Album Reviews

  • Wolvencrown - A Shadow of What Once Was (2021)

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    Seems to us that there are almost more Black Metal bands than actual musicians these days, as we get more and more promos of this genre each day. Luckily for us, bands like Wolvencrown keep the flame of the genre alive by unleashing crafty releases that while not revolutionary, they deliver solid aggression with good doses of melody and atmosphere to keep things interesting.

    As a three song EP, “A Shadow of What Once Was” opens with a very cavernous atmosphere crafted by punishing guitars and ritualistic drumming. The album title track is split into two songs, perfectly capturing the band’s old-school vibe and unleashes creepy atmospherics alongside sinister and aggressive onslaughts. In particular the dynamic and immersing second part of the title track and its dramatic arrangements.

  • Aethyrick - Apotheosis (2021)

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    After unleashing one hell of a release last year with “Gnosis”, Finland’s mysterious duo Aethyrick swiftly returns with the lush and crushing “Apotheosis”. Delivering over 41 minutes of highly Atmospheric Black Metal, this release builds up on its predecessor while further refining the band’s immersive sound. Featuring the perfect blend of melancholy and harshness, this release quickly establishes itself as one of 2021 finest.

    Opening with a chaotic and ravaging intro in “The Starlit Altar”, the band sets the mood via their layered guitar work and hectic drumming. With a commanding pace and hellish scorn behind it, “Rosary of Midnights” is one of those tracks that incites melodic headbanging while it weaves back and forth furious onslaughts and devilish screams. The atmospheric elements are quite subtle, yet strong enough to pierce through the distorted guitars and deliver an ethereal feeling.

  • Wampyric Rites - The Eternal Melancholy of the Wampyre (2021)

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    Perfect for a cold and snowy day, today we have Ecuador’s Wampyric Rites and their debut full-length release “The Eternal Melancholy of the Wampyre”. While we feel silly writing Wampyr, the band’s music is no joke as their low-fi blistering Black Metal is savage and direct. Perfectly adorned by gaudy keyboards and atmospherics, this release has a very nice retro vibe to go along its sheer brutality.

    After the warm-up atmospheric opening of “As Light is Absorbed by Darkness”, the band will rattle your speakers as it transitions to blistering drumming and furious riffing to deliver a swift and punishing Black Metal blow. We particularly like the mid-tempo catchiness of songs like “As Light is Absorbed by Darkness” and “Tyrant’s Blood”, where the band can be savage with their vocals and incisive riffs, and yet keep things hypnotic and melodic.

  • Tribulation - Where the Gloom Becomes Sound (2021)

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    Delivering one of the early surprises of 2021, today we have Tribulation and their latest release “Where the Gloom Becomes Sound”. While we have never been huge fans of the band, the maturity and darkness of this release is highly addictive. The band’s Gothic/Dark Metal sound of later years has evolved very nicely, unleashing over 48 minutes of intricately crafted music that is both catchy and engaging.

    Opening with the sinister “In Remembrance”, the mood instantly turns bleak thanks to Johannes Andersson’s characteristic snarl that perfectly adorns layered guitars and moody tempo changes. The band’s sound is not immediately straightforward as you get a mixture of Doomy Heavy Metal with Gothic undertones, but the band makes it quite accessible and distinct from what others are doing, a testament to this are songs like “Hour of the Wolf” and its crafty intoxicating guitars, the warm and fuzziness of “Leviathans” with some Psychedelic Metal/Rock elements, to the playful darkness of pieces like “Dirge of a Dying Soul”.

  • Harakiri For The Sky - Mӕre (2021)

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    As one of the most awaited releases of 2021, Harakiri For The Sky returns with their melancholic Post-Black Metal with “Mӕre”. Unleashing a massive 84 minutes of music, this release further develops the band’s melodic sound into more complex and yet atmospherically sweeping territories. From start to finish, this release will please fans due to the band’s signature style, while taking in new listeners with a more refined take on the genre.

    Opening with “I, Pallbearer”, we get that signature bleakness of Harakiri For The Sky through their layered guitars and J.J’s emotional vocals. Expanding the band’s sound, “Sing for the Damage We’ve Done” has a dreamier edge while featuring Neige on guest vocals, and “Us Against December Skies” delivers a doomier edge with dramatic keyboards and a very crafty drumming.

