Unleashing waves of old-school Melodic Black/Death Metal in the vein of Dissection, today we have Thulcandra and their latest opus “A Dying Wish”. Packed with ten tracks and nearly 45 minutes of incisive music, Steffen Kummerer keeps the old-school vibe alive with this excellent release. With a heavy tribute to Jon Nötveidt's style, the band continues to refine their sound and create brilliantly executed pieces that will appeal to old and new Black/Death Metal fans.
The release opens very strongly with the dreamy “Funeral Pyre” and its mixture of melodic passages and furious onslaughts, perfectly balancing brutality and melody while delivering a timeless sound and aural aggression. We are particularly blown away by the fast-paced songs in this release that remind us of early Entombed and Sacramentum, for example songs like “Scarred Grandeur”, “In Vain”, and “Nocturnal Heresy”.
Led by Adam Buszko, Hate is one of Metal Blade’s heaviest bands and they have returned with a vengeance with “Rugia”. Unleashing nine tracks and nearly 40 minutes of devastating music, Hate features a sound similar to Behemoth but with its own brand of aural poison and intensity. If you are a fan of Blackened Death Metal, and bands like Belphegor and Azarath, this is one release you can’t miss.
Opening with the album title track, the band makes a vicious statement with crushing riffs, devilish snarls and tight drumming. The band’s sound is quite refined and vicious, allowing them to introduce melody alongside their superbly brutal and swift onslaughts, evidence of this are songs like “The Wolf Queen”, “Exiles of Pantheon”, and one of favorites “Awakening the Gods Within”. Not just blasting the listener away with sheer brutality, the band systematically attacks with their musicality and execution.
As a relatively new band, Aran delivers some intense and lush Atmospheric Black Metal that many other bands wish could emulate. With “Pimeyttä vasten”, band mastermind Juhani K unleashes over 45 minutes of intense and captivating music. Filled with crushing harshness and dream-like atmospherics, this release is highly recommended for fans of bands like Lustre and Midnight Odyssey.
The release kicks off with the magical and enchanting atmospherics of “Valon Vienyt”, a track that has that vibe that Sci-Fi/Fantasy movies create of distant realms, perfectly paired with harsh Black Metal shrieks and crushing guitars. There is an art to creating versatile atmospheric BM, and Aran has it figured out with tracks like “Musta meri”, which start quite punishing and slowly evolve into more dreamy and ambient-ish territories.
Hitting you like a bag of bricks to the face, today we have newcomer Malignament and their debut full-length release “Hypocrisis Absolution”. Unleashing over 42 minutes of razor sharp Finnish Black Metal, this band is as aggressive and in-your-face as it can be, thanks to its incisive guitars and pummeling onslaughts of brutality. When you think you have heard it all from this scene, an album like this comes along and re-shapes your perception.
Pummeling the listener from the start with the ravaging “Thunder of Awakening”, the album makes a commanding introduction thanks to its brutality and yet melodic nature. Continuing with the merciless onslaught with “Call to Arms” and the sinister “Like Rats They Followed”, the atmosphere of this release is electrifying as you get buzzsaw-like guitars, paired with imposing harsh snarls and a very polished style and production.
Unraveling a very powerful and yet engaging Symphonic/Melodic Black Metal release, today we have UK’s Necronautical and their crushing “Slain in the Spirit”. Perfectly blending elements from the early days of Dimmu Borgir, Old Man’s Child, and Emperor, this release balances nostalgia with excellent craftsmanship and brilliant execution for nearly one hour of high-octane music.
Opening with the blistering “Ritual & Recursion”, the listener is treated to pummeling drums and intense synths, creating a very hectic tempo as the harsh screams roll in. There is a certain sinister vibe that the riffing of “Occult Ecstatic Indoctrination” creates, and is nicely flanked by crafty tempo changes, piercing guitar leads and dramatic vocal arrangements. The combination of female operatic clean vocals alongside the harsh screams creates a very playful and effective dynamic.
