From the mind of Naas Alcameth (Nightbringer, Aoratos, etc.) today we have an exercise in atmospheric brutality and madness Akhlys third full-length release “Melinoë”. Creating an unrivaled oppressive atmosphere since the opener, this release unleashes over 45 minutes of misanthropic music both punishing and ritualistic. If you think Nightbringer and Aoratos are intense, wait until you get a peek at the sheer power behind this release.
Setting a very macabre tone, the opener, “Somniloquy” creates a relentless atmosphere filled with pummeling drums and brilliantly layered guitars, unleashing a very oppressive vibe. Naas Alcameth’s signature vocals greatly enhance the sinister ambiance and nicely create hellish passages on tracks like “Pnigalion”, adding an extra layer of eeriness to an already highly atmospheric musical foundation.
France has been on the forefront of pushing Black Metal to new auditory levels with bands like Blut Aus Nord and Throane. Today we have the latter’s new effort: “Une Balle Das Le Pied” a one-track, 13-minute 7” release that continues Dehn Sora’s musical exploration with plenty of unique elements. Not for the close-minded, this short but sweet release encapsulates a very unique concept alongside hellish music.
Unleashing a hellish attack on your senses, the juxtaposition of Industrial elements and trance-inducing Dark Ambient influences creates a very thick and chaotic atmosphere, similar to what Yeruselem crafted last year but with a more punishing and hypnotic edge. The song is divided into three main movements separated by eerie interludes. However, every single part delivers relentless aggression with harsh screams and crushing guitars.
Unleashing one hell of a demoralizing onslaught, today we have Selbst with their sophomore full-length release “Relatos de Angustia”. Featuring the band’s characteristically savage sound, this release shows that their debut album was no fluke and that the band is quickly pushing up the Black Metal ranks with their intense and high-quality sound. Slowly building up their underground reputation and sound overtime, Selbst is ready to unleash their black arts to the wider audience through Debemur Morti Productions.
The opener, “Praeludium”, immediately transitions from cavernous atmospherics to completely sinister Black Metal riffs in a very moody tempo. Oozing melancholy and malice, this track sets a very punishing mood that is only exacerbated by the rest of this release, on blistering tracks like “Deafening Wailing of the Desperate Ones” and “The Depths of Selfishness”, both filled with ravaging guitar riffs, hyperfast drums and a very vicious edge.
Unleashing waves of oppressive Black Metal, today we have Spain’s Aversio Humanitatis and their sophomore release “Behold the Silent Dwellers”. Featuring over 35 minutes of crushing music, this release is both atmospheric and punishing, with a similar take on the genre as bands like Weapon, Necros Christos and Arkhon Infaustus. If you like your BM to be firm, atmospheric and yet demoralizing, this is a release to acquire.
Opening with waves of brutal riffs and mysterious deep growls/snarls, “The Weaver of Tendons” sets a very powerful and mystery shrouded mood. The band’s no-frills musical core allows them to craft intricate and incisive songs like “The Presence in the Mist” and “The Sculptor of Thoughts”, filled with piercing guitar work, a pulsating bass guitar line, and crafty drumming, keeping listeners engaged with a thick and immersive atmosphere.
As one of the most expected releases of 2020, today we have Kiwi’s Ulcerate and their impressive full-length release “Stare Into Death and Be Still”. Pegged as Technical Death Metal, this release is as refined as it is brutal, delivering nearly one hour of savagely crafted songs that will rattle your speakers and skull. With an unrivaled finesse, this release is by far on one of the best we have heard in 2020, so be ready to be blown away.
Opening with the crafty layering on “The Lifeless Advance”, we are instantly immersed into the band’s punishing world of high-octane drumming and intricate guitar work. Juxtaposing walls of sound with the inhuman vocals of Paul Kelland, the band creates very cavernous and intimidating pieces like the crushing opener and its more playful counterpart “Exhale the Ash”. There is an underlying melodic aspect to the band’s sound that makes songs even more effective in delivering their contrasting fast-paced brutality onslaughts of intense riffs and growls, as we can hear in the moody album title track.
