However, starting this month, I've decided to assemble a monthly-playlist for the blog. It's something I've wanted to do for a while, but haven't been sure how to implement - until now. Ideally, I'd love to present the reader - if I still have any - with an hour or so of actual music; a motley assortment of classics, deep-cuts and miscellaneous material that I've encountered over the course of my love for metal. This offers me a new conduit through which to recommend music, beyond merely writing reviews - and so, I hope some of these twelve tracks which I shall introduce hereafter will be of interest... and if not?.. Well, I'll be changing the playlist monthly, so I hope you find some value in my throwing music at the wall and seeing if any sticks. Onwards!
01. Artch - The Promised Land (1988)
Opening up our debut playlist is a tasty track from Norway's Artch, something of a one-hit-wonder by many standards, the record "Another Return" features many-a foot-stomping, catchy, English-as-a-second-language heavy-metal track, and "The Promised Land" is no exception.
02. Nirvana 2002 - Mourning (1991)
Originally from the classic "Protections of a Stained Mind" compilation alongside bands like Entombed, Mayhem and Merciless, "Mourning" by Nirvana 2002 stirs up the primordial-soup of the Swedeath scene in fithy HM-2 wielding fashion.
03. Pentagram - When the Screams Come (1987)
One of the more melodious tracks from "Day of Reckoning", "When the Screams Come" winds its twisted way through hazy doom soundscapes with a deeply eerie vibe, truly illustrating Pentagram as the grinning warlock at the side of the wizard that is Black Sabbath.
04. Evil Blood - Midnight in Sodom (1988)
A frenetic and bare-bones thrash track from Croatia's Evil Blood, Midnight in Sodom is as crude and evil as its name might imply; a blackened tirade for fans of the turbulent and gnarly days of early, primitive thrash. Dark and utterly unpolished.
05. Chapel of Disease - Symbolic Realms (2015)
"Symbolic Realms" captures the more adventurous and ambitious sound of Chapel of Disease's second record; a complex soundscape combining uncompromising thrashy old-school death metal with the vibrant flourish of a rocking, soaring undercurrent.
06. Ixion - Ghost in the Shell (2015)
Another track from 2015, Ixion's brand of "space doom" is truly otherworldly, issuing an effervescent majesty and cold, unfathomably vast atmosphere. Cosmic vocals and mystifying guitar work combine with futuristic synthesisers to create something genuinely unique.
07. Spite - Trapped in the Pentagram (2015)
Vintage black-metal from New York, "Trapped in the Pentagram" is the A-side of Spite's 2015 EP. Energetic and tremolo-driven, the track is an excellent take on the old-school, belching forth evil and malice whilst also being an extremely fun listen.
08. Bathory - Sacrifice (1984)
Any version of Sacrifice is an uproarious slice of evil, but the version from Scandinavian Metal Attack might by my very favourite version. The lower tempo may make it less rabid, but likewise imbues it with a grinning and devilish Motörhead-like swagger, and makes the opening-riff heavy-as-hell.
09. Mayhem - Chimera (2004)
An underrated track from Mayhem's decidedly lopsided catalogue, Chimera is an exceptionally twisted machination of the Maniac-era of the band. The track itself is an infectiously memorable testament to the fact that while the band have received mixed reviews over the years, they're always creative.
10. Hangman's Chair - Flashback (2015)
Lurking on a ven-diagram somewhere between Alice in Chains and Eyehategod, Parisians "Hangman's Chair" specialise in dealing out misery. "Flashback" from their latest record is every bit as drug-addled, cold, shivering and downtrodden as anything in their body of work.
11. Hellhammer - Massacra (1984)
A hellish classic, the primitive and instrument-mangling pinnacle of Hellhammer's discography, Apocalyptic Raids, offers us tracks such as "Massacre" - a pounding summary of the ooze from which would later emerge Celtic Frost, followed shortly thereafter by everything else.
A gargantuan exercise in build-and-climax, "Rows" is one of the strongest tracks on offer from two-piece funeral-doom outfit Bell Witch; a desolate and mysterious soundscape builds slowly to a liminal, cathartic crescendo which solidifies the entire song as a magnificent and almost monastic-sounding musical journey.