In the spirit of the staff suggestions featured in record shops and old-school video stores (RIP), we share our Vault Picks. It’s a chance to venture beyond Indy Metal Vault’s premieres and reviews for a glimpse into other recent releases the staff have been jamming in their secluded lairs. From extreme underground oddities to non-metal recommendations and guilty pleasures, unlock our newest bevy of Vault Picks below.
Downfall of Gaia
Ethic of Radical Finitude
Released on February 8, 2019
Genre: Post-Black Metal
I’ve been listening to this a lot since it came out in February. The band’s emotive and intelligent take on post-black metal has always been very good, but on Ethic of Radical Finitude they seem to have produced some of their best work yet. Melodic and expressive, but also dark and solemn, I suspect this album will be with me for some time to come.
Released on April 19th, 2019
Genre: Stoner metal
So you’re going to read a lot of coverage about Baltimore stoner metal coven Haze Mage mentioning Danzig. Vocalist Matthew Casella certainly conjures the Evil Elvis bluesy baritone in standout tracks “Bong Witch” and “Dread Queen.” But most of Chronicles returns the fun to fantasy themes that have become self-serious since the massive popularity of Lord of the Rings and Game of Thrones seized the genre. Haze Mage’s roster of characters includes fire wizards and zombified golems, mining the weirdest corners of sword ‘n’ sorcery for creature inspiration. Meanwhile, the album’s red-hot riffs cut through the smoke rising from bubbling cauldrons and haunted bongs. They even unleash blast beats and death growls in showstopper “Harbinger.” Monster Magnet fans that want 420-friendly jams from Middle Earth instead of outer space should light this up.
A Tomb of Sanity
Released digitally on February 18th, 2019
Releasing on CD on May 30th, 2019
Genre: Brutal Death Metal
As an Indiana resident that’s been living in England for the last three years, I’ve been starving for that distinctive brutal death metal sound that was born and bred in New York city from bands like Suffocation, Internal Bleeding, Pyrexia, and Skinless. Indiana has no shortage of incredible BDM bands too, including the likes of Gorgasm, Sarcophagy, Severed Headshop, Harakiri, and Human Filleted. The United Kingdom has brutal death metal bands, but most have a lot of metalcore influence and utilize a lot more mid and high-ranged gutturals, which isn’t my sort of thing. My appetite went unquenched until I came across Apostate’s debut. A couple of months ago this band from Preston, UK put out this brutal gem with primarily low gutturals that could just as easily have come out of the depths of the American brutal death scene. If you want some new BDM to check out, this is well worth your time. The CD pressing and some sick shirts come out at the end of the month through Lord of the Sick Recordings.
A Letter Of Red
Released on April 19
Genre: Psychedelic Rock/Doom Metal
I used to be a bit picky when it came to occult-styled bands’ vocals. Something about the singer getting all worked up and sweaty over our ol’ pal Satan made them sound a little…too witchy for me. But that just isn’t the case with Sabbath Assembly. Their carefully woven tapestries of vintage proto-metal riffs are a perfect backdrop for Jamie Myers’ fantastic, emotive voice. She surely does the spellbound frontwoman thing but with so much more dynamics and allure than your usual Grace Slick wannabe. Also, this one dials back the heaviness of the previous few albums just a bit, letting the spooky psychedelia flow. This album is just perfect when I want to get a similar feeling to watching an old Hammer Horror flick.
The Face Of Fear
November 16th, 2018
Genre: Melodic Thrash Metal
Artillery is a band that I’ve always liked since I was getting into the genre of Thrash Metal when I was a young adolescent. While going through a couple of singers since Flemming’s departure in the early 2000s, and this album being the third one to include singer Michael Bastholm, this is the first album since When Death Comes that drew me in and made we want to listen to it over and over. Not to say the albums in between weren’t good, they just seemed like they were on autopilot, somewhat stale and nothing quite grabbed me and begged for replay value. However, this album I feel that Artillery stepped up their game, finally got accustomed to their latest singer and released a massive slab of melodic thrash that’s well executed and harkens back in some areas to the classic feel of earlier albums. On top of all that, the production is outstanding. All the tones are incredible, and it’s one of the best sounding metal albums I’ve heard in a while and highly recommended for those who might like their thrash to lean more towards the melodic side.
Taylor Swift ft. Brendon Urie (Panic! At The Disco)
April 25th, 2019
I’m picking this for one reason and one reason only; nobody that reads a metal ‘zine would give this song a chance unless another metal goer recommended it. As someone with a huge soft spot for pop music, I absolutely love “Me!” There’s more to it than just being catchy; the songwriting itself is well pieced together backed by horns, synths, and lyrics that aren’t the same seven words sounding like a broken record. I get it, some of the lyrics are laughable and the video is ridiculous but is metal not guilty of this sometimes too? To top everything off, it uses a trade-off singing style between the two like your classic Stevie Nicks and Don Henley duo. Save for the semi-annoying bridge, every moment of this new tune is a jam!