Saor - Origins (2022)

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Unleashing one of the most majestic and expertly crafted mixtures of Atmospheric/Folk and Melodic Black Metal, today we have Saor and their latest release “Origins”. As the brainchild of Andy Marshall, this outfit has continually gotten better over the years and with this release they reach the pinnacle (for now) of their craftsmanship and songwriting abilities. Featuring six tracks and nearly 42 minutes of music, this is definitely one of the top releases of 2022.

Opening with the regal “Call of the Carnyx”, we get the band’s signature melodic riffing alongside crafty atmospheric and very ethereal clean vocals. As the track progresses more Folk elements are baked into the mix, perfectly leading to the lively “Fallen” and its graceful guitar leads intertwined with harsh screams and killer tempo changes. Never leaving the Folky and mystical nature of the band’s sound behind, “The Ancient Ones” is a magical piece where all these elements perfectly work together to create a very intense mood.

Kardashev - Liminal Rite (2022)

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Completely blowing us away with their EP “The Baring of Shadows”, earlier this year, we now have Kardashev’s sophomore full-length release and it is even more grandiose than their EP. Featuring almost one hour of music, this release delivers the perfect balance between aggression, technical proficiency, atmosphere and melancholy, in one very unique and explosive package.

After setting a very mysterious and imposing mood with the spoken words and atmospherics of the opener, “Silvered Shadows” shows the band at its element with a lush mixture of Progressive/Death-core/ and Post-Metal. This amalgamation of styles creates a very sublime and dreamy atmosphere, nicely bleeding into pieces like “Apparitions in Candlelight”, “Lavender Calligraphy”. Which nicely combines a mix of dreamy clean and crushing growls.

Stjärnfält - Lapporten (2022)

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Unleashing a highly engaging and extremely well crafted mixture of futuristic atmospherics and harsh Black/Post-Black Metal onslaughts, Stjärnfält returns with its second release “Lapporten”. As a one man-project now based in Sweden, M delivers four masterful tracks that have some elements of Germ, Galaktik Cancer Squad and Angst Skvadron.

The release opens with the sidereal journey of “Kebnekaise”, a 14-minute piece that slowly eases the listener into the band’s magical world. Masterful atmospheric synths are nicely paired with melodic riffs that quickly incite headbanging while the harsh vocals are introduced and tempo changes brilliantly shift the pace of things. After that magical opener, “Bruskleden” keeps the listener impressed with its lush atmospherics and very dynamic pace, creating a truly engaging and exciting listening experience.

Furis Ignis - Turn (2022)

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Out of the bowels of hell, today we have one-man battalion Furis Ignis and his latest EP “Turn”. Featuring nearly 31 minutes of music, this EP is nearly as long and equally impressive as the band’s debut release “Decapitate the Aging World”, out earlier this year. With a punishing no-bullshit raw Black Metal sound merged in with cavernous atmospheres, this release further cements the band’s minimalist yet effective approach to the genre.

Starting with the gritty “Vanguard of Black Years” and its incisive riffs and hellish vocals. This kind of old-school BM is hard to come by these days as bands try too hard and it comes out fake. The same sweeping vibe bleeds into our favorite “To Trespass the Commandments of Tangible Being”, a track that has an old school Ancient meets Immortal meets Darkthrone vibe.

Norilsk - Beyond the Mountains (2022)

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Hailing from Canada, today we have Death/Doom outfit Norlisk and their latest EP “Beyond the Mountains”. Since this is released through Hypnotic Dirge Records, you know this is going to be a good one. Featuring a retro but firm sound, the band unleashes two tracks filled with slow and crushing riffs alongside hefty growls. If you are a fan of My Dying Bride, Mournful Congregation, etc., you will definitely dig this one.

Satyricon - Satyricon & Munch (2022)

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Released entirely by surprise on digital platforms first, Satyricon’s commissioned piece for the Edvard Munch museum, titled “Satyricon & Munch”, is a piece full of promise that never really delivers. We understand that this music was supposed to be the backdrop of the exhibit in the new museum, but while putting in context with Edvard Munch’s art there is some cohesion, the 57 minute piece never really builds up to much.

Amongst The Ashes - The Fabricated Monolith (2022)

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Hailing from Finland, today we have Amongst The Ashes, a very interesting band that fuses Middle Eastern elements with a solid Melodic Death/Thrash Metal foundation. With a bit of an Orphaned Land/The Ottoman Empire vibe, “The Fabricated Monolith” provides the listener with a small sample of the band’s songwriting chops and solid execution.

Am Himmel - As Eternal (2022)

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Unleashing some creepy and aurally dominating release, today we have Dutch outfit Am Himmel and their opus “As Eternal”. With a ‘weirder’ approach to Post-Black Metal, this band creates roughly 37 minutes of captivating music with the magic of bands like An Autumn for Crippled Children and Lustre mixed in with a darker and drone-ish edge. Not recommended for close-minded people, this album is more of an aural exploration than your typical cookie-cutter BM.

Opening with the piercing “Bleared By The Infinite Wings”, the listener instantly knows this is a completely different release. The fuzzy and yet dreamy atmospherics are nicely flanked by harsh screams, delivered in a very monotonic way, creating a unique and engaging atmosphere. Things get dreamier and a bit shoegazy on “The Patience and Silence of a Saint’s Death”, a piece that slowly builds up momentum and creates plenty of tension.

Severe Torture - Fisting the Sockets (2022)

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Hailing from the Netherlands, Sever Torture is one of those bands that has been around for a while and still does not get the recognition they deserve. With their “Fisting the Sockets” EP, the band’s first formal release in over 12 years, we get three tracks of crushing (and catchy) Death Metal with that old-school Dutch flair and some modern elements.

White Ward - False Light (2022)

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Just when you think a band can’t get any better, you get a release like “False Light”, showcasing that White Ward’s sound and creativity are boundless. Digging deeper than in “Love Exchange Failure”, the band explores more sultry dark-jazz/avant-garde territories with the 66 minutes of music unleashed here. As one of the finest releases of 2022, this album needs to be enjoyed and carefully examined to get the fullest out of it.

Starting this magical tour-de-force we have the powerful “Leviathan”, a track that nicely builds up to some harsh Black Metal passages and nicely transitions into sultry jazzy greatness. With a more somber and darker tone, “Salt Paradise” mixes the guest clean vocals from Jay Gambit (Crowhurst) and the band’s more enigmatic and atmospheric side. “Phoenix” and “Silent Circles” nicely balance the band’s heavy side with melancholy and crafty instrumentation.

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