Recently released on Avantgarde Music, today we have Italy’s two man battalion Earth and Pillars with their sophomore release “Pillars I”. Delivering four tracks with over 60 minutes of relentless Atmospheric Black Metal, this band stands out from the competition with their Dark Ambient and Noise-ish influences. While everybody is trying to sound like Alcest, Deafheaven or Ghost Bath, this band marks their own path with their ravaging sound.
The opener, “Pillars” slowly builds up to a chaotic mixture of blistering riffs, hyper fast drums, harsh screams and very prominent keyboard atmospheric elements. This mixture works very well in creating an oppressive and wall of sound that at times has some certain Noise-ish influences that bands like Ash Borer combine with their Black Metal, as we can hear in the multi-faceted “Myth”. This track has a very moody and cinematic vibe to it, making it an exhilarating listening experience.
Arriving from Australia with great brutality and rawness, today we have Dreaded Void and their debut EP “The Abyssal Plane of Suffering”. Delivering over 20 minutes of gut-wrenching Black Metal, this is one of those few releases that while being quite brutal and harsh, it manages to be engineered to sound perfect.
The EP kicks off with the blistering riffing of “Abyssal”. This track is filled with hate as we can hear from the combination of screams and growls that overtake the intensity of the riffing and drumming. There is a nearly instantaneous wall of sound being delivered via the relentless riffing onslaughts. Like a bag of bricks directly to the face, “The Murk” continues the ravaging with very brutal screams and a very sinister mood.
Completely worth the wait, today we have Shatraug’s Mortualia’s latest album, “Wild, Wild Misery”, after a wait of six years. Delivering eight completely punishing Depressive Black Metal anthems, this is one of those releases that makes you feel completely powerless and yet totally addicted to it.
Opening with blast beats of “Withdrawn”, this release kicks off in style as it sets into a very dissonant and oppressive atmospheric masterpiece. The riffs make up a very melodic component of Mortualia’s music, as we can hear in the superbly catchy opening of “Return to Silence”. Helming bands like Horna and Sargeist, Shatraug bleeds some of those influences on songs like “Out” and “Stolid”, but with the added Doom influences, making the music slow and very excruciating… in the best of ways.
France continues to surprise use by producing some of the most interesting Metal bands in the last 10 years. Dysylum continues this tradition by leveling our speakers with their dissonant Progressive mixture of Death and Black Metal with some Sludge elements in “Chaos Primordial”. Featuring 28 minutes of crushing music, this release creates a very thick atmospheric atmosphere that is perfect for a dark and gloomy day.
After the opening intro, the album title track delivers some mid-tempo oppressive Black Metal-ish riffs that suddenly morph back and forth into heavy Sludgy Death riffs. The vocals are quite harsh and perfectly fitting for such an oppressive sound. Things pick up with the ravaging onslaughts of “Œuf Cosmique”, filled with eerie growls and screams. The drumming intensifies for some parts, changing the pace and levels of brutality of this song accordingly.
Wasting no time and keeping up their momentum going, today we have Downfall of Gaia and their latest full-length opus “Atrophy”. Delivering over 40 minutes of brutally crafted Post-Black Metal with some Sludge and Crust influences, the band continues their musical journey with one of the most intelligent and yet extremely brutal releases of 2016.
Opening with the brutal “Brood”, the band quickly builds up a massive wall of sound with distorted guitars, a ponding bass guitar, and blistering drums. The vocals are as punishing as you can possibly imagine, adding to the overall demoralizing atmosphere of the track. In a bit more melodic tone, the opening riffing of “Woe” starts quite brutal and it slowly progresses into more Sludgy territories.
There is a certain magical rawness to South American Black Metal release that is missing from bands from other parts of the world. In this vein, today we have Peru’s Sign of the Evil and their crushing full-length debut “Black Throne of Blood”. Delivering over 30 minutes of blistering and ravaging Black Metal, this album perfectly balances rawness with a small dose of melody to keep things interesting and engaging.
After the atmospheric intro, the band delivers their first blow with the pummeling “Black Throne of Blood”. This track reminds us of bands like Avzhia and their primitive Black Metal rawness. The onslaughts continue with the brutality of “Demoniac War” and “Christian Blood for Satan”, both filled with tremolo picking guitar passages and hellish subhuman vocals.
Hailing from France, today we have Melodic Black Metal outfit Bahrrecht and their sophomore full-length release “L'aube glacée”. Originally started by Fëanor and Winterhalter (Alcest, Glaciation), this band unleashed their debut album back in 2011 and finally returns after a few line-up changes (Winterhalter has departed) with a very solid and engaging old-school sounding Melodic Black Metal opus. Filled with over 45 minutes of music, this album is both punishing and atmospheric enough to sound different and entertaining.
After the folky/atmospheric opener “Hommage à une foi perdue”, the band delivers their first blow with the crushing “Un orage éternel”. In this track the band often changes tempos while delivering waves of powerful Black Metal riffs and melodic solos. This level of intensity nicely continues in the playful “Le géant des neiges”, which reminds us of “Nemesis Divina”-era Satyricon, thanks to its atmospheric elements and overall pace.
Perfectly arriving for Halloween 2016 via Ván Records, today we have Urfaust and their fourth full-length release “Empty Space Mediation”. After a considerable number of single and split releases since the last full-length, this Atmospheric Black Metal duo returns with one of the most disturbing and yet captivating releases the year.
The opener sets a very hypnotic atmosphere with very minimal elements and throat singing passages which send chills through the listener’s spine. The album continues with the incisive “Meditatum II” and its brilliant atmospheric keyboards. This track quickly changes the pace of things with a perfect balance of majestic clean vocals and harsh vocals. The music is perfectly delivered in a wide variety of tempos which showcase melodic riffs and blistering drums.
Hailing from the UK, today we have Winterfylleth and their crushing fifth full-length release “The Dark Hereafter”. Crafting a very unique atmospheric brand of Black Metal, the band manages to deliver 40 minutes of relentless music. Improving upon their already refined style, the band perfectly captures oppressive atmospheres and blistering drumming into an all-encompassing well rounded package.
The album opens with the mesmerizing title track, filled with aggressive BM riffs and hyper-fast tight drums, creating a whirlwind-like atmosphere filled with brutality. With such an intense opening, the band manages to transition into a more melodic driven “Pariah’s Path”, which builds an intense atmospheric cloud around itself. This nine minute peace perfectly captures the band’s balance between melody, atmosphere and brutality in such a lush and yet devastating way.
Hailing from Finland, today we have Atmospheric Black Metal one-man battalion Antimateria and their debut full-length “Valo aikojen taka”. With all tracks in Finish and a knack for heavy rudimentary atmospheric elements, this release will crawl under your skin thanks to the subtle rawness of the band’s sound.
Immediately opening with an oppressive shriek paired with raw guitars and dreamy atmospherics, “Sieltä mistä valokaan ei milloinkaan karaka” instantly sets a very eerie mood. The atmospheric elements have a certain resemblance to Perivuan flutes, giving this track a fresh and original angle. Delivering raw riffs which sound a bit muffled (probably by the production quality), tracks like “Tieni kohti lopullista tuhoa” and “Roihuten läpi yötaivaan” have a certain old-school Pagan Metal vibe from the days of Falkenbach, but without the fluffiness.