Another release that we didn’t have time to review in 2021, “The Undoer’s Key” is one hell of a debut album from Finland’s Caestus and their blistering Black Metal onslaughts. In the same vein of traditional Finnish BM releases from Horna, Sargeist and similar outfits, this album delivers 36 minutes of relentless music with savage riffs and hellish screams.
Opening with the punishing “Reclamation”, the band really warms up with the incisive riffs of “Ultimate Weapon” and its fierce brutality. By the time the album title track drops alongside the dissonant “Burning Hope”, the listener is fully immersed in the band’s piercing sound. Featuring members of Blood Red Fog (bass guitar), ex-Algazanth (guitars and backing vocals), this band delivers swift blows intense music as tracks like “Condescenders”, “Muinaisen Kunnian Taike” and “Dawn of Reckoning” showcase.
While not a 2022 release, we are reviewing a handful of albums we quite enjoyed at the end of 2021 but didn’t have enough time to review. One of those is the outstanding EP from France’s Ainulindalë, titled “Les chroniques d'Arda”. Featuring a combination of dreamy atmospherics, lush epic arrangements and a hefty dose of aggression, this EP nicely introduces a promising outfit.
Combining elements from bands like Enid, Battlelore, Turisas, “Les damnés de Numénor” sets a very regal and effective mood. We particularly like the crafty synths paired with solid screams and epic clean vocals. As “Dagor-nuin-Giliath” and “Le geste de Maeglin” up the tempo, the band nicely unleashes crafty drumming alongside melodic guitars to keep things fluid and the headbanging to the max.
Hailing from Spain, something we don’t say enough here at IM, today we have Black Metal duo Beyond Death’s Throne and their punishing debut mini-release “Haphazard Ethos”. Featuring four songs and over 27 minutes of powerful and enigmatic music. With a dense atmosphere and strong instrumentation, this release is the perfect succinct introduction to a promising band.
The release opens with the atmospheric mood setting intro of “A Threshold Of Harrowed Chants”, as it slowly transitions into blistering drumming and harsh screams. With an emphasis on both melody and brutality, this track grips the listener and never lets go. For darker and more complex Black Metal, we particularly like the deeper harsh vocals paired with ominous clean vocal elements, allowing the band to create a more sinister and eerie atmosphere as in “Diaphanous Lethargy”.
Unleashing hellish fury all the way from the Netherlands, today we have up-and-coming Black Metal duo Doodswens and their debut full-length release “Lichtvrees”. With a sound reminiscent of 90’s Black Metal with modern production values, this outfit delivers over 36 minutes of high-octane music that will surely propel them to bigger stages over the coming years. With a very raw and yet basic core, this release is both punishing and engaging.
Opening with the brutal onslaughts of “In Mijn Bloed”, the band sets a very enigmatic mood as the track slowly treads in more atmospheric and slower territories as it evolves. This bleeds into the beginning of the hypnotic “Zwarte Staar”, a 7-minute piece that slowly builds with incisive riffs and crafty percussion. This song showcases the band’s more atmospheric and slower paced side of their sound, will still creating eerie soundscapes that can transform into bestial fast-paced onslaughts at a moment’s notice.
Just when you think 2021 can not get any better with Black Metal releases, Sepulchral Productions drops the split release “Opus Blasphematum” between Canada’s finest Délétère and Germany’s Sarkrista. Unleashing nearly 40 minutes of soul-crushing BM, this release perfectly combines the fury and finesse of these two outfits with three songs from Délétère and four from Sarkrista. For fans of the genre, this is one of the best split releases of the year, so don’t sleep on it and get your speakers ready.
Canada opens this split with the punishing “Seule affamée”, a perfectly crafted piece that balances menacing riffing with melody and Thorleïf’s gut wrenching vocals. Délétère has been gradually getting better and more brutal over the years, and their intensity is perfectly framed by lush atmospheric and melodic undertones, as “Verminanda”. This track continues the blistering pace thanks to crafty drumming and incisive guitars. The band’s participation ends with the melancholic harshness of “ La cour des fanges”, our favorite song from this side of the release.
