Constantly evolving and refining their sound over the years, today we have Italy’s Blaze of Sorrow and their latest Atmospheric Black Metal opus: “Absentia”. Featuring seven songs and nearly 45 minutes of lush music, the band shows how their sound continues to improve with intricately crafted songs that are both pummeling and melodic. With similarities to bands like Fen, Agalloch, Saor, this outfit has marked their own path of blended melody and aggressiveness.
The album opens with the folky “Settimo Requiem”, a song that features a lively mood with creative tempo changes and a very epic feeling. The band’s ability to swing from ravaging Black Metal onslaughts to melodic interludes is amazing as it allows them to completely re-shape the direction of songs with these transitions as the pulverizing “Furia” demonstrates.
Hailing from Germany, today we have two-man battalion Asarhaddon and their debut full-length release “Reysa”. Featuring a very refined and yet violent Black Metal sound, the band conceptually explores death and nature, in a very hypnotic and crushing style. Clocking over 50 minutes of relentless music, this album is quite suited for fans of bands like Anomalie, Wolves in the Throne Room, and Agrypnie, as it both blends punishing harshness with uncompromising melodic passages.
Leading with “Der Ursprung”, the listener instantly received a wall of crushing distorted guitars right after a very subtle acoustic intro. The guitar onslaught is quite impressive, never letting go of the listener’s thoat as the band pummels through crushing pieces like “Die Vergängnis erwacht”and “Ein wahrlich wirrer Ort”. Both songs are filled with pummeling riffs and very introspective melodic sections that nicely deliver tempo changes while creating cavernous and mysterious atmospheres.
The French Black Metal age of enlightenment of the last few years is real and bands like Cénotaphe are a testament to this. On their latest full-length release, “Monte Verità”, the band treats us with over 46 minutes of relentless onslaughts of brutality with a somber vibe and a retro production. For fans of bands like Absu, Carpathian Forest and Ragnarok, this release will rattle your speakers with furious gusto.
With a creepy retro intro and a very raw and visceral production, “Myosis” leads the way with furious riffs and hyper-fast drumming. Vocalist Khaosgott delivers that kind of punishing raspy shrieks performance that adds an extra level of raw brutality to the music, as we hear on “Aux cieux antérieurs” and the furious “L'oeuf de mammon”. Our favorite track has to be the brilliant “De mon promontoire astral” and its melodic and mystical edge thanks to additional vocal arrangements, making it super eerie.
Switzerland has been recently surprising us with their masterful Black Metal bands, Aara is another one of those outfits. Focusing on dramatic atmospherics and lush melodies, “En Ergô Einai” delivers over 33 minutes of emotionally intense music that brings back memories of bands like An Autumn for Crippled Children and Deafheaven. For those that like a melody and ambiance with their brutality, this album is one hell of a discovery.
Easing the listener into a state of hypnosis, a lush opening to “Arkanum” was laid down by Vindsval (Blut Aus Nord), as the band quickly escalates things with furious drumming, dreamy riffs and harrowing shrieks. The cohesion presented by seemingly disparate musical elements is quite effective as the duo’s music perfectly blends that subtle dreaminess with crushing aggression, perfectly illustrated by “Stein auf Stein”.
Hailing from Finland, today we have yet another crushingly frosty Black Metal outfit with Grieve. With no social media, or even internet presence for that matter, Werewolf productions unleashes to a wider audience the bands debut recording. For those that can’t get enough of the nostalgic 90’s Black Metal from bands like Vargrav and Faustian Pact, this 12” release will give you an extra fix.
Taking the listener to the past with their cavernous sound, the band quickly unravels the brutality of “Spiteful Scourge”. In this track the mood seems to be quite straightforward until the tempo changes and eerie clean vocals add an extra mysterious vibe to the song, similar to Ancient’s “Cainian Chronicle”. The dreamy atmospheric keyboards nicely add that extra ethereal touch to the band’s already ravaging sound.
Unleashing a very unique musical concoction of Progressive elements mixed in with Death/Black Metal, today we have Bay Area’s newcomers Dawn of Ouroboros and their full-length release “The Art of Morphology”. With over 40 minutes of crafty music, this release showcases plenty of musical talent and creativity paired with a high-octane delivery and intensity. If you are a fan of creative music that blends genres together and delivers high-replay value, this is the album for you.
