Album Reviews

  • 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.

  • Lord Belial - Rapture (2022)

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    The moment we saw the name Lord Belial in our promo inbox, we immediately thought it was a re-issue of their earlier works, but we never expected that “Rapture” would be a brand new album from this Swedish outfit. We have been fans of the band’s unique take of the genre since their 1997 release “Enter the Moonlight Gate”, which featured a more melodic approach with some female vocals and additional elements. For nearly 50 minutes the band captures their past glory with a very interesting and yet punishing release.

    Opening with the blistering “Legion” and the equally punishing “On a Throne of Souls”, one would never guess that this band has been quite a while in hibernation and that it still features all its original members. The band’s sound is savage and brilliantly produced by none other than Andy LaRocque. Mixing that old-school Scandinavian Black Metal of bands like Immortal, Tartaros, Naglfar, etc. with a more melodic and melancholic edge, the band manages to deliver pummeling pieces like “Rapture of Belial”, “Destruction”, and “Belie all Gods”.

  • Mournful Congregation - The Exuviae of Gods - Part I (2022)

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    It’s been almost four years since Mournful Congregation’s last release and they have been some very doomy years indeed. Luckily for fans of Funeral Doom Metal, the band returns with a ‘short’ EP titled “The Exuviae of Gods - Part I”, which of course clocks in at 37 minutes and unleashes three piercing tracks. Needing no introduction, this Aussie band is about to make your day a whole darker and gloomier with this crushing release.

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