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The Best Metal of January 2017

Your best source for what’s new, undiscovered and unholy in metal.

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This column is a reprint from Unwinnable Monthly #87, the Rebellion issue. If you like what you see, grab the magazine for less than ten dollars, or subscribe and get all future magazines for half price.

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1. A denim or leather jacket or vest, usually covered with sewn patches embroidered with the names/logos of killer metal bands.

2. Unwinnable Monthly’s metal column, your best source for what’s new, undiscovered and unholy in metal.

New York City’s Black Anvil starts 2017 off right with As Was, an album so good that it’s already an immediate contender for best metal album of the year.

Listen now to the UNWINNABLE Metal Playlist January 2017

METAL ALBUM OF THE MONTH
Black Anvil – As Was
NEW WAVE BLACK
Black Anvil’s revelatory 2014 Hail Death signaled a new direction for black metal. Three years later, As Was finds the proud torchbearers of New York Black Metal re-articulating the extremities of black traditions even further. Doing for the black what Kvelertak did for blast and classic metal, As Was intermingles haunting clean vocals with feral screams and elements of gothic, hard rock and classic metal. Combined with booming production reminiscent of a live show (that bass!), As Was pioneers a new brutal shade of black that is more modern and accessible than almost anything that’s come before it. High points include the opener, “On Forgotten Ways”, “Nothing” and closer “Ultra”, but it’s tracks like the stunning “Two Keys: Here’s the Lock” that legitimizes As Was as an evolutionary force within metal, and establishes Black Anvil as the vanguard of the new black.

LISTEN: “AS WAS”; LISTEN: “ULTRA”; LISTEN: “MAY HER WRATH BE JUST”; LISTEN: FULL ALBUM

RUNNER UP
Alluvial – The Deep Longing for Annihilation
INSTRUMENTAL PROGRESSIVE DEATH
Guitar nerds and gear heads rejoice! Beloved guitarists Keith Marrow and Wes Hauch (The Faceless, Conquering Dystopia, Black Crown Initiate) rip through track after track of some of the most state of the art, technical, and best produced metal today. Update the history books; this is what shredding sounds like in 2017.

LISTEN: FULL ALBUM

BEST METAL OF THE MONTH
Pryapisme – Diabolicus Felinae Pandamonium
INSTRUMENTAL INDUSTRIAL ROCOCOCORE
File this under WTF. The band describes the album as, “more than three years of work, 10 songs, 57 minutes, 88 GB of audio, 861 tracks and around 99% of processor overload.” Yep, that’s 100% accurate.

LISTEN: “A LA ZHEULEULEU”; “TAU CETI CENTRAL

Aborym – Shifting, Negative
POST INDUSTRIAL BLACK ELECTRO
Aborym’s ongoing search for the unsettling beauty in everyday life sounds like a haunted throwback to the early ‘90s Wax Trax-meets 120 Minutes era of crossover industrial electro-metal.

LISTEN: FULL ALBUM; WATCH: “PRECARIOUS

The Drip – The Haunting Fear of Inevitability
NEW GRIND POWER DEATH
This five-piece from Washington get savage across 13 tracks of ferocious metal, and like Black Anvil, they known when to throw the release valve with welcome reprieves of mood and melody.

LISTEN: “BLACKEST EVOCATION”; LISTEN: FULL ALBUM

Galactic Empire – Self-Titled
METAL STAR WARS
Like Ghost did with classic metal and horror movies, Galactic Empire uses copious metal and some righteous theatrics to reinvent John Williams’ signature score.

WATCH: “THE IMPERIAL MARCH

Vipassi – Sunyata
INSTRUMENTAL PROGRESSIVE DEATH
This Australian quartet dole out an onslaught of aggressive, hyper-technical riff wizardry across a canvas of instrumental doomy metal.

LISTEN: “JOVE

Terranoct – Cast in Stone
THRASHY TECHNICAL DEATH
This is the first/single release from Terranoct, a freshly minted quartet from AKRON, OH. “Cast in Stone” is super heavy, technical, fast, and has brutal vocals.

LISTEN: “CAST IN STONE

Trevor de Brauw – Uptown
INSTRUMENTAL AMBIENT DRONE
While De Brauw’s signature sludge helps power the boom of Pelican, Uptown’s slowburn swells are a welcome departure.

LISTEN: “THEY KEEP BOWING

The Replicate – A Selfish Dream
PROGRESSIVE DEATH DOOM
Original and experimental, this dirgey Voivod-esque offering combines off-kilter riff patterns and tribal drums with clawing vocals.

LISTEN: FULL EP; LISTEN: “THE CHAINSAW OF GOD

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Casey Lynch is editorial director of Square Enix where he works on Tomb Raider, Deus Ex, Hitman and more. His first metal show was Anthrax, Testament and Metal Church in 1987. Djent with him on Twitter @Lynchtacular 

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