February 2024 Best Heavy Metal Albums

It’s the shortest month of the year, but there was no shortage of excellent new albums this month. Here are our choices for February 2024’s best heavy metal albums.

Century Media Records

1. Borknagar – Fall (Century Media)

2024 is the 30th anniversary of the formation of the Norwegian band Borknagar, whose brand of black metal incorporates prog, Viking and folk metal. Fall is their second album with the current lineup that includes founder Oystein G. Brun and longtime members ICS Vortex (ex-Dimmu Borgir) and Lars A. Nedlund and their twelfth overall.

“Summits” sets the tone for the album, a diverse composition that embraces Borknagar’s past while still pushing forward. Intense black metal with harsh vocals shifts to melodic sections with clean singing. Though that’s the general template, the songs emphasize different elements. “Nordic Anthem” is atmospheric, while “Unraveling” is downright catchy. The epic closer “Northward” is a perfect bookend, another dynamic song that runs the gamut from extreme black metal to accessible melodies. With Fall, Borknagar have delivered another wide-ranging, well-written and compelling album. It’s our pick for February’s best new album.

20 Buck Spin

2. Hulder – Verses In Oath (20 Buck Spin)

Hulder are back with their second album Verses In Oath, the highly anticipated follow-up to 2021’s Godslastering: Hymns of a Forlorn Peasantry, an album that caught the collective extreme metal world by storm. It is impressive how Hulder is able to write her songs that evoke the arctic blasts of their Norwegian origin all while being based in the U.S.

Verses In Oath is Hulder taking the next step towards black metal supremacy, making an album that is deeply rooted in black metal of yore. Wielding symphonic elements, vocal rasps and plenty of pure, raw musicianship, the sky’s the limit for this artist. Hulder is primed to take the extreme metal world by storm and we are all here to witness it.

Candlelight Records

3. Ihsahn – Ihsahn (Candlelight)

Ihsahn’s self-titled eighth album aspires to be a dual extension of his passion for black metal and soundtracks, a merger that is comfortable within the symphonic arena. It isn’t enough to just go back in time and pull out what would be akin to a lost Emperor release, as anyone who has followed his solo work will know to expect something radically different. To do so, Ihsahn has released both a metal and orchestral version of the same album at once.

Basic instincts will be to gravitate towards the metal side, which still contains a great deal of orchestration, especially in the majestic back half of the album. That’s where it reaches its gratifying peak, as the story he’s telling gets to its emotional crescendo. Those that want their black metal kick will find the first half to be a sweet spot, as Ihsahn’s pristine raspy wails are the dominant vocal take. The main connection between these two versions is three instrumentals — an opener, interlude, and closer — that carry over. While the metal part is key, his passion comes out within the orchestral position.

Transcending Obscurity Records

4. Eternal Storm – A Giant Bound To Fall (Transcending Obscurity)

We first heard Spain’s Eternal Storm back in 2019, when the death-doom group released their debut Come The Tide. While we didn’t review it on this site, we totally enjoyed the album and suffice it to say Eternal Storm has been high on our watch list ever since. It’s great to finally see their follow-up album, A Giant Bound To Fall, drop this month.

The band turns up the prog a little on A Giant Bound To Fall, and they are more than up to the task. This is a pretty long album, nearly 70 minutes, and while there are moments where songs could be trimmed back these are few and far between. Even the three songs over nine minutes are compelling and sound epic in scope. A Giant Bound To Fall is a superb sophomore release.

Metal Blade Records

5. Job For A Cowboy – Moon Healer (Metal Blade)

It has been nearly a decade since Arizona aural assailants Job For A Cowboy dropped Sun Eater, an album that really helped to set them apart from their earlier records and allowed them to much more progressive overall. Enter Moon Healer and they have continued to carve out their extreme alcove.

Job For A Cowboy have returned stronger than ever on their fifth album, making it seem like the band has not lost a step in their time away from the recording studio. Moon Healer is the exact kind of album that fans of Sun Eater wanted as it continues so well the progressive and technical sounds that were developed all those many years ago. Job For A Cowboy are back with a vengeance!

Ripple Music

6. The Obsessed – Gilded Sorrow (Ripple)

They have been around since 1980, taking a few breaks over the years, but releases from doomsters The Obsessed have been pretty sparse. For their fifth studio album Gilded Sorrow, they have expanded from a trio to a quartet, adding a second guitarist. Frontman Scott “Wino” Weinrich is the band’s lone remaining original member.

The album is heavier than 2017’s Sacred, and Weinrich says it’s the heaviest thing he’s ever done. The riffs are potent and memorable, making tracks like the uptempo “It’s Not OK” and buoyant “Jailine” both powerful and catchy. There are plenty of twists and turns, with “Realize A Dream” having a mellow intro before kicking into a mid-paced monster. The glacially paced “Gilded Sorrow” features extended instrumental sections and ambient atmosphere. Creativity and variety are never in short supply on Gilded Sorrow, with Wino’s distinctive vocals the icing on the doomy cake.

Other 2024 Best Monthly Album Lists

January 2024 Best Heavy Metal Albums

One Response

  1. bobsala

    2 months ago

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.