XASTHUR Subliminal Genocide (Hydrahead)
While an argument could definitely be made that just about all metal is to a degree cheerless, California one-man-band XASTHUR makes some of the bleakest, most cacophonous and scariest music you will ever hear. With songs like Trauma Will Always Linger and Beauty Is Only Razor Deep, Genocide is a marvellous accompaniment to a good suicide.
ENSLAVED Ruun (Candlelight)
Like any good forward-thinking Vikings, Norway's Enslaved play what could only be described as progressive black/Viking metal with psychedelic influences and epic concepts derived from Norse mythology. So, kind of like if Pink Floyd sang about Ragnarök, pillaging and wearing chain mail.
NACHTMYSTIUM Instinct:Decay (Battle Kommand)
If worldwide misanthropy appeals to you more than peace on earth, the latest from the Illinois-based extreme blackened band - full of pulsating lo-fi drums, chilly guitars and muddled, miserable-sounding guttural screams - should easily wipe the warm, inviting smile off anyone's face.
MERRIMACK Of Entropy And Life Denial (Moribund)
The blasphemous French black metal band have gone well beyond expectations on their latest, which presents a slightly more polished and refined sound, with lots of hell-bound-type screaming and high-energy thrashing. Top-calibre metal for Satan's legions.
GORGOROTH Ad Majorem Sathanas Gloriam (Candlelight)
While some bands are all just, like, frontin' on that satanic evil shit, dudes like Gorgoroth singer Gaahl talk the talk and walk the walk. Not that we condone rumours that he threatened to drink some poor guy's blood after a brutal, motiveless assault, or the fact that a few years back the band got into trouble for displaying the impaled heads of goats onstage during a televised concert, but if you want dirty and bloody heartless metal, you know where to look.