Unleashing a hefty dose of Norwegian Black Metal, today we have Den Saakaldte and their first release in nearly eight years: “Pesten Som Tar Over”. Originally started as a one man project, this now band returns with a vengeance delivering over 60 minutes of dense music. For fans of bands like Ved Buens Ende, Dold Vorde Ens Navn, and similar outfits, this release is filled with crafty riffs and hellish vocals.
When bands go dark for some years, there is always the concern that they might come back sounding dated, however, this is definitely not the case here as “Av Satans ild” is a fierce opening track showing the band didn’t miss a beat. Incisive guitar work alongside your traditional BM snarl, provide a nice core for that Norwegian BM sound, as shown in tracks like “Dødstrett av alt” and “En ode til spinnersken”, which are both over eight minutes long. These longer form songs allow for moody tempo changes and a nicer flow within songs.
Seemingly a straightforward Black Metal outfit, Dismal Aura is a lot more than that as “Imperium Mortalia” showcases. Released via Avantgarde Music, this release delivers around 30 minutes of atmospheric and well crafted Black Metal with subtle influences from the Post-Black Metal scene. With similarities to bands like Saor, Winterfylleth, and Advent Sorrow, this release is quite melancholic and aggressive at the same time.
Always consistently good, Primordial releases are special happenings that take a few years to materialize and a more than several dozen spins to really digest. With “How it Ends” the band continues their ritualistic ways of Doomy and Blackened Celtic Metal. Featuring sixty-five minutes of music spread out in ten tracks, the band shows great refinement and direction with their music. Enchanting and fully immersing the listener since the first minute, this release is another excellent addition to the band’s storied career.
Opening with the album title track, we get a very doomy and decadent mood. Ciáran MacUiliam’s guitars create the distinctive Primordial sound while also having some elements of bands like My Dying Bride baked into the mix. However, we all know that the soul of the band has to be the melancholic vocals of Alan Averill, which perfectly craft a very moody vibe as tracks like “Plougs to Rust, Swords to Dust”, “We Shall Not Serve”, and “Traidisiunta” perfectly mix styles and genres.
Unleashing waves of catchiness and aggression, today we have Finland’s one-man battalion Sielunvihollinen, and their latest full-length release “Helvetinkone”. Featuring eight tracks and over 40 minutes of music, this release relies on crafty guitar melodies and a hefty dose of pummeling drums to create a very lively and refreshing Black Metal. Far from your typical over the top tremolo-picking BM, this band focuses more on intricate riffs and engaging tempos to unleash their fury.
Setting a blistering pace with “Sinetti ja symboli”, the band quickly unleashes ravaging brutality alongside a crafty dose of melody and neat drum patterns. The music tempo is quite diverse, weaving back and forth from a thousand miles per hour, to more melodic and slower passages on tracks like “Raivoni astalo”, “Alkemisti ja tuhoaja”, and “Matkani päässä”. We particularly enjoy the old school Heavy Metal melodies that are nicely incorporated into the BM core.
Continuing their path of cosmic catchiness, today we have Uada and their latest opus “Crepuscule Natura”. Featuring five tracks and over 41 minutes of music, the band unleashes their riff-driven Black Metal continuing with the intensity and magic that “Djinn” left off. Full of highly memorable moments and plenty of headbanging/moshing opportunities, this album is a testament to the band’s search for perfection and polish of their sound and message.
Opening with the “The Abyss Gazing Back”, the riffing onslaught is quickly present with incisive guitars and masterfully crafted drumming. The tempo changes allow for some nice transitions between aggressive passages and more mellow melodic interludes. Without needing many additions or experimentation, the band’s sound is crips and direct as pummeling tracks like “Crepuscule Natura” and “The Dark (Winter)” unleash a plethora of crafty guitar elements alongside moody vibes.
As polarizing of a person as Niklas Kvarforth is, his music is always full of raw and unadulterated emotion. With Shining’s self-titled release, the band continues its path of decadence into weirder and equally disturbing territories. With a (mostly) new line-up that includes additions such as Nick Barker on drums, Alex Friberg on bass guitar, and Charles Hedger on guitars, this album delivers over 50 minutes of chaotic and yet masterfully constructed music.
