Album Reviews

  • Outlaw - Reaching Beyond Assiah (2023)


    Featuring a pummeling intensity, today we have International outfit Outlaw and their third full-length release “Reaching Beyond Assiah”. With a huge Dissection/Thulcandra vibe, this band delivers seven memorable anthems that clock in at around 45 minutes. Filled with melody and explosiveness, this release is certainly for Black Metal fans that want to be headbanging for almost an hour straight.

    Opening with the blistering intensity of “Bliss of Soul”, we get a nice balanced onslaught of melodic riffs and a hectic tempo. The Dissection worship starts with the epic “To Burn This World And Dissolve The Flesh”, a track filled with very familiar sounding riffs, but nicely arranged to fit the band’s relentless style. We particularly enjoyed the lead guitars in the aforementioned track and other melodic standouts like “Beyond The Realms of God” and “The Unending Night”.

  • Austere - Corrosion of Hearts (2023)


    Gladly surprising everybody about a comeback a few years back, Austere returns with a brilliantly hypnotic and demoralizing release with “Corrosion of Hearts”. Featuring four tracks and clocking in at 46 minutes, this release is everything that any fan of the band could have expected, and then some. As one of the best outfits of the Depressive Black Metal movement, their mid 2000’s “Withering Illusions and Desolation” release is soul crushing, and this release shows they didn’t skip a beat.

    Opening with “Sullen”, this track was premiered during their first live shows in 2022 at Dark Bombastic Evening and Prophecy Fest. For nearly 12 minutes we get that signature trance inducing melancholic riffing alongside the signature screams of Tim Yatras. Always perfectly in sync with Mitchell Keepin’s dramatic atmospheric and hypnotic songwriting, the band unleashes sheer misery inducing onslaughts with the moody tempos of “A Ravenous Oblivion”.

  • Diablation - Par Le Feu (2023)


    There is definitely something magical in the water in France as they have a solid wave of talented Metal bands coming front and center. Today’s turn is for Diablation and their superbly polished and engaging Symphonic Black Metal. With “Par Le Feu”, this band gives us …And Oceans-meets-Alghazanth vibes with some Anorexia Nervosa and Limbonic Art splashed in. Featuring seven tracks and nearly 40 minutes of music, this is one hell of a release that no fan of the genre can miss.

    Opening with the enigmatic intro “Inferi Ostium”, the band really hits full stride with the crushing “Vox Diaboli” and its waves of punishing guitars paired with hellish screams. The atmospheric keyboards have that magical late 90’s (or early 2000’s) vibe, when they are overpowering, but seamlessly blend into the mix, as we can hear in brilliant songs like “L'unique merveille”, “Au bord du gouffre”, and “Crépuscule doré”. If the vocals sound familiar, is because they are delivered by none other than Vicomte Vampyr Arkames, who used to handle these duties in Seth a while ago.

  • Countless Skies - Resonance (2023)


    As one of the most promising and epic Melodic Death Metal bands, Countless Skies has blown us away with their killer full length releases “Glow” and “New Dawn”. With “Resonance”, the band dabbles into the live in the studio recordings territory with great success. Featuring songs from both their full-length releases, this five track EP is just what the doctor ordered to keep the momentum going for this excellent band.

    The release opens with “Daybreak” from their “New Dawn” release and they completely nail it. We love how this track sounds slightly different with a higher emphasis on the cello arrangements from Arianna Mahsayeh. The other track from the same release is a shorter version of the Insomnium-esque “Wanderer”, again showcasing their insanely good lead guitars alongside melancholy dripping melodic passages.

  • Tribulation - Hamartia (2023)


    Just when you think a band can’t get any better, Tribulation drops on un “Hamartia”, a four song EP that further consolidates their sinister sound. Creating very unique and decadent sounding tracks, this EP keeps their catchiness and darkness untouched with delivering harrowing atmospheres. With a signature sound that has gracefully evolved over time, this release will satisfy fans of the band and plant some fertile seeds of what is to come in the future.

