Necronautical - Slain in the Spirit (2021)

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Unraveling a very powerful and yet engaging Symphonic/Melodic Black Metal release, today we have UK’s Necronautical and their crushing “Slain in the Spirit”. Perfectly blending elements from the early days of Dimmu Borgir, Old Man’s Child, and Emperor, this release balances nostalgia with excellent craftsmanship and brilliant execution for nearly one hour of high-octane music.

Opening with the blistering “Ritual & Recursion”, the listener is treated to pummeling drums and intense synths, creating a very hectic tempo as the harsh screams roll in. There is a certain sinister vibe that the riffing of “Occult Ecstatic Indoctrination” creates, and is nicely flanked by crafty tempo changes, piercing guitar leads and dramatic vocal arrangements. The combination of female operatic clean vocals alongside the harsh screams creates a very playful and effective dynamic.

Korpituli - The Ancient Spells of the Past (2021)

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There is nothing like some good old Finnish Black Metal to start the day. Luckily for us, today we have Korpituli and his debut full-length release “The Ancient Spells of the Past”. Featuring over 35 minutes of savage raw Black Metal adorned with some subtle synths and a moody pace, this release is just the perfect blend of melody, timing, and brutality.

Opening with the hypnotic “On Forgotten Paths”, we quickly get old Horna, Fimbulwinter, Behexen vibes thanks to the piercing tremolo picking and hellish screams. Far from linear, one-man machine S.Korpituli nicely adds a certain atmospheric touch with songs like the instrumental “At Nightfall” and “Longing for the Unheard Of”, creating a very immersive and yet demoralizing listening experience, similar to what Burzum achieved on “Filosofem”.

Carcass - Torn Arteries (2021)

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As one of the most awaited releases of 2021, today we have the legendary Carcass and their latest opus “Torn Arteries”. Aging as a fine wine, the band unleashes 49 minutes of their signature Death ’n’ Roll, fully delivering the good for long time fans. While the wait was long (8 years or so since their last full-length release, Jeff Walker and company effortlessly deliver one of the most incisive and engaging releases of their career.

Opening with the title track, the band quickly sets a very hectic and crafty mood with incisive guitars and engaging tempo changes. The traditional snarl of Jeff Walker is one of the band’s staple elements and, as always, perfectly complements the superbly catchy nature of the music, as we can hear in the playful “Dance of Ixtab” and the chugging “Eleanor Rigor Mortis”.

Jinjer - Wallflowers (2021)

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When a band usually says that their latest album is the heaviest to date, they are usually just playing the marketing game. However, once in a blue moon, this is actually true, and “Wallflowers” from Jinjer is one of those rare exceptions. Featuring an even more explosive and expansive sound than before, this release will certainly propel the band’s status thanks to its incisive and crafty songs.

The band opens with the in-your-face track “Call Me A Symbol” and never looks back, from Tatiana’s mountrous harsh vocals to the throbbing bass guitar and crafty drumming, this track sets a very intense pace. Songs like “Colossus”, “Vortex”, and “Disclosure!” perfectly showcase the band’s versatility and explosivity, going from playful clean vocal passages to crushing guitars and diverse tempo changes.

Sky Crypt - Incipit Anarchia: Eternity (2020)

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We are always suckers for good Melodic Death Metal releases and luckily for us, Sky Crypt unleashes nearly 40 minutes of catchy and old-school sounding music. In “Incipit Anarchia: Eternity”, this Russian duo manages to carve a personal sound from mixing elements from old Dark Tranquillity, In Flames and At the Gates. If you are a fan of older sounding Melo-Death, this release will keep you busy.

Opening with your traditional atmospheric intro, the release really warms up with “The Dawn of Tyranny” and its catchy riffs paired with crafty tempo changes. The band’s style is quite linear and traditional, and while not bad, it feels a bit uninspired at times with songs like “The Higher Walls”, “The Awe”, and “The Solemn Rite”, all blending together.

