Album: Access All Worlds
Artist: Iotunn
Genre: Progressive Metal
Origin: Denmark + Faroe Islands

Listen to The Tower of Cosmic Nihility

This album pairs well with Manhattan Project Wise Monkeys.

So much artistic energy is spent on worshiping nature.  We forget that all of nature is against us.  Our comfort is built on the shoulders of those who fought against the might of the Earth.  There is beauty in a struggle against a worthy adversary.  Sure, we have environmental problems, but it is because we have forgotten the purpose of the battle against the original power and principality.  Let us not forget that we didn’t start this fight.  The earth would have happily watched us flounder and painfully die out.  We owe her nothing.  Why then, do we feel the need to preserve and protect her?  She was a worthy opponent.  Maybe it’s time to move on.



Album: Origin
Artist: Omnium Gatherum
Genre: Melodic Death Metal
Origin: Finland

Listen to Reckoning

This album pairs well with Peticolas Velvet Hammer

I woke up and immediately knew that it wasn’t going to be a normal day.  In the twilight of consciousness I reached over and remembered that my wife was out of country.  I would be on my own.  This wouldn’t be as much of a problem if I had a normal routine to fall back on, but it was Sunday and my church had just dissolved a month ago.  Providentially, I had a good friend invite me to worship with them.  After the service we all went out to lunch, they had V-Ham on the menu, so a pint was delivered immediately.  Before we parted ways, a second pint was consumed, and I was feeling like everything was as it should be.  When I got home it was still early in the afternoon and I had some time to spare so I decided to eat some mushrooms I had been saving.

It wasn’t my first rodeo, so I noticed as soon as they started kicking in.  I put on my Best Metal Albums of 2021 playlist and got comfortable on the couch.  It was amazing.  The warm glow enveloped me and I couldn’t help but laugh and feel wonderful.  This is exactly what I was hoping for.  But then a switch was flipped.  A new sense was activated.  Of course, the problem of qualia exists without the influence of psychedelics, but this feeling is an order of magnitude harder to explain.  At first, nothing in reality changed, but I became aware of this new sense.  It was like the color green, a sustained bass guitar note, and a metallic taste all combined and experienced through a new method of perception.  I knew something had changed, so I decided to text my D&D friends in an attempt to share my experience and also maintain a tether, because I wasn’t sure what would happen next.  I started seeing geometric shapes on the walls and the curtains started breathing.  I lost the ability to see the color red. 

Then Ominum Gatherum queued up and I saw the lines of reality.  Any object that had straight lines, the TV, speakers, fireplace facade, wall hangings, all fell back but their edges remained and extended indefinitely.  It was obvious that reality had fold marks, just like a flattened sheet of origami paper that was once a beautiful sculpture.  I folded it back up, not into a work of art, but into an infinitely small atom.  I lost the rest of the colors.  I was standing in a mega structure.  There were 3 halls ahead of me, but I think there were more around me if I would have turned to look.  It was bright, but there was only light and dark.  The hallways were more than a hundred meters wide and the walls extended up to infinity.  They disappeared into the sky.  I was scared to go down any hallway, so I unfolded reality and came back.  The second time I returned I noticed other beings there.  They were humanoid, shorter than me, and totally black as the void. Every time I turned to look at them, they ran away laughing.  I came back.  I was worried about getting lost and forgetting what was the “real” reality.  So I kept reciting a mantra, “It’s OK. You took a psychedelic.”  

I wanted to convey some of this to my D&D friends, but operating a phone was problematic.  The screen was a window that I had to push my hands through in search of the next character.  The last time I folded reality and went to the great hall, I decided to do an experiment.  I wanted to know if I was walking around in reality when I was walking around in the hall.  This simple experiment was harder to evaluate than expected, however I don’t think I ever left the couch the whole time.  Coming down was the hardest part.  Once I lost the ability to see the fold lines, I still had the extra sense.  Green, bass note, metallic taste.  It was clinical.  Not unpleasant, but not pleasant at all.  I was exhausted.  I felt like I had pulled an all nighter studying and just got out of a 4 hour test.  I cooked dinner and went to bed early. 




Album: Der Weg einer Freiheit
Artist: Noktvrn
Genre: Post Black Metal
Origin: Germany

Listen to Immortal

This album pairs well with Rahr & Sons Iron Thistle

I’m not going through a post black metal faze, you are!  Maybe we all are.  The amount of quality post black metal is ever increasing!  That’s a good thing, but it empowers everything around the periphery.  Sometimes it’s hard to draw the line of where post starts and black begins.  Who knew that we would have to worry about comparing all the post black metal albums of 2021, but here we are.  Since everyone can officially agree that post black metal is a worthy genre, we need to give credit where credit is due.  This album is perfect.  It defines the genre.



Album: Erra
Artist: Erra
Genre: Technical Death Metal
Origin: Birmingham, Alabama

Listen to Lunar Halo

This album pairs well with Lagunitas IPA in a tallboy can

This is everyone’s music.  If it has a fault, it is that it has something for everyone and doesn’t cater.  You could play this album in almost any setting and everyone would be ok with it.  The breakdowns are technical.  The vocals are memorable.  The mixing is on point.  The beat and tempo keep the party going.  This is what you get when an indi metal band proves that they can produce something even better than the vapid trash the major labels can crank out.



Album: Messe Basse
Artist: Nature Morte
Genre: Post Black Metal
Origin: France

Listen to White Goat, Dark Hoof

This album pairs well with Elysian The Great Pumpkin.