Releasing four years after the death of Negru, “Zău” is the last piece of the Negură Bunget aural saga. With the original drum track recorded by Negru years back, and all the original musical direction and ideas in place, some of the last members of the band Tibor Kati, Adrian "OQ" Neagoe, and Petrică Ionuţescu, have managed to put this mystical release together, true to its original creation. Mixing both the dreamy/atmospheric and the heavier side of the band’s sound over the years, this release is a fitting conclusion to such a unique musical outfit.
The release sets a very dreamy and ethereal mood with the opener “Brad”, a 15-minute piece featuring angelic female vocals of Manuela Marchiș, and the band’s signature tempo changes into more aggressive territories. “Iarba Fiarelor” explores richer instrumentation and longer heavier sections, with aggressive growls alongside uplifting atmospherics. The band’s signature style is present in all aspects of this release, giving it a very nostalgic edge.
Unleashing all hell with 44 minutes of highly refined and punishing Black Metal, today we have International super group Doedsvangr and their sophomore release “Serpents Ov Old”. Featuring members from bands like Horna, Nordjevel, The Order of Apollyon, and a few guests like Vicotnik and Tsjuder’s Nag, this super release delivers on the promise of being one of the most devastating albums of 2021. If you like Black Metal, it won’t get any better than this release.
Kicking things off, we have the blistering album title track filled with pummeling drumming and expertly layered guitars, creating a very powerful and punishing experience. Doedsadmiral’s vocals are just perfect for this kind of music, and they perfectly compliment the talents of Shatraug on guitars and bass, as songs like “Flagelist” and “As The Rivers Bleed Their Blessings” and their sinister edge perfectly showcase. There is more than just furious tremolo picking to BM and releases like this are a fine example of it.
With almost every Finnish musician playing on an average of 3 bands, we get tons of high-quality outfits like Solacide. This band features an intense Melodic Black Metal sound filled with excellent musicianship and solid songwriting capabilities. In “Fall from Eternity”, the band unravels nearly 40 minutes and seven tracks of music reminiscent of bands like Old Man’s Child, Dimmu Borgir, and Naglfar.
Opening with the album title track, the band quickly makes a statement with commanding guitars, blistering drumming and subtle atmospherics. Being far from linear, playful pieces like “Forsaken Gods” perfectly blend the band’s Symphonic BM core sound with some progressive elements thrown in the mix, alongside some killer vocal lines. Changing the pace with the instrumental “Oblivion”, the band returns with the lush, more elaborate, and slightly slower tempo “Far Beyond Reality”.
Unleashing one hell of a crafty and emotional release, today we have Chilean outfit Sol Sistere and their eponymous third full-length release. With over 60 minutes of intense Atmospheric Black Metal / Post-Black Metal music, this album delivers waves of aggression, melancholy alongside hellish vocals and very solemn passages. While most bands in these genres sound the same, this outfit manages to carve an original style that will certainly appeal to fans of outfits like Heretoir, Alcest, Harakiri for the Sky, etc.
After an instrumental opener, “The Narrow Path” fully demonstrates the band’s powerful sound with blistering onslaughts of aggression perfectly flanked by emotionally charged layered guitars and very melodic passages. Long tracks like “Ashes” showcase Sol Sistere’s ability to weave back and forth from traditional Atmospheric BM territories into dreamier and more melancholic territories, making them quite unique and engaging.
Featuring V-KhaoZ of Druadan Forest handling all instruments and Profundus of Sargeist handling the vocals, Olio Tähtien Takana aka “Creature behind the stars” is one crushing two-man battalions ready to take over the Atmospheric Black Metal scene with their full-length release “Spectral Katharsis”. With nearly 5 minutes of superbly crafted music, this band brings back memories of bands like Tartaros and old Emperor and mixes those retro-elements with more modern Atmospheric Black Metal influences.
After the traditional atmospheric intro, “Towards The Dying Moon” instantly brings that old-Emperor circa “In the Nightside Eclipse” sound thanks to its crafty guitars and playful vocal combination. As the keyboards soar alongside the incisive riffs, we get that nice retro vibe, perfectly blending into pieces like “Excrucior” and the dramatic “A Sorcery Written In Stars”. While most bands in the genre focus on adding more fluff and ‘pretty’ up their sound with more synths and cinematics, this outfit seems more focused on the harshness and aggressiveness of their sound and we love it!