Posts

Showing posts from December, 2020

The Metal Scholar's Album Of The Year (2020 Edition)

Image
Caught In The Post-Christmas, Pre-New Year Limbo I would like to say I feel fresh and invigorated after a few days off, but unfortunately not. As we wait the ravishing grimness that is the century long month of January, I thought I'd find some motivation to get possibly the most important list of the year done. Whilst I have the motivation, this is a bloody near impossible task, as the art of the album has been rediscovered in 2020, as we've actually had the time to sit down and truly listen to music. Even so, whilst I do have a kind of shortlist of my overall albums of the year, in my head there are some other variants and lists that are more genre specific, because in my mind cannot be effectively compared to something else other than another album in that particular genre, if that makes sense. Either way, I have deliberated, shuffled and restructured, and find myself here at this concluding moment. Anyway, we have a lot to be thankful for musically this year, a lot of bands

The Miscellaneous Goings On Of Tom - ๐ŸŽ…❄️Yule Edition 2020 ๐ŸŽ„๐Ÿป

Image
  And So Another Year Has Come And Gone...(My 2020 In Review) The home stretch is in our sights my friends! (although the doom saloon news rooms and incompetent will keep pedalling this 2020 hell ride into 2021 and real normality will remain distant memory). It has been a very strange, unprecedented, tough, exhausting, challenging etc. year for all of us, but if we all look into ourselves we can take away some very optimistic positives from the situation that we find ourselves in. This was a year where we really learnt what we wanted, what entertained us and what our own personal needs were. From baking, reading, language learning to walking more, creating music (art/literature) and generally exploring what makes us tick. One thing I have observed on this yo-yoing nightmare is that a lot of people I know have finally had the chance to really invest in themselves, asked themselves those difficult questions and grown into the person they always wanted to be. As I stated in this week'

The Metal Scholar's Weekly Listening List (22nd December 2020)

Image
Merry Christmas/Yule To All From The Metal Scholar! It's a festive week and I am all prepared for a few days of feasting and drinking with my family. Even though I am also using this time to fully reflect on my experiences this year, despite everything I am leaving 2020 in a happier place than when I started it. It has been fairly easy to focus on negatives, but one thing I have been absolutely thankful for is the amount of solid releases that have come out this year. People have needed that new music to help them get through and for the band's that have released albums this year, thank you so much and I can be pretty certain that this will be repaid as soon as we all pack into venues again. I am equally excited about and dreading doing my albums of the year list as I get to revisit all these awesome releases, but having to choose will be a real challenge for sure! All things considered, I thank all of you guys for your support this year, been awesome to use the time I was give

๐ŸŽ… Fjordhammer's Festive Friday ๐ŸŽ… (18th December 2020)

Image
๐ŸŽ„ Time To Start Feeling Festive!  ๐ŸŽ„ I apologise for skipping last week's Fjordhammer Friday! As Christmas/Yule is round the corner, I've been making sure that I am fully prepared for the festivities. I was also getting back into my gym and work routine, so it all caught up with me and I needed to take the evening off. I'm also in the process of working out how to revamp the weekly feature to make it as varied as possible. Anyway, I'm starting to get into the festive spirit now, that warmth and wholesomeness is slowly creeping in and around my black and dark soul, bringing that fuzzy feeling you get around this time of year. Yes, I know, not very metal but who cares its Christmas! Drink and be merry! Talking of the big day, as it falls on Friday next week, there won't be a Fjordhammer Friday, so I am making this week's edition the Christmas Special. I have scoured the depths of Bandcamp to find only the best festive metal tunes out there, as I have been saying

