Album Reviews

  • Midnight - Let There Be Witchery (2022)

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    Unleashing waves of intensity and playful catchiness, Midnight has always stood out from the rest thanks to their bizarre lyrics and brilliant delivery. With “Let There Be Witchery” the band takes their sound to new levels with ten pummeling tracks filled with devilish sleaziness. Perfectly blending old-school Speed Metal elements with Black Metal undertones, this band is one that no Metalhead should miss out on.

    The release kicks off with the blistering pace of “Telepathic Nightmare”, a solid piece with crafty guitars and extreme catchiness. Building up momentum, ravaging tracks like “Frothing Foulness”, “In Sinful Secrecy”, and “Nocturnal Molestation”, perfectly transmit that sleazy old-school vibe that the Athenar masterfully crafts thanks to the stripped-down sound and funky lyrics.

  • Lord Agheros - Koinè (2022)

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    Perfectly tailored to fans of music that pushes boundaries and that incorporates many disparate elements, today we have Lord Agheros and their latest opus “Koinè”. Mixing Ambient, Atmospheric and Avantgarde elements with a Black Metal core, this one man outfit continues to deliver unique and engaging releases that are varied and evocative from start to finish.

    Opening with “The Prophecy”, we are treated to an Elend-esque momentum builder filled with dreamy atmospherics and crafty guitars. The musical exploration continues with the Industrial-elements of “The Walls of Nowhere”, paired with lush vocal arrangements and the doomier onslaughts of “Hold the Line”. As you can read, as the album hits the middle track, “Sow”, there are plenty of engaging elements from different genres, nicely arranged to create an immersive experience.

  • Valais - Valais (2022)

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    Oozing malevolence and piercing riffs, today we have Ireland’s Valais and their self-titled debut release out in CD and tape format through Signal Rex. While Black Metal bands are a dime a dozen these days, there are only a handful, like this one, that bring the genre to life with gusto and a piercing precision.

    A cavernous mood is nicely set with the opener “I”, a track that suddenly changes gears and delivers blistering drumming alongside crushing riffs. The hellish shrieks perfectly fit the band’s sinister nature as pieces like “III” demonstrate with a slower and creepier pace. Similar to outfits like The Ruins of Beverast and Urfaust, we particularly enjoy this style where pace, aggression, and varied vocal styles create unsettling atmospheres.

  • Eight Bells - Legacy of Ruin (2022)

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    It is rare to find truly unique bands these days, luckily for us Eight Bells answers the call with their powerful release “Legacy of Ruin”. Featuring an extremely crafty amalgamation of Post-Metal, Doom Metal, and even some Black Metal-ish elements, this release unleashes over 45 minutes of intricate and engaging aural assaults.

    Led by Melynda Jackson, the band quickly establishes their piercing atmosphere with the opener “Destroyer”, a piece filled with piercing guitars and harrowing and contrasting vocal arrangements. Creating a very sinister mood, the release is far from one dimensional as “The Well” explores calmer and yet disturbing interludes alongside faster and punishing onslaughts of heaviness.

  • Corpsegrinder - Corpsegrinder (2022)

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    As one of the most identifiable people in Metal, George "Corpsegrinder" Fisher has made a career thanks to his punishing growls, furious headbanging skills, and bigger than life personality. Unleashing his debut solo album, Corpsegrinder delivers ten tracks and over 30 minutes of signature Death Metal with some splashes of Thrash Metal.

    Featuring Charlie Bellmore and Nick Bellmore handling the instruments, the album starts with the pummeling “Acid Vat” track, which also receives some additional magic from Erik Rutan. Marching victoriously through songs like “Bottom Dweller”, “On Wings of Carnage”, “All Souls Get Torn” and “Death Is The Only Key”, Corpsegrinder showcases his usual versatility and energy alongside a barrage of chugging riffs and crafty tempo changes.

