Five Metal Albums From the 2010’s That Fucking Matter

 

THURSDAY SIMPSON

 

Satan told her children to go forth and use electricity to sing the praises of One Far Away. There are a lot of ways to approach heavy metal. And it’s a sound that’s always changing. Kiss, Twisted Sister, King Diamond, Deicide, Death, Immortal, Saint Vitus, Lita Ford, Death, they’re all metal bands.

The 2010’s are a good decade for heavy metal. There are so many different forms and subgenres going back to the late 60’s to the present. So much inspiration to provide so many opportunities. Here are five fucking excellent metal albums from the 2010’s.

 

1. Nervosa — Agony (2016)

 

 

Agony is the second of Nervosa’s three full length albums. They mix thrash and melodic death metal and really sound phenomenal. Prika Amaral both sings and plays guitar in the band. Her vocals are always good, mostly staying down in guttural screams. Her vocals recall Chuck Schuldiner from Death. Not growling, but not an overt scream or black metal vocals, either.

 

 

Prika’s guitar parts are also excellent. Nervosa’s songs are all at a fast pace and her style is mostly right hand driven. She fleshes out her ideas by changing her right hand picking rhythms throughout their songs, adding rhythmic nuances to the chords and leads she’s playing.

Plenty of older thrash and death metal bands have been releasing new material in the last several years. But it’s really cool seeing a new band like Nervosa making great music.

 

2. Jess and the Ancient Ones — Second Psychedelic Coming: The Aquarius Tapes (2015)

 

 

The Aquarius Tapes is the second full length release from Jess and the Ancient Ones. Jess is my favorite singer in contemporary metal. The band’s sound reaches back to the Blue Oyster Cult and Coven. Organs and moans and wailing everywhere.

Jess’ lyrics concern her own occult experiences, LSD, lucid dreaming, the limitations and possibilities of human consciousness.

 

 

If Janis Joplin replaced Ronnie James Dio as the singer in Rainbow, they might have sounded a lot like Jess and the Ancient Ones.

 

The album ends with the song Goodbye To Virgin Grounds Forever. It’s like a collaboration between John Coltrane, Jimi Hendrix, King Crimson and Aleister Crowley. It resembles John Coltrane in the way John’s album, A Love Supreme, is a musical meditation and exploration of spirituality. And while the 22-minute song does have its share of jazz like drumming and solo sections, the music resembles Jimi Hendrix at his most meditative moments. There are also some samples from lectures on consciousness included throughout the song.

 

3. The Devil’s Witches — Velvet Magic (2017)

 

 

This is an album length obsession with fuzz tone, femdoms, vampires and Vietnam films. This is also a concept album. The storyline follows a Vietnam veteran who becomes involved with a Jean Rollin inspired lady-vampire.

Velvet Magic gained a lot of publicity when a member of Electric Wizard praised the release as one of his favorite albums of the year. Like most doom records, it might take a little time to grow on you. But the lyrics are deeper than they might seem at first. And the vocal melodies will end up in your head after you hear the songs a few times.

 

 

Most of the songs are pretty slow and groovy, in line with Black Sabbath and Electric Wizard. But the 60’s fuzz influence really does make an impact on the music. It all helps create a really innovative sound. And it’s a sound with enough pop elements to keep you listening.

 

4. Witch Mountain — Witch Mountain (2018)

 

 

Witch Mountain has been around for a couple decades. But this self-titled release is their first with new singer, Kayla Dixon. Kayla is one of the best vocalists in heavy metal. She sings melodies with a ton of range, growls and screams and comes right out of her growls into singing with pitch.

 

 

Kayla’s lyrics focus more on interpersonal relationships than anything else. That’s really good for metal. Baroque and neo-classical themes are nice, but metal is intense and emotional. It lends itself too well to personal expression to keep singing songs about Lord of the Rings and haunted tea pots. Kayla’s vocal range and depth of voice really allows to her to explore so many varieties of emotion.

 

5. Myrkur — Mareridt (2017)

 

 

Once I met a girl online and we talked about music & films & fucking. We liked each other a lot. But one of her hard requirements for even a friendship was blood sacrifices. As in, my blood. Sacrificed to her for the purpose of ritual consumption. And sadly one of my hard limits is blood play. Sigh. But, we did trade a lot of great bands. And she introduced me to Myrkur’s music and I’m forever grateful.

Myrkur plays several different acoustic instruments and is a fucking frighteningly talented singer.

 

Her music is folk, it is extreme, it is fucking incredible.

 

She incorporates folk standards, moves into screaming and Emperor like song-arrangements. And with the blast beats still coming she starts singing more traditional folk like melodies.

 

 

If you follow her on social media, you can tell how much she loves heavy metal. Last Halloween she carved a King Diamond pumpkin and I cried. Before her last album came out, she recorded a cover of King Diamond’s song Welcome Home on her piano and I cried.

 

***

 

Sometimes heavy metal gets a bad reputation for being a slughead bro genre. This is often warranted. But metal always has been more than that. Or at least it always has the potential to be more. All five of these bands and artists push metal beyond so many of its conventions and dumb tropes. Searching for new sounds, new expressions. They all combine so many genres and influences into an alchemical heavy fog. They are all musical geniuses amongst us.

 

 

 

Thursday Simpson is a multimedia artist and a co-founding editor at OUT/CAST, a journal for queer & Midwestern writers. Her first chapbook, Three Gothic Stories, is published with Moonchaps. She composes soundtracks for her writing and maintains a prog, analog synth based aesthetic. She believes in Feline Satan and garlic and onions. Ask her to do an impression of King Diamond or Kevin Steen and she will probably smile. Her Twitter is @JeanBava and her full publication history can be found at www.thursdaysimpson.com

 

Advertisements

Leave a Reply