Switzerland has been recently surprising us with their masterful Black Metal bands, Aara is another one of those outfits. Focusing on dramatic atmospherics and lush melodies, “En Ergô Einai” delivers over 33 minutes of emotionally intense music that brings back memories of bands like An Autumn for Crippled Children and Deafheaven. For those that like a melody and ambiance with their brutality, this album is one hell of a discovery.
Easing the listener into a state of hypnosis, a lush opening to “Arkanum” was laid down by Vindsval (Blut Aus Nord), as the band quickly escalates things with furious drumming, dreamy riffs and harrowing shrieks. The cohesion presented by seemingly disparate musical elements is quite effective as the duo’s music perfectly blends that subtle dreaminess with crushing aggression, perfectly illustrated by “Stein auf Stein”.
Unleashing a truly unique level of aural abuse, today we have UK’s Lychgate and their new label debut EP “Also sprach Futura”. If you think you have heard weird stuff before, this release will re-define the concept for you. Featuring four tracks of pure madness, this band combines elements from Doom/Jazz/Progressive/Brutal Death Metal, and pretty much everything else into an amalgamation of sonic abusive tracks.
The release opens with the cirquesque “Incarnate”, incorporating brutal guitar riffs with chaotic tempo changes and funky organ/mellotron atmospherics. Taking this track over the top are the throat singing moments that just add more confusion and madness between the Black Metal-ish harshness and funky atmospherics. Things settle down a bit on the interesting “Progeny of the Singularity”, where the band starts with brutal onslaughts and slowly evolves into an eerie sickening atmospheric passage , just as the brutality returns to close this magically weird piece.
Hailing from Indonesia, today we have one-man battalion Pure Wrath with the very impressive “The Forlorn Soldier” EP release. Unleashing a masterful combination of dramatic atmospherics, blistering Black Metal onslaughts and a hearty sense of melody, this release delivers almost 30 minutes of flawless music. Highly recommended for fans of bands like Sad Legend, Saor and Vallendusk, be prepared for an aural assault with this one.
The release opens with the blistering “When a Great Man Dies” and its waves of punishing riffs perfectly intertwined with catchy atmospheric elements and harsh vocals. This combination creates a very chaotic, yet refined and lush experience that will quickly grab the listener's attention and never let go. We particularly enjoy the solemn clean vocal arrangements in the superbly melodic closing stages of the song.
Just when you think that 2019 can’t get any better in terms of Black Metal release, Polish Arkona decides to drop their triumphant release “Age of Capricorn”. Delivering one of the most savage and yet melodic and refined BM releases of the last decade, we are treated to over 46 minutes of vicious music. If you are a fan of the genre that wants both relentless aggression and high-octane atmospherics, this is the best album you can get in 2019.
After a creepy intro with some eerie samples, “Stella Inferno” quickly unleashes grim riffs and bestial drums. This track is both atmospheric and in your face, blowing past your eardrums and rattling your brain as Khorzon and company spew their madness. The playful synths perfectly combine with the blistering pace of the demonical “Alone Among Wolves”. As if the BM aural assault wasn’t enough, some super creepy wolf samples add and insane amount of depth and vigor to this track.
The ever changing Blut Aus Nord returns with their most impressive release to date with “Hallucinogen”. Everybody knows the band’s releases always push sonic boundaries, but with this opus, Vindsval and W.D. Feld take their sound to completely new cosmic dimensions. For over 48 minutes of music the band explores uniquely melancholic and ethereal territories with an interesting blend of lush atmospherics and intricate guitar work. Unless something drastically changes, we can almost be sure that this album will be our top release of 2019.
Opening with the mesmerizing “Nomos Nebuleam”, the band sets a very dreamy and highly atmospheric mood. The dramatic guitar work perfectly blending with the intense drumming to create a very powerful vibe. Combining the intensity of Progenie Terrestre Pura and the sci-fi-esque edge of Frozen Ocean, Blut Aus Nord crafts some very intense moments on tracks like “Nebeleste” that are both punishing and highly inspired. The clean vocal arrangements are quite unique and adds to the music’s overall weirdness and atmosphere.