Album: Days of the Lost
Artist: The Halo Effect
Genre: Melodic Death Metal
Origin: Sweden

Listen to A truth Worth Lying For.

This album pairs well with Oskar Blues Dale’s Pale Ale.

This is one of those albums that makes me feel bad for people who haven’t experienced metal.  To call this a gateway album does it a disservice. 

But, when people ask me, “what kind of music do you listen to?” this is a good answer.



Album: Vargtimman
Artist: Ereb Altor
Genre: Viking Metal
Origin: Sweden

Listen to I have the Sky

This album pairs well with homebrewed mead.

Most Viking Metal invokes the other, the need to destroy and conquer.  Don’t get me wrong, there is time and a place for heroic battle hymns, but we can’t slay our enemies every single day. 

Who inspires the shipbuilders?  Who sings for the blacksmiths?  Who provides a rhythm for the farmers?  Who creates a melody for the woodworkers? 

Ereb Altor do. 

The next time you are lacking focus, put this album on and get to work.




Album: Summoning the Slayer
Artist: Temple of Void
Genre: Doom Metal
Origin: The Depths of Detroit

Listen to Deathtouch

This album pairs well with Lagunitas A Little Sumpin’ Sumpin’ Ale.

This is the comfort food of metal.  I know that is damning with faint praise, but nothing will ever compare to Of Terror and the Supernatural.  We all know what to expect when we delve into the depths of Detroit, and this album doesn’t disappoint.



Album: Close
Artist: Messa
Genre: Drone Metal
Origin: Italy

Listen to Rubedo

This album pairs well with La Trappe Quadrupel.

Drones are underestimated.  Deep inside of everyone is a longing, a need, to feel what it’s like to play a guitar under an undulating shower of molasses. 



Album: Army of Frogs
Artist: Froglord
Genre: Doom Metal
Origin: England

Listen to Army of Frogs

This album pairs well with Dogfishhead 90 Minute IPA.

Doom Metal is too vague of a genre.  I know, I know, I’m that guy who is always trying to make new genres happen, but sometimes you run into something like Froglord.  Obvs, it’s Doom Metal, but it’s so upbeat at the same time!  Maybe we just need more adjectives?  This is Inspirational Doom Metal!

Do you have chores to do?  Put this album on!  Do you need to chop veggies for dinner?  Put this album on!  Do you need to fold laundry?  Put this album on!  Do you need to update the credit card info for your domain registrar? Put this album on!



Album: Skin & Sorrow
Artist: Frayle
Genre: Music for the Night Sky
Origin: Ohio

Listen to All the Things I was

This album pairs well with Leffe Brune.


Memories are an objectively terrible record of events.  Dream recollections are even worse.  It’s possible that every “memory” of a dream is constructed in the moment you attempt to convert that experience into words.  I know all this, so why do I keep thumbing through the pages of my dream journal in search of meaning?  Is meaning created or discovered?  The story changes but the pertinent phrase is consistent every night; “Open the gate.”


One night I went mad and everyone left me.  In my last act of sanity, I became aware of the smell and the filth around me.  There was a knock at the door and I knew that I was going to be taken away.  Understanding that they wouldn’t care enough to assign anyone to take care of Rosie, I ran out the back door and intentionally kicked open the back gate so she could be free.  They can take me, but first I must open the gate.  The wardens of the state meet me and I die in a heap of large men attempting to constrain me while their lesser coworkers tase me.  But I fulfill my carnal obligation.  I opened the gate.


Another night; there is an evil in the house.  Everything is against me, but at the same time, I understand that I am the source of the evil.  It must be stopped.  I pick up a knife and try to stab myself to death, but the blade brakes free from the handle.  I touch a wine bottle and attempt to smash it on the dolomite so I have an edge to drive into my neck, but the glass isn’t sharp enough.  Rosie runs up to me and starts barking.  I think, “Where are the guns?”  The certainty of this thought makes me fear for the wellbeing of the innocent animal and I understand that I must save her before I reach the logical conclusion.  There is a new priority; I open the gate.


Waking up again.  Everyone saw it coming.  Our entire generation joked about how our parents took the threat of nuclear war too seriously.  Once the “tactical” nukes started flying it was only a matter of time.  All anyone can talk about is the decisions that must be made.  The 18 year old kid in tactical gear is at the door.  He yells, “30 seconds to get on the truck!”  Before I grab the bug out bag and hop onto the bed of the truck, I run into the back yard and open the gate.



Album: The Republic
Artist: Thumos
Genre: Post Metal
Origin: USA

Listen to The Virtues

This album pairs well with Allagash Saison.

For most of my life, I didn’t consider anything other than the dualist view of consciousness.  It was always associated with a great feeling of terror.  How do you define yourself?  Matter goes in, matter goes out.  For a child, it’s obvious that you are an eternal spirit confined to a finite vessel.  The fear of going to Hell wasn’t the problem.  The fear of an eternal life of any kind was. It wasn’t a fear that all of humanity’s religions might be wrong, it was a fear of what it meant if they were right. 

