Trial - Sisters of the Moon (2021)

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Showcasing their new vocalist, Arthur W. Andersson, today we have Sweden’s Trial and their EP “Sisters of the Moon”. Featuring two cover songs, one from Fleetwood Mac and another from Black Sabbath, these tracks feature the band firing on all cylinders while paying tribute to some excellent tracks.

Opening with “Sisters of the Moon”, the twin guitar attack of Alexander Ellström and Andreas Johnsson perfectly frames the songs as Arthur’s talented vocals make their appearance. As you can expect, the band makes the song their own, filling it with attitude and crafty musicianship. Proper homage to the mighty Black Sabbath is hard to do, but Trial achieves it with their dramatic and engaging rendition of “Die Young”, including killer guitar leads and vocal antics.

Meister Leonhardt - Meister Leonhardt (2021)

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Mysterious Russian entity Meister Leonhardt are about to start a very intense 2021 with their crushing self-titled debut release. Featuring over 26 minutes of frosty old-school Black Metal, this release is the perfect balance between aggression, melody and atmosphere. With members of bands like Thy Grave, Dekonstruktor, Goatpsalm, and Frozen Ocean, this band’s sound is pure quality and quite crafty, making this release one hell of a presentation card.

The atmospheric opener “The Coldest Fire”, serves as a nice lead to the frosty hellishness of “The Crown Of Consenescence”. This first onslaught unleashes pummeling drums, a catchy tempo and devilish shrieks. With a very retro sound, the band’s core elements are ravaging, reminding us of early Satyricon and Darkthrone days. The incisive guitar work on tracks like “Of Things Never Finished”, offers a great balance between melodic and catchy, while capturing that 80/90 BM vibe.

Urfeind - Wraiþaz (2020)

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Delivering a firm blow of powerful Black Metal, today we have Germany’s Urfeind and their latest EP “Wraiþaz”. Mixing crafty melodies with intense riffing, this outfit unleashes nearly 21 minutes of engaging music that any fan of the genre will enjoy. Staying away from cliches, this band commands attention thanks to their firm and aggressive sound.

Opening with “Nine to Zero”, we get a mid-tempo wave of crafty riffs and a powerful snarl, expertly paired to inflict maximum damage. The band’s sound is straightforward, and yet all-consuming thanks to their solid instrumentation. The intensity increases with the blistering guitars of “Void” creating a very hypnotic and engaging atmosphere.

Frozen Soul - Crypt of Ice (2021)

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Unleashing a barrage of crushing riffs and a very dense atmosphere, today we have Death Metal newcomers Frozen Soul and their debut release “Crypt of Ice”. Hailing from Texas, this outfit perfectly combines old-school North American DM elements with influences from old-school European Death Metal, creating a very unique amalgamation of sounds that feels like Centinex had a bastard child with Incantation.

Opening with the chugging riffs of “Crypt of Ice”, the band creates a very effective and crushing mood with excellent headbanging passages. Setting that sluggish mid-tempo approach, tracks like “Arctic Stranglehold”, “Hand of Vengeance”, “Wraith of Death” further develop the band’s immersive atmosphere with crafty drumming and hellish vocals. The band’s lyrical themes are also quite refreshing as they don’t just focus on blood and guts like most others.

Mons Veneris - Mons Veneris (2021)

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So far this 2021 has started with a good amount of aurally abusive releases and this self-titled EP from Mons Veneris fits that category perfectly. Unleashing over 20 minutes of music in this two song release, this experienced Portuguese band creates a very punishing and chaotic sound that is superbly effective in completely disturbing the listener.

Warming up with the hectic “Ritual of a Neverending Doom” we instantly get a completely crushing and dissonant atmosphere created by the buzzsaw-like guitars and lo-fi production. With plenty of different and yet creepy vocal styles, this track sets a very dark and chilling mood. “A Scythe Infested with Plagues…” blasts away with a more traditional BM structure with hellish drumming and incisive guitars. The track feels a bit more ‘normal’, but the intense vocals still give out that eerie goosebump-inducing sinister vibe.

Wømb - Here, The World Falls… (2020)

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As one of the few stragglers from 2020, today we have Portugal’s Wømb and their massively dissonant demo “Here, The World Falls…”. Featuring a completely crushing and cavernous sound, this demo release showcases four tracks filled with intensity and brutality. While the band has never released a full-length album, they probably should due to the sheer level of chaos unleashed by this release

Opening with the vicious “Abraxas in Ecstasy”, we get a blistering onslaught of crafty drums and buzz-saw like guitars. The vocals are as visceral as you can imagine, drawing comparisons to Vanum and Fell Voices. However, the best feature of this release has to be the superb lo-fi sound, making songs like “ Great Mother of Destruction, Time and Death” be just ravaging and vicious.

Accept - Too Mean to Die (2021)

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Starting 2021 strong, today we have the legendary Accept and their latest opus “Too Mean to Die”. Delivering over 50 minutes of high-octane Heavy Metal, this outfit keeps the momentum going on their ‘revival’ with hard hitting and superbly catchy songs. If you are a fan of Heavy Metal, this release won’t disappoint.

The band’s new signature vocalist, Mark Tornillo, quickly leads tracks like “Zombie Apocalypse”, “Too Mean to Die”, and “Overnight Sensation” with his soaring vocals and playful style. Perfectly paired with Wolf Hoffmann’s incisive guitars, this release sets a very furious and catchy pace right off the gate. The band thrives by unleashing superbly engaging tracks that are both melodic and epic, such as the killer “No Ones Master” and its blistering twin guitar onslaughts.

Top Atmospheric / Experimental / Post Black Metal albums of 2020

Black Metal has evolved in very interesting ways adding highly atmospheric and experimental features to its raw roots. In this list, we aim to highlight the best releases that continue to expand the genre’s horizons and create unique atmospheric/emotional experiences for listeners.

10. Aethyrick - Gnosis (2020)

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