Nordjevel - Necrogenesis (2019)

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Taking the scene by storm, Nordjevel has been destroying stages with their ravaging Black Metal assaults in the last couple of years. With “Necrogenesis” they unleash 47 minutes of intense music that puts them on the level of bands like Old Man’s Child, Dark Funeral and Marduk. With vicious intensity and a knack for melody, this Norwegian band’s sophomore release is very refined and highly stylistic, blowing past any expectations.

The album kicks off with the savage “Sunset Glow” and its intricate riffing. The band quickly makes a statement with the sheer intensity delivered by the aggressive guitar melodies and crushing harsh vocals in this opener. The onslaught continues with the violent riffing of “Devilry”, a track that reminded us of early 2000’s European Black Metal. The Dimmu Borgir-esque “The Idea of One-Ness” is definitely one of our favorite tracks, thanks to the crushing atmosphere created and the blistering drumming.

Laster - Het wassen oog (2019)

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Completely taking the boundaries of Black Metal for a spin, today we have Laster and their latest effort “Het wassen oog”. Featuring over 44 minutes of truly bizarre and yet completely intoxicating music, this release will have you listening to it over and over and over to discover all the little weird and quirky details baked into their music. If you like outfits like Mord'A'Stigmata and Fruze, you will find this band amazing.

Opening with the dreamy and intense “Vacuüm ≠ behoud”, the band opens a can of weird after the first couple of minutes. This track features a very comfy pace and dreamy guitars, flanked by a mixture of intense harsh vocals and ethereal clean vocal sections. The overall atmosphere is quickly established to be kind of dreamlike and very trippy, thanks to the throbbing bass guitar lines and the funky jazzy elements thrown into the mix, like the piano arrangements of “Schone schijn”.

Aoratos - Gods Without Name (2019)

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From mastermind Naas Alcameth (Nightbringer, Akhlys), today we have a very interesting Black Metal/Dark Ambient release titled “Gods Without Name”. Under the moniker of Aoratos, this outfit unleashes nine highly atmospheric pieces to comprise their debut release. Full of ideas perfectly executed, this release is in the vein of experimental BM bands like Blut Aus Nord as well as Mysticum and with some hits of Diabolos Rising thrown in the mix.

After setting a very hellish ambiance with “Parallax I”, the band slowly drifts into heavier territories with the ravaging “Holy Mother of Terror”. The band unleashes a commanding aural onslaught filled with dissonant riffs and blistering drumming. Paired with hellish vocals, the attack continues as “Of Harvest, Scythe and Sickle Moon” unravels. The band’s sound is both raw and punishing without the need to sound like it was recorded on a shed, allowing the listener to experience it at full blast and not damage their speakers.

Helevorn - Aamamata (2019)

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Getting over 50 promos a week, sometimes we miss excellent releases like Helevon’s “Aamamata”. Hailing from Spain, this Gothic/Doom Metal outfit took around 5 years to unleash their latest effort, but it was definitely worth the wait. With nearly an hour of music, this release further evolves their sound into more atmospheric and epic territories. If you are a fan of bands like My Dying Bride, The Foreshadowing and similar outfits, this release should be in your collection.

The release opens with the lively riffs of “A Sail to Sanity”, in this opener, the band has their older more direct Death/Doom Metal style, delivered with a catchy bass guitar line and solid tempo changes. The band steps up their efforts with the gut-wrenching “Goodbye Hope”, perfectly blending clean and harsh vocals with subtle piano elements and clean guitars. Josep Brunet signature vocals brilliantly infuse songs like “Blackened Waves” with raw emotions.

Malokarpatan - Cesta podzemnými sálami Kovovlada (2019)

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Hailing from Slovakia, Malokarpatan delivers a re-issue of their 2018 EP via Sun & Moon Records. While we don’t really subscribe to the hype behind the band, this 7” presents us two conceptually related tracks that continue to push the boundaries of the genre, as the band has set to do since their origins a few years ago.

The release opens with an instrumental/atmospheric side A track that sets a very sinister and engaging mood. Not too much else to talk about here. Side B gives us a proper old-school Black Metal piece, sounding like Master’s Hammer and Tormentor, but with thicker and more punishing atmosphere. The riffing and vocal’s give this track a very raw and punishing vibe, thanks to the contrasting underlying melodic nature of the track.

Siculicidium - A halál és az iránytű (2019)

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Béla Lugosi and Pestifer are back with this short but sweet 7” Siculicidium EP titled “A halál és az iránytű”. Always crafting a truly unique and foul sound, this Romanian outfit unleashes two powerful tracks that will generate expectations of what is to come in the future.

Opening with the clean intro of “A halál”, this tracks slowly builds up to a cool Black’n’Roll-ish guitar section that gives a certain twangy vibe to the song. Béla Lugosi’s deep vocals perfectly fit the funky tempo of this track, mostly marked by the Punk-ish drum patterns.

Ataraxie - Résignés (2019)

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Unleashing a dense and punishing Funeral Doom/Death Metal release, today we have Ataraxie and their latest effort “Résignés”. Featuring four tracks and over 80 minutes of music, the listener is in for monumental 20 minute tracks that slowly unravel to unleash heaviness and brutality. Blending old-school Death Metal elements into their Funeral Doom composition, the band creates a very unique and ravaging aural assault.

The album leads with the pummeling “People Swarming, Evil Ruling”, as heavy crunchy riffs lead the way to traditional growls and an overall feeling of helplessness. We particularly enjoy the dreamy interlude that breaks the song in two, just before more brutality is around the corner. Our version of the release continues with the album title track, a song that combines the rawness of Thergothon with the weeping guitars of Mournful Congregation in a crushing package.

Bergraven - Det framlidna minnet (2019)

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Truly experimental experimental releases that are cohesive and engaging are hard to find. Luckily, today we have Bergraven and their masterfully chaotic release “Det framlidna minnet”. Completely pushing the sonic boundaries of Folk and Black Metal, this album delivers eight tracks and over 54 minutes of maddening jazzy music that is not for the faint of heart. Similar to band’s like Furze, Virus, Code and DHG, this outfit delivers truly mesmerizing music.

Opening with a trippy psychedelic intro, the band slowly eases the listener into their decadent world with “Allt”. This track unleashes harsh screams paired with proggy riffs and chaotic tempo changes, in a very jazzy and moody atmosphere. We are sucker for jazzy songs and “Den följsamma plågan” is an absolutely brilliant one, filled with lush string and wind instrumental arrangements, which are perfectly offset by funky guitars and harsh screams.

Ellende - Lebensnehmer (2019)

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As one of the most anticipated Atmospheric Black Metal releases of 2019, today we have Austria’s Ellende with “Lebensnehmer”. Slowly gaining underground notoriety with their first two releases, this one-man band is ready for the spotlight with their lush atmospheric sound that perfectly combined melody with sheer aggression. For over 50 minutes and eight tracks, this release continues to polish the band’s sound and delivers ravaging soundscapes that should not be missed by anyone.

After a moody intro, “Augenblick” delivers waves of punishing riffs, blasting drums and melodic passages, perfectly combined in one hell of an emotional rollercoaster of a song. Handling all instruments (except drums) and all songwriting duties, Lukas Gosch is an expert in creating raw melancholic tracks, like “Die Wege”, which are full of charisma and a massive wall of sound. Never getting dull or repetitive, Ellende’s strength lies on timing and flawless execution, introducing plenty of tempo changes that completely change the shape of songs.

Zeal & Ardor - Baroness - Deafheaven - White Oak Music Hall - Houston, TX - 3/8/2019

The moment this tour was announced we were completely blown away by the prospects of watching Zeal & Ardor and Deafheaven on the same tour in North America. We have seen Deafheaven like 20 times before when we lived in the Bay Area, but they never fail to deliver an amazing show. Zeal & Ardor has been slowly creeping into our general musical rotation with their unique blend of Blues and Black Metal, as well as very interesting lyrical concept.

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