Vananidr - Damnation (2020)

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Today we have a highly melodic Black Metal entity called Vananidr and their latest full-length release “Damnation”. With a vicious edge to their sound, this band perfectly blends old-school Melodic BM elements with modern production values and a knack for long and seizure inducing headbanging passages. Showing that you don’t need too many bells and whistles to deliver a punishing performance, this album is one of the most direct and yet well-crafted releases we have heard in quite a while.

Opening with the hurricane like-tempo of the blistering drumming of “Distilled”, the listener is treated to a ravaging song with crafty tempo changes and a very oppressive atmosphere. The harsh vocal snarls perfectly pair with the sinister atmosphere crafted by the band’s mixture of piercing guitar riffs and melodic tremolo-picking passages, as perfectly outlined on the album’s title track and in the superbly catchy “Hunter”.

Sargeist - Death Veneration (2019)

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Sneakily released on the 24th of December, Sargeist unleashes nearly twenty minutes of their signature brand of Black Metal with “Death Veneration”. As one of the premiere bands of the genre, these Finns craft four intense anthems filled with furious riffing, devilish vocals and blistering drumming. As a great addition to any BM collection, this EP deserves to be heard and purchased.

Blasting the listener straight to hell with the pummeling “To Make Wolves of Men”, we have Profundus spewing his inhuman shrieks to the tune of Shatraug and VJS furious guitar work. With their signature rawness and intensity, the band transitions into the machiavellian “To Feast on Astral Blood”. We particularly enjoy this piece a lot thanks to its highly memorable melodic passages that are just brilliant for an intense headbanging session.

Unreqvited - Mosaic II: la déteste et la détresse (2020)

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Just when you think you have a band figured out, Unreqvited continues to push its aural boundaries with the lush and brilliant “Mosaic II: la déteste et la détresse”. Taking the best elements of its earlier releases and adding more dynamic and contrasting ones, this one-man outfit manages to create a magical atmosphere that is quite hard to come out of. If you are into Atmospheric Post-Black Metal and you think you have heard it all, this release will change your opinion.

Opening with subtle atmospherics in “Nightfall”, the track slowly evolves into an excruciating passage to the bowels of hell thanks to its punishing shrieks. However, the music stays dreamy and ethereal, creating a very interesting and powerful contrast. With a heavier vibe, “Wasteland” continues spiraling into madness with dramatic guitar work and intricate drum patterns, creating a very visceral and yet melodic experience.

Lotus Thief - Oresteia (2020)

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Hailing from San Francisco, Lotus Thief has slowly been evolving into one unique and captivating musical outfit over the years. On their latest effort, “Oresteia”, the band takes their sound a step further by unleashing eight tracks of enigmatic Avantgarde Metal with tons of Doom and ambient influences. Highly recommended for people that like somber, exploratory and at the same type captivating music, this album will elevate your state of awareness with its uniqueness.

The release opens up with haunting vocal arrangements in “Agamemnon”, a very mystical track that slowly crafts an enigmatic atmosphere. Things get heavier as the melodic guitar leads give way to creepy piano laden passages. Being the first track, this song truly captures the uniqueness and intensity of what is to come. Allowing the listener to fully digest the first onslaught, “Banishment” is a trippy atmospheric piece that sets up the progression into the captivating “Libation Bearers”. The crescendos in this track are quite magical as the band perfectly creates magical soundscapes filled with harsh vocals and delirious laughs.

Sylvaine / Unreqvited - Time Without End (2020)

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Featuring two of our favorite artists, this Sylvaine and Unreqvited EP kicks off our 2020 reviews with a bang. Showing a slightly different face of both artists, this release will submerge the listener into their ethereal realms while delivering over 25 minutes of dreamy music. If you are a fan of either, you can’t miss out on this very magical release.

Opening the EP we have Sylvaine with “No More Solitude”, an acoustic piece that is full of raw emotion and dramatic piano passages. With “Falling”, we get a darker and more solemn piece that is nicely adorned by Sylvaine’s dreamy vocals arrangements and minimalist guitars. Both tracks are devoid of Metal elements, showing a more fragile side of the artist.

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