Thokkian Vortex - Thy Throne is Mine (2020)

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Formed by Lord Kaiaphas ex-Ancient and ex- Grand Belial’s Key, today we have Thokkian Vortex and their sophomore release titled “Thy Throne is Mine”. With a relentless Black Metal style from the late 90’s, this band perfectly blends atmosphere, melody and creepiness to create ten engaging songs. Tailored for fans of old Dimmu Borgir, early Cradle of Filth and Ancient, this release feels like a trip down memory lane with the added value of a modern production.

After an intense intro, “Banishing the Lion of Kutha” unleashes dramatic lead guitars and playful keyboards to wrap around a blistering Black Metal core graced by Lord Kaiaphas harsh vocals and Asmodeus Draco Dux’s hyper-fast drumming. We particularly enjoy the slower and more atmospheric passages with ethereal clean male vocals. Fully evoking a Satyricon circa late 90’s vibe, “The Throne is Mine” is one hell of a vicious track filled with aggression and crafty riffs.

Sicarius - God of Dead Roots (2020)

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Hailing from the USA today we have Sicarius, a Black Metal battalion unleashing their sophomore full-length release “God of Dead Roots”. With a very violent and furious sound, this band feels like a less chaotic (but equally effective) version of Anaal Nathrakh but with a more melodic edge. If you like pummeling and unhinged BM, this is certainly a release to check out.

The album quickly goes at the listener’s throat with the ravaging opener “BIA”. This track unleashes an intense brutal onslaught that we were not expecting. Blistering drums, courtesy of Brandon Zackey, perfectly frame the band’s aural assaults with crafty tempo changes and demonic blast beats, as we can hear on “Open Fire”, “Immortal Plight”, and pretty much every other track in this release.

Taake - Whoredom Rife… Pakt (2020)

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Featuring two of Norway’s finest Black Metal outfits, Terratur Possessions unleashes “Pakt”, a thunderous split release oozing of raw aggression. With two tracks per band, the listener is treated to new material and a small preview of what is to come from both Taake and Whoredom Rife. Released as a 10” vinyl, this release is essential to any connoisseur of Norwegian BM.

The first side of this release features Whoredom Rife delivering two swift and brutal pieces with the ravaging grimness of “From Nameless Pagan Graves” and the old-school onslaught of “En Lenke Smidd i Blod”. The first track creates a very oppressive crushing atmosphere with pummeling riffs and crafty drums, while the second song has that 90’s Norwegian BM edge filled with hate and epic headbanging passages near the end.

Faustian Pact - Outojen Tornien Varjoissa (2020)

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Delivering a healthy dose of retro 90’s Melodic Black Metal, today we have Finnish outfit Faustian Pact and their debut full-length release “Outojen Tornien Varjoissa”. Like stepping into a time capsule, the band’s sound has a raw and simple BM core that is complemented by playful and simple keyboards and a melodic vibe similar to early Tartaros, Limbonic Art and similar outfits. For over 44 minutes the listener will be treated to 10 excellent tracks that combine all kinds of atmospheric elements and vocal styles to create a very unique retro experience.

Leading with the trippy “Saastainen Valo Lintutornissa” we get a very basic BM foundation perfectly adorned with gaudy keyboards and solemn female vocals. There is a certain Eisregen-esque vibe to the band’s music that allows it to be depressive, harsh, and very effective in crawling under your skin. The rawness of the band’s sound is quite intoxicating, as songs like “Myytti Am'Khollenin Kuninkaasta” and “Rauniopuhetta” have that old-school vibe of being recorded in a lo-fi setting.

On Thorns I Lay - Threnos (2020)

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We are quite psyched that Greek Death/Doom legends On Thorns I Lay have remained active and releasing albums since they reformed back in 2015. With “Threnos”, the band continues their musical journey with yet another powerful and melancholic release. Featuring over 45 minutes of music, this album delivers on the band’s signature style while adding a few surprises to keep the listener’s engaged and entertained.

The opener, “The Song of Sirens”, has that signature OTIL sound of their 90’s releases, with the firm growls, crafty riffs and subtle atmospheric keyboards, perfectly contrasted by weeping lead guitars and a hyper melancholic atmosphere. We particularly love the band’s timeless mixture of heavy foundations, like crushing riffs and tight drumming, with dramatic atmospherics delivered by the keyboards, clean vocals, and string arrangements on tracks like “Ouranio Deos” and the superbly catchy “Cosmic Silence”.