  • Arð - Take up my Bones (2022)

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    Unleashing waves of melancholic bleakness, today we have Arð and their debut full-length release “Take up my Bone”. Perfectly crafting over 43 minutes of mournful Doom Metal, this one-man outfit takes atmosphere and doom to a whole new level with this opus. Just imagine an even more doomier and more atmospheric version of Hamferð and you can only begin to picture what this release brings to the table.

    Opening with the mid-tempo “Burden Foretold”, we get a nice combination of punishing distorted riffs with elegant guitar leads and spine-chilling vocal arrangements. Self-labeled as “Monastic Northumbrian Doom”, tracks like the album title track, “Raise then the Incorrupt Body”, and “Boughs of Trees”, perfectly deliver this very unique and eerie feeling. With some of the clean instrumentation resembling elements from Tenhi and Empyrium, but sprinkled with soaring vocals and some intensely dramatic tempo changes.

  • Serpent Noir / Sargeist - Transcendental Black Magic (2022)

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    Unleashing over 45 minutes of soul-crushing Black Metal today we have Serpent Noir and Sargeist with a split release titled “Transcendental Black Magic”. With none of the bands needing any introductions, this release is a very swift and brutal way to start the year, thanks to both bands unraveling some truly punishing tracks.

    The split starts with Greece’s Serpent Noir and their sinister and more rudimentary approach to the genre, with “Throne Of Satanas”, the band sets a creepy mood with their eerie vocal arrangements alongside epic guitar leads and crafty drumming. As “Endless Night of Lilith” and “Epiklisis Tou Eosforou” roll around, we can see the band’s ability to craft well paced tunes filled with devilish melody.

  • Abysmal Dawn - Nightmare Frontier (2022)

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    Continuing the ravaging onslaughts delivered by “Phylogenesis” in 2020, today we have Abysmal Dawn back with their five song EP titled “Nightmare Frontier”. Featuring one new track, one re-recorded demo track, and a couple of covers, this release showcases the band’s craftiness and killer execution in 20 minutes of engaging Death Metal music.

    The release quickly gets down to business with the blistering drumming and incisive guitars of “A Nightmare Slain”. Helmed by Charles Elliott, the band’s vocalist and guitarist, this track is fierce, delivering some killer guitar leads alongside crushing headbanging moments. The intensity continues with the pummeling “Blacken the Sky”, with a more direct and old-school chugging nature.

  • Pure Wrath - Hymn To The Woeful Hearts (2022)

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    As one of the most anticipated 2022 releases for us, “Hymn To The Woeful Hearts” takes Pure Wrath’s music to a whole new level. Delivering over 44 minutes of highly atmospheric and very emotional Black Metal music, this album perfectly channels the fury and intensity of the band’s earlier releases with a hefty dose of melancholy and refinement.

    Wasting no time in asserting itself, “The Cloak of Disquiet” opens with a very solemn and short intro as it quickly morphs into raw aggression thanks to blistering drumming and crushing harsh screams. We particularly love how the melodic arrangements quickly blend into the waves of brutality the band puts forth, as pieces like “Years of Silence” and “Presages From A Restless Soul” clearly show. There is great skill in being able to have such masterful transitions without sounding forced or abrupt.

  • Darkness Everywhere - The Seventh Circle (2022)

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    Bringing back that seminal 90’s Swedish Melodic Death Metal sound that most of its originators have lost over the years, today we have Darkness Everywhere and their release “The Seventh Circle”. If you heard the songs without any album information, you will swear you are listening to some obscure track from early In Flames. Seven tracks are enough to put this excellent outfit on our radar for the future.

    After a short intro, “Darkness Everywhere” opens this release with energetic riffs filled with melody and nostalgia. We are huge fans of this kind of sound and the band perfectly captures the early At the Gates/Dark Tranquillity vibe in songs like “The Grand Impact”, “Lost Dimensions” and “Reign of Chaos”. These songs will have you headbanging from start to finish with the crafty tempo changes, as on the stand out “Reign of Chaos”.

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