeath album I’ve heard. The result is absolutely fantastic and finally finds them breaking free of their peers. What took them so long, it’s hard to say, but Origin is a great listen, as technical as it is catchy, and definitely worth your time, even if – like me – you’ve not particularly rated their previous output.

4) Whitechapel – Kin

Whitechapel are another band whose evolution hasn’t been predictable, as the band who brought us the proper scream-and-slam deathcore classics Somatic Defilement and This Is Exile turned into one of the most thoughtful, melancholic and majestic metal bands out there on 2019’s The Valley. Kin picks up where The Valley ended, lyrically and musically, and continues the journey into the darkness of Phil Bozeman’s mind. This is a hugely powerful album with some of the best clean and harsh vocals in death metal today. Vulnerability isn’t something often associated with the brutality of their chosen genre but Whitechapel are the new masters of blending genuine emotional intelligence with riffs that will melt your face off. Essential.

5) Hand Of Kalliach – Samhainn

Scottish husband-and-wife duo Hand Of Kalliach have made one of the most accomplished metal debuts in recent memory with Samhainn, an album of blackened death metal, Celtic folk and oppressive atmospherics. While it takes much inspiration from their native Scotland, both in lyrics in music, it avoids any of the twee trappings that folk-metal can often fall into, instead channelling an ancient dark magic that exists in the landscape and its mysteries. The result is an album to get lost in and one that rewards repeat listens with its meticulously layered production and songcraft. Check out the single, Cinders, if you don’t believe me, and head deeper into the highlands from there…

6) Iron Maiden – Senjutsu

Senjutsu won’t go away. I find myself listening to all kinds of other records and just getting an itch to play this one instead. If there’s a stronger one-two closing punch than The Parchment and Hell On Earth, I’m not sure I’ve heard it. Really, this is Maiden at their most masterful and that’s coming from someone who’s been generally underwhelmed by much of “third phase” Maiden. Senjutsu has a songwriting purity that’s not been there for a while – they’re not writing for an audience, they’re writing for themselves and its like grand metal wisdom whispered from the heart of an old oak tree. A beautiful record.

7) Crazy Lixx – Street Lethal

One for all the many lovers of glam metal in the comments section of This Day In Metal… Yes, this isn’t METAL metal but damn, it’s a good listen. Crazy Lixx are a Swedish band who offer up pure, unfiltered 80s homage. What sets them apart from a lot of others is that there’s very little irony here or postmodern smugness. It’s all done with a straight face and with love, but most importantly, with genuine songwriting skill. Anthem For America – a message from Sweden to the US that they need to embrace rock again in order to thrive – is such a straight-up belter, it’s impossible not to bang your head and be singing along by the final chorus. But there’s also some great power balladry here and just a slew of dirty – not to mention crazy – lixx. Much better than you probably think will be!

8) Lucifer – Lucifer IV

Picture the scene. Black Sabbath and Fleetwood Mac attend a dark magic ritual together and, some time between molesting a goat and drinking the blood of a virgin, decide they’re going to make beautiful music. The result? Lucifer. Much like Crazy Lixx, Lucifer are a Sweden-based band who exist entirely in a musical style of the past, but they do it so well it feels totally relevant in 2021. The singles Bring Me His Head and Crucifix (I Burn For You) really set the tone here. Classic songwriting, juggernaut riffs and witchy vocals summon ghoulish vibrations and bring their retro-metal vision to glorious undeath. And c’mon, Wild Hearses is one of the best song titles you’ve heard in a while, no?

9) Charlotte Wessels – Tales From Six Feet Under

A collection of songs recorded during lockdown by ex-Delain singer Charlotte Wessels, Tales From Six Feet Under is a kaleidoscopic genre-bender that showcases Wessels’ vast range of influences from both inside and outside the metal scene. Aided briefly by Alissa White-Gluz from Arch Enemy, Wessels otherwise wrote, produced and performed the whole thing herself and it’s rare to get such an unfiltered insight into an artist’s creative process like this. The fact that every song is fantastic and could easily have been a single is a bonus!

10) Vomit Bag Squad – Tales From The Bag

Did you guys take my advice last week and play Vomit Bag Squad at your Halloween party? I hope you did, but if not, there’s good news. It’s Halloween all year round for these Brazilian goremeisters! I can’t be held accountable for anything that happens if you play Tales From The Bag backwards, but forwards I can guarantee you an excellent time with this collection of instant pit-fillers. Horror-themed crossover thrash at its most entertaining. Play loud, play proud and – in their words – “WITH MAXIMUM GORE”.


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