Horna - Kuoleman Kirjo

Image
  Key Facts Country: ๐Ÿ‡ซ๐Ÿ‡ฎ Genre: Black Metal Release Date: 8th December 2020 Record Label(s): World Terror Committee Band Members Shatraug - Guitars Infection - Guitars Spellgoth - Vocals LRH - Drums VnoM - Bass Horna - Haudattujen Tรคhtien Yรถnรค Review Rating (out of 5๐Ÿค˜): ๐Ÿค˜๐Ÿค˜๐Ÿค˜๐Ÿค˜๐Ÿค˜ Favourite Track(s): Saatanan Viha, Elegia, Sydรคnkuoro, Haudattujen Tรคhtien Yรถnรค, Unohtumaton, Mustat Vuodet, Rakas Kuu, Veriuhri, Ota Minut Vastaan Finnish black metal legends Horna are back with a dark, devious and evil new album, suitably titled  Kuoleman Kirjo (meaning The Spectrum of Death ). Packed with crushing riffs and oppressive, claustrophobic atmosphere, it is an album perfect for the current situation humanity finds itself in. Taking is back into the dark and shadows of the mysterious Finland, Horna have presented another fine example of raw, aggressive and ruthless Finnish black metal. Horna have consistently put out solid and creative albums from the band's very beginning and  Kuoleman Ki

Coldun - Grand Sun Ritual

Image
  Key Facts  Country: ๐Ÿ‡ฉ๐Ÿ‡ช Genre: Atmospheric Progressive Metal Release Date: 15th January 2021 Record Label(s): Independent Band Members Coldun – Vocals, Bass, Hammond, Synths  ZK – Guitars MR – Guitars NC – Drums Coldun - Grand Sun Ritual Review  Rating (out of 5๐Ÿค˜): ๐Ÿค˜๐Ÿค˜๐Ÿค˜๐Ÿค˜ Favourite Track(s): Grand Sun Ritual, Down Below, Salvation Day, Stories Untold, Hail Out To Thebes Originally beginning as a solo project back in 2006, Coldun has evolved into a collection of intuitive and talented musicians that have come together to create thought provoking and soulful atmospheric progressive metal. Incorporating elements of doom, prog and post-metal to create a philosophically charged and conscious sound that will put you in a deep, trance like state. Through intricate melodies and mesmerising vocals, Coldun bring something unique and refreshing into the progressive metal scene, focusing more on grand atmospheres and intricate passages of melody and harmony. Grand Sun Ritual revolves around

The Metal Scholar's Weekly Listening List (15th December 2020)

Image
Getting Christmas Stuff Done Apologies for my absence towards the back end of last week, it's been a fairly busy in terms of real life and dealing with some unexpected emotions that stopped my work. Also, the admin that goes into Christmas cards and shopping seems to be getting worse and more expensive every year, which is annoying when you've spent the majority of the year on furlough pay. It has been hard to feel especially festive as News companies insist on pedalling the doom and gloom this year has presented us alongside constant reminders of our struggles. I understand that new statistics and figures come out every day, and that the government incompetence is at an all time high but damn I am in some dire need of something upbeat. Anyway, whilst I have been prepping for Christmas, I've been listening to some festive music and the usual fair, but nothing was more satisfying than walking to work in the dark last night listening to Emperor's magnum opus  In the Night

Green Druid - At The Maw Of Ruin

Image
  Key Facts Country: ๐Ÿ‡บ๐Ÿ‡ธ Genre: Stoner/Doom Metal Release Date: 4th December 2020 Record Label(s): Earache Records Band Members Ryan Skates - Bass Mikey Honiotes - Drums Graham Zander - Guitars Chris McLaughlin - Vocals, Guitars Green Druid - The Forest Dark Review Rating (out of 5๐Ÿค˜): ๐Ÿค˜๐Ÿค˜๐Ÿค˜๐Ÿค˜ Favourite Track(s): The Forest Dark, Haunted Memories, A Throne Abandoned, Desert Fury/Ocean Of Despair, Threads American doom metal outfit Green Druid have quickly become renowned for packing the deep, low and pounding riffs into a world of intrigue and mystery, the band's new album  At The Maw Of Ruin offers all that and more. The band set a precedent with debut album, 2018's Ashen Blood , as a mix of proto-Sabbath riffing combined with American mysticism.  At The Maw Of Ruin sees the band expand their sound, heavier riffs and even more ethereal mysticism with a big revamp on their production. The weight of man's ruin is painted vividly through the band's lyrics and bears do