Opening with the dreamy intro to “Revivified Spirits”, the band quickly shifts into 5th gear with brutal onslaughts of harsh vocals, violent drumming and intense riffing, showing off their versatility from the start. With a certain jazzy and proggy vibe, “Pinnacle Induced Vertigo” is one of those playful tracks that nicely transitions into the mood setting instrumental “Gateway to Tenebrosity”. Fronted by Chelsea Murphy, the band’s sound is perfectly suited for her mixed use of demonic harsh screams and angelic clean vocals as the ethereal “Lunar Cathexis” contrasts.
From the endless creativity of Alex Poole, today we have the ravaging Black Metal outfit called Häxanu. Focusing on brutality and atmosphere, this band delivers over 44 minutes of relentless music in “Snare of All Salvation”. Very few debut releases have the quality and teeth that this one has, so if you are a BM connoisseur, this is an album you cannot miss.
After setting a very mysterious mood with the intro, “Materia Prima” delivers dramatic atmospheric keyboards and waves of pummeling riffs. This track, while basic in nature, it is quite brutal and effective. Vocalist’s L.C. shrieks are quite ravaging and perfectly fit the intensity and brutality of the music. Both “Sulfur, Salt, Mercury” and “Smaragdina” show a more melodic side of the band, with brilliant headbanging passages crafted by tight drumming and crushing riffing.
As a surprise to a lot of people and behind some controversy, today we have the return of Glaciation with the savage “Ultime éclat”. Re-formed by Hreidmarr, and without permission from Valnoir, this incarnation of the band delivers one of the most intense and ravaging Black Metal releases of the year. Focusing only on the music and not the drama, this album delivers seven brutal pieces of music that perfectly deliver that 90’s French BM vibe and bring back memories of outfits like Anorexia Nervosa.
Leading with the album title track, the band sets a very macabre vibe as it layers guitars and blistering drums around the intense vocals of Hreidmarr. The different instruments come together perfectly to deliver a blend of brutal melancholy that is incisive and violent, as tracks like “Le rivage” punish the listener with relentless aural attacks, mixed in with dramatic melancholic passages. Oozing melody, other tracks like “Et puis le soufre” magically weave back and forth from pummeling rawness and somber vocal arrangements.
Unleashing a truly unique level of aural abuse, today we have UK’s Lychgate and their new label debut EP “Also sprach Futura”. If you think you have heard weird stuff before, this release will re-define the concept for you. Featuring four tracks of pure madness, this band combines elements from Doom/Jazz/Progressive/Brutal Death Metal, and pretty much everything else into an amalgamation of sonic abusive tracks.
The release opens with the cirquesque “Incarnate”, incorporating brutal guitar riffs with chaotic tempo changes and funky organ/mellotron atmospherics. Taking this track over the top are the throat singing moments that just add more confusion and madness between the Black Metal-ish harshness and funky atmospherics. Things settle down a bit on the interesting “Progeny of the Singularity”, where the band starts with brutal onslaughts and slowly evolves into an eerie sickening atmospheric passage , just as the brutality returns to close this magically weird piece.
Formed by Lord Kaiaphas ex-Ancient and ex- Grand Belial’s Key, today we have Thokkian Vortex and their sophomore release titled “Thy Throne is Mine”. With a relentless Black Metal style from the late 90’s, this band perfectly blends atmosphere, melody and creepiness to create ten engaging songs. Tailored for fans of old Dimmu Borgir, early Cradle of Filth and Ancient, this release feels like a trip down memory lane with the added value of a modern production.
After an intense intro, “Banishing the Lion of Kutha” unleashes dramatic lead guitars and playful keyboards to wrap around a blistering Black Metal core graced by Lord Kaiaphas harsh vocals and Asmodeus Draco Dux’s hyper-fast drumming. We particularly enjoy the slower and more atmospheric passages with ethereal clean male vocals. Fully evoking a Satyricon circa late 90’s vibe, “The Throne is Mine” is one hell of a vicious track filled with aggression and crafty riffs.