2020

  • Wømb - Here, The World Falls… (2020)

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    As one of the few stragglers from 2020, today we have Portugal’s Wømb and their massively dissonant demo “Here, The World Falls…”. Featuring a completely crushing and cavernous sound, this demo release showcases four tracks filled with intensity and brutality. While the band has never released a full-length album, they probably should due to the sheer level of chaos unleashed by this release

    Opening with the vicious “Abraxas in Ecstasy”, we get a blistering onslaught of crafty drums and buzz-saw like guitars. The vocals are as visceral as you can imagine, drawing comparisons to Vanum and Fell Voices. However, the best feature of this release has to be the superb lo-fi sound, making songs like “ Great Mother of Destruction, Time and Death” be just ravaging and vicious.

  • Psychonaut 4 - Beautyfall (2020)

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    Hailing from Georgia, a place where we have only heard of a few bands, today we have deranged outfit Psychonaut 4 and their latest opus “Beautyfall”. As one of the weirdest and intense bands in Depressive Black Metal, this album showcases their maturity and intensity of their craft. We rarely review albums we didn’t receive for review, but this release is one that has been in constant rotation in our playlist and we believe more and more people should know about this excellent band.

    The release kicks off in style with the pummeling opening of “One Man's War”, showcasing that this album will be heavy and yet feature a good dose of melody as the song evolves alongside dramatic vocal arrangements and solid guitar work. Our favorite track in this release, and probably one of our top 10 of the year has to be the emotive “Tbilisian Tragedy”. We particularly enjoy the eerie atmospherics and funky tempo changes, transmitting magical misery through its mixture of clean vocal passages and dramatic guitars.

  • Ceremonial Castings - Salem 1692 (MMXX) (2020)

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    Unleashing a cosmic onslaught of highly melodic/symphonic Black Metal, today we have Ceremonial Castings and the re-recording of their 2008 opus “Salem 1692”. As one of the most promising and interesting Black Metal bands in the USA, it was quite a surprise to see this release pop in our inbox as the band has been in hiatus(?) since 2014. With over 70 minutes of enthralling music, this release is a true gem in the crowded Symphonic Black Metal arena.

    The release leads off with the dreamy atmospherics of “Beneath the Sabbath Moon”, a track that quickly triggered old-school Emperor and Tartaros flashbacks, but with an even more melodic spin. Jake Superchi and company have done a great job in improving the quality of this release, making epic tracks like “Where the Witches Waltz”, “Obsidian Spells of Hysteria”, and the eerie “The Devil in Salem” completely pop with an over-the-top lushness and crafty guitar work.

  • Abigor - Totschläger (A Saintslayer's Songbook) (2020)

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    Seemingly out of nowhere, recently we received Abigor’s latest opus “Totschläger (A Saintslayer's Songbook)”. As one of the most diverse and deranged Black Metal albums of 2020, this release unleashes 51 minutes of madness, ranging from traditional BM to more Symphonic/Atmospheric BM territories and a few visits into Avant-garde territories. If you like weird and yet masterfully crafted BM, this is one of those albums you can’t miss.

    Opening with the theatrics of “Gomorrha Rising - Nightside Rebellion”, we get an early Emperor/Limbonic Art vibe from this intense track. Alongside the pummeling drumming, we get a nice variety of vocal styles and very chaotic guitars, both of which nicely bleed into the next track, “Silent Towers, Screaming Tombs”. For those looking for dramatic arrangements and a very regal/epic vibe, “Orkblut (Sieg oder Tod)” has you covered.

  • Iron Savior - Skycrest (2020)

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    Making this craptastic 2020 a little more lively, today we have Iron Savior and their superbly epic release “Skycrest”. Featuring nearly an hour of music, this release will excite all Power Metal fans thanks to its epic vocal arrangements and crafty instrumentation. Led by Piet Sielck, this band continues to get better and more refined with time, and this album showcases their best skills.