The Metal Scholar's Weekly Listening List (8th December 2020)

Image
I Can't Believe How Quickly Christmas Is Creeping Up On Us Well, 8 days in I've lost Whamaggedon and I've lost the challenge to not hear Mariah Carey, it sucks as I was doing so well and making every effort to avoid those songs. Even so, it's mad how quickly December is going, three weeks away from the end of 2020 already. Seems like November lasted years and January didn't even happen. The more I reflect, the more I realise how strange this year has been and if it wasn't for music I don't think I'd have got through it all as well as I have. The evidence being all the posts you see on the left hand side of the page. Part of me is becoming more optimistic about 2021, seeing that people are now getting vaccinated and as a result I'm praying for the return of live music as I am dying to walk into a dark room, that smells of beer and sweat, and just lose myself in the moment. It's so close now it is starting to feel tangible, dare we dream of attendi

Ondskapt - Grimoire Ordo Devus

Image
  Key Facts Country: ๐Ÿ‡ธ๐Ÿ‡ช Genre: Black Metal Release Date: 27th November 2020 Record Label(s): Osmose Productions Band Members Acerbus - Vocals Gefandi ร–r Andlรคt - Bass Daemonum Subeunt - Drums J.Megiddo - Guitars Ondskapt - Animam Malum Daemonium Review Rating (out of 5๐Ÿค˜): ๐Ÿค˜๐Ÿค˜๐Ÿค˜๐Ÿค˜๐Ÿค˜ Favourite Track(s): Semita Sinistram, Ascension, Animam Malum Daemonium, Paragon Belial, Possesion, Excision  The Swedish black metal heavyweight Ondskapt returning with their grizzly and demonic new album  Grimoire Ordo Devus . A glorious hour worth of cold and dark black metal riffs sure to satiate your blackened heart, whilst guiding you towards the well trodden left hand path. Utterly sinister in its methods, it more than lives up to its grimoire name. Whilst there are many bands that utter words of diabolical Satanism and sweet blasphemy, none have quite done it like Ondskapt have with this album. Even with the tumultuous history of turnstile members, the ever present voice of  Acerbus  continues to

Fjordhammer Friday (4th December 2020)

Image
It's Beginning To Look A Lot Like Yule! One of the most awesome things I've seen in the last few hours is that Scotland was hit by thundersnow, and it was so loud it caused a sonic boom. If that isn't Thor and Odin sending signs then I don't know what else is! As I mentioned in yesterday's Miscellaneous Goings On Of Tom , I have been severely lacking in the Viking metal department this year, coming from the inevitable cancellation of Hard Rock Hell Vikings. So, with all thundersnow omens and lack of Viking metal shows considered, this week's theme is Viking metal! It was only a matter of time before I gave this fabled and epic subgenre of metal a feature. There is a big diversity of styles in Viking metal, ranging from power to black and many more in-between. Whilst I'm a lover of Nordic Folk, I don't know why they through Wardruna into this eclectic mix of sounds, but I shall not as Nordic/Medieval folk is a whole different beast. With lyrical themes fo

The Miscellaneous Goings On Of Tom - The Post Birthday Reflections

Image
Climbing Hills & Blackadder Marathons Firstly, I want to wish the legend that is Ozzy Osbourne a massive 72nd birthday! Anyway, I had a simple yet excellent 24th birthday yesterday. It wasn't my customary trip to Sheffield for drinking and viking metal but it was enjoyable as I got to spend some quality time with my dad. Exploring Bratton Camp Hill Fort and finding the Battle of Eรฐandun monument (see Instagram post below), to then come back and share a pot of afternoon tea whilst watching Blackadder Goes Fourth. I also delighted in having a few beers in my Mjรถlnir horn mug, overall an awesome day perfect for me. I have had an unintentional break for the blog over the past week or so, as I have been feeling run down in anticipation of returning to work as well as my sinuses deciding to make my face ache beyond belief. I do have a few reviews lined up, alongside one that I am currently working on for Noizze. It's such a strange transitional week as I bring my mental state out