2020

  • Veil of Secrets - Dead Poetry (2020)

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    Finally, after years of waiting, Vibeke Stenne marks her return to the Metal scene with Veil of Secrets and their melancholic debut release “Dead Poetry”. Alongside Asgeir Mickelson, Vibeke graces us with eight tracks and nearly 50 minutes of highly emotional music, that is both dark and Doomy. While some people might have expected something more similar to old Tristania, this release showcases great maturity and undeniable vocal talents, while carving a different and distinctive sound.

    Opening with the incisive guitars of “The Last Attempt”, the band instantly gives off a vibe similar to the short-lived Proggy/Doomy Alas from Erik Rutan and Martina Hornbacher. The atmosphere in this release is quite dark and very cohesive, crafted with only a few elements such as solemn violins from Sareeta and the occasional growl from Erling Malm. This allows Vibeke’s vocals to truly shine alongside weeping guitars, making tracks like “Sear The Fallen”, “Remorseful Heart”, and “The Lie Of Her Prosperity” quite effective and direct.

  • Sodom - Genesis XIX (2020)

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    Unleashing one of the most fierce and pummeling Thrash Metal releases of 2020, today we have the legendary Sodom and their latest effort “Genesis XIX”. With a new crew behind this release, Tom Angelripper manages to craft nearly 55 minutes of incisive music, split into ten high-octane songs that will have you headbanging from beginning to end. It goes without saying that this release is highly recommended for any Thrash Metal fan.

    The riffing onslaught begins with the short opener, “Blind Superstition” and nicely bleeds into the vicious “Euthanasia”. With new band members, since the last full-length, Yorck Segatz and Toni Merkel, the band shines with crafty drums and powerful guitar arrangements, when paired with Frank Blackfire (who was in the band at some point in the late 80’s). This revitalized core allows the band to rip through pieces like “Genesis XIX”, “Sodom & Gomorra”, and the sinister “Dehumanized”, all of this while delivering blistering guitar leads and superb drumming.

  • Psycroptic - The Watcher of All (2020)

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    Delivering a swift, short, and sweet EP, today we have Australia’s premiere Technical Death Metal unit Pyscroptic and their crushing EP “The Watcher of All”. Perfectly maturing over time, the band’s sound is as tight as ever with even some Thrash elements thrown into the mix to create a very high-octane set of tracks that will generate great expectation within their fan-base.

    The release kicks off with the crafty “A Fragile Existence” and its intricate guitar work. The band’s technical proficiency does not get in the way of catchiness as this track is both engaging, complex and perfect for headbanging. The mixture of screams and growls is well balanced, creating an intense atmosphere. The album title track starts off with a certain Testament-like vibe as it rages through intense riffing, superbly crafted drum patterns and a total balls-to-the-wall vicious intensity.

  • Blighted Eye - Wretched (2020)

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    Newcomers Blighted Eye are ready to take the North American scene by storm with their very crafty debut EP “Wretched”. Unleashing over 27 minutes of high-octane, progressive/melodic Death Metal with additional influences, the band delivers four very well crafted songs that nicely balance both technical proficiency and killer songwriting chops. If you are into bands like Sculptured, you cannot afford to miss this release.

    Opening with the intense guitars of “Contempt”, this band sets a very energetic and firm pace. This track features crafty tempo changes, killer intense passages and overall excellent musicianship, showing a bit of a Tech Death Metal influence but with proggy ambitions. As “Respite” follows the intense opener, the band’s more proggy influences are heard, reminding us a bit of mid-period Opeth with some killer guitar leads added.

  • Uthullun - Dirges for the Void (2020)

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    From the endless amounts of releases that make it to our inbox, it is always pleasing to discover some diamonds in rough, these being releases like Uthullun’s debut “Dirges for the Void” which make us dig deeper into the band’s history looking for more music. In this debut release, the band unleashes over 40 minutes of sinister and very crafty Black Metal that is both dissonant and yet catchy and melancholic.

    Opening with the cavernous “Sunless”, the band has a very refined style that never abuses its core elements and delivers just the right amount of brutality and tremolo-picking to create a sinister atmosphere. As “Silence”, “Penitence” and “Ecstasies” unleash hellish fury, we also hear great craftiness and restraint to create punishing atmospheres that are not necessarily extreme, but rather well constructed and developed.

