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Wardruna’s runes ain’t made for Nazis

Wardruna’s fifth full-length was due last June, but due to the pandemic, the Norwegian neo-prog-folk band bumped the release date of Kvitravn to this January. Though Wardruna were born out of Norway’s black-metal scene—two of the band’s three founders, Einar Selvik and Gaahl, are veterans of the influential Gorgoroth—they’re also inspired by Norse folk traditions, […]

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Katatonia make the most of a year without tours with the ‘live’ album Dead Air

Katatonia were fresh off a hiatus when they dropped their 11th studio album, City Burials, in April, but the pandemic meant they couldn’t stage the triumphant return tour it merited. In May, the nearly 30-year-old Swedish metal outfit appeased their fans and assuaged their own frustration with a livestreamed concert. More than six months later—with […]

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Jucifer explore resilience through transforming Arabic and Central Asian sounds on نظم

Gazelle Amber Valentine and Edgar Livengood of avant-metal powerhouse Jucifer are a married couple, which means that during the COVID-19 pandemic, the duo’s creative process hasn’t been disrupted like those of bands whose members can’t “pod up.” Formed in Athens, Georgia, in 1993 and nomadic since 2000, when they began touring full-time, Jucifer are most […]

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Hardcore, metal, and punk bands unite for Shut It Down: Benefit for the Movement for Black Lives

When Racetraitor formed in Chicago in the mid-90s, their uncompromisingly antiracist politics weren’t always warmly received in the hardcore scene, but after their breakup in 1999 their influence continued to spread (especially once drummer Andy Hurley joined occasional Racetraitor bassist Pete Wentz in Fall Out Boy in 2003). More than a decade later, the burgeoning […]

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Death-metal powerhouse Necrot show they’re as ferocious in the studio as onstage on Mortal

This three-man Oakland death-metal powerhouse formed in 2011 and quickly began releasing appetite-whetting demos and singles, but on their debut full-length, 2017’s Blood Offerings, they proved they had the energy for a sustained assault. Though their new second album, Mortal, treads most of the same boards as its predecessor, the band’s fury feels fresh and […]

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Norwegian shapeshifters Ulver remain as literary, elusive, and dark as ever on Flowers of Evil

Norway’s Ulver debuted in 1993 as a howling black-metal outfit, but since then front man and composer Kristoffer Rygg has steered his ship into such different waters you can hardly say it’s going a-Viking anymore. (If you want to hear Ulver at their heaviest since their early days, I’d recommend their collaborations with Sunn O))), […]

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Instrumental duo Zombi weave their influences into a metallic beast on 2020

It’s been five years since Pittsburgh instrumental duo Zombi released Shape Shift. In May, they whetted the appetites of their long-suffering fans with the single “Breakthrough & Conquer,” which features guitar solos from Trans Am’s Philip Manley, and this month multi-instrumentalist Steve Moore and drummer A.E. Paterra have officially slid back onto the scene with […]

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Steve Earle examines a mining tragedy to engage listeners across the political spectrum on Ghosts of West Virginia

On April 5, 2010, a coal-dust explosion at Massey Energy’s Upper Big Branch Mine in Raleigh County, West Virginia, killed 29 miners. Though subsequent investigations found that a pervasive pattern of negligence and safety violations had led to the entirely preventable tragedy, in 2015 Massey Energy CEO Don Blankenship got off with a slap on […]