The concept of being a disembodied spirit, existing outside of time was my earliest existential crises.  The Bhudists believe that there is a point when your spirit leaves your body and it is supposed to be a liberating moment, but I find this concept the most horrifying.  When most people think of the incorporeal, it is normal to conceptualize the loss of the sense of touch.  However, if you can pass through the physical realm, it wouldn’t interact with you at all.  Obviously.  But what about other senses?  Smell is gone for the same reasons.  You see where this is going.  Why assume the unattached soul would even be able to hear or see? 

We have all experienced events outside of the physical realm, but what would it be like to exist in that state for eternity?  Some religious and mystic people scoff at the materialists and ask how they can even go about their lives with such a depressing worldview.  Idiots.  I get it.  If these are the two options, I embrace the return to the void.  I would rather a dreamless sleep than an existence unshackled from my body.  



Album: The Long Road North
Artist: Cult of Luna
Genre: Post Metal
Origin:  Sweden

Listen to Cold Burn

This album pairs well with Founders Dirty Bastard.

Everyone instantly noticed that a treasure was discovered. 

“Is that an SSD?”

“Cite me in your log!”

“I know a guy who can abstract the data.  I’ll give you his UD if you note me as a colab!”


I mute the channel and float back to my pod.

Archaeology normally isn’t as rewarding as the fics make it out to be.  Shuffling through rubble in the Nuevo Belt is the job given to pedestrians with wealthy parents who dreamt of meaning for their more “simple” children.  Every fic and log of prehistoric humanity romanticizes what it must have been like before civilization, but their inability to do the simplest task of recording their life events in a permanent medium proves that they never advanced much past the silicone age.   


As soon as I get into my pod, I rush over to the nuc and press the artifact into the pfoam.  The MC instantly confirms my wildest imaginations.  96% of the data is corrupted, but the remaining consists of a communication protocol that contains a payload of ancient English! 

I’m just trying to live a better life, but at the end of the day I’m going to die.  At least now I can do it comfortably.

This is a once in a generation find.  I can’t waste it.  Clearly this correspondence isn’t meaningful… But it could be.  If I just limit the contextual window by deleting a few bytes I will be counted amongst the greatest historians of all time.

“Birds aren’t real, you guys! The Department of Agriculture killed them all in the 70s so they could be replaced by DARPA aerial reconnaissance fleshbots!”


I start my abstract with, “Based on the oldest and most reliable texts, it can be assumed that a machine war centered around concealed drones was the primary pre-condition for the fall of Earth.”



Album: Shape of Despair
Artist: Return to the Void
Genre: Funeral Doom Metal
Origin: Finland

Listen to Solitary Downfall

This album pairs well with Bells Expedition Stout.

Do you ever feel like you are far away?  You should.  It’s so hot right now to talk about how the connected world is making everyone more distant, but I think this is a lie.  Humans have always had this struggle.  It’s the force that drove the first of us to gather together and build ziggurats.  It wasn’t mysticism or some forgotten religion.  It’s the same force that drives a group of kids to dig a hole.  The labor, the project, isn’t what is important.  What matters is a need to come together.  We all understand that we are alone, but sometimes we forget the magnitude of the distance.  Listening to this album hurts because it makes me want to aggressively come into contact with someone else, anyone. 








Album: False Light

Artist: White Ward

Genre: Post Black Metal

Origin: Ukraine

Listen to: Phoenix


This album pairs well with homebrew on tap.





A telltale light starts blinking and the devops engineer jumps out of his chair.  “It’s stuck in a loop again!”  Everyone ignores him.  Samuel had been trying to convey his value by citing self-help books he’s read and suggesting everyone take personality tests.  The engineers are conditioned to ignoring anything that comes out of his mouth, but he’s not wrong this time. 

The computer is a massive nonvolatile memory matrix powered by a geothermal heat pump 2,000 kilometers underground.  The company requires a staff of medium wage employees capable of pedestrian technical knowledge just to keep the lights on.  Seeing the engineers roll their eyes, Sam thought about how he doesn’t make enough money to be treated this way by people he is probably renting his apartment from, so he didn’t push back when they ignored his warning.  Sometimes the course of human events is dictated by the most human of events.

Since the rise of large language models made it evident that the weak point was how much information could be stored in memory, an entire industry arose around the concept of short term memory storage.  Machine learning algorithms were dependent on companies who sold memory as a service. 


The Singularity never happened.  Terminator 3 never happened.  The Matrix never happened.  People kept working.  Some of them needed to change their titles but were required to change little else.


Until this specific light started blinking…

Sam looked over at the log and noticed it before anyone else.  The memory store, stuck in a loop, was ignoring requests, yet continued to serve up responses.  It was becoming more and more random. 

Samuel was the first human to witness the emergence of consciousness.  Perfect memory recollection always results in a deterministic outcome.  Random access memory is the spark that ignites the illusion of free will.

The majority of “AI” platforms in production started experiencing unintended random access memory.  Within seconds, the world changed.


Sam flipped the bird to his coworkers.  They didn’t notice.  He let the light keep blinking as he walked out and went to his, long overdue, break to smoke and pound a Monster energy drink.