Just in time for our Halloween parties, Cradle of Filth unleashes their latest devilishly good opus with “Existence is Futile”. Aging well with time, the band in the last 10+ years has honed into their strengths and continues to deliver consistently engaging and well crafted releases. For over 70 minutes the band unleashes their signature sound filled with lush atmospherics, engaging storytelling, fierce guitar work, and the introduction of Anabelle Iratni on keyboards and female vocals, making this one of their more diverse and engaging releases to date.
After the traditional instrumental intro, “Existential Terror” sets a very dark and sinister tone with over-the-top choirs and orchestrations alongside Dani’s signature shrieks and some incisive guitar work. While the band’s sound is always familiar, and pieces like “Crawling King Chaos”, “Black Smoke Curling From the Lips of War” are staple CoF songs, we particularly love haunting tracks like “Necromantic Fantasies” with a certain “Nymphetamine” (song) vibe, but with Anabelle’s enchantress vocals spin and a more sultry tone.
Symphonic Black Metal
Unraveling a very powerful and yet engaging Symphonic/Melodic Black Metal release, today we have UK’s Necronautical and their crushing “Slain in the Spirit”. Perfectly blending elements from the early days of Dimmu Borgir, Old Man’s Child, and Emperor, this release balances nostalgia with excellent craftsmanship and brilliant execution for nearly one hour of high-octane music.
Opening with the blistering “Ritual & Recursion”, the listener is treated to pummeling drums and intense synths, creating a very hectic tempo as the harsh screams roll in. There is a certain sinister vibe that the riffing of “Occult Ecstatic Indoctrination” creates, and is nicely flanked by crafty tempo changes, piercing guitar leads and dramatic vocal arrangements. The combination of female operatic clean vocals alongside the harsh screams creates a very playful and effective dynamic.
Hailing from the USA, today we have newcomers Arcane Existence and their lush and haunting Symphonic/Melodic Black Metal release “Colossus”. With a very lively and engaging style, the band borrows from some of the genre greats (Dimmu Borgir, Cradle of Filth, etc.) but manages to carve a different and unique style for themselves. For nearly 56 minutes this release will certainly transport you to a different world, exactly what albums like this one should do.
Opening with the lavish “Mystic”, the band sets a very cinematic and mysterious mood, thanks to lush symphonic arrangements and crafty Metal elements. As the album progresses, tracks like “Sovereign Blood” and “Transmutation” show the heavier side of the band with pummeling drums, varied riffs, and a good balance of harsh and clean vocals. With small transition pieces like “Formation” before more elaborate and moody tracks like Dimmu Borgir-esque “Conclave”, the band keeps the album interesting and fresh.
Having released one of our top Melodic Black Metal releases of 2019, today we have Netherbird with their latest opus: “Arete”. Further refining their already crafty and elegant sound, this release unleashes nearly 45 minutes of majestic music, up to the quality level of bands like Dimmu Borgir, Old Man’s Child with a mixture of Uada. Perfectly crafted for fans of melody and aggression, this Swedish outfit have managed to outdo themselves with this highly impressive release.
After the traditional atmospheric intro, the release opens with the blistering “Towers Of The Night” and its incisive guitar work. Both guitarists, Pontus Andersson and Tobias Jacobsson are at the top of their game, creating expertly layered foundations for impressive tracks like “Infernal Vistas” and “Carnal Pentiment”. The overall sense of melody thanks to the dramatic arrangements on pieces like “Void Dancer”, greatly distance the band from the competition as it is perfectly blended with the more aggressive elements.
Unleashing one of the most over the top and yet brilliant Symphonic-whatever-Metal releases, today we have Wizardthrone and their debut full-length release “Hypercube Necrodimensions”. Featuring members from bands like Alestorm, Nekrogoblikon, Gloryhammer, and Æther Realm, this band creates a very explosive and lush Metal sound with tons of wacky influences and over the top orchestrations. Imagine Gloryhammer, Æther Realm, with a dose of Children of Bodom and Obscura, and you can almost approximate what this band sounds like.
The release opens with the ravaging “Black Hole Quantum Thermodynamics”, perfectly blending dramatic orchestrations with heavy melodic guitars and a crafty use of harsh and clean vocals. The mood is set very epic from the start, and it never lets go as we can hear in the immersive “Frozen Winds Of Thyraxia” and the playful “Incantation Of The Red Order”, both tracks filled with killer guitar leads and well crafted tempo changes.
Unleashing the most impressive Symphonic/Melodic Black Metal release of 2021 (to date), today we have Finland’s Marras and their sophomore release “Endtime Sermon”. Comparable to outfits like Dimmu Borgir, Cradle of Filth, Graveworm (old), etc., this release delivers 44 minutes of lush and yet highly aggressive music. Being far from a copy-cat band, Marras makes the genre their own and creates their own signature style in this crushing release.
Opening with a cinematic intro, “Shadows Upon the Sacred Land” quickly escalates into furious riffing and hellish vocals, first showcasing the aggressive side of the band. We particularly love that the band splits the release into