Order of Orias - Ablaze (2020)

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Hailing from the land down under, today we have Black Metal duo Order of Orias and their ravaging full-length release “Ablaze”. Featuring six tracks of devilish music, the band finds the perfect balance of atmosphere and harshness to create nearly 40 minutes of blistering and demoralizing music. Aimed at Black Metal purists, this release unleashes relentless guitar work and pummeling drumming, similar to bands like Immortal and early Satyricon.

Wasting no time to showcase their brutality, Order of Orias opens with the blistering riffing of “Blood to Dust”, a superbly violent track that commands respect and shows great determination. The onslaught continues with the demoralizing “Gleaming Night” and its crafty tempo changes, and the sheer brutality of “Raging Idols” with its killer guitar leads and polarizing tempo changes. Black Metal comes in all shapes and sizes, but consistency in terms of brutality while introducing ambiance is something that this release excels at.

Oranssi Pazuzu - Mestarin Kynsi (2020)

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Unleashing a highly mysterious and depraved orgasmic aural assault, today we have Finnish outfit Oranssi Pazuzu and their highly expected fifth full-length release “Mestarin Kynsi”. Having sonically abused all their fans for the last decade, the band continues their musical exploration with 51 minutes of music spread in six captivating tracks. If you think the band was weird and trippy in the past, wait until you listen to this release.

Opening with the trance-inducing “Ilmestys”, the band slowly builds up and introduces their funky mixture of effects, sickening vocals and crushing guitar work. If the first track didn’t create enough anxiety in the listener, “Tyhjyyden sakramentti” continues the aural exploration with chaotic ravaging passages filled with weird distortions and an overall sense of urgency that creates a very demoralizing and brutal atmosphere.

Blaze of Sorrow - Absentia (2020)

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Constantly evolving and refining their sound over the years, today we have Italy’s Blaze of Sorrow and their latest Atmospheric Black Metal opus: “Absentia”. Featuring seven songs and nearly 45 minutes of lush music, the band shows how their sound continues to improve with intricately crafted songs that are both pummeling and melodic. With similarities to bands like Fen, Agalloch, Saor, this outfit has marked their own path of blended melody and aggressiveness.

The album opens with the folky “Settimo Requiem”, a song that features a lively mood with creative tempo changes and a very epic feeling. The band’s ability to swing from ravaging Black Metal onslaughts to melodic interludes is amazing as it allows them to completely re-shape the direction of songs with these transitions as the pulverizing “Furia” demonstrates.

Myth of I - Myth of I (2020)

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After receiving tons of Black and Death Metal releases in the last few weeks, it is quite refreshing to get something completely different in Myth of I’s self-titled debut release. Featuring a very improvisational and fluid approach to songwriting, the band unleashes nearly 50 minutes of highly technical instrumental Metal music. Ranging from Progressive Metal to Technical Death Metal (minus the vocals), this release perfectly blends a wide gamut of styles under a cohesive and catchy umbrella.

Opening with a dreamy intro, the album gets in full swing with the fabulous “The Illustrator” and its crafty guitar wizardry. Full of tempo changes and intricate drum patterns, this release perfectly leads to heavier and more experimental pieces like “Cherophobia” and “Obsidian Vale”. Doing away with traditional song structures, the tracks in this release flow freely weaving back and forth between proggy influences and heavier counterparts.

Hexvessel - Kindred (2020)

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Unleashing a superbly crafted and somber Dark/Psych/Blues/Doom release, today we have Finland’s Hexvessel with “Kindred”. Finally settling into a sound that incorporates the eerie atmospherics and instrumentation of their earlier works and the warm and fuzzy psych/blues elements of their later material, the band delivers nearly 40 minutes of mystical music. Be prepared for a uniquely relaxing and enchanting aural journey with this one.