There is nothing like some good old Finnish Black Metal to start the day. Luckily for us, today we have Korpituli and his debut full-length release “The Ancient Spells of the Past”. Featuring over 35 minutes of savage raw Black Metal adorned with some subtle synths and a moody pace, this release is just the perfect blend of melody, timing, and brutality.
Opening with the hypnotic “On Forgotten Paths”, we quickly get old Horna, Fimbulwinter, Behexen vibes thanks to the piercing tremolo picking and hellish screams. Far from linear, one-man machine S.Korpituli nicely adds a certain atmospheric touch with songs like the instrumental “At Nightfall” and “Longing for the Unheard Of”, creating a very immersive and yet demoralizing listening experience, similar to what Burzum achieved on “Filosofem”.
Unleashing a 47 minute dose of foul, raw, and old-school sounding Black Metal, today we have Germany’s Baxaxaxa and their debut full-length release “Catacomb Cult”. Interestingly enough, the band originally formed in 1999 and 20+ years later finally unraveled their piercing debut. Perfectly crafted for those nostalgic BM fans, this release delivers a good mixture of old-school elements alongside crafty tempo changes and eerie atmospherics.
The band set a very cavernous atmosphere with the album title track, instantly transporting the listener to the mid 90’s BM years. The release continues its devastating path with the incisive “As The Moon Inhaled All Sunrays” and the punk-ish edge of “Flame Of Redemption”. While stylistically very different from how the genre evolved, tracks like “Kingdom Ablaze” and “The Great Malicious Tongue” feel eerily frozen in time.
It is definitely a great time to be a Black Metal fan as bands like Uada, Mgła, etc. are leading a new wave of highly polished and modern sounding contributions. Germany’s Groza falls in this category with their guitar driven and brilliantly crafted and layered 42 minutes of music in “The Redemptive End”. Balancing out brutality and flawless execution with a good dose of melody, this band creates six very intense and punishing tracks that any fan of this modern style will enjoy.
Opening with the mood setter “Sunken In Styx - Part I: Submersion”, we get slowly introduced into the band's hypnotic and incisive style. As soon as “Sunken In Styx - Part II: Descent” transitions in, the intensity becomes higher and the riffing takes command. The band’s harsh vocals and ravaging intensity quickly induce headbanging attacks.
After a wait of 8 years, Thyrfing is finally back with their high-octane brand of Viking/Pagan Metal. “Vanagandr” unravels nearly 50 minutes of superbly catchy and highly polished melodic music, just as one would expect from this band. Perfectly mixing precise guitar work with lush atmospherics and firm vocal melodies, this release is as good as it gets in this genre.
Opening with “Döp dem i eld”, we get that vibrant mixture of atmospherics and incisive guitar riffs. Always creating a very epic Folky/Viking vibe while maintaining a hefty dose of heaviness, “Undergångens länkar” and “Fredlös” are prime examples of the band’s duality. We particularly enjoy how the band uses additional instruments to adorn a very powerful guitar-driven musical core like “Järnhand” shows.
Unleashing some of the most incisive and yet superbly catchy melodic Black Metal of 2021, today we have Sweden’s Wormwood and their latest opus “Arkivet”. Delivering the perfect blend of aggression, melody, and melancholy, this outfit unravels 46 minutes of highly intense and piercing music. Recommended for fans of bands like Ellende, Netherbird, and Seth, this release is one of the most impressive ones we have heard in a while.
Opening with the incisive guitars of “The Archive”, the band sets a very high-octane mood thanks to the crafty drums and engaging vocal styles. There is no shortage of brutality in this release as the headbanging quickly starts and alternates with dreamy interludes. Tracks like “Overgrowth”, the melancholic “End of Message”, and the captivating “My Northern Heart”, slowly unravel the band’s very complex and yet precise songwriting, weaving different tempos and styles seamlessly together.