  • Azarath - Saint Desecration (2020)

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    Perfectly blending hyper fast Death Metal brutality with Black Metal hellishness, today we have Azarath and their latest offering: “Saint Desecration”. Building up on their transition into Blackened DM territories over their last releases, this album unleashes nearly 40 minutes of swift aggression and crushing speed, leaving the listener’s ear ringing for a couple of hours after it is over.

    The band’s ‘new’ vocalist/guitarist Skullripper (Marcin Sienkiel) perfectly fits in the band’s energetic style and wastes no time to make his presence felt in the furious opener “Death-at-will”. While some might expect more Behemoth-styled because Inferno’s drumming, the band forges their own signature style with a pummeling and firm Death Metal core that turns Blackened in certain occasions thanks to the riffs or some screams, like on “Sancta Dei Meretrix” and “Let Them Burn”.

  • Ventr - Numinous Negativity (2020)

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    Unleashing nearly 25 minutes of sinister Black Metal dissonance, Portugal’s Ventr make a big splash with their debut EP “Numinous Negativity”. With a very stripped down sound that will send chills down your spine, this band crafts four tracks that are both violent and engaging, creating a magical aura as they introduce themselves to the world.

    Blasting through the listener with the brutal “Omnipresent Abominations”, the band sets a high-octane mood with their incisive guitar riffs and hellish vocals. While the band’s vocalist goes for the deep and raspy styled vocals, alongside the pummeling music, they create a very cavernous and yet enigmatic sound. Setting a more restrained and yet demonic mood, “Our Altar of Murderous Fanaticism” delivers a chilling nearly 8-minute track filled with traditional tremolo picking and BM punkish drumming.

  • Horna - Kuoleman Kirjo (2020)

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    Unleashing hellish fury upon the world, today we have Horna’s latest opus “Kuoleman Kirjo”. With nearly 70 minutes of crushing music, this is THE Black Metal release to buy in 2020. For those uninitiated, this Finnish battalion has been delivering sweeping blows of BM brutality over the years and this release is no exception. Filled with perfectly layered rudimentary atmospherics and vicious guitar work, Shatraug and company once more seize the BM throne.

    The sheer violence of “Saatanan Viha” is the first indicator of what is to come in this release. Delivering sweeping aural violence, the guitars/drums/vocals combo signal for complete destruction. Completely riding on their signature in-your-face approach, tracks like “Elegia”, “Uneton”, and “Sydänkuoro” lay waste to listeners as crafty tempo changes and crushing drum patterns create a whirlwind dissonant experience.

  • Engulfed - Vengeance of the Fallen (2020)

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    Hailing from Turkey, today we have hard-hitting Death Metal battalion Engulfed and their latest effort: “Vengeance of the Fallen”. For a 25+ minute EP this release packs a mean punch with crushing riffs and crafty tempo changes, making the album quite engaging and unlike most of the very linear and dull Death Metal that kids release these days. If you are a fan of bands like Centinex, Origin and similar, you will find this album very enjoyable.

    Opening with the vicious “Rite Abandoned Heretics”, the band delivers a swift kick to the nuts with their relentless guitar work and brutal growls. Clocking in at around 8 minutes, this is definitely one of the longest Death Metal tracks we have heard in awhile, and luckily the band has the chops to keep it interesting and punishing. The guitar leads and tempo changes of “Summoning The Black Death”, make for a very interesting follow-up to a very pummeling opening piece.

  • My Dying Bride - Macabre Cabaret (2020)

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    As a nice complement to “Ghost of Orion”, today we have My Dying Bride’s latest EP titled “Macabre Cabaret”. Featuring over 20 minutes of new music, this EP is the perfect continuation to an already superbly impressive release earlier this year. Filled with melancholy and pain, the three new songs presented here as a must-have for fans of the band and the genre.

    The release opens with the creepy atmospherics and thunderous bass guitar lines of the EP’s title track. This song slowly evolves into a crushing experience with the band’s signature riffs and eerie ambiance. Lasting 10 minutes, this piece features some very eerie interludes that lead into chilling passages of Aaron’s harrowing clean vocals. Continuing the bleak mood, “A Purse of Gold and Stars” nicely continues the band’s dark and somber musical experience with a very subtle and yet elegant piece.

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