IN ROTATION: Our most played albums in June 2020

6 min read


So here we are in Summer in the strange year that is 2020. I hope you are all getting through it wherever you are. Last month I got started with serious plans to move from The Czech Republic to Germany (I know, not the greatest time for a relocation, but who dares wins eh?). For the first time I slightly regret all the vinyl I’ve been buying that I contemplate having to transport all of it, but hey ho. June saw a couple of new releases that really grabbed my attention, in amongst my other listening delights.

The Hallowed Catharsis – Killowner
Lacerated Enemy Records – June 2nd 2020

The Hallowed Catharsis were a great discovery for me last month, through this their latest EP (see my review here). I went back and listened to some of their earlier stuff and it seems the band are heavier than ever here. You might compare the brutal, hammering riffing and the really heavy percussive approach to a band like Cryptopsy. Add to that some Dillinger Escape Plan feel with plenty of sudden changes, and then on top of that this cool, aggressive Soilent Green/ Pantera groove going on (and similar vocal approach). Just 14min 23sec, but there are tons of ideas packed into these tracks and they’re all excellent. I highly recommend you check this out if you aren’t familiar with them.

Mercyful Fate – Melissa
Roadrunner Records – October 30th 1983

It was only about 10 years ago ,maybe, that I discovered King Diamond’s “old” band. I say “old” because while this album came before his fruitful solo career, there have been extended periods where he was leading this and his eponymous band simultaneously. I’ve got some time for the solo stuff and the later Mercyful Fate releases, but for me this is the one if I had to pick any King Diamond related release (read my Mercyful Fate piece here). Outstanding hard rock, great playing, thumping rhythm section and the weirdly wonderful vocal delivery of King Diamond and his satanic and mythical lyrical preoccupations. Every song on this album is an absolute humdinger.

Mercyful Fate – Don’t Break The Oath
Roadrunner Records – September 7th 1984

The follow-up to Melissa, and another great release from the band (their last before they reformed. You’ll hear the band moving to a more Metal sound here. Personally I prefer the previous album, but this damned good with some stone cold classics like “Gypsy” and “Come to the Sabbath”. Sometimes King Diamond just gets a little too ridiculous on this one for me, but take the rough with the smooth, he’s a great frontman and the band can plaaaaaaaaay.

Valdrin – Effigy of Nightmares
Blood Harvest – June 12th 2020

Another fantastic discovery for me last month. I almost always feel the need to put a disclaimer that I’m not a black metal fan when I write about any such music, but Valdrin won me over with this release instantly. The whole album has such a mesmerising almost cinematic quality to it. On top of the fearsome energy and memorable melodies the production is just the right balance of lo-fi tendencies and heaviness. I keep coming back to this.

Dax Riggs – We Sing of Only Blood or Love
Fat Possum Records – August 21st 2007

The one time frontman of cult, southern sludge metal delight Acid Bath, Dax Riggs pretty much left the world of metal behind with all his subsequent projects. But that’s proved to be no bad thing (and I still love Acid Bath) as he’s shown what an excellent songwriter he is. The White Stripes might be a musical reference point to know what to expect from this one, but a few shades darker. You may also hear references to Tom Waits, Beck, David Bowie, Mark Lanegan and a host of others. The lyrics are always dark and strange and Dax can croon or rock out as the mood takes him.. A truly great artist and with a very particular delivery (also check out his great cover of Heartbreak Hotel from his followup album). He deserves more attention.

Tom Boatman