Keeping that old-school Finnish Black Metal flame alive, today we have Satanic Warmaster and their latest effort “Aamongandr”. Unleashing six tracks and around 36 minutes of pure mayhem, this one-man battalion feels like an army heading to battle. With a timeless sound and crushing execution, this is definitely one of the BM highlights of 2022.
The release opens with the ravaging intensity of “Bafomet” and its piercing riffing. The band’s sound is very typical and well polished, and even delivering some extra melodic guitar work to keep things fresh and interesting. Keeping things very hectic, “Duke's Ride” unleashes waves of crafty drumming, Werwolf’s signature snarls, all alongside excellent synth undertones. The ability of the band to keep songs fresh and dynamic while retaining their core Black Metal elements is quite engaging and keeps the release interesting.
Unleashing both sheer brutality and timeless nostalgia, today we have mysterious Black Metal outfit Har Shatan and their first full-length release in twelve years titled “Manum Inicere Alicui”. Featuring over 43 minutes of raw and punishing music, this release has that old school vibe that reminds us of early Immortal and Satyricon. Highly recommended for BM purists, this release will wind back the clock to the early days of the scene.
After a short intro, the release really kicks-off with the dissonance of “Aurora” and its piercing riffs and haunting vocal arrangements. This initial piece slowly warms up the listener for the raw onslaught brought forth by the crushing “Fulgens et Sole Clarior” guitar work alongside its creepy atmospherics. The band’s old-school sound is quite well crafted, while keeping things dynamic with songs like “Secret” and its heavier atmospheric elements.
It has been a while since we heard anything from Woods of Desolation and their supremely bleak take on Black Metal. As one of the originators, alongside fellow Aussies of Austere, of the Depressive/Post-Black Metal genres, this one-man band has always delivered unwavering soul crushing music and with “The Falling Tide” they are back at it. If you are a fan of total bleakness, this release is a must have in 2022.
Immediately setting a decadent mood with “Far From Here”, the band’s long hiatus is instantly gone as it continues where it left off. Fierce riffing onslaughts and crushing drumming are expertly flanked by atmospheric oppression. We particularly enjoy the moody tempo changes, as the album pummels through highly emotional songs like “Beneath a Sea of Stars” and “Illumination”.
Hailing from Germany, today we have relentless Black Metal outfit Imha Tarikat and their latest opus “Hearts Unchained - At War with a Passionless World”. With a heavy focus on melody and raw emotions, this release unleashes a well polished and yet crushing onslaught of ten powerful tracks. For fans of outfits like Fell Voices and Vanum, this band means business as it levels everybody on their path.
After an unsettling intro, “Radical Righteousness” quickly delivers waves of rawness and brutality, with crafty drumming and hectic guitars. While seemingly just raw and powerful, the band’s sound takes a turn as “Touch of Mercy” showcases a different side full of melodic guitars and a playful bass guitar line. We particularly enjoy how the band seamlessly weaves back and forth different styles, but all is glued together by the aggressive vocals.
Crawling out of the depths of hell, today we have Norway’s Dødsengel and their latest opus “Bab Al On”. Playing a vicious Atmospheric/Occult Black Metal, this outfit has some serious Blut Aus Nord vibes minus the industrial aspects. Unleashing some of the most decadent and misery inducing soundscapes, this release clocks in at 72 minutes of pure evil and atmosphere. If you like dense and ritualistic BM, this is certainly one of the best releases of 2022 for that.
The album starts with the cavernous ritualistic intro “Ad Babalonis Amorem Do Dedico Omnia Nihilo”, creating a very unsettling atmosphere that quickly leads way to hellish vocal arrangements and piercing guitars. The band goes full-on with the crushing “In the Beginning” and its hellish tremolo picking alongside relentless waves of aggression. Just as you think you can settle for all-out war, the band changes directions with the eerie “Annihilation Mantra” and its haunting vocals.
