February continues to push metal in 2018 to new heights, and though I found myself listening to much less than desired this month, I still discovered plenty of gems. Oh, and there’s much less black metal here this time around. I won’t hinder anymore—here are five of my favourite metal releases from February in no particular order:
The Blessing Way – From Empty Plates We Dine
Genre: Melodic Death/Gothic Metal
Release Date: February 19th, 2018
To kick it off we have a superb debut album from the Irish-based solo project of Ollie Gill. I’ve been a massive fan of gothic music since discovering bands like Children of Bodom and Cradle of Filth way back in the eighth grade. It’s resonated with me in more than just music too as I’ve become a big fan of horror over the past few years.
Rambling aside, this record is quite one to behold, particularly as a debut. The screams, drumming, and keys strangle your attention throughout every track on this thing and it’s had me coming back more than any other album this month. Great stuff.
Entropy Created Consciousness – Impressions of the Morning Star
Genre: Dark/Black Metal
Release Date: February 1st, 2018
Yet another solid debut project that glistened its way into a month of solid music, Impressions of the Morning Star seems to have came out of nowhere and I don’t think anybody is complaining. The album offers a welcome mix of slow atmospheric pieces, into more intense and layered drum and guitar work with strong background instruments and vocals. Incredibly well constructed record.
Пламень Мрака – Отзвуки мистерий потустороннего
Genre: Black Metal
Release Date: February 18th, 2018
Since I’m not fluent in Russian, the band’s name translates to “Flame of Darkness” and the album “Echoes of the Mysteries of the Otherworld”. This is the second full-length album from this band, the other being released only last year. It’s also a solo project, with mastermind “HEX” having quite a bit of history in various black metal projects.
The entire album is a constant assault of profound guitar and drum work, with a great mix of harsh and I suppose clean-esque vocals. Excellent overall.
Solstice – White Horse Hill
Genre: Epic Doom Metal
Release Date: February 21st, 2018
Now here’s a huge fucking surprise—this release marks Solstice’s first full-length album since 1998! That’s exactly 20 years and almost as long as I’ve been alive!
This is a record that has been in the works for quite a while, and I’m happy to say that the wait is certainly worth it. In terms of content, its guitar riffs compliment the clean vocals beautifully, with every track delivering distinctive yet well-polished ideas. Definitely not one to miss for any fan of metal.
Xenoblight – Procreation
Genre: Progressive Thrash/Death Metal
Release Date: February 8th, 2018
Can you hazard a guess as to what drew me to this album? Seriously, look at that amazing artwork! Setting it aside though, Procreation incorporates elements from death metal, progressive metal and thrash metal, all precisely woven into a remarkable collection of songs.
The album shakes things up constantly, delivering slower melodies to a focus on drums and fast-paced guitars. The solos in particular are incredibly well done. As an added bonus, I listened to this through multiple times before learning the vocalist is female. I still firmly believe there aren’t enough women represented on the vocal front in metal (outside of symphonic stuff, mind you). Marika has superb range and brings everything on this already stellar album together wonderfully.
Ex Anima – Pliaga
Genre: Experimental/Atmospheric Black Metal
Release Date: February 27th, 2018
Despite being released fairly late into the month, I’ve been listening to and enjoying the hell out of this thing quite actively. This record encompasses a very immersive ambience of different instruments alongside those traditionally seen in black metal, all of which come together very nicely with strong vocal production. A very impressive debut album that I look forward to exploring moving forward.