The first review post for this year includes albums that were released both in 2021 and 2020. I still have on my desk (and my hard drive) a significant "backlog" from last year which is consisting of albums that I had neither the time nor (and most important) the funds to purchase and listen on time. As I do each year, I will continue during the first quarter of 2021 to present and review albums that were still released in 2020.
Throwing Bricks - What Will Be Lost
This review is long time overdue as What Will Be Lost, the debut album by this Dutch group (some digital-only demos and EPs had preceded) was already released in May of 2020! I decided to still present it in the blog though, as the quality of the material was too good not to do so. Throwing Bricks use a rather creative but also accurate way to describe their music as "emotionally punishing". Their post hardcore is enriched with many Black Metal elements sounding like a harder version of Amenra. Unfortunately all physical format copies of What Will Be lost are already sold out but digital files from Bandcamp should suffice...
Crawling Chaos - XLIX
XLIX is a concept album loosely based on The Prince, the renown book written in the XVI century by Niccolò Machiavelli. As (pretty much) expected, the songs have an epic and progressive character making XLIX an album of melodic Death Metal that stands out for its variety and diversity. What really surprises me is why an album of such quality was absent from many 2020 lists....
Evangelist - Ad Mortem Festinamus
I have to admit that traditional Heavy Metal as it has been played by bands such as Manilla Road is one of my "guilty pleasures" so I am really happy to hear an album from a group that even though has a more doom (and less speed) metal background, still manages to capture and revive some of that feeling "enriching" it with wonderful, epic melodies. More over when Ad Mortem Festinamus includes a great cover of Mystification which Evangelist have wisely adopted to their style.
Infiltration - Point Blank Termination
This next album does not need any overcomplicated or overshopisticated presentation. Groovy, neck-breaking Death Metal that would make any fan of Bolt Thrower happy is what Point Blank Termination is all about. There are some hardcore elements and blast beats here and there but these only make the final result sound even greater.
Oceana - The Pattern
OCEANA started in 1994 as the result of the friendship between Massimiliano Pagliuso and Alessandro "Sancho" Marconcini (later joined by Gianpaolo Caprino in 1997). As the press release proclaims, their intention was to mix progressive metal elements with European-style death doom. Influences, from a musical point of view, range from Edge Of Sanity to Katatonia, from Paradise Lost to Duran Duran, from Metallica to Dream Theater, in a very personal (and successfully achieved) fusion of different genres and sounds with the exceptional melodies being their strong point. Maybe the Metallica cover (The Unforgiven) could have been omitted for the sake of better consistency of the material, nevertheless The Pattern is not to be missed by fans of bands like modern Opeth or Katatonia.