“Kodama” by Alcest

Alcest is in control. Each note, each musical layer, each mastering decision is the clear result of lots of thought and deliberation. Kodama successfully unites elements of black metal and shoegaze into what may be the best possible combination of the two genres.

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“203040” by Feller Buncher

The songs on 203040 are fun, well-structured, and perfect for knocking around in a club with friends. The album is both interesting and playful, even though the sound is aggressive, and it’s easy to tell that Raphael, Guillaume, and Antoine are having fun.

“Magma” by Gojira

With Magma, Gojira hits what they aimed for: tone-setting with a low fuzz that paints their sound as dark, depressing, dry, and very tight. Minimal and efficient, Magma is an earnest dark progressive metal album, which rewards the patient listener.

“Dark Construktor” by Wreck Plus

Dark Construktor sounds like a bunch of guys who really love classic heavy metal playing music in their apartment, and that’s exactly what it is, given that some of the bass, guitar, and vocals were recorded in their home studio. This is a love letter to classic heavy metal, but at the same time, the music is fresh in the way a garage band can be.