More (Metal) Guitar In The Monitor – February 2022

It’s time once again to take look at some of the recent metal releases that are in high rotation at The Metal Dad household. 2022 is off to a great start in the metal world an these three releases are three of the best out so far (in our humble opinion).

Maule – Maule
Much like death metal, traditional metal has enjoyed quite the renaissance over the last decade or so. The last half decade has been especially good to one of metal’s oldest and truest sub-genres. Much like death metal though that means the sheer volume of bands partaking is also starting to get slightly watered down, making the discovery of something truly epic even more exciting. Count the self-titled, debut long-player from Canada’s Maule as one to write home about. Filled with ripping solos, headbanging rhythms, and sing-a-long choruses, this is the type of album that will get you reaching into the closet for your denim jacket, white high-tops, and anything with studs emblazoned on it. Mixing in a solid thrash aesthetic into their brand of trad worship, Maule often times come off as heavier and more battle-tested than many of their contemporaries. For old school fans, like myself, who have been through this firefight a million times before there is both muscle memory in our fist-pumping, as well as excitement for a band that’s setting a torch to genre limitations. Play it often and play it LOUD.

Dark Meditation – Polluted Temples
Few bands can claim in their bios to have influences as varied as first wave black metal, death rock, and a “sunset strip swagger”, and manage to pull it off with any type of cohesion. Yet, I’ll be damned if we weren’t recently gifted just such an album from Seattle’s Dark Meditation. Out of all their claimed influences death rock is the one that sticks out the most to my ears, yet much like when bands as varied as Tribulation and Ancient VVisdom start to pull from other corners of the metal/rock worlds to fill out their unique sounds, Dark Meditation tread the same gloomy path with aplomb. This is certainly a band that could have opened for, say, Mercyful Fate during black metal’s infancy and been welcomed with horns raised. And while I’d never musically compare this band to the hyped-up garbage that slithered through most of L.A.’s club scene in the ’80s, there’s no denying this outfit indeed has a swagger befitting of the Father of Lies himself. If at some point The Damned, or perhaps even Bauhaus, had truly “gone metal” with their sound in the mid-’80s you might get a close approximation of what you’ll find on Polluted Temples. Don’t take my word for it though. Instead, light some black candles, close the drapes, and melt into this record as intended.

Mountaineer – Giving Up The Ghost
There are few bands I’ve been following as hard over the last five years as Oakland’s purveyors of post-doom, Mountaineer. There is something I find equally soothing and gut-wrenching within their albums, and each one seems to successfully build and grow from the previous offerings. So it should be stated now, that it is completely without hyperbole when I say that Mountaineer are about to drop possibly their best album to date. Where some of their most recent efforts tended to lean harder into their post-metal elements, Giving Up The Ghost sees the band exact a slightly more doom-laden approach, while still maintaining the soaring, majestic style of music they’ve become known for. There are few bands that can take you on sonic trips through the musical ether the way Mountaineer can, and their growing discography attests to a band operating at the top of their game.

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