Nicholas Franco's Picks (So Far)
Waldgeflüster – Meine Fesseln
This one-man German black metal project strikes many different emotional chords in blending fury, sadness, and triumph into an elegant sonic palette steeped in both heart and meaning. Epic, lush, and essential, Meine Fesseln is an elegant beast of an album. Like the dark Germanic forests under which it was conceived, it hides much beneath its sprawling canopy, rewarding the listener at every spin.
Anathema – Distant Satellites
Though the elements of heavy metal may have slipped away from their sound over the years, Liverpool's doom-laden sons have once again crafted a genre-transcending masterpiece of somber superiority and orchestral magnificence, as informed by past works as it is molded by influences of Pink Floyd and Radiohead. Few albums even come close to the sheer magnificence of Distant Satellites.
Impaled Nazarene – Vigorous and Liberating Death
Among a horde of bands blending the mania of punk with the lightless miasma of black metal, there are none who make the statement these Finnish vets have issued with Vigorous and Liberating Death. Perfectly balanced yet chaotic and enraged, this brief, flawlessly executed storm of an album has it all within its furious 33 minute playing time.
Slough Feg – Digital Resistance
Criminally underrated, San Francisco's own Slough Feg have once again thrown down a mighty gauntlet at the feet of traditional metal. This latest masterpiece sees them channeling the spirit of the NWOBHM into ten poetically penned odes of timeless wonder. With Digital Resistance, melody and the bardic spinning of tales meet at the crossroads of heavy metal's storied heart. I'll make it really simple. You like Iron Maiden? You like twin guitar? You have a pulse? Digital resistance is futile. Get on board now.
Insomnium – Shadows of the Dying Sun
Fusing melody with melancholy, these Finns have eclipsed the sun, as well as all of their past works, with this triumphant powerhouse of an album. Stunning, moving, an album both placid and furious, on Shadows of the Dying Sun Insomnium has composed some of the finest songs the world of melodic death metal has ever seen. Period.
Don't forget to check out Nicholas' graphic novel Shapeshifter Scriveners.