Burning Ambulance [Phil Freeman] is one of the (very few) regular metal writers I know who has a fully developed aesthetic sense that interests me, which means in part that his writing is precise and clear enough I can tell when he recommends an album if it might grab me as well. And the opposite. For instance, in the 2015 Top Five in the link, I can sense right away that Luca Turilli’s Rhapsody, Prometheus: Symphonia Ignis Divinus is an item he’s going to enjoy a lot more than I will. And then there’s special cases. These days I’m rather death-metaled-out, which means limited interest in new additions, no matter how excellent. I’ll pass on Hate Eternal and Chaos Echoes and settle for Serpent by Hod [Hodur!], which I picked up a while ago as a standout local act in San Antonio. Quite recommended for confirmed metal fans. Also managed to fit in quite well as the only actual death metal track on my counter-soundtrack to the Paris massacre.
But where I will take a ride on the burning ambulance is with Static by Huntress. Especially since the only earlier time I had heard singer Jill Janus, “shrill” would be a kind word to describe how she sounded. Now she has developed a potent female-metal voice that has no shrieking at all. And I agree that the first five tracks are a particularly personal and engaging sequence of numbers. So, also highly recommended.