Sylosis - Cycle of Suffering (2020)

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After a super busy touring schedule since joining Architects since mid-2016, Josh Middleton and company finally return with their crushing fifth full-length release “Cycle of Suffering”. Building up on their powerful Melodic Death/Thrash Metal sound, this release unleashes 50 minutes of crafty music filled with intricate guitars and punishing aggression. Like no time has past, this release continues the band’s legacy of well crafted brutality and melody.

Quickly getting in the listener’s face, “Empty Prophets” delivers an exquisite balance of crunchy riffs and crafty guitar leads. Others might prefer the more melodic and mellow side of the band with tracks like “I Server” and the album title track delivering a unique mixture of Death-like guitars and intricate melodic passages. The headbanging value of the band’s music is unrivaled as we can enjoy sweeping transitions from dramatic melodic passages into brutal agressive onslaughts thanks to Josh Middleton’s harsh vocals.

God Dethroned - Illuminati (2020)

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Delivering a firm and switch brutal onslaught of intense riffing, today we have God Dethroned and their latest opus “Illuminati”. Luckily for early fans, Henri Sattler decided to revive the band a few years back and now they unleash one hell of a release divided into nine ear-piercing tracks. While not long in duration, the 36 minutes of music presented are some of the finest this Dutch outfit has ever produced.

The album title track opens the release with a vicious old-school Death Metal vibe, perfectly adorned with Blacked Harsh screams and lush atmospheric keyboards. With “Broken Halo” continuing in the same fashion, we are completely floored as “Book of Lies” unleashes hell with piercing riffs and brilliant melodic intensity. This last track is definitely one for brutal headbanging, and with some contrasting solemn guitar leads, it is just magical.

Delain - Apocalypse & Chill (2020)

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Consistently pushing their sound and delivering excellent releases, today we have Delain’s fifth full-length release “Apocalypse & Chill”. With a very modern concept and image, the band unleashes 13 hyper catchy songs that are full of lush orchestrations and the signature angelic vocals of Charlotte Wessels. If you are a fan of the band, this release will certainly rank among their best, after a small adaptation period.

Opening with style, “One Second” sets a very bombastic and explosive mood. The band’s well oiled machinery seemingly effortlessly crafts one intense and lush opener. As the band experiments with some electronic elements on tracks like “We Had Everything”, “To Live is to Die”, and “Chemical Redemption”, we get a slight modern Within Temptation and Amaranthe edge, but of course with Delain’s brilliant balance of melody and crunchy guitars. While the band hasn’t gone full-on mainstream Pop-ish Metal, this release does hedge them a bit more into that space.

Greve - Nordarikets strid (2020)

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As a highly mysterious duo from Sweden, Greve unleashes upon the masses their debut full-lenght release “Nordarikets strid”. Featuring an eerie retro Atmospheric/Symphonic Black Metal sound, this album transport the listeners across aural planes with its incisive furious onslaughts and dramatic atmospherics.

Setting the mood with a dreamy intro, “Vid Dödens Tröskel” fully unleashes Greve’s fury with pummeling drums and piercing shrieks. The band’s Black Metal core is on point, delivering waves of crushing riffs and crafty tempo changes to keep things interesting as one can hear on the album title track and the Dissection-esque “I Svarta Solens Magi”.

Serpent Noir - Death Clan OD (2020)

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Hailing from Greece, today we have yet another crushing Black Metal band to come out of World Terror Committee’s label roster. With a very visceral and incisive sound, Serpent Noir sounds like BM, but not like everybody else does. Mixing elements from genre greats with a crystal clear production and a vicious passion, “Death Clan OD” is one hell of a pummeling release.

After the typical mood setting intro, the band wastes no time and delivers the cavernous “Cutting the Umbilical Cord of Hel”, a track filled with pummeling guitars and dramatic atmospherics. Taking a more melodic stance, “Hexcraft” delivers waves of hypnotic drum patterns, a throbbing bass guitar line and sinister vocals. The release turns into more mystical and ritualistic territories with the creepy “Asmodeus The Sword of Golachab”, one of the densest and most powerful tracks in this release.

