Serpent Noir / Sargeist - Transcendental Black Magic (2022)

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Unleashing over 45 minutes of soul-crushing Black Metal today we have Serpent Noir and Sargeist with a split release titled “Transcendental Black Magic”. With none of the bands needing any introductions, this release is a very swift and brutal way to start the year, thanks to both bands unraveling some truly punishing tracks.

The split starts with Greece’s Serpent Noir and their sinister and more rudimentary approach to the genre, with “Throne Of Satanas”, the band sets a creepy mood with their eerie vocal arrangements alongside epic guitar leads and crafty drumming. As “Endless Night of Lilith” and “Epiklisis Tou Eosforou” roll around, we can see the band’s ability to craft well paced tunes filled with devilish melody.

Abysmal Dawn - Nightmare Frontier (2022)

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Continuing the ravaging onslaughts delivered by “Phylogenesis” in 2020, today we have Abysmal Dawn back with their five song EP titled “Nightmare Frontier”. Featuring one new track, one re-recorded demo track, and a couple of covers, this release showcases the band’s craftiness and killer execution in 20 minutes of engaging Death Metal music.

The release quickly gets down to business with the blistering drumming and incisive guitars of “A Nightmare Slain”. Helmed by Charles Elliott, the band’s vocalist and guitarist, this track is fierce, delivering some killer guitar leads alongside crushing headbanging moments. The intensity continues with the pummeling “Blacken the Sky”, with a more direct and old-school chugging nature.

Pure Wrath - Hymn To The Woeful Hearts (2022)

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As one of the most anticipated 2022 releases for us, “Hymn To The Woeful Hearts” takes Pure Wrath’s music to a whole new level. Delivering over 44 minutes of highly atmospheric and very emotional Black Metal music, this album perfectly channels the fury and intensity of the band’s earlier releases with a hefty dose of melancholy and refinement.

Wasting no time in asserting itself, “The Cloak of Disquiet” opens with a very solemn and short intro as it quickly morphs into raw aggression thanks to blistering drumming and crushing harsh screams. We particularly love how the melodic arrangements quickly blend into the waves of brutality the band puts forth, as pieces like “Years of Silence” and “Presages From A Restless Soul” clearly show. There is great skill in being able to have such masterful transitions without sounding forced or abrupt.

Interview with Carlos Lozano Quintanilla - Persefone (2022)

Perfectly pairing killer songwriting skills with brilliant execution, Persefone is one of those bands that will have you impressed from start to finish. On the eve of the release of their latest effort, "Metanoia", we had a very candid and fun conversation with the band's guitarist: Carlos Lozano Quintanilla. Listen to us discuss this release and their future touring plans in the following interview.

Darkness Everywhere - The Seventh Circle (2022)

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Bringing back that seminal 90’s Swedish Melodic Death Metal sound that most of its originators have lost over the years, today we have Darkness Everywhere and their release “The Seventh Circle”. If you heard the songs without any album information, you will swear you are listening to some obscure track from early In Flames. Seven tracks are enough to put this excellent outfit on our radar for the future.

After a short intro, “Darkness Everywhere” opens this release with energetic riffs filled with melody and nostalgia. We are huge fans of this kind of sound and the band perfectly captures the early At the Gates/Dark Tranquillity vibe in songs like “The Grand Impact”, “Lost Dimensions” and “Reign of Chaos”. These songs will have you headbanging from start to finish with the crafty tempo changes, as on the stand out “Reign of Chaos”.

Zeal and Ardor - Zeal and Ardor (2022)

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When it comes to bending Metal into all kinds of weird directions, there is no other band like Zeal and Ardor. By fusing Blues, Gospel, and Soul music elements with harsher Black Metal and even some Progressive/Djent influences this outfit has delivered quite unique releases over the years. With their eponymous release the band further matures into their signature style by crafting 14 diverse and engaging tracks.

After setting a very engaging vibe in the self-titled opener track, “Run” delivers the first dynamic piece with crafty guitars and a plethora of vocal styles. Perfectly growing in momentum and delivering some heavy passages along the way, “Death to the Holy” has some of the band’s earliest elements of Bluesy Black Metal, while “Emersion” has a more Dream Pop edge that transforms into a dreamy Deafheaven-esque aggression.

Immolation - Acts of God (2022)

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Chugging through fifteen tracks of traditional Death Metal, today we have the legendary Immolation and their eleventh full-length release “Actos of God”. Always keeping things interesting and brutal, the nearly one hour of music unleashed in this release perfectly captures the band’s signature sound while keeping things fresh and engaging.

Ross Dolan and Robert Vigna have been unleashing crafty Death Metal songs for over two decades and with “Acts of God” they show the band is not slowing down or have fallen behind the times. Pieces like the crushing “An Act of God”, “Nose of Thorns”, to the massive “Immortal Stain” are perfect examples of experiences, timelessness and viciousness, delivering piercing guitar riffs and masterfully crafted drums.

Mystic Circle - Mystic Circle (2022)

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Just like no time has passed since their last release…sixteen years ago, Germany’s Mystic Circle returns with their explosive brand of Melodic Black/Death Metal. With their eponymous release, the band continues their journey unleashing nearly 50 minutes of high-octane music. For the uninitiated, this band was torching stages with their unique sound back in the late 90’s and early 2000’s before splitting up for quite a while.

There is a certain charm to the sound behind those legendary late 90’s early 2000’s Melodic Black/Death Metal releases from bands like Catamenia, Agathodaimon, Siebenbürgen, Old Man's Child, etc, and this release perfectly captures it as “Belial Is My Name” delivers its first notes. The melodic nature of pieces like “Seven Headed Dragon” and “Letters from the Devil”, give that devilish sinister vibe the band has imprinted in their early releases.

Celeste - Assassine(s) (2022)

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On their first release as part of Nuclear Blast Records, France’s Celeste unleashes “Assassine(s)”, a vibrant 40+ minutes release blending their Black Metal with Post-Metal/Sludge influences. The band creates a very unique and punishing sound, filled with harsh vocals and crafty riffing, creating an unparalleled wall of sound and destruction.

The release fully kicks off with the intricate drumming of “Des torrents de coups”, which leads way to incisive guitars and crafty tempo changes. Picture listening to Cult of Luna with an Amenra edge. As the riffing barrage fully warms up, tracks like “De tes yeux bleus perlés”, “Nonchalantes de beauté”, and “Draguée tout au fond”, further develop the band’s massive sound with piercing onslaughts of crushing guitar work.

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