01. Gorod – Æthra
After making an out of character side trip into thrash on the just-for-fun EP Kiss The Freak in 2017 – which was done for a tour with Havok, Warbringer, and Exmortus – France’s Gorod get back to their tech-death ways in earnest with their sixth full-length. Though hinting at slightly different approach with the title track and its more delicate amalgam of King Crimson-like prog and clean/spoken vocal passages, Gorod go full-bore most of the way with spider-walk guitar/crushing riffs back and forth, elastic rhythms and frontman Julien “Nutz” Deyres’ imposing vocals.
02. At The Gates – To Drink From The Night Itself
Where At The Gates’ 2014 comeback album At War With Reality’s strength lie in its nuance, depth and finesse, To Drink From The Night Itself brings back more of the urgency and muscle that made 1995’s Slaughter Of The Soul such a revelation, all while maintaining the band’s knack for crafty melodies and a good part of Reality’s grandiosity and texture. The songs are still dense and compelling, but most also boast some extra giddy-up and oomph that give the album more immediacy.
03. Architects – Holy Hell
The specter of death/fate hangs heavy over the eighth album from England’s Architects, as one might expect given that it is the band’s first release since founding guitarist/main songwriter Tom Searle passed away two years ago at age 28 after losing a battle with skin cancer. On the one hand, Holy Hell is mournful and reflective, as on “Mortal After All,” on the other it’s confrontational and cathartic, as on the defiant opening track “Death Is Not Defeat.” Somewhere in the middle are tracks like “Damnation” or “Doomsday,” which manage to mine hope from the depths of despair. All in all, it can make for a gut-wrenching listen.
04. Depravity – Evil Upheaval
05. Aura Noir – Aura Noire
06. Immortal – Northern Chaos Gods
07. Pig Destroyer – Head Cage
08. The Atlas Moth – Coma Noir
09. Obscura – Diluvium
10. Voivod – The Wake
11. Psycroptic – As the Kingdom Drowns
12. Abysmal Torment – The Misanthrope
13. Gaerea – Unsettling Whispers
14. Sulfur Aeon – The Scythe of Cosmic Chaos
15. Judas Priest – Firepower
16. Soreption – Monument Of The End
17. Failure – In The Future Your Body Will Be The Furthest Thing From Your Mind
18. Tesseract – Sonder
19. Funeral Mist – Hekatomb
20. Behemoth – I Loved You At Your Darkest