Opening with the powerful “Avsändare okänd”, we get that slow and atmospheric pace that the band has mastered, with a mixture of harsh snarls, clean vocals, and furious onslaughts of harsh brutality. The dark vibe that the band has been creating over the years, is perfectly encapsulated in the lush “Snart är dom alla borta” with its jazzy undertones and dramatic lead guitars.
From the mind of Mat McNerney, aka Kvohst, Hexvessel has been a very unique and engaging band throughout their multiple stylistic changes. From the dark and eerie occult folk/doom/rock days of “Dawnbearer“ and “No Holier Temple”, to the more psychedelic rock edge of “When We Are Death”, “All Tree”, and “Kindred”. The band has always had a very mysterious and eerie core that now fully unravels alongside piercing Black Metal riffs and creepy atmospherics. With only a handful of bands being able to drastically transition into (or from) Black Metal, “Polar Veil” showcases a very powerful aural experience that shows the band morphing into yet another version of themselves and unleashing one of the best releases of 2023.
Opening with “The Tundra is Awake”, we get vicious and raw Black Metal riffs, for a moment you will be taken aback as this is not where the band seemed to be going on their last release. However, after McNerney’s signature vocals come into the mix, that whole ‘Hexvessel vibe’ is immediately felt as it brilliantly blends together. This release is heavy and yet quite atmospheric, as pieces like “Older Than The Gods” seem to be pulling one way with the guitars and yet the lush vocal arrangements pull a different way, creating a very intoxicating and yet perplexingly harmonious sound.
Unleashing their first full-length release in nearly 5 years, today we have legendary Marduk and the piercing “Memento Mori”. Consistency has been one of the band’s greatest strengths as they pummel through ten tracks and over 40 minutes of punishing Black Metal music. With a straight-forward and yet quite violent approach to the genre, the band certainly delivers on all expectations as this release is filled with excellent tracks with the band’s signature DNA.
The band obliterates the listener with their signature short burst of devastation from the opener, “Memento Mori”. This piercing track has the Marduk signature violent drumming and aggressive riffing complementing Mortuus’ pummeling bass guitar line and snarls. Focusing on crafting piercing riffs, Morgan delivers that magical mixture of old-school BM style with a mixture of more modern and incisive elements, as we can hear on songs like “Heart of the Funeral”, “Blood of the Funeral” and on the chilling “Shovel Beats Scepter”.
Crafting a truly unique and powerful mixture between heaviness and dreaminines, today we have Dutch project Welmoed and their debut release “Ask & Embla”. Featuring five tracks and over 33 minutes of Atmospheric Post-Black/Shoegaze Metal/Rock music, this release creates a very engaging and fragile atmosphere thanks to ethereal keyboards and dramatic vocal arrangements.
The album sets a very hypnotic pace with the shoegaze-y opener “Naga'' and its dramatic tempo changes alongside crafty instrumentation. While the opener is pretty good, one starts thinking that this will be just another one of those Post-Black Metal releases as the intense tremolo picking sets in. This impression continues as “Ask & Embla” continues the release, until a magical change happens as angelic female vocals are introduced and the whole vibe instantly changes.
Unleashing their characteristic levels of insane brutality, today we have UK’s Akercoke with their live offering “Decades of Devil Worship”. Like a bag of cement to the face, this release perfectly captures the band’s vicious and relentless musical onslaughts, delivering 64 minutes of some of their more hellish songs. If you never experienced the band live, this album gets you right in front of the action, making you want to start breaking things and moshing incessantly.
After the eerie “Conjuration” intro, the band fully discharges their punishing aggression with “Hell”, “Nadja”, and “Marguerite & Gretchen”. While the band’s sound is piercing, their technicality and execution is brilliant, making sounds sound very crisp and direct, as “Zuleika” and “Il giardino di Monte Oliveto Maggiore” demonstrate.