Ihsahn - Telemark (2020)

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With most bands happy to just crank out full-length after full-length releases, Black Metal pioneer Ihsahn decided to challenge himself and do the opposite: break up a full-length release and deliver it as two EP’s. In “Telemark” we can hear some of his most rawest and direct compositions in quite a while, showing that this experiment has allowed Ihsahn to focus on the duality of his sound in compartmentalized approaches.

The incisive opener “Stridig” perfectly balances raw and punishing BM onslaughts with trippy Saxophone elements and a very dreamy and yet aggressive stance. With all the lyrics in Norwegian, this track has a brilliant pace and feels like yet another exploratory dimension to Ihsahn’s unique musical vision. With a bluesy aggression to it, “Nord” perfectly combines heavy riffs with crafty tempo changes and a sultry hypnotic pace thanks to a piercing bass guitar line and sinister drum patterns.

Serenity - The Last Knight (2020)

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Unleashing one of the most cinematic and lively releases of 2020, today we have Serenity and “The Last Knight”. Featuring over 47 minutes of high-octane over-the-top Symphonic Power Metal, this album is ready to rock all fans of the band and gain them some more. Slowly over the years the band has been refining their sound and as a well-oiled machine, this release showcases their best attributes delivered through eleven intense songs.

Setting a very regal mode with the album title track as the opener, we get the band’s lush arrangements leading into the explosive “Invictus”. Georg Neuhauser again delivers commanding lead vocals surrounded by dramatic choirs and killer guitar leads. This type of explosiveness as gained wide recognition to the band, and tracks like “Set the World on Fire” and “Keeper of the Knights” majestically demonstrate the band’s bombasticness.

Mavorim - Axis Mundi (2020)

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Starting 2020 on fire, German label Purity Through Fire unleashes yet another excellent Black Metal release with Mavorim’s sophomore full-length release “Axis Mundi”. Presenting a mixture of Ambient elements with Melodic Black Metal spurts, this release clock in at around 60 minutes of engaging and crafty music. As a one-man entity, this outfit’s sound is a bit retro, folk-like, heavy and powerful at the same time.

After the mood setting into, we get the mystical “Aus Asche auferstanden” filled with subtle synths and a demolishing BM pace. The harsh screams perfectly blend in with the powerful riffs and the very well marked drums. This very martial musical structure is quite effective in creating well delineated songs that are enjoyable and yet predictable, as the dreamy “Wo kriegergleiche Kräfte walten” and its magical clean vocal arrangements.

Amberian Dawn - Looking for You (2020)

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Unleashing their latest bombastic Symphonic/Power Metal opus, today we have Amberian Dawn with “Looking for You”. Featuring a very retro and yet futuristic vibe, the band delivers over 40 minutes of lush music filled with captivating vocals and superbly catchy arrangements. If you are a fan of bands like Avantasia, Sonata Arctica and similar, you will not be disappointed by this release.

The album opens with the sonically brilliant “United”. Delivering retro synths that give you an 80’s vibe, this track is quite catchy as this majestically pairs with Capri’s signature vocals. With a heavy emphasis on dramatic futuristic (for the 80’s) synths, tracks like “Eternal Fire Burning”, “Looking for You”, and the explosive “Two Blades”, create a very upbeat and playful atmosphere. The dynamic sound of the band nicely keeps the listener engaged thanks to its craftiness.

Aethyrick - Gnosis (2020)

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Unleashing one of the first 2020 contenders for Black Metal album of the year, today we have Finland’s mysterious duo with “Gnosis”. While most bands follow a marked path, Aethyrick brilliantly blends elements of traditional BM with more refined atmospheric/Post-BM influences with an overall punishing but melodic approach. Always keeping the listener engaged, this release features over 40 minutes of dramatic and high quality music.

Opening with the moody “Will Embodied”, Gall and Exile set a furious tone with blistering riffs and hellish drums, however it is the melancholic guitar leads and the overall oppressive atmosphere that sets the band apart. With certain influences of outfits like Vanum, Ash Borer and Post-Black Metal elements, the band’s style is quite refined and cut-throat as we can her in crushingly melodic tracks like “Oneiric Portals” and the heavily atmospheric “Stellar Flesh”.

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