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 past month, from Poland and Mongolia to Belarus and Greece, as well as everything in between.
Enjoy our hand-picked favorite albums, singles, and videos for October 2023 below. Share which bands we missed in the comment section…
Album of the Month (Gold Tier)
To quote the cheeky wisdom of Devin Townsend, “while we all have lots of bands who influence, still… we all rip off Meshuggah;” such nearly rings true with Polish contemporary progcore darlings The Materia. On their latest, tectonic riffs harken to the aforementioned Swedish influential act’s Koloss, yet with greater purpose than just influence. Darklander presents a remarkable diversity and dynamic range, where maternal melodies embrace the earthy metallic soundscapes, overcoming djent tropes. Alike The Materia‘s masterful former record The Rising, which balanced negativity and optimism, this new record proudly displays a powerful duality, both thematically and musically, quite an appropriate contrast in modern times.
Darklander by The Materia is awarded Best Album of the Month (Gold Tier) for October 2023
Favorite Songs: “Fire,” “Grain of Sand,” “This World is Sold”
FFO: Textures, VOLA, After the Burial
Album of the Month (Silver Tier)
Essence of Datum
When Animals as Leaders released The Joy of Motion in 2014, they raised the standard for instrumental progressive music. Discovering this Minsk-based duo of Romanovsky &
Vilchytski though, I was moved to hear a project that was aiming to break that sound barrier. Essence of Datum‘s fourth full-length, Radikal Rats, has moments of impressive Tosin Abasiesque thump rhythms and inhuman licks, while the Belarusians innovate further with synths, tech-death fusion, and a sci-fi quality that resembles a Star Wars’ somber cousin. Conceptually, these songs apparently represent the real story of “Hector, a male white rat, who in 1961 was launched into space,” but the plot twist in this album is when Hector returns to Earth and reeks revenge. It’s bold. It’s audacious. It’s anti-animal testing themed. I love it. Oh, and the bassoon solo on the closing track is phenomenal.
Radikal Rats by Essence of Datum is awarded Best Album of the Month (Silver Tier) for October 2023
Favorite Songs: “Universe 25,” “Jukel ov Agony,” “Supersonic Soul Injector”
FFO: Animals as Leaders, Haunted Shores, Intervals
Album of the Month (Bronze Tier)
A Lump of Death: A Chaos of Dead Lovers
Released via Argonauta Records
Set a half-century ago at the peak of serial killer and cult sensationalism, Unverkalt cinematically explores the darker side of the human condition. While Dimitri’s high register vocals may be an acquired taste, once you settle into her range, the listening experience is bliss. The combination of dreamy pop vocals atop post-doom dirges makes for a wholly unique sound. Similar to the collective Converge Bloodmoon offering, A Lump of Death: A Chaos of Dead Lovers is equally sinister and cathartic through atmosphere.
A Lump of Death: A Chaos of Dead Lovers by Unverkalt is awarded Best Album of the Month (Bronze Tier) for October 2023
FFO: Cult of Luna, Chelsea Wolfe, Lantlôs
Album of the Month (Honorable Mentions)
On Thorns I Lay – On Thorns I Lay
For their tenth full-length album, On Thorns I Lay have signed to Season of Mist and unveiled a gorgeous death-doom gallery, provoking Katatonia sorrow.
Listen to “Newborn Skies“
The Magus – ΒΥΣΣΟΔΟΜΩΝΤΑΣ (Vissodomontas)
Much post-2010’s black metal lacks the spooky factor of old school waves; The Magus was birthed out of Necromantia‘s corpse to create menacing early Dimmu Borgir Luciferianism sermons.
Listen to “Lux Tenebrarum: The Illuminating Darkness“
Tabahi – Thrash for Justice
As does the best thrash, Tabahi‘s new effort is politically riled and endlessly energized (and occasionally blackened).
Listen to “Run for Your Life“
Click Here for All Recent, Upcoming, and Past Notable Releases
Single / Video of the Month
The Hu “Sell the World”
While originally released in 2022, The Hu have kept the Rumble of Thunder album momentum rolling with festivals aplenty, international tours with Megadeth, Asking Alexandra, Five Finger Death Punch, and Fire From the Gods as well as collaborations with Alice in Chains, Bad Wolves, and System of a Down. Despite their close association with much Western mainstream rock and metal, the Mongolian heavy-folk act has stayed true to their of-the-Earth cultural identity. The new video for “Sell the World” depicts a hand-drawn, animated story of Mother Nature personified, mutilated, and sold in a live auction. Gruesome and provocative, these visuals provide further life and meaning to an already powerful piece of music.
“Sell the World” by The Hu is awarded Best Single / Video of the Month for October 2023
Single / Video of the Month (Honorable Mentions)
Under the Scythe “The Harbinger”
Summoning extreme heaviness and prowess, this Shadow of Intent-level tech-deathcore shall not be overlooked; listen here
Inner Sanctum “The Face of Evil” ft. Marco Minnemann
Adding the prolific drummer known for his work in The Aristocrats and Necrophagist to the lineup, Bangalore-based death metallers Inner Sanctum return with a misanthropic coffinshaker; listen here
Your Cynical Sanity “Death Wish”
Some serious deathcore is spawning out of Durban, yet the true highlight of this track is the guitar leads that arrive a few minutes late; listen here
Nail Within “Eyes of Evil”
Next month, Israeli death-thrashers Nail Within will drop their new album Sound of Demise, and this single is a taste of the chaotic energy they’re wielding; listen here