Prog outfit Pain of Salvation paints the story of band leader Daniel Gildenlöw’s brush with death as a result of a flesh-eating bacteria. The results are existential, exacting, and excellent.
The greats of thrash would be proud of Tyranex’s “Death Roll,” the rare album that imparts G-forces to the listener with its blazing speed and blistering riffs. Not for the faint of heart.
Without one misplaced note, Trees of Eternity offers up an hour of melancholy deliberation, and a beautiful farewell to and from singer Aleah Stanbridge.
As stoner rock gets more international, Sweden’s Descarado offers us an addition to the genre that could have been written in Palm Desert in 1992. “Odd” hits just the right notes to evoke the desert rock we love so much.
Katatonia’s The Fall of Hearts is true progressive metal. Lots of metal bands try to evoke a perspective of the dead, and it usually comes across as aspirational posturing, but Katatonia succeeds by taking a slower, more thoughtful approach.
Cult of Luna’s ability to take their time may be their greatest asset, and is showcased here in top form. The key element, however, is Christmas’s vocals, which lift the entire album up. Rarely do you hear albums where “sonic landscape” is quite so apropos.