Heavy metal will never die, which makes sifting through new metal records feel like everlasting torment. Luckily, Andy O’Connor will guide your lost souls to the best metal every month. When the punishers call, you’ll know how to answer.

Vomit Forth, Seething Malevolence
Is brutal death metal, a genre riddled with bands who combine bad torture porn with worse Suffocation thievery, worth saving? Connecticut’s Vomit Forth answer that query with a guttural, slamming “yes!” on their debut full-length Seething Malevolence, out through Century Media Records. Building upon their impressive EPs—2018’s Inherit Laceration and 2019’s Northeast Deprivation—the band galvanizes their rhythmic intensity, laying breakdowns that bounce and crush as their foundation. With something that uncomplicated, it must go hard, and does it go HARD. (There’s nothing worse than a tinny-sounding brutal death band.)

Vomit Forth also bring an evil air not common in this seedy corner of knuckledragging skullduggery—except for a few Texas bands (Infernal Dominion’s Salvation Through Infinite Suffering come to mind). “Predatory Savior” and “Pious Killing Floor” are blasphemous; stacked with tremolo riffs and hidden-message noise hallucinators. The latter song’s death-doom turn adds a sinister compliment to its prolific slams. Seething Malevolence is blood-splattered but not sloppy; the band has discipline rivaling some of their inspirations.

Gospel, MVDM: The Magical Volumes Vol​.​1: The Magick Volume of Dark Madder or Magic Volume of Dark Matter or Just Magic Volume
People who say “we don’t deserve [x obviously good thing]” are unredeemable cornballs who need to learn to wean themselves off dollar store nihilism. If you’re trying your best to be a decent person, you deserve what brings you joy! (Make no mistake: Kill City stands against toxic positivity.) Even so, getting blessed with two new Gospel releases this year might be overstating our collective worth. Just a couple months after their amazing comeback record, Spring 2022’s The Loser, arrives MVDM: The Magical Volumes Vol​.​1: The Magick Volume of Dark Madder or Magic Volume of Dark Matter or Just Magic Volume through Dog Knights Productions. And it’s as sprawling as its title suggests. (Bal-Sagoth heads will laugh at such brevity, however.)

Originally, this was supposed to be an album-length track, but it languished in development and remained a part of their live shows. Out-there organs, sweaty basement metallic hardcore prog guitars, boundless energy, this release is Gospel in one track. Go ahead and celebrate one of America’s most slept-on band’s second life.

Scarcity, Aveilut
Glenn Branca Ensemble conductor Brendon Randall-Myers and Pyrrhon vocalist Doug Moore unite in the duo Scarcity, whose debut album Aveilut brings Branca’s microtonality and guitar mass aesthetic to black metal dread. (They’re not the first black metal band with connections to the deceased No Wave figure Branca. Sonic Youth co-founder and Branca collaborator Thurston Moore played with Twilight on their final record, Apprentice Destroyer worked in swelling Branca modes, and Jute Gyte has incorporated microtonality into black metal for years.) Aveilut, which is one 45-minute song split into five parts, is dense and free-flowing, flipping hypnotic tremolos as light forces battling against double bass and Doug Moore’s screech. It’s natural and alien, all the components presented in a different dialect. Giving in to its totality is a must.

Nostalghia, Au milieu de l'hiver
Much like how Sunrise Patriot Motion gave new life to the post-punk/black-metal fusion last month, Mexico City’s Nostalghia argues post-black metal shouldn’t get left in a past decade with Au milieu de l’hiver, their second release this year. And judging by the release, they write and record in a dark lounge that goes beyond “Man, this dude fuckin’ LOVES Twin Peaks, huh?” observations.

“Le temps detruit tout” doesn’t sneer at a little shred, either. Closer “Scent of Sleep and Tears” recalls Japanese screamo band Envy at their best—where jovial dynamics take pretty melodies a whole lot further. Thought your Alcest phase was over when you cut the sleeves off of that Blasphemy t-shirt? Think again.

Hulder, The Eternal Fanfare
Of the three black metal releases featured here this month, Hulder’s latest EP, The Eternal Fanfare, her first for 20 Buck Spin, is the closest to the genre’s most recognizable second wave. Born in Belgium but currently residing in Washington state, Hulder draws upon icy, early '90s grandeur to forge her own quest. Traditionalism only works with conviction, or else a band is just a speck in the ever-expanding Metal Archives universe, and Fanfare has conviction. Whatever raging majestic battle of the heavens one can conjure in the mind—maybe it looks like the Blood Fire Death cover, maybe it’s beyond human description—her muscular and gilded melodic touch will match it. Like in “A Perilous Journey,” where the listener marches to the joy of thrusting towards the unknown and incomprehensible.

Mantar, Pain Is Forever and This Is the End
Mantar play gallows sludge. With the state of the world nearing the end (an evergreen statement since Eyehategod’s Mike Williams and Jimmy Bower got their copies of , and evergreen long before that too), all you can and should do is bang your head, so it’ll come off easier. Pain Is Forever and This Is the End, out through Metal Blade Records, is Mantar’s most fruitful reconciliation between gloom and hell-bent joy. It’s in “Piss Ritual,” their '90s noise rock track with the boogie cranked, or “Of Frost and Decay,” which plays out like Mastodon stripped down to their Southern essentials.

Speaking of the South: guitarist and vocalist Hanno Klänhardt now resides in Gainesville, Florida, which deepens both their sludge reverence and their raucous attitude (the kind that would compliment tattooed punk bartenders throwing out linebackers). Through it all, drummer Erinc Sakarya, still residing in Bremen, Germany, remains the Crover to Klanhardt’s Buzzo (that’s some Melvins humor for you), a thundering percussionist who holds his own and acts as an incomparable companion. And how did I miss that they put out a covers record in 2020, where they covered Mazzy Star and L7?! Neat!

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