Time once again for our pseudo-monthly look at the metal albums that have been in high rotation in the The Metal Dad household.
Cerebral Rot – Excretion of Mortality
We’ve waxed poetic in this space quite a bit over the last few years about the renaissance that death metal has undertaken over the last decade or so. If you scan back through the history of heavy metal and its various sub-genres though you almost always find that a genre’s high water mark is inevitably followed by its nadir in which knock-offs and lesser acts get scooped up and pitched to the masses by overzealous labels. We’re already starting to see that with the old school death metal revival, however there are still valuable, seminal releases being vomited forth, worthy of your time and your dollars, and the newest long player from Seattle’s Cerebral Rot is absolutely one of them. While many of this new wave of death metal try to plant their flag and leave it squarely in the atmospheric realm, Cerebral Rot don’t linger so long there to lose any power to their punch. Deftly mixing elements of death/doom with thrash-tastic riffs/solos and a swirling, churning sound, Excretion of Mortality is the type of album that grabs you by the throat from the jump and never really loosens its grip. Unlike a lot of their contemporaries, Cerebral Rot have created songs that are wholly memorable with riffs that are equally as catchy as they are pummeling. While their debut full-length, 2019’s Odious Descent Into Decay, was fantastic it’s hard to argue the growth this band has shown from release to release. This is a band whose trajectory continues to point north, and there should be no reason why when you are discussing the best death metal albums of the year this one doesn’t at least get name-dropped.
Bossk – Migration
So I have to be completely honest in stating that I came to this album for the track featuring the guest vocals of Johannes Persson from Cult of Luna. However, I stayed for the brilliant, atmospheric post-metal that the entire album withheld. England’s Bossk was a band I admittedly had to go back and re-sample their previous material before I could create any type of educated write-up on their newest full-length. Needless to say I won’t be sleeping on this band again after letting Migration wash over and wipe me out like an unexpected tidal wave. Bossk may be at their best on tracks like debut single “Menhir” (featuring Persson on vocals), in which they are able to wax and wane between brutal sludge and cinematic atmospherics. There’s something to be said for a band that can go from foundation rattling to beautiful serenity and back, all within the same track, without sounding forced or fraudulent. The real beauty in this album though may be in its eclecticism. Sludge, doom, post-metal, and various elements of alt rock and shoegaze all find a home here, yet like master sorcerers Bossk are able to swirl it together into a musical cauldron to make something completely arresting to even the most fickle metal ears.
Amenra – De Doorn
There are few albums coming out in 2021 that were as highly anticipated by yours truly, and even less that I’ve spent as much time with upon their release, as the newest full-length from Belgium’s Amenra. I’ve been in love with this band for quite some time, culminating in 2017’s brilliant Mass VI, which we ranked as the #3 album of that year on our Metal Dad Radio Show. So I may be a little bit biased when I tell you that when I start to pull together the 2021 year-end list Amenra will once again find a home on it. De Doorn is an album that sees the band lay down their most experimental work to date upon their patented foundation of doom-inspired post-metal. Spoken word passages and cinematic interludes are woven throughout the album, and the entire record feels like a soundtrack to someone’s final realization that the world is in fact going to end and we have no way to stop it. It’s depressive when it needs to be, and empowering at other turns. It’s the type of album where a good pair of headphones and a darkened room will become your best friends as you let these tracks melt over you like the setting sun dying in the darkened corners of your mind. This album will stay with you long after you’re done listening, and will beckon for you to return over and over again. I promise you each return trip gets better and better.