The direction and performances in Saint Maud are so perfectly executed that it never occurred to me that I could simply stop watching when my uncomfortable dial pegged out.  It was just reality that I had to cope with.  The reason this movie works so well is that it forces the viewer to see the world through the eyes of Maud and feel the reality of an existence where her actions make sense.  None of us are that different from Maud.  It is in the low whispers that we take instruction. 

We can call it whatever we want, but we all are filled with the voice of God in the back of our mind.  The true horror is that the film forces you to come to terms with the fact that if anyone else observed reality through your eyes, they would assume that you are insane.  We have the keep the fact that reality is driven by a background murmur telling us what to think a secret.  In a way, we are all mad and we all have our own religion.



Album: Bleeding Veil
Artist: In Mourning
Genre: Melodic Black Metal
Origin: Sweden

Listen to At the Behest of Night

This album pairs well with Texas Yuengling 


The hottest new genre in metal is Melodic Black Metal.  I can’t take credit for this one like I can for “Castle Metal.”  But, there is a huge debate around this new classification, and some would argue the debate is more important to the future of metal than the new genre its self! 

One side would argue that it is a totally new and unique classification.  Unlike Post Black Metal, they would claim, Melodic Black Metal is a new concept that is NOT derived from Black Metal.    

The other side would agree.  It’s not a derivative of Black Metal, they would say, it is a derivative of Melodic Death Metal!  They would have you to believe that this is what a Melodic Death Metal band sounds like when they “grow up.” 

And then you have The Bleeding Veil.  It isn’t concerned with the past.  All art can be accused of being derivative of something or other.  Does it matter?  This album is Melodic Black Metal and it is the best Melodic Black Metal of all time. 

This is one of those albums that gets better the more you listen to it.  It is great for putting on your headphones and experiencing the journey.  It’s wonderful to put on while you read a book.  Somehow it manages to be both.



Album: Marianas Rest
Artist: Fata Morgana
Genre: Melodic Death Metal
Origin: North Carolina, USA

Listen to The Weight

This album pairs well with Santa Fe Coffee Stout

Pop open a Santa Fe Coffee Stout and listen to this album.  Metal has the tendency to dwell on the darkness in the world, and that is what makes it feel so real.  There is no candy coating here.  The real world isn’t a CW show or a Netflix teen dramedy.  Metalheads know that there is a pleasure in being different from all the “happy” ignorant masses that listen to pop music.  But, this can be just as destructive as Katy Perry.  Those who give up on reality are just as ineffective as those who choose to live in a bubblegum Matrix of fake pop insta projection.  Sure, this album dives into the depths of how the weight reality feels as it bears down on you but, it doesn’t take the easy way out!  Yes, existence is pain and our minds all have a default programming, but unlike a Namco ROM cartridge, we can rewrite it.  By the time you finish your beer, the caffeine will have kicked in and given you the energy to do what needs to be done.



Album: Solar Paroxysm
Artist: Mare Cognitum
Genre: Atmospheric Black Metal
Origin:  West Coast, USA

Listen to Terra Requiem

This album pairs well with Manhattan Project Hoppenheimer

It’s a pairing that was destined to be.  A west coast atmo black album and a west coast IPA.  They feel natural together.  Aside from the fact that Mare Cognitum is a one man band from Portland, and Hoppenheimer is brewed in Dallas, this combination describes perfectly the concept of California.  Don’t listen to anyone who lives there, they won’t get it. 



Album: Frozen Bloom
Artist: Olhava
Genre: Post Black Metal
Origin: Russia

Listen to Frozen Bloom I

This album pairs well with Clown Shoes The Good, The Bad, & The Unidragon

I can’t get over the album art!  It’s perfect.  It is more than just an image.  It’s actually the name of the album.  It’s the name of the company you want to work for.  It’s the name of the church you want to be a member of.  It’s the name of your D&D campaign.  It’s the name of the book you haven’t written yet.  It’s the name of the dinosaur you will discover.  It’s the name of your car.  It’s the name of the town you wished you were from.  You see it, don’t you?





Album: Ice Fleet
Artist: Kauan
Genre: Folk Metal
Origin: Estonia

Listen to Raivo

This album pairs well with Dogfishhead Where the wild Hops Are IPA.      


Oh no…  It finally happened to me.  This is the worst thing possible.  Unfathomable.  I might have encountered proof, for the first time, that I am a different person than I was before.  In 1995 I was 14 and I read The Conscious Universe: Part and Whole in Modern Physical Theory.It blew my mind even though I didn’t understand everything.  Phrases like, “hidden ontology of classical epistemology” went over my head and I didn’t always have the luxury of making a long distance call into the Prodigy server in Oklahoma City to ask people in my favorite chat rooms what it meant.

However, the authors were skilled enough that I was able to grasp what that phrase meant with context clues.  The real thing I didn’t understand was Quantum Field Theory.  I still don’t, but I can say that at this point, I understand it better than the authors.  The problem is that the foundational premise of the book is false.  So, the rest of the arguments don’t matter, no matter how well crafted. 

The issue at hand is that I still believe some of the later arguments.  I now have more durable cornerstones for those beliefs, but how did I get them?  Obviously, the belief was first, so I worked backwards from the conclusion.This book is the equivalent of a pop-psy or pop-sci YouTube video, but from the early 90s.  Now, I would unsubscribe from this channel.  But, is it too late?