There is so much heavy, extreme, and beautiful metal music being conjured all around the world that it can be overwhelming. Fortunately, Metal Has No Borders has curated the best of the best released this month, from Greece and Armenia to Saudi Arabia and Israel, as well as everything in between.
Enjoy our hand-picked favorite albums, singles, and videos for February 2023 below. Enjoy and share which bands you were headbanging to this past month in the comment section!
Album of the Month (Gold Tier)
Enemy of Reality – Where Truth May Lie
Although truly a sum of its parts, Enemy of Reality is a captivating force due to the powerful soprano melodies from Iliana Tsakiraki. Her vocals are not only compelling in magnitude, yet also beckoning, with hypnotic qualities. The lungs of a goddess elevate each fist-clenched, folk-symphonic composition throughout the conceptual Where Truth May Lie. Digging deeper, a story of a grieving priest’s journey throughout ancient Greece surfaces thematically, with grandiose mythology aptly aligning with the triumphant musical crescendos. Last month, we gave much praise to lead single “Serenade of Death” for possessing the exact traits in which inspire the actual foundation of Metal Has No Borders: a distinct identity rooted in an artist’s culture and creativity from beyond the Western world.
Where Truth May Lie by Enemy of Reality is awarded Best Album of the Month (Gold Tier) for February 2023
FFO: Epica, Ignea, Scardust
Album of the Month (Silver Tier)
Dusk – Spectrums
The expanding reaches of progressive metalcore can be heard throughout North America, West Europe, and even Japan nowadays, but I had not foreseen a contender with such vision emerge from Saudi Arabia. Meshari Sangora drives the one-man project Dusk with an abundance of ambition. Spectrums may appear to be a meditation onthe spectrum of djent, however there’s further merit under the skin. The record gathers a multitude of contributors: Abzy (Wazin), Khalid C (Entropia), Alex Hamilton, Adnan Mryhi (Unmuted), Aaron Harris (Solemn Vision, Teloch Vovin), Moe Steiger, Jon Thomas, Jaani Peuhu (Swallow the Sun, IANAI, Mercury Circle), Iman Ahmed, and Abdulrahman Elghazali (Dune, Veridical). With such diversity across twelve tracks, some growing pains are inevitable. I found myself more attracted towards a select handful of guest vocalists, where others were not my personal taste of aesthetically pleasing, resulting in an admittedly mixed bag. Nonetheless, there is an impressive feat in not only banding together artists with vastly different styles, but also of different language (English, German, Finnish, Arabic). Additionally, we discover EDM, jazz, pop, industrial, and ambient fusion finessed within the overall extravagant gallery of modern progcore.
Spectrums by Dusk is awarded Album of the Month (Silver Tier) for February 2023
Favorite Songs: “Lethal Perspectives,” “Breath In, Breath Out,” “Burning in My Mind”
FFO: Born of Osiris, Polaris, Termina
Album of the Month (Bronze Tier)
Warp – Bound by Gravity
Released by Nasoni Records
Who dares taste the sweet leaf in the Holy Land? Warp casts a thick portal of smoke, teleporting their glassy-eyed listeners to 1971, the copious birth of heavy metal under the influence of cannabis via Black Sabbath‘s Master of Reality. While this Israeli act’s sophomore release Bound by Gravity shares the upbeat energy of more modern stoner rock heavy-hitters, there certainly is a retro tone and sense of patience here. While most bands of an intoxicated nature get lost in the ego death, I’m intrigued by the political slants amongst the psychedelia. This record is a damn fine and heavy trip; highly reccomend.
Bound by Gravity by Warp is awarded Album of the Month (Bronze Tier) for February 2023
Favorite Songs: “The Hunger,” “I Don’t Want to Be Remembered,” “The Present”
FFO: Melvins, Red Fang, Electric Wizard
Album of the Month (Honorable Mentions)
Ciemra – The Tread of Darkness
With the genre’s roots cemented in a raw production and the musical style akin to extreme counter culture, it’s difficult to expect black metal to grip you, melodically, and eventually, emotionally. Ciemra accomplishes such and marches forward with a disdain that is ancient, cruel, and disarming.
Listen to “Serpent’s“
Skinflint – Hate Spell
Not only does Skinflint excellently replicate what was so golden about classic 70’s metal, they provide the occasional topping of punk, prog, and culture, allowing for Hate Spell to thrive.
Listen to “Sasabonsam“
Ex Anima – Bôľ Hôr
With recent Winter weather affecting even the most temperate sides of the globe, it’s easy to now feel at home with the chilling aesthetics of black metal. Ex Anima showcases a dense depiction of atmosphere, leaning into themes such as the solidarity within nature, akin to Panopticon.
Listen to “Bôľ Hôr II“
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Single / Video of the Month
Manapart – “Misery”
Although metal has existed for over half a century, the genre always has room to grow and innovate. Manapart find a beautiful balance between the weird and accessible. Their overall foundation lies upon nü / alternative tropes, yet a certain zany, experimentation is abundant. While likely inspired by weirdo metal pioneers such as Dog Fashion Disco or Stolen Babies, they also could possess appeal towards fans of Faith No More and even the Mushroomhead audience. Their melodies are deviant, vocal hooks are infectious, and tone is diabolical. As the aforementioned artists usually had a compelling visual identity, I’m hoping the band also conjures an iconic imagery for future material as their bold music would strike even deeper by stimulating both senses.
“Misery” by Manapart is awarded Best Single / Video of the Month for February 2023
Single / Video of the Month (Honorable Mentions)
Yossi Sassi & The Oriental Rock Orchestra – “Vision of Water“
The guitarist / multi-instrumentalist best known as a founding member of Orphaned Land and being active with the prog-folk act through five full-length studio albums, Yossi Sassi has taken his own path with an oriental rock orchestra. While there could be comparisons made to the triumphant and layered harmonies presented on the likes of Mabool, this new track off the upcoming Prediluvian record shows a less metal-oriented, more light-hearted effort; listen here
Stoned Jesus – “Get What You Deserve”
We’re eagerly awaiting the forthcoming fifth LP from this stoned ‘n’ doomed trio, and this new single demonstrates stellar psychedelic Sleep worship with classic and stoner rock intertwined; listen here
Ape on the Rocket – “Love”
We’re continuously fans of Kaliningrad-based experimental-core act Ape on the Rocket with their relentlessly prolific, chaotic output. Their latest single “Love” goes for the jugular bringing a nasty Chelesea Grin heaviness to their modern Bodysnatcher-like energy; listen here
Ignea – “Nomad’s Luck”
High expectations are now made for the upcoming Dreams of Lands Unseen album as this lead single brings everything I could want from the Ukrainian symphonic / progressive death metal favorites: vocal contrasts, Eastern flair, and a cathartic finale; listen here