Germany’s most vicious Black Metal band returns with a brutal fourth full-length release titled “Maleficae Artes”. Grounding their sound in 90’s BM, the band delivers five furious anthems of brutality, melody, and destruction. Focusing on longer songs, than a typical BM band, this German outfit unleashed intricate compositions that are both highly atmospheric and brutal, inciting furious headbanging from start to finish.
The release kicks off with the savagery of “Tower of Silence” and its waves of riffs paired with pummeling drumming. The level of intensity is a good indicator of what is to come, and it is nicely offset by ravaging melodic sections perfect for intense headbanging moments. Going through several tempos and styles, the track closes in a vicious manner and extreme brutality, only to lead into the cavernous opening of “Bortförd”. This last track showcases the band’s ability to craft hypnotic passages filled with creepy clean vocal arrangements and harsh onslaughts.
Oozing melancholy and brutality, today we have Ayr and their debut full-length release “The Dark”. After a several year hiatus, this band returns with a furious and well balanced release filled with eerie atmospherics and ravaging harshness. Clocking in at nearly 40 minutes, this album has a vibe similar to Abigail Williams and similar North American acts that are bending the boundaries of Black Metal.
After the mysterious opener “Lion’s Blood”, the album title track delivers the first onslaught of blistering drumming, hellish screams, and incisive guitar riffs. The core of the music is quite old-school Black Metal which is both visceral and yet melodic at times. The band magically transitions from weeping melody into atmospheric eeriness as “Worship the Dark” provides a very creepy vibe.
Delivering a very rich and emotional 48 minutes of soul crushing Post-Black Metal with a Cascadian vibe, today we have With The End In Mind and their sophomore release “Tides of Fire”. Perfectly contrasting fragility with crushing aggression, this release unleashes three masterful tracks that weave together tons of influences while creating a very powerful and complex sound. If you are a fan of bands like Agalloch, Wolves in the Throne Room and Vanum, this release will blow you away.
The release leads with the dreamy opening of “Set the Cavernous Soul Alight”, which slowly turns into a very chaotic and savage onslaught of harsh screams, blistering drumming and a very firm and crushing pace. We particularly love how the band weaves pockets of intense brutality into mellow and lush soundscapes that are both hypnotic and eerie. Just as this track slowly built up, the ending soothes the listener with eerie clean vocals and a certain folky vibe.
Delivering a wave of old-school Black Metal, today we have the debut release of Eisenkult, titled “...gedenken wir der Fisnternis”. Perfectly blending simple melodic elements to a very raw and traditional BM core, the band unleashes nearly 30 minutes of relentless music. Aimed for the nostalgic fan of the genre, this release brings back the early days of BM with skill and craftiness.
Starting with a cheesy 8-bit intro, just like some of the earlier Symphonic BM releases, the band sets a very old-school and DYI vibe as the “Stahlross” delivers the first furious onslaught of ravaging riffs and hellish vocals. With a distinctly raw round, the mixture of hypnotic symphonic elements and blistering drums is very well delivered on tracks like “Deprecatio” and the poisonous “Gedenken wir der Finsternis” which oozes of that early BM naivete we all love.
Just when you think that 2020 can not get any better in terms of Black Metal releases, today we have Serment dropping their majestically bombastic “Chante, Ô Flamme de la Liberté”. For nearly 40 minutes the band creates an immersive and superbly dramatic atmosphere that is fiercely pierced by ravaging onslaughts of hellish Black Metal onslaughts. As a side project of Moribond of Forteresse fame, this release delivers intensity, rawness, and melancholy in droves, making it one of the most pummeling releases of the year.
Seconds after the lush opener “Ouverture”, “Sonne, le Glas Funèbre” will fill your speakers with frosty synth arrangements and blistering drumming. The underlying catchiness of this track is perfectly captured as both harsh and clean vocals adorn the dramatic atmospherics, making it one intense opening for this release. Continuing to set the mood, “Par-Delà Collines et Rivières” and “Flamme Hivernale” keep the frosty atmosphere intact with waves of over-the-top arrangements flanked by violent screams and an overall apocalyptic feeling.
