IN ROTATION: Our most played albums in January 2021

8 min read


Often when these end of month In Rotation lists come round I feel like I’m not spending enough time listening to new(ish) Metal. This month however I’ve been pretty locked into a Bandcamp Metal Underground exploration and oh what a lot of treats I’ve been discovering on top of the music that crosses my path for new release reviews.

The Von Deer Skulls – The Rest Is Silence 

For some people perhaps Atmospheric Sludge Metal is becoming a tired concept. Rest assured though that the atmospherics of The Von Deer Skulls are not like CGI effects covering up for lack of substance in a big, budget hollywood movie. “The Rest Is Silence” has a sound all of its own and it’s strange, dark and heavy. Add to that the band makes some damn fine music videos.

The Throne – Frail Threads

It came to my attention that I’ve been hearing a lot of great music, slapping it on my Bandcamp wishlist and then forgetting about it, so I’ve been going back through some of my selections. The Throne are one such band and after listening to this EP again I had no hesitation in buying it. Powerful Sludge Metal from Poland. There’s a bit of that ol’ early 90s Neurosis apocalyptical edge, but they definitely take it in their own direction.

Portrayal of Guilt – We Are Always Alone

Is is Sludge? Is it Black Metal? Is it Post-Hardcore? “We Are Always Alone” swallows up whatever styles it pleases (so long as they are intense) combing jagged riffing, gutterall basslines and powerful drumming, with the vocals of a rabbid goblin and some dark, ambient passages that let you get our breath back. Pretty catchy too if you like being screamed at.

Amebix – Monolith

One fine evening earlier this month I find myself merrily diving down a Crust Punk rabbit hole. What got it all started was revisiting Amebix, a band often revered for their influence on early Neurosis, and in particular this album. Alongside the grimey aggression of old-school Mötorhead, there’s this hyper-intense, grim darkness that makes it sound like the band are burning in a lake of fire at the end of the world. Very suitable for running to I have found (and running from your demons). I wish I could be a purist and say the original release is where it’s at, but I think I prefer the remaster with the levels pushed up.

Scour – Black EP

On Friday evening I tuned in for a live stream of Scour (I’d love to see them in the flesh, but in this day and age you do what you can) and I discovered (at least) two things. Firstly, Adam Jarvis is an unbelievable drummer. The relentless speed of this guy! My second observation was that while the intensity of the playing never lets up, it’s when the band plays track off this, their most recent EP that things really get exciting. Somehow on the “Black EP” there’s an added oomph and the tracks are that little bit more memorable. Part Black Metal, part Death Metal, all hardcore as fuck.

Tom Boatman