Canada continues to amaze us with their Black Metal talent, with bands like Délétère, Monarque, and Forteresse leading the way, there are plenty of additional bands with unique and explosive styles such as Orphique. As a one-man project of David Potter, “Consécration Cadavérique” perfectly blends multiple styles with sheer brutality and intensity to create a very powerful and punishing release.
Opening with the moody “Onirique”, the band unleashes a crushing opening that slowly transitions into more melodic and sinister territories. We love how the track transitions into heavy atmospherics and a slower pace and then it jumps back at the listener with sheer brutality. If the first highly impressive track did not hook the listener, “Vampirique” and “Chromatique” combine lush atmospherics, crafty acoustic guitars and a mixture of high-octane onslaughts and dreamy interludes.
With the amount of promos we get, sometimes we miss some truly unique gems like “Drown in Ash” by Eternal Helcaraxe. Luckily, we have a system to check out nearly every single album we receive and review some of the most impressive ones. Hailing from Ireland, this outfit delivers a highly melancholic and melodic blend of Atmospheric elements and fierce Black Metal. From start to finish this release will keep you to the edge of your seat and will leave you wanting more.
The onslaught begins with the somber “Withered Strands Of Existence” and its lush dreamy opening that suddenly turns hectic with waves of crafty guitars, pummeling drums and harsh vocals. There is a certain melancholic magic on the clean vocal arrangements that flank the intensity of the music, making the song quite effectives. With an Austere meets Saor vibe, tracks like the album title song, “Where Dead Things Roam Free” and “None Of It Mattered” fiercely explore the bands multiple facets from relentless aggression to minimalistic acoustic interludes.
Releasing an album nearly every two years, today we have Karg and their release “Resignation”. Masterminded by J.J. of Harakiri for the Sky fame and featuring PF of labelmate’s Ellende, this release delivers over 46 minutes of highly melancholic and very well arranged Post-Black Metal. The band’s sound reminds us of a mixture of Heretoir with Harakiri for the Sky with a dreamier edge, so any fan of those (or similar) bands will certainly love this release.
Opening with the 11-minute “Was bleibt”, the track starts very traditionally and it soon blends in dreamier and lush atmospheric elements, like the dramatic string and wind instruments near the 9-minute mark that perfectly pair with solemn clean vocals. This is exactly what makes “Resignation” a very interesting release as it manages to stray away from just the typical all post-Black Metal bands are doing these days. However, the album still has plenty of heaviness and catchiness as “EBBE//FLUT” shows the listener.
Finally catching up with some of the September releases we flagged to review but didn’t get to, today we have Kathaaria’s sophomore release, after 14 years, title “To Be Shunned by All... As Centres of Pestilence”. Playing a weird and decadent interpretation of Black Metal, this duo crafts six very interesting songs that have influences from the Scandinavian Avant-garde Black Metal scene.
Opening with the piercing “Agenda Nihil”, the band immediately makes their pitch of uncompromising madness with the intricate riffing and drummer of this sinister song. Things are just getting warmed up as “The Last Act of Rebellion” keeps the madness going with some playful tempo changes and very crafty arrangements, delivering a tricky and yet very enjoyable song that goes beyond your typical BM piece.
Unleashing a gargantuan slab of Black Metal with tons of atmospherics, today we have UK’s Terra and their sophomore release “Für dich existiert das alles nicht”. In the vein of Ash Borer, Fell Voices, and the like, this release punishes the listener with ravaging onslaughts of Black Metal aural abuse thanks to its unsettling atmosphere. With four tracks clocking in at over 60 minutes, this release is as brutal as it is brilliant.
Opening with “The Beginning”, the band slowly envelops the listener with raw distortion, massive drums and piercing vocals. The band’s style is definitely an acquired taste as it relies heavily on its punishing atmosphere but once it settles, it is demoralizing and extremely powerful. The riffs on tracks like “Verisimilitude” are as heavy as they can get and nicely weave back and forth from the drone-ish/ambient-like atmospherics. This particular style is quite effective and immediately transports the listener to a dark and foggy world where sound transcends consciousness.