Fluisteraars - Bloem (2020)

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Unleashing contrasting brutality with unfathomable melancholy, today we have Fluisteraars and their third full-length release “Bloem”. Delivering over 30 minutes of highly creative and unique music, this band explores a wide spectrum of sounds, instruments and elements, infusing them into a high-octane raw Black Metal core to create a brilliant release. If you like non-linear BM that explores the boundaries of the genre, do not miss out of this album.

Starting with the (early) Ulver-esque rawness of “Tere Muur”, the band sets a furious BM pace that nicely continues into the first minute or so of “Nasleep”. This last track slowly turns more melodic with a lively bass guitar line and catchy passages. As the song descends into madness it suddenly leads into one of the bleakest and most disarming melodic passages ever written. The oozing melancholy of the second part of this song is brilliant as it creates a truly oppressive atmosphere.

Pure Wrath - The Forlorn Soldier (2020)

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Hailing from Indonesia, today we have one-man battalion Pure Wrath with the very impressive “The Forlorn Soldier” EP release. Unleashing a masterful combination of dramatic atmospherics, blistering Black Metal onslaughts and a hearty sense of melody, this release delivers almost 30 minutes of flawless music. Highly recommended for fans of bands like Sad Legend, Saor and Vallendusk, be prepared for an aural assault with this one.

The release opens with the blistering “When a Great Man Dies” and its waves of punishing riffs perfectly intertwined with catchy atmospheric elements and harsh vocals. This combination creates a very chaotic, yet refined and lush experience that will quickly grab the listener's attention and never let go. We particularly enjoy the solemn clean vocal arrangements in the superbly melodic closing stages of the song.

Blaze of Perdition - The Harrowing of Hearts (2020)

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Unleashing an early front-runner for Black Metal album of the year, today we have Blaze of Perdition and their fifth full-length release. Featuring over 50 minutes of sinister music, this release delivers the perfect mixture of atmosphere, brutality and melody that few achieve. As their first release through Metal Blade Records, the band showcases a ravaging sound that is ready to be massively divulged.

The opener “Suffering Made Bliss” delivers a devastating blow of layered guitars, hellish vocals and bestial drumming that slowly eases into crafty and more melodic passages with a throbbing bass guitar line. Using creepy samples and a very hypnotic atmosphere, “With Madman’s Faith”, builds up on the first onslaught and unleashes a more sinister and hellish side to the band, additional to their pummeling and ravaging onslaughts.

Diabulus In Musica - Euphonic Entropy (2020)

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Hailing from Spain, Diabulus In Musica is a band that has passed under the radar to many fans of Symphonic Metal. However, their music has always been top-notch and up to par with genre greats such as Epic, Delain, etc. With “Euphonic Entropy” the band casts a wider net with a few more influences incorporated to their already bombastic style.

After the traditional intro, “Race to Equilibrium” delivers over-the-top dramatic orchestrations, rich choir arrangements and powerful growls. This track makes a great statement as to the band’s chops to deliver complex songs that are both intense and complex in nature. Opening with crushing guitar riffs, “Nuevo Rumbo” and “Otio” have a very Epica-esque feeling that is nicely shifted once Zuberoa and Gorka sing in a different language, immediately challenging the listener’s idea that most songs in the genre are usually sung in English.

Karg - Traktat (2020)

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Oozing melancholy, today we have Karg’s latest opus “Traktat”. As a one-man project from J.J of Harakiri for the Sky fame, this band focuses more on a more dreamy Post-Black Metal style, perfect for any fan of the genre. While this project has evolved from Atmospheric Black Metal territories to this more compact sound, this release shows the evolution of a musician refining his signature elements and further complimenting them with subtle improvements. Delivering the perfect mixture of bleak desolation and harsh aggressiveness, this release is certainly an intense ride.

Opening with the dreamy layered guitars of “Irgendjemand wartet immer”, this release sets a very moody atmosphere that is quite traditional of Karg. With J.J handling all instruments, you can hear the very effective interplay of the drums and guitars. The vocals are the typical harsh screams that add anxiety inducing helplessness to the songs, perfect examples of this are “Jahr Ohne Sommer”, and the doomier “Stolperkenotaphe” and its excellent string arrangements.

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