Seems to us that there are almost more Black Metal bands than actual musicians these days, as we get more and more promos of this genre each day. Luckily for us, bands like Wolvencrown keep the flame of the genre alive by unleashing crafty releases that while not revolutionary, they deliver solid aggression with good doses of melody and atmosphere to keep things interesting.
As a three song EP, “A Shadow of What Once Was” opens with a very cavernous atmosphere crafted by punishing guitars and ritualistic drumming. The album title track is split into two songs, perfectly capturing the band’s old-school vibe and unleashes creepy atmospherics alongside sinister and aggressive onslaughts. In particular the dynamic and immersing second part of the title track and its dramatic arrangements.
After unleashing one hell of a release last year with “Gnosis”, Finland’s mysterious duo Aethyrick swiftly returns with the lush and crushing “Apotheosis”. Delivering over 41 minutes of highly Atmospheric Black Metal, this release builds up on its predecessor while further refining the band’s immersive sound. Featuring the perfect blend of melancholy and harshness, this release quickly establishes itself as one of 2021 finest.
Opening with a chaotic and ravaging intro in “The Starlit Altar”, the band sets the mood via their layered guitar work and hectic drumming. With a commanding pace and hellish scorn behind it, “Rosary of Midnights” is one of those tracks that incites melodic headbanging while it weaves back and forth furious onslaughts and devilish screams. The atmospheric elements are quite subtle, yet strong enough to pierce through the distorted guitars and deliver an ethereal feeling.
Perfect for a cold and snowy day, today we have Ecuador’s Wampyric Rites and their debut full-length release “The Eternal Melancholy of the Wampyre”. While we feel silly writing Wampyr, the band’s music is no joke as their low-fi blistering Black Metal is savage and direct. Perfectly adorned by gaudy keyboards and atmospherics, this release has a very nice retro vibe to go along its sheer brutality.
After the warm-up atmospheric opening of “As Light is Absorbed by Darkness”, the band will rattle your speakers as it transitions to blistering drumming and furious riffing to deliver a swift and punishing Black Metal blow. We particularly like the mid-tempo catchiness of songs like “As Light is Absorbed by Darkness” and “Tyrant’s Blood”, where the band can be savage with their vocals and incisive riffs, and yet keep things hypnotic and melodic.
As one of the most awaited releases of 2021, Harakiri For The Sky returns with their melancholic Post-Black Metal with “Mӕre”. Unleashing a massive 84 minutes of music, this release further develops the band’s melodic sound into more complex and yet atmospherically sweeping territories. From start to finish, this release will please fans due to the band’s signature style, while taking in new listeners with a more refined take on the genre.
Opening with “I, Pallbearer”, we get that signature bleakness of Harakiri For The Sky through their layered guitars and J.J’s emotional vocals. Expanding the band’s sound, “Sing for the Damage We’ve Done” has a dreamier edge while featuring Neige on guest vocals, and “Us Against December Skies” delivers a doomier edge with dramatic keyboards and a very crafty drumming.
Mysterious Russian entity Meister Leonhardt are about to start a very intense 2021 with their crushing self-titled debut release. Featuring over 26 minutes of frosty old-school Black Metal, this release is the perfect balance between aggression, melody and atmosphere. With members of bands like Thy Grave, Dekonstruktor, Goatpsalm, and Frozen Ocean, this band’s sound is pure quality and quite crafty, making this release one hell of a presentation card.
The atmospheric opener “The Coldest Fire”, serves as a nice lead to the frosty hellishness of “The Crown Of Consenescence”. This first onslaught unleashes pummeling drums, a catchy tempo and devilish shrieks. With a very retro sound, the band’s core elements are ravaging, reminding us of early Satyricon and Darkthrone days. The incisive guitar work on tracks like “Of Things Never Finished”, offers a great balance between melodic and catchy, while capturing that 80/90 BM vibe.
Delivering a firm blow of powerful Black Metal, today we have Germany’s Urfeind and their latest EP “Wraiþaz”. Mixing crafty melodies with intense riffing, this outfit unleashes nearly 21 minutes of engaging music that any fan of the genre will enjoy. Staying away from cliches, this band commands attention thanks to their firm and aggressive sound.
Opening with “Nine to Zero”, we get a mid-tempo wave of crafty riffs and a powerful snarl, expertly paired to inflict maximum damage. The band’s sound is straightforward, and yet all-consuming thanks to their solid instrumentation. The intensity increases with the blistering guitars of “Void” creating a very hypnotic and engaging atmosphere.
So far this 2021 has started with a good amount of aurally abusive releases and this self-titled EP from Mons Veneris fits that category perfectly. Unleashing over 20 minutes of music in this two song release, this experienced Portuguese band creates a very punishing and chaotic sound that is superbly effective in completely disturbing the listener.
Warming up with the hectic “Ritual of a Neverending Doom” we instantly get a completely crushing and dissonant atmosphere created by the buzzsaw-like guitars and lo-fi production. With plenty of different and yet creepy vocal styles, this track sets a very dark and chilling mood. “A Scythe Infested with Plagues…” blasts away with a more traditional BM structure with hellish drumming and incisive guitars. The track feels a bit more ‘normal’, but the intense vocals still give out that eerie goosebump-inducing sinister vibe.
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.
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.
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.