The release opens with the enigmatic “Billion Year Old Being”, treating the listener to fuzzy Psych guitars and very hypnotic vocal harmonies. The retro vibe in the opener is nicely followed by the bluesy “Demian”, a very intoxicating track with subtle instrumental arrangements, trippy guitar leads, and perfectly voiced by Mat McNerney. For those looking to lose themselves in the band's folky atmospheric side, “Fire of the Mind” and “Bog Bodies” are two chilling campfire songs that swiftly change the mood of the release.

Asarhaddon - Reysa (2020)

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Hailing from Germany, today we have two-man battalion Asarhaddon and their debut full-length release “Reysa”. Featuring a very refined and yet violent Black Metal sound, the band conceptually explores death and nature, in a very hypnotic and crushing style. Clocking over 50 minutes of relentless music, this album is quite suited for fans of bands like Anomalie, Wolves in the Throne Room, and Agrypnie, as it both blends punishing harshness with uncompromising melodic passages.

Leading with “Der Ursprung”, the listener instantly received a wall of crushing distorted guitars right after a very subtle acoustic intro. The guitar onslaught is quite impressive, never letting go of the listener’s thoat as the band pummels through crushing pieces like “Die Vergängnis erwacht”and “Ein wahrlich wirrer Ort”. Both songs are filled with pummeling riffs and very introspective melodic sections that nicely deliver tempo changes while creating cavernous and mysterious atmospheres.

Wolfheart - Wolves of Karelia (2020)

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The restless Tuomas Saukkonen was not content on just dropping an amazing Dawn of Solace release in 2020, he and Wolfheart are also releasing the latest full-length, “Wolves of Karelia”, this April 10th. Building up on their success, the band continues to fine-tune their superbly crafted Melodic Death Metal and unleash 41 minutes of their signature neck-snapping music.

Kicking off with the melodic guitar onslaught of “Hail of Steel”, you instantly get that Finnish and Wolfheart vibe, with lush riffs and a slow buildup. The band’s heavier side is brutality present in the intense “Horizon on Fire”, a track that perfectly balances the duality of the band’s musical approach as the clean vocals and melodic passages lead way to crushing drums and heavier riffs. The use of atmospheric arrangements greatly enhances songs like “Reaper”, where it gives it a more dramatic edge to certain passages.

Cénotaphe - Monte Verità (2020)

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The French Black Metal age of enlightenment of the last few years is real and bands like Cénotaphe are a testament to this. On their latest full-length release, “Monte Verità”, the band treats us with over 46 minutes of relentless onslaughts of brutality with a somber vibe and a retro production. For fans of bands like Absu, Carpathian Forest and Ragnarok, this release will rattle your speakers with furious gusto.

With a creepy retro intro and a very raw and visceral production, “Myosis” leads the way with furious riffs and hyper-fast drumming. Vocalist Khaosgott delivers that kind of punishing raspy shrieks performance that adds an extra level of raw brutality to the music, as we hear on “Aux cieux antérieurs” and the furious “L'oeuf de mammon”. Our favorite track has to be the brilliant “De mon promontoire astral” and its melodic and mystical edge thanks to additional vocal arrangements, making it super eerie.

Conception - State of Deception (2020)

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With Roy Khan reviving Conception back in 2018, the band took a while to deliver their return full-length “State of Deception”. Delivering around 40 minutes of music, this release has that old Kamelot vibe with a few sprinkles of Evergrey and Queensrÿche. The nine tracks here are catchy and engaging and will surely be loved by Roy Khan fans, as his vocals take front and center to solid songwriting skills and crafty arrangements.

After the mood setting intro, the album kicks off with the hard rocking “Of Raven and Pigs”, a track that starts a bit slow and it takes a while to settle with its lush vocal melodies and crafty guitars. With “Waywardly Broken”, the band goes into that Power/Progressive Metal vibe that we were expecting, thanks to the lively vocal leads and lush atmospheric keyboards. Thankfully, “No Rewind” continues this mood with dynamic guitars and crafty tempo changes, making it one of our favorite songs in this release.

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