"6 Bands You May Not Know, But Should" - February 6th, 2020 Edition

1. Feral Vision (Chicago, Illinois, USA)

Album: Symbols for the Other World EP (Independent)

Release Date: February 1st, 2020

Genre: Thrash

Contemporaries: Holy Moses, Sodom, Nervosa, Power Trip

Relatively new on the block, Chicago’s Feral Vision have offered up their debut EP, Symbols for the Other World, and the already strong metal scene of The Windy City has instantly become stronger. Laid down, recorded, and mixed with a punchy brashness that fits perfectly with the music, this EP is everything that thrash is supposed to sound like: pacey, loud, aggressive, and absolutely mosh-inducing. Minus the short intro, every original composition on this four-track EP is killer. Summation? Feral Vision show incredible promise, so keep an eye – and more importantly, an ear – on them! Rating: 9.5 / 10

2. Vananidr (Stockholm, Sweden, EUR)

Album: Damnation (Purity Through Fire)

Release Date: January 24th, 2020

Genre: Melodic Black

Contemporaries: The Noctambulant, Oubliette, Arctos, Tragic Death

Prolific in their short existence, Vananidr officially formed in 2018, but the January 24th, 2020, release of Damnation marks the third full-length already to drop from the Stockholm-based trio. Although the hallmarks of black metal are abundant and predominant throughout this seven-track offering, Vananidr also heavily employ elements of doom, atmospheric, and pagan metal in their sweeping compositions – and the outcome is an album that is as captivating as it is enigmatic. Hard to define, but easy to enjoy, Vananidr’s Damnation is one that should not be passed by. Don’t skip “Distilled”, “Damnation”, or “Tides of Blood”. Rating: 8.75 / 10

3. Ironflame (Martins Ferry, Ohio, USA)

Album: Blood Red Victory (Divebomb Records)

Release Date: February 7th, 2020

Genre: Power/NWOTHM

Contemporaries: Hammerfall, Holy Grail, Visigoth, Twisted Tower Dire

Ohio’s Ironflame bring the vintage vibes in volumes with their third full-length, Blood Red Victory. Powerful vocals, harmonies, riffs, and rhythms converge on this tasty eight-track ripper, and the respect shown by Ironflame to the old guard of metal history is palpable and pointed. Although time and hindsight has classified the themes of battle, conquest, and knights in bloody armor as cliched, schlocky, or tacky, sometimes they just fucking work, and on Blood Red Victory, well, they just fucking work! Truly, get past the clichés and realize that there is some seriously good music here, people. Rating: 9 / 10

4. Thoren (Detroit, Michigan, USA)

Album: Gwarth II (Drylands Records)

Release Date: February 7th, 2020

Genre: Instrumental Progressive/Technical Death

Contemporaries: Behold the Arctopus, Dark Matter Secret, Bangladeafy, Coma Cluster Void

Instrumental progressive death metal is a rather broad term that barely comes close to describing Detroit’s Thoren, but for the sake of narrowing down the sound of this anomalous three piece, it will suffice. Eccentric, divergent, and dissonant, Thoren’s latest full-length, Gwarth II, is like a soundtrack to chaos. Listening to this album feels like being thrown into the irregular gears of some great, autonomous machine from which there is no escape. Just when you think you know what’s coming next, you’re heaved and pulled somewhere else entirely different. Overall, this is some weird, funky shit that is not for the faint of heart or the simplistic of rhythm, for upon Gwarth II, standard “four-four” time signatures simply don’t exist. Rating: 8.25 / 10

5. Karg (Sankt Johann im Pongau, Austria, EUR)

Album: Traktat (AOP Records)

Release Date: February 7th, 2020

Genre: Atmospheric/Post Black

Contemporaries: Vukari, Sleeping Ancient, Tombs, L’Homme Absurde, Harakiri for the Sky

Not an act that can be witnessed live very often, Austria’s Karg is the brainchild of one multi-instrumentalist, V. Wahntraum (better known for his part in Harakiri for the Sky). After dabbling in live performing for some years, V. elected to give it up in 2014, instead opting to focus solely on composing and recording studio albums under the Karg moniker. Fast forward to 2020 and Karg have returned with Traktat, their seventh full-length (and fourth in the last six years), and have also returned to playing live, touring to support this latest work. Enthralling, epic, entrancing…all these adjectives and more fully apply to this emotionally stirring effort. You can seriously lose yourself in this one. Get on it. Rating: 9.5 / 10

6. Warped Cross (Zschopau, Germany, EUR)

Album: Rumbling Chapel (MDD Records/Black Sunset)

Release Date: February 7th, 2020

Genre: Sludge/Doom/Stoner

Contemporaries: Candlemass, Weedeater, Pinewalker, Goatess, Doomraiser

Rumbling Chapel by Warped Cross is the second full-length effort from the German sludge/doom quartet. Although a trifle raw, this album is sludgy and fuzzy enough to nearly cover up the inadequacies in production. Nearly. Still, Rumbling Chapel is a solid album, no bones about it, with plenty of voluminous riffage that thunders like an eighteen-wheeler on rough pavement and satisfies like a high-powered imperial stout on a cold winter’s eve. A good listen all around, so spark one up and enjoy! Recommended tracks include “Cold Rain Shiver”, “Infinite Fuss”, and “Thickets”. Rating: 8.75 / 10

Hope you've enjoyed this round of acts that you may have overlooked in these busy times! Please be sure to visit the bands on the web if you've liked what you've read and heard, and stay metal always. Nunc Dimmitis. \m/


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