    Opening with the title track, the band immediately creates a splash with ravaging and superbly catchy guitars alongside Johannes Andersson’s characteristic snarl and thumping bass guitar lines. Quickly creating that heavy and yet melodic bombastic vibe, the band’s firing on all cylinders as things get catchier and darker with the playful “Axis Mundi”.

  • Vorna - Aamunkoi (2023)


    Showing their excellent 2019 release, “Sateet palata saavat”, was no fluke, Finland’s Vorna returns with an even more expansive and bombastic release with “Aamunkoi”. The band’s sound is as unique as before, perfectly mixing Folk/Pagan/Black Metal with a hefty dose of atmospheric elements. Featuring over 44 minutes of lush vocal arrangements alongside crafty instrumentation and a solid level of heaviness, this release is quite rich and highly enjoyable.

    Opening with “Hiljaisuus ei kestä” a very lush and folky mood is established thanks to a mixture of clean and harsh vocals alongside solid riffing and tight drumming. The band’s melancholic nature starts oozing more profusely as “Harva päättää hyvästeistään”, “Aika pakenee”, and “Valo” come around with their dramatic atmospherics and crafty tempo changes, we even got some Amorphis-esque vibes here and there.

  • Cradle of Filth - Trouble and their Double Lives (2023)


    Our favorite Gothic/Symphonic Black Metal miscreants are back, with a new double live release that also features a couple new studio tracks. Nicely separated into older and newer songs per disc, this release is a testament that the band still has plenty of fuel left in their tank while delivering some kick-ass live shows. If you are a diehard fan of the band, this release nicely captures a glimpse of how their, quite elaborate, tracks sound in a live setting.

    Opening with the new track “She is a Fire”, is a dreamy piece that continues the bands intensity and lush atmospherics of their previous release “Existence Is Futile”. Since this track is new, this and the other studio songs should feature Zoë Marie Federoff, the band’s newest member on keyboards and backing vocals. The rest of the first disc has plenty of killer live renditions of fan favorites like “Heaven Torn Asunder”, “Nymphentamine”, “Bathory Aria”, and “Desire in Violent Overture.

  • Nightside - Lions (2023)


    Perfectly capitalizing on their 2021 return, cult outfit Nightside has managed to crawl from the depths of hell to unleash one brilliant ode to the days of 90’s uncompromising and punishing Black Metal. Featuring three songs and labeled as a demo, “Lions” showcases the band’s undeniable talent and blistering execution of the dark arts while putting all the posers and copycats to shame.

  • Bacchus - II (2023)


    Unleashing a very hypnotic and highly atmospheric beast, today we have France’s Bacchus and their debut full-length release “II”. With a very interesting and oppressive sound, this band sounds a bit like The Ruins of Beverast meets Urfaust meets Fluisteraars. For six tracks and nearly 35 minutes, the band haunts the listener with piercing compositions that are both mysterious and highly disturbing.

    Opening with the atmospheric funkiness of “II.I”, the band quickly sets a very hypnotic tempo that is nicely amplified by (very) weird vocal arrangements that create a very oppressive atmosphere. The atmospheric synths and samples give a certain Germ/Galaktik Cancer Squad and create some truly unique and disturbing soundscapes, as delivered by “II.II” and “II.III”.

  • Aara - Triade III: Nyx (2023)


    Drowning in atmospheric brilliance, today we have Aara closing their trilogy with “Triade III: Nyx”. Delivering six sweeping songs of brutality and lush dreaminess, this release keeps the momentum of the first two parts and brings this period of the band to a close with a big bang. Highly recommended for fans of extremely atmospheric and intense music, this release will immerse you into the band’s world instantly with its relentless aural abuse.

    Opening with the enigmatic “Heimgesucht”, the mood is perfectly set as the band escalates their riffing onslaughts to frantic mode. The sheer intensity and ravaing speed of Berg’s guitars perfectly aligns with the pummeling drumming of J. The band’s core sound is intense and violent, greatly amplified by the haunting harsh screams of Fluss, as we can hear on riveting pieces like “Emphase der Seelenpein”, “Moribunda”, and “Unstern”.


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