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Mining Metal: Abduction, Daeva, Faceless Burial, Forlesen, God Alone, MAL, The Otolith, and SUMAC/Keiji Haino

A rundown of the best underground metal releases of October 2022

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best underground metal releases october 2022

    Every month, I could write to you all about how the selection process for this column is hard. When you first sit down to do something like this, there’s a hunger to write about all the bands that really get your engines going, to finally get to make people outside of your circle hear the things you’ve rehearsed in your head to pitch all this music you love to others. But as the months (and now years) creep on, you start finding that, well, those bands keep putting out music and a lot of it has stayed pretty good, but now new bands have joined the pack, and oh that’s a new label, and I’ve never even heard of this scene before, and wow these classic bands came back and put out a really special release, and…

    So sometimes the choices are less based on pure quality as other paradigms. One of the benefits of us getting this to you all at the end of the month is we can keep our eyes open not just for exciting surprises but also who has already gotten (often excellent) coverage elsewhere and thus could viably give up their spot for someone else who also deserves it. Cloud Rat is one such band; their recent record Threshold is a killer album and destined for year end lists anyway, so it seemed like an obvious one that could take a backseat for more underground fare. Colin Marston and Mick Barr, two perennial favorites of mine, each put out records through solo projects this month, the former of which is just over eight hours long (I tabulated the track lengths by hand) and the latter is a 30-minute highly technical acoustic exercise; both are incredible, but I give dedicated time to them already, so it made more sense to tuck them here. Worm and Blut Aus Nord are others that fall in here, the former for putting out an (albeit incredible) EP and the latter for it being a compilation of largely unheard material, both strong releases worthy of your time but not the perfect fit for us, at least for now.

    Sometimes, we just miss! Last month, we forewent covering Sonja, the remarkable project founded by notable ex-Absu member Melissa Moore, which was an absolute goof on our part. Killer record that mixes great goth/post-punk infused metal with prominent queer themes and even, gasp, prominent sexuality! We typically do a “records we missed” entry rather than a standard “best of” in order to give you all even more underground records to pursue and pour over, but I wanted to make sure to highlight that one here as well as offer a direct mea culpa. We do our damndest and nothing hurts quite as much as realizing you missed an obvious killer record. You killed it, Melissa; your future remains bright.

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    This is all to say: We love heavy metal. We’re closing in on four years of this column, and many, many more of devout love of this genre both in its traditional and avant-garde forms — the classic and the modern, the grime-slick and the blindingly futuristic — and that sheer glee of digging through crates hasn’t waned. If we had a hundred slots here every month, we could fill them. The older I get, now in my mid-30s, the more magical this fact becomes to me. So much of life is change, the dialectical pulse of an object shifting atom by atom over eons. To see something immutable in this tide is like glimpsing god. I do not take it for granted.

    — Langdon Hickman


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