Black Oak County – Theatre Of The Mind

This fits in the row with Mustasch and Motorjesus in the sense that it’s also hard rock and some heavy metal in a blender. I couldn’t name any specific thing why this record should be any standout but still I find myself listening to it repeatedly. These guys sound like those friendly rock and roll dudes, not overpolished, down to earth, honest, just from that next room in the rehearsal place.

(After listening to some album I ended up in this Nordic rock listening spree and still processing the new finds from there.)

Unto Others – Mana

Last year my number one music was Unto Others – Strength, and now I’m listening to their first album, wanted to make an entry for this, too. I consider their second record the better one, but they are pretty close, this first one is also amazing. I’m still trying to crack why I am so much obsessed with this band’s music. They share some DNA with an old Hungarian goth rock band, F.O.System, which is also one of my all-time favorite bands, so that may play a part.

Unto Others – Strength

Definitely one of my new personal hypes for this year. It is an epitome of a goth rock album that is right in the middle lane of my alley, pretty much occupying the whole street. It’s a perfect, epic record that gives me goosebumps. It’s also interesting how some heavy metal flavor is sprinkled in here and there.

I just checked my stats and this album is already on the top of my artist and album lists for 2023. Wow, I knew I listened to this a lot, but I wasn’t aware this much. And with every listen it just grows stronger.

Acid Witch – Rot Among Us

Doom metal with a psychedelic edge. I’m obsessed with Psychedeathic Swampnosis where otherworldly flute melodies is layered over some psy-doom metal pillars. It’s like the soundtrack of an old fantasy movie (the Labyrinth kind) but with metal.

Freeways – True Bearings

Tastes of straight up rock music from heavy metal through psychedelic to hard rock. A band with two records that sounds like an old classic that could be around for decades. Logo and cover arts also support this feeling.

Enslaved – Utgard

It is a fantastic nordic metal record with prog, heavy, and black elements mixed in. But whatever it is, the one track Urjotun is one mind blowing single track that is right there amonst the top 3 of 2020 for sure. Right as the synth beat and drum groove starts (and just by typing this it’s clear how non-typical this song is on the album) I get goosebumps, and then it goes into a black metal march just to go clean after a minute and get back to the synth and groove again. It is not at all a nordic metal thing, much rather some industrial rock thing on par with the best of Killing Joke, but then melts it with Enslave’s burning voice making it their own. This song is just epic.

Girlschool – Hit and Run

This has been at the top of my Play Later list for three months now. This happens to a few albums that I keep relistening and I know after removing from there I’ll get back more rarely to them, so I want to give them more time to sink in my brain. I feel now that this record has sank its rock and roll girl power fangs well enough, the name Girlschool will stay with me all right.

They are usually referenced as contemporaries with Motörhead, but I can even say that they are good to be called the women version of Motörhead. This is powerful hard rock and heavy metal at its best. I would love to see a full movie using only this album for a soundtrack.

Brütal Legend (2009)

I’ve just finished the video game Brütal Legend finally after many takes through many years but this time I took it to the end; although it was not that big deal in terms of time (or difficulty for that matter) even though I am quite a completionist.

So. This is easily one of my most rewarding and awesome gameplay experiences ever. And reminds me again how rich the lore of heavy metal is. Nothing compares. Really. Nowadays I tend to listen to more electronic music than metal but still, the world around heavy metal with all its characters, icons, legends, elements and stories, let it be imaginary or based on the real world – you just cannot beat it. And Brütal Legend brought all this to life in the most beautiful way possible. I loved to be sucked into that world.

Thank you Tim Schafer, thank you Double Fine, thank you Jack Black. And my heart went boom listening to the voices of Lemmy Kilmister, Rob Halford, Ozzy Osbourne and Lita Ford. I may easily go back to do some achievements just to meet the Guardian of Metal and the Kill Master again.