As a side project of Fen’s members The Watcher and Havenless, Fellwarden is one of those bands that delivers a sound so hypnotic and sublime that you get completely immersed into their atmosphere. In “Wreathed in Mourncloud”, the band elevate their Atmospheric Black/Folk Metal sound to a whole new dimension. For nearly 55 minutes the band unleashes what can be best described as a mixture of early Fen with Empyrium, split into six lush songs that are set to never leave your music player for the rest of the year.
The mysterious “Pathmaker” opens up with lush percussion and delivers a glimmer of light between the darkness. The clean vocals are nicely flanked by melodic guitars and crafty drumming, creating a very regal and yet dreamy atmosphere, just imagine Alcest meets Fen. The band’s aggressive side comes at the listener in full force with the ravaging “Scafell's Blight” with its moody tempo changes and dreamy interludes.
As yet another killer release out of Finland’s underground, today we have Förgjord and their latest opus “Laulu kuolemasta”. Spewing over 45 minutes of raw and frosty Black Metal, this three-man battalion delivers both intensity and that old-school lo-fi sound that purists of the genre are always looking for. Released via Werewolf productions, this marks yet another stunning release from this label that offers a window to some of the most punishing and exciting bands in the genre.
The band’s full effect is instantly felt with the riveting “Laulu Murtuvan Niskan” and its punishing intensity. The band’s hyper fast and raw style reminds us of the early days of BM with bands like Fimbulwinter, Isvind and Tsjuder. Perfectly blending incisive guitar devilness with crafty tempo changes and an overall chaotic harshness, songs like “Ihtiriekko”, the mysterious “Surman Virta”, and the sinister “Kostonhetki”, have that old-school vibe and naivety that the genre has been missing for a while.
As one of our favorite bands, and very hated by our friends, Eisregen is one of those bands that plays on their bizarre lyrics and funky music to deliver high-octane intensity filled songs with interesting arrangements and a good dose of melody. The band’s sound is quite an amalgamation of Gothic/Death/Black/Dark Metal, which is the core strength of “Leblos”, a very diverse and powerful double album. If you like weird music, this is certainly going to be of your liking.
Starting with the playful “Ruhet sanft”, the band leads with a Lacrimosa-meets-Bethlehem sound and a very engaging and unique opener. As “Pechschwarz” and “Erstschlag” roll by, we get the harsh intensity of the band with incisive guitars, devilish vocals and overall catchiness that the band has been cranking out for the past 10 years. Losing Dr. Franzenstein from their line-up a few years back has not slowed down the band’s funky synths and keyboards as tracks like “1000 Jahre Nacht”, “Wangenrot”, and the amazing title track heavily deliver on the atmospheric side.
From the ashes of Lifelover, today we have Kall and their very unique and somber mixture of Depressive Rock with Black Metal. With their sophomore release “Brand”, the band continues their exploration of obscure and depressive sounds while crafting six brilliant tracks that slowly uncover a very decadent and poignant style. For nearly one hour we are treated to some very chaotic and yet lush compositions of madness and despair, a journey you don’t want to miss out on.
The release starts with a certain Bluesy vibe as “Rise” slowly builds up to crafty guitars, a lively bass guitar line and hellish vocals. The combination has a very unique Katatonia-meets-90’s Bethlehem vibe that is both sinister and quite chilling. The band’s craftiness allows them to develop songs like “Fervour”, where the tempo slowly builds while the atmosphere chokes up the listener, particularly when the solemn saxophone comes into play.
Delivering a swift and brutal onslaught of raw-ish Black Metal, today we have Finland’s Flagg and their killer release “Nothing But Death”. Perfectly mixing old-school savagery with funky atmospherics, create a very Tartaros, (early) Emperor-esque mixture that is quite punishing and totally enjoyable. For over 32 minutes we were taken to the early days of the genre, when bands wanted to be super brutal but also started experimenting with atmosphere and melody.
The release quickly delivers a powerful blow with the piercing “Destroy, Desecrate” and its crushing bass guitar line, mixed in with funky synths and hellish vocals. The band’s blistering pace perfectly enacts violence while more melodic passages allow for some respite amongst the chaos, as heard on “Nothing but Death”. Opting for a more tempered and darker vibe, “Dark Clouds Gathering” fully unleashes the band’s hate thanks to its incisive guitars and sinister tempo.