As one of the bands that paved the way for Symphonic Black Metal back in the 90’s, Limbonic Art returns with their first album in seven years titled “Spectre Abysm”. Featuring seven tracks of fast-paced BM, this release will surely be amusing and entertaining, feeling a bit like their older releases. With most of the Symphonic BM catching up and surpassing what Limbonic Art did in the past, this album is a bit exploratory as the band seems to take on uncharted territories while maintaining a familiar style.
The release kicks off with the 10-minute epic “Demonic Resurrection”, which features a very straightforward style of Black Metal, but adds a few odd elements like some creepy throat singing. The melodic riffing of “Ethereal Traveler” keeps the intensity up, while the intricate tempo changes of “Omega Doom” showcase Daemon’s songwriting skills. We particularly enjoy the more mellow and intricate pieces like “Requiem Sempiternam”.
Every few months we get a mysterious package from Poland wrapped around very creatively with saran wrap and newspaper. Arriving from Godz ov War productions, we get a pretty good variety of Death and Black Metal underground bands, one of the standouts this month has to be Loathfinder. Unleashing four tracks and over 28 minutes on their debut EP “The Great Tired Ones”, this Polish one-man battalion focuses on mixing elements of Black/Death Metal with Doom/Sludge guitar work.
Opening with the catchy “Genetic Gloom”, a layer of thick riffing and harsh growls sets the mood for this release. While featuring heavy riffs and a dense atmosphere, the song has a certain Sludgy edge to it that keeps it interesting and different from other bands. The album’s most engaging song has to be “Feast on My Entrails”, where we have ripping melodic riffs and devilish harsh vocals. This track features solid headbanging passages thanks to its extreme catchiness.
After completely blowing us away with their 2015 EP “An Ominous Landscape”, Selbst returns with a vengeance with their demoralizing full-length debut release. Featuring over 45 minutes of expertly crafted Black Metal, this release is a strong candidate for BM album of the year. With a similar ravaging style to bands like Nightbringer and Watain, this Venezuelan/Chilean duo will ravage your speakers for months to come.
Opening with the bleak atmospheric riffing of “…Of Solitary Ramblings”, the mood is instantly set. Changing vocalists did not slow down this band, as Nicholas Onfray delivers some of the most powerful BM vocals we have heard in a while. The songwriting is quite diverse and while sometimes focuses in building up the atmosphere, some other times like on “Visions of mankind withering” it just focuses on pummeling the listener into submission with piercing aggression.
Hailing from Germany, today we have Black Metal duo Rimruna and their devastating sophomore release “Der Hatz entronnen”. Featuring over 55 minutes of soul crushing BM, this release is full of traditional elements perfectly executed to crate superbly evil and oppressing atmosphere. For fans of old Satyricon, Marduk, Immortal, this is one hell of a straight up traditional BM release.
After the traditional acoustic intro track, the band goes on full on war mode with the blast beats and incisive riffing of “Tor der Zeit”. The level of rawness and brutality is quite astounding as this track needs nothing else than the traditional instrument core to be icy and demoralizing. Having that certain old-school Black’n’Roll-ish vibe, “Wirren” continues the onslaught with more intense riffing and the demonic vocals, both courtesy of Wintergrimm. This track also features some fine slower and darker passages.
Continuing their magical sidereal journey, today we have Italy’s Progenie Terrestre Pura and their sophomore full-length release “oltreLuna”. Delivering over 55 minutes of highly atmospheric Black Metal with some Industrial Black Metal elements, the band manages to craft five intricate tracks that show great musicianship and ideas. If you like highly experimental/futuristic sounding Black Metal like Shade Empire or similar outfits, you will definitely enjoy this release.
Opening with the crushing riffs of “[.Pianeta.Zero.]”, we get a very Industrial BM vibe mixed with heavy atmospheric elements, making a very unique combination. As always with this band, the track takes a turn into more standard and melodic territories, showcasing the band’s versatility. Continuing the onslaught we have “[.subLuce.]” and its intense drumming, making it one of the most brutal pieces in this release. A nice touch is the dreamy female vocals thrown into the mix to create a deeper atmosphere.