Burial in the Sky - The Consumed Self (2021)

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Hailing from the USA, today we have Progressive/Tech Death Metal outfit Burial in the Sky and their sublime release “The Consumed Self”. Perfectly blending technical proficiency, melancholic songwriting, and flawless execution, this release unleashes nearly one hour of mesmerizing music. Highly recommended for fans of bands like Sculptured, Obscura, Necrophagist, etc. this release will have you both in awe and bruised from all the headbanging.

The release opens with the dreamy/proggy intro “The Soft Violet Light” and pummels right into the sheer brutality of “An Orphaned City”. This contrast perfectly introduces the heavier side of the band and their technical proficiency with blistering guitars and massive drums flanking the harsh screams. The band’s seamless transition between heavier parts and more melodic and proggy passages, like on “On Wings of Providence”, is exactly what draws us to this outfit and their polished sound.

Arcane Existence - Colossus (2021)

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Hailing from the USA, today we have newcomers Arcane Existence and their lush and haunting Symphonic/Melodic Black Metal release “Colossus”. With a very lively and engaging style, the band borrows from some of the genre greats (Dimmu Borgir, Cradle of Filth, etc.) but manages to carve a different and unique style for themselves. For nearly 56 minutes this release will certainly transport you to a different world, exactly what albums like this one should do.

Opening with the lavish “Mystic”, the band sets a very cinematic and mysterious mood, thanks to lush symphonic arrangements and crafty Metal elements. As the album progresses, tracks like “Sovereign Blood” and “Transmutation” show the heavier side of the band with pummeling drums, varied riffs, and a good balance of harsh and clean vocals. With small transition pieces like “Formation” before more elaborate and moody tracks like Dimmu Borgir-esque “Conclave”, the band keeps the album interesting and fresh.

Baxaxaxa - Catacomb Cult (2021)

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Unleashing a 47 minute dose of foul, raw, and old-school sounding Black Metal, today we have Germany’s Baxaxaxa and their debut full-length release “Catacomb Cult”. Interestingly enough, the band originally formed in 1999 and 20+ years later finally unraveled their piercing debut. Perfectly crafted for those nostalgic BM fans, this release delivers a good mixture of old-school elements alongside crafty tempo changes and eerie atmospherics.

The band set a very cavernous atmosphere with the album title track, instantly transporting the listener to the mid 90’s BM years. The release continues its devastating path with the incisive “As The Moon Inhaled All Sunrays” and the punk-ish edge of “Flame Of Redemption”. While stylistically very different from how the genre evolved, tracks like “Kingdom Ablaze” and “The Great Malicious Tongue” feel eerily frozen in time.

The Amenta - Solipschism (2021)

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As if their 2021 full-length “Revelator” wasn’t enough, today we have Australia’s The Amenta back with an interesting 2-song EP titled “Solipschism”. Not that we are complaining, the band first makes us wait 8 years between releases and now we are treated to more madness in less than 6 months. Again, proceed with caution as this Aussie band kicks some serious ass while introducing some weird and creepy ideas.

With a heavier focus on atmosphere and weirdness, the release kicks off with “Solipschism”, a highly atmospheric piece with very eerie arrangements and a solemn pace. This track is a fresh and creepy soundscape that sets a very dark mood. The second piece, “Labourinth” slowly builds from distorted guitars with an industrial vibe to a more expansive crushing piece with hellish vocals alongside crafty drums and a faster pace, and a particularly dissonant closing.

Groza - The Redemptive End (2021)

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It is definitely a great time to be a Black Metal fan as bands like Uada, Mgła, etc. are leading a new wave of highly polished and modern sounding contributions. Germany’s Groza falls in this category with their guitar driven and brilliantly crafted and layered 42 minutes of music in “The Redemptive End”. Balancing out brutality and flawless execution with a good dose of melody, this band creates six very intense and punishing tracks that any fan of this modern style will enjoy.

Opening with the mood setter “Sunken In Styx - Part I: Submersion”, we get slowly introduced into the band's hypnotic and incisive style. As soon as “Sunken In Styx - Part II: Descent” transitions in, the intensity becomes higher and the riffing takes command. The band’s harsh vocals and ravaging intensity quickly induce headbanging attacks.

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