    After the grandiose opening, the album title track sets a very exciting mood with excellent guitar work and very dramatic vocal arrangements. The epicness of the band’s sound is quickly established as tracks like “Our Time Has Come”, “Hellbreaker”, and “Souleater” perfectly balance catchiness, technical proficiency (crazy guitar solos), and a very ‘Heavy Metal’ attitude around a timeless old-school sound with no gimmicks and just power.

  • Imha Tarikat - Sternenberster (2020)

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    Hailing from Germany, today we have blistering Black Metal duo Imha Tarikat and their latest opus “Sternenberster”. Combining the melody and intensity of Mgła and Misþyrming, this release delivers over 45 minutes of expertly crafted music, split along eight crushing tracks. If you like well crafted and intense BM with a knack for high-quality production values and a pummeling attitude, this is one album you can miss.

    From the incisive first minutes of “Ekstase ohne Ende”, the listener can appreciate the higher level of craftsmanship in this release thanks to a blistering guitar solo that leads to a brutal onslaught of a pummeling bass guitar line and hellish deep vocals. With this relentless attitude, the band blows past crushing songs like “Sturm der Erlösung”, “Kreuzpunkt der Schicksale”, and “Brand am Firmament”, while showcasing their diverse influences and crafty approach to songwriting alongside a ravaging tempo.

  • Auro - Auro (2020)

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    Delivering a nostalgic release from the days of simpler and yet punishing Atmospheric Black Metal, today we have Germany’s Auro and their self-titled debut release. With over 50 minutes of music, this track will bring back memories to the early days of Immortal, Satyricon, Limbonic Art and Emperor. Crafty and relentless, this release certainly has something for everybody as it is quite accessible and very well crafted.

    Opening after the traditional atmospheric intro, “Im Nebelland” delivers sinister riffs and hellish snarls as it unleashes fury alongside intense drumming and a very hectic pace. Tracks like “Ouroboros - Schuppengott”, “Brodelnde Wasser - Rufe und Zeichen” and “Rammbock - Durchbruch zur Entmenschlichung” deliver that old-school rawness thanks to its down-to-the-basics instrumentation and very subtle atmospherics, focusing on organic melody and brutality.

  • Akhlys - Melinoë (2020)

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    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.

  • Soilwork - A Whisp of the Atlantic (2020)

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    Riding high from their 2019 release, “Verkligheten”, Soilwork delivers a killer EP with nearly 37 minutes of music. Continuing their evolution into Melodic/Grove Metal territories, the band unleashes five killer songs filled with signature Soilwork moments that fans of the band will certainly love. If you have been keen on the band’s last two releases, this EP will satisfy your cravings for more.

    Opening with the 17-minute title track, the band sets a very lively and upbeat mood in the first few minutes, with the song gradually exploring some groovy/proggy passages perfectly led by Björn’s clean/harsh growls and some funky keyboard arrangements by Sven Karlsson. The instrumentation is as rich as always with crafty drums and engaging guitar riffs. This track bleeds a bit into “Feverish”, a faster paced song with pummeling drums and a hectic vibe.

  • Valravn - Prey (2020)

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    As the weather turns cold and frosty in some places, it is the perfect time for blistering Black Metal releases that deliver sheer rawness, brutality, and a mix of melody thrown in for good form. Today we have Finnish outfit Valravn and their crushing release “Prey”, which delivers over 40 minutes of in-your-face raw BM. Focusing on craftsmanship alongside relentless brutality, this band unleashes one of the most intense aural onslaughts of 2020.

    After a folky opener with “Awaken”, the band launches a full-on attack with the pummeling rawness of “Thrones of Blood”. Alongside furious riffs and intense drumming, the band nicely changes gears at times to deliver crafty oppressive atmospheric/melodic passages. With tracks like “Void” and “Conjuration” nicely blending styles and still being quite ravaging, it brings us back memories of old-school Norwegian BM at times.

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