Hailing from Italy, today we have Blackened Death Metal outfit Simulacro and their second full-length release "Echi dall'abisso". Packed with 45 minutes of punishing tracks, this release created a very thick and demoralizing atmosphere that will destroy your psyche and bend you into submission. Led by Xul and Anamnesi of Absentia Lunae and Progenie Terrestre Pura fame, this release is not for the weak of mind.
The album opens with the incisive riffing of “ECO I”, in this song a think atmosphere is set with harsh vocals and pummeling drums flanking ethereally eerie female vocals. As the album progresses, the band gets crafty with some Post-Metal-ish moments in songs like “ECO II” and “ECO III”, remind us of the early sound of The Ocean. Usually in many releases the Bass guitar drowns in the mix, but here Ombra delivers the goods with a heavily emphasized bass guitar line in pieces like “ECO IV” and “ECO V”.
Hailing from Sweden, one-man battalion Svartsyn returns with a crushing and demoralizing release titled “In Death”. Featuring seven anthems of foul and deathly Black Metal, this release is as punishing as it gets. Delivering over 46 minutes of music, this release has a very oppressive vibe to it while leveling listeners with their violent riffing and hellish vocals. If you like dark and sinister BM from bands like Weapon, Watain, Nightbringer, etc., this is the album for you.
The album kicks off with the ravaging intensity of “Sevenheaded Snake”, where the band’s sole member Ornias showcases great intensity and brutality. After such an onslaught, we move into more atmospheric territories with the chilling “Dark Prophet”, a very well-paced piece that oozes that brilliant Scandinavian Black Metal vibe. Bringing back the intense pace, “With Death” is one of our favorite tracks in this release thanks to the relentless drumming of guest Hammerman and the sickening tempo to it.
Hailing from Germany, today we have one of the most original and downright weird releases of 2017. On “Smaragd”, this dynamic duo delivers 53-minutes of a mixture of Progressive Black Metal with tons of Jazzy and Folky influences, creating a very engaging sound unlike anything you have heard before. If you are into highly experimental music that defies the boundaries of genres, this is definitely the release for you.
Opening with the moody “Into Depression”, the band slowly leads the listener down to their magical universe. This track starts off very Jazzy as it weaves back and forth between heavy passages and emotional acoustic interludes with killer guitar leads. Just when you think you have figured the out, the band delivers the raw onslaught of “My Terrifying Mirror”, with a furiously crushing opening that slowly morphs into madness. The band’s ability to change course mid-song and between songs, it is quite impressive creating magical contrasts and keeping the listener on their toes (eg. transitioning into the Proggy/Occult Rock elements of “In My Shadow”).
Featuring a very unique mixture of elements, today we have Æra and their debut EP titled “Of Forsworn Vows”. Combining elements from 90’s Black Metal with more modern Pagan Metal elements, this release unleashes over 20 minutes of highly addictive music that is quite epic and engaging. For fans of bands like Borknagar and early Emperor to outfits like Thyrfing, this release will certainly fit very well on your collection.
Opening with the powerful atmospheric elements of “An Affirmation of Forsworn Vows”, the band makes a bit splash with tense keyboards and a very melodic core. The riffing reminds us of bands like Falkenbach, which is straightforward but very melodic in nature. The vocals are quite fitting and add that extra layer of power to this impressive song as it weaves back and forth between different tempos.
Hailing from Germany, today we have one of the best Black Metal releases of 2017. Perfectly combining furious onslaughts with moody atmospheric elements, Nemesis Sopor delivers over 57 minutes of majestically crafted music that captivate the listener. Highly recommended for those fans of very refined melancholic Black Metal, “MMXL” is one of those releases that will command your full attention as it unravels fully after more than a handful of listens.
The album opens with a ferocious 15-minute piece titled “Untertan”, which give a little taste of what is to come. This track has it all: blisteringly fast sections, solemn melancholic passages, and very powerful transitions, making this song very unique and a true tour de force performance... just to start the album. Providing a lush breather, we have the instrumental “Saat”, just before things speed up again with the expansive “Herscher”. This track delivers more incisive riffing and crushing harsh vocals paired with a very mysterious tempo and brilliant atmospheric sections.