Unleashing a blistering piece of majestic Symphonic/Melodic Black Metal, today we have newcomers Pestilent Hex. Polished in over five years, this album captures the magic of keyboard driven BM of the 90’s, with similarities to Emperor, Tartaros, Limbonic Art, however, the band manages to sound like something completely different. Be prepared for a dramatic and highly engaging 40-minute experience.
The release opens with the album titled chapter I, which sets a very hectic opening with blistering drumming, furious riffing, and powerful harsh vocals. This track nicely morphs into a very dramatic and intense atmospheric affair with piercing synths and lush piano arrangements. Both “Nature of the Spirit” and “Mephistophelean Liaison” perfectly build up on such a killer opener with tons of dynamic arrangements, dramatic tempo changes, and heaps of emotion and melody, making up for a very powerful first part of this release.
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.
Delivering a highly atmospheric brand of Post-Black Metal, today we have Cailleach Calling and their debut full-length release “Dreams of Fragmentation”. Featuring Tony Thomas (Botanist/Dawn of Ouroboros) handling all guitars/bass/and synths, alongside Chelsea Murphy (Dawn of Ouroboros) in vocals and Yurii Kononov (ex-White Ward) on drums, the band unleashes nearly 40 minutes of relentless music with a certain cosmic/urban vibe unlike no other.
Immediately laying down some thick atmospherics, “Phosphenic Array” kicks off the release with brutal harsh screams and superbly crafted blistering drumming. While the intensity varies, the atmosphere is made even richer with powerful synths. Reminding us a bit of Frozen Ocean and Lustre, this epicness continues into the sultry “Bound by Neon” a piece with a more desolate futuristic urban vibe, which features some intense tempo changes and elegant melancholic interludes.
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.
Unleashing all hell with 44 minutes of highly refined and punishing Black Metal, today we have International super group Doedsvangr and their sophomore release “Serpents Ov Old”. Featuring members from bands like Horna, Nordjevel, The Order of Apollyon, and a few guests like Vicotnik and Tsjuder’s Nag, this super release delivers on the promise of being one of the most devastating albums of 2021. If you like Black Metal, it won’t get any better than this release.
Kicking things off, we have the blistering album title track filled with pummeling drumming and expertly layered guitars, creating a very powerful and punishing experience. Doedsadmiral’s vocals are just perfect for this kind of music, and they perfectly compliment the talents of Shatraug on guitars and bass, as songs like “Flagelist” and “As The Rivers Bleed Their Blessings” and their sinister edge perfectly showcase. There is more than just furious tremolo picking to BM and releases like this are a fine example of it.
As if their 2021 full-length “Revelator” wasn’t enough, today we have Australia’s The Amenta back with an interesting 2-song EP titled “Solipschism”. Not that we are complaining, the band first makes us wait 8 years between releases and now we are treated to more madness in less than 6 months. Again, proceed with caution as this Aussie band kicks some serious ass while introducing some weird and creepy ideas.
With a heavier focus on atmosphere and weirdness, the release kicks off with “Solipschism”, a highly atmospheric piece with very eerie arrangements and a solemn pace. This track is a fresh and creepy soundscape that sets a very dark mood. The second piece, “Labourinth” slowly builds from distorted guitars with an industrial vibe to a more expansive crushing piece with hellish vocals alongside crafty drums and a faster pace, and a particularly dissonant closing.
Marking the release number 200 from the forward thinking label Debemur Morti, Ukraine’s White Ward unleash two very unique pieces of music with their signature style. Featuring anything but traditional elements, this release delivers nearly 18 minutes of enigmatic and highly experimental Black Metal. For the uninitiated, White Ward is one of the most exciting bands of the last few years, with their expertly crafted experimental music featuring heavy atmospheres and an avant-garde mixture of elements and styles that puts them years ahead from their competition.
Opening with the EP title track, the band first sets a very jazzy and sultry atmosphere that quickly escalates into full on blistering drums alongside a sexy saxophone. Things pick up as the aggressive BM onslaughts proceed alongside crafty tempo changes. If this wasn’t enough, guest vocalist Lars Nedland (Solefald, Borknagar) soaring clean vocals provides a brilliant complement to an already highly intricate backdrop.
Providing a very enigmatic and expansive aural experience, today we have Czech outfit Inferno and their latest opus of decadence: “Paradeigma (Phosphenes of Aphotic Eternity)”. With a very oppressive and hard to describe style, we can just say that the band amalgamates elements of Blut Aus Nord and YERÛŠELEM, but still managed to create a truly immersive and punishing unique style. If you want to be mesmerized and subdued for over 35 minutes, this release is just what you are looking for.
After the playful intro, “The Wailing Horizon” delivers a wave of furious riffs, massive drumming and crafty atmospherics. The immediate vibe is quie oppressive and it only gets more dominant as the harsh vocals roll into the picture. This blistering onslaught is nicely flanked by some catchy melodic passages and moody tempo changes. By the time we get to “Descent into Hell of the Future” we feel like a bag of bricks just hit us, and then the weird and playful industrial-esque elements of this track continue delivering an imposing hellish vibe.
After their crushing 2020 release “En Ergô Einai”, Aara showcased their blistering brand of Atmospheric Black Metal, making this album one of the highlights of the year. Wasting no time and keeping their momentum going, this Swiss trio now unleashes “Triade I: Eos” with nearly 45 minutes of even more impressive and commanding music. If you like furiously paced guitars and lush atmospherics filled with intensity, this is one release you can’t miss.
Setting a somber atmosphere with the first few minutes of “Fathum”, the band suddenly explodes with a very ferocious into all-out onslaught of piercing riffs, crushing drums, and shrieking vocals. The intensity delivered is nicely contrasted by subtle atmospheric and melodic elements, creating a very unique and powerful experience that nicely bleeds into “Tantalusqual”. One of our favorite tracks has to be the haunting “Naufragus” and its majestic atmospheric keyboards, giving us that Symphonic Black Metal vibe of bands like Limbonic Art and early Emperor.
It has been a while since we have heard anything from Australia’s weird Industrial Metal outfit The Amenta. Returning with “Revelator”, the band continues their path of weirdness with an interesting blend of experimental elements and Industrial Metal foundations, creating a very chaotic and yet interesting sound. If you like odd and unconventional music with a good dose of heaviness, this release has some nice surprises in store for you.
The release starts with the pummeling “An Epoch Ellipsis”, a track that starts with a similar pace to Anaal Nathrakh’s music, but quickly shows that it is a completely different beast with funky tempo changes, soaring clean vocals, and some underlying industrial elements. The uniqueness of “Sere Money” nicely changes the pace a bit as the band showcases their more melodic and catchy side, with lush rhythmic sections and a nice blend of harsh and clean vocals.