  • Therion - Leviathan (2021)

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    Labeled as the album where the band is giving fans exactly what they want: traditional Therion hit songs, Therion returns with “Leviathan”. Featuring around 45 minutes of music, this release only features epic tracks that combine both the band’s Heavy Metal catchiness and lush choirs and orchestrations. Definitely a change from “Beloved Antichrist”, this release features tracks that showcase the band’s evolution while keeping things superbly exciting and intense.

    Starting with the heavy hitting “The Leaf on the Oak of Far”, we get that brilliant mixture of Heavy Metal catchiness alongside the band’s dramatic vocal arrangements and crafty tempo changes. Led by operatic vocals and lush arrangements, tracks like “Tuonela”, “Leviathan” and “Die Wellen der Zeit” unleash that perfect atmosphere that the band is known for, where things are both superbly engaging and elegant sounding.

  • Trial - Sisters of the Moon (2021)

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    Showcasing their new vocalist, Arthur W. Andersson, today we have Sweden’s Trial and their EP “Sisters of the Moon”. Featuring two cover songs, one from Fleetwood Mac and another from Black Sabbath, these tracks feature the band firing on all cylinders while paying tribute to some excellent tracks.

    Opening with “Sisters of the Moon”, the twin guitar attack of Alexander Ellström and Andreas Johnsson perfectly frames the songs as Arthur’s talented vocals make their appearance. As you can expect, the band makes the song their own, filling it with attitude and crafty musicianship. Proper homage to the mighty Black Sabbath is hard to do, but Trial achieves it with their dramatic and engaging rendition of “Die Young”, including killer guitar leads and vocal antics.

  • Meister Leonhardt - Meister Leonhardt (2021)

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    Mysterious Russian entity Meister Leonhardt are about to start a very intense 2021 with their crushing self-titled debut release. Featuring over 26 minutes of frosty old-school Black Metal, this release is the perfect balance between aggression, melody and atmosphere. With members of bands like Thy Grave, Dekonstruktor, Goatpsalm, and Frozen Ocean, this band’s sound is pure quality and quite crafty, making this release one hell of a presentation card.

    The atmospheric opener “The Coldest Fire”, serves as a nice lead to the frosty hellishness of “The Crown Of Consenescence”. This first onslaught unleashes pummeling drums, a catchy tempo and devilish shrieks. With a very retro sound, the band’s core elements are ravaging, reminding us of early Satyricon and Darkthrone days. The incisive guitar work on tracks like “Of Things Never Finished”, offers a great balance between melodic and catchy, while capturing that 80/90 BM vibe.

  • Urfeind - Wraiþaz (2020)

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    Delivering a firm blow of powerful Black Metal, today we have Germany’s Urfeind and their latest EP “Wraiþaz”. Mixing crafty melodies with intense riffing, this outfit unleashes nearly 21 minutes of engaging music that any fan of the genre will enjoy. Staying away from cliches, this band commands attention thanks to their firm and aggressive sound.

    Opening with “Nine to Zero”, we get a mid-tempo wave of crafty riffs and a powerful snarl, expertly paired to inflict maximum damage. The band’s sound is straightforward, and yet all-consuming thanks to their solid instrumentation. The intensity increases with the blistering guitars of “Void” creating a very hypnotic and engaging atmosphere.

  • Frozen Soul - Crypt of Ice (2021)

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    Unleashing a barrage of crushing riffs and a very dense atmosphere, today we have Death Metal newcomers Frozen Soul and their debut release “Crypt of Ice”. Hailing from Texas, this outfit perfectly combines old-school North American DM elements with influences from old-school European Death Metal, creating a very unique amalgamation of sounds that feels like Centinex had a bastard child with Incantation.

    Opening with the chugging riffs of “Crypt of Ice”, the band creates a very effective and crushing mood with excellent headbanging passages. Setting that sluggish mid-tempo approach, tracks like “Arctic Stranglehold”, “Hand of Vengeance”, “Wraith of Death” further develop the band’s immersive atmosphere with crafty drumming and hellish vocals. The band’s lyrical themes are also quite refreshing as they don’t just focus on blood and guts like most others.

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