If this month's compendium of 15 sparkling and reasonably ferocious new metal albums seems at all lacking -- and I'm certainly not suggesting that it does -- it's probably because they were all composed and recorded before Pope Benedict XVI resigned. Think about it: the first Papal Quittery in 600 years! The Vatican in turmoil! Potentially the most heavy metal topic since there was metal to make topical! Unless, say, somebody suddenly stumbled onto Richard III's skeleton after more than half a millennium, or if a fiery meteorite as big as a bus crashed to earth and injured 1,000 Russians. I eagerly await how the genre's creative minds will address these momentous occurences.
Meanwhile, though, we've still got a whole bunch of albums to deal with -- some much better than others, true, but all much better than, well, something! Let's see here: two bands from Ohio, both of whom probably store freezers full of freshly cut beefalo in their garages. Two from Germany, both of whom sound like they have season tickets to the opera. A few from England and California. A couple that play thrash metal like it never went away. A couple with old dudes who remember prog rock. A couple with young dudes who remember punk rock. A couple who are "really big with the kids these days." And towering over it all, a remarkable new band from Virginia called Corsair, and an out-of-this-world old band from Quebec called Voivod. Salut!