Thyrfing - Vanagandr (2021)

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After a wait of 8 years, Thyrfing is finally back with their high-octane brand of Viking/Pagan Metal. “Vanagandr” unravels nearly 50 minutes of superbly catchy and highly polished melodic music, just as one would expect from this band. Perfectly mixing precise guitar work with lush atmospherics and firm vocal melodies, this release is as good as it gets in this genre.

Opening with “Döp dem i eld”, we get that vibrant mixture of atmospherics and incisive guitar riffs. Always creating a very epic Folky/Viking vibe while maintaining a hefty dose of heaviness, “Undergångens länkar” and “Fredlös” are prime examples of the band’s duality. We particularly enjoy how the band uses additional instruments to adorn a very powerful guitar-driven musical core like “Järnhand” shows.

Wormwood - Arkivet (2021)

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Unleashing some of the most incisive and yet superbly catchy melodic Black Metal of 2021, today we have Sweden’s Wormwood and their latest opus “Arkivet”. Delivering the perfect blend of aggression, melody, and melancholy, this outfit unravels 46 minutes of highly intense and piercing music. Recommended for fans of bands like Ellende, Netherbird, and Seth, this release is one of the most impressive ones we have heard in a while.

Opening with the incisive guitars of “The Archive”, the band sets a very high-octane mood thanks to the crafty drums and engaging vocal styles. There is no shortage of brutality in this release as the headbanging quickly starts and alternates with dreamy interludes. Tracks like “Overgrowth”, the melancholic “End of Message”, and the captivating “My Northern Heart”, slowly unravel the band’s very complex and yet precise songwriting, weaving different tempos and styles seamlessly together.

Æpoch - Hiraeth (2021)

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Hailing from Canada, today we have Progressive/Technical Death Metal outfit Æpoch with their latest EP “Hiraeth”. Delivering nearly 20 minutes of high-octane music, this band shows great maturity and originality in their very polished sound. From start to finish, this release will have you furiously headbanging and moshing with your friends.

Opening with “Atonement”, we get that immediate Death worship within the first few minutes as the band transitions into intense melodic riffs and proggy tempo changes. The opener perfectly bleeds into “Amnesia” another piece with ravaging guitars and tight drumming. The growls are deep and firm, allowing the music to sound quite brutal with the addition of extra vocals by Alustrium’s Jerry Martin.

Windfaerer - Breaths of Elder Dawns (2021)

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Hailing from New Jersey, Windfaerer is one of those bands that has a very European sound and has been turning heads with their intense and yet emotional brand of Black/Folk Metal. With “Breaths of Elder Dawns” the band showcases their highly refined style with over 60 minutes of lush music featuring the perfect blend of musicianship, aggression and melancholy. Highly recommended for fans of bands like Ensiferum, Equilibrium, and Eluveitie.

Opening with the lush string instruments of “Oxalá”, the band quickly transports the listener to a different realm and time. We love that this genre always creates majestic soundscapes and this outfit is one of the best at it. The band is no stranger to playing fast and melodic as the epic “Depletion” showcases this balance alongside some killer guitar leads and dramatic tempo changes.

Unreqvited - Beautiful Ghosts (2021)

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Slowly evolving over time, Unreqvited has always pushed the boundaries of Atmospheric Black Metal/Post-Black Metal with its lively and expertly crafted music. With “Beautiful Ghosts”, this one-man project nearly achieves Nirvana, thanks to the unparalleled liveliness and emotiveness of this excellent release. With a very positive and uplifting nature, the seven tracks and 42 minutes of music in this release are plain brilliant.

Opening with the moody “All is Lost”, we get a bit of the band’s previous style with more lush and ‘bright’ atmospherics. The mixture of harsh screams with dreamy arrangements is top notch, but the simplicity of the guitar work and drumming is what really separates this opener. Focusing more on the atmospheric part, “Autumn Everley” builds slowly into some killer aggressive cathartic moments adorned by a subtle piano track.

Remah - Une Main (2021)

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Unleashing a harrowing Black Metal experience, today we have mysterious French duo Remah and their full-length release “Une Main”. Mixing truly eerie atmospherics with ravaging BM onslaughts, this release delivers over 35 minutes of highly emotional and yet disturbing music unlike anything else on the scene.

After the atmospheric framing of the beginning of “Des rêves sales”, the duo quickly unleashes all hell with furious onslaughts of intense riffing and crushing vocals. However, there is more than meets the eyes, or ears in this case, as the song evolves into a more introspective atmospheric piece with lush arrangements and a sultry sax. This duality is brilliantly exploited as tracks like “III” are both punishing and haunting thanks to their mood changes.

Fluisteraars - Gegrepen door de geest der zielsontluiking (2021)

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If you thought that “Bloem”, was an impressive release, Fluisteraars returns with an even more visceral and ravaging opus with “Gegrepen door de geest der zielsontluiking”. Recorded in a very unconventional way: one track per day, one take per instrument, no synths, and no overdubs, this track is more punishing and raw than anything the band has ever released before. That being said, this release is a 35 minute journey of raw decadence.

The release kicks off with the violent outbursts of “Het overvleugelen der meute”, an 8-minute track filled with pummeling riffs, intense drumming and some of the most ravaging vocals in the genre. The band’s musical approach is both direct and punishing, while encoding melancholy and introspection in the slower passages. We particularly love how the band’s sound is still eerie in the more minimalist sections of the track.

Netherbird - Arete (2021)

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Having released one of our top Melodic Black Metal releases of 2019, today we have Netherbird with their latest opus: “Arete”. Further refining their already crafty and elegant sound, this release unleashes nearly 45 minutes of majestic music, up to the quality level of bands like Dimmu Borgir, Old Man’s Child with a mixture of Uada. Perfectly crafted for fans of melody and aggression, this Swedish outfit have managed to outdo themselves with this highly impressive release.

After the traditional atmospheric intro, the release opens with the blistering “Towers Of The Night” and its incisive guitar work. Both guitarists, Pontus Andersson and Tobias Jacobsson are at the top of their game, creating expertly layered foundations for impressive tracks like “Infernal Vistas” and “Carnal Pentiment”. The overall sense of melody thanks to the dramatic arrangements on pieces like “Void Dancer”, greatly distance the band from the competition as it is perfectly blended with the more aggressive elements.

Solitude - Exogenesis (2021)

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Unleashing over 37 minutes of stylish Melodic Death Metal, today we have Solitude and their latest release “Exogenesis”. Hailing from Mexico, this outfit perfectly blends elements from bands like Soilwork, Dark Tranquillity, old In Flames, etc. to create a very dynamic and engaging style. Filled with epic headbanging moments, this release is highly recommended for any fan of the genre.

Exploding with the album title track, the band quickly delivers waves of catchy riffs, intense harsh vocals, and crafty drumming. The album’s mood is quite lively and engaging since the start, allowing tracks like “Arbitrium Incorporea”, “Descending into Flesh”, and “Of Though and Blood” to build on that momentum and unleash maximum melodic catchiness. The inclusion of clean vocals nicely balances the impact of the harsh screams alongside the sweeping melodic passages.

Fárbauti - Hulderdans (2021)

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Hailing from Norway, today we have an interesting mixture of Ambient Black Metal with some Death Metal influences, creating a very disturbing and different release. Featuring four tracks and nearly 20 minutes of run time, this EP is the brainchild of Gjøran Sæther. For those that like cavernous atmospheres and sprinkles of old-school BM influences, this release makes for an interesting listen.

The release starts with the atmospheric “Nakne Føt På Råtten Lyng”, a track that starts quite conventionally and then it just gets weird. Odd tempo changes make this track trippy, but not in the best of ways. Experimentation is definitely one the central ideas of this one-man project, and as the slow and eerie atmosphere leads us to “Berget Må Åpna Seg”, a more somber and straightforward piece that could be benefitted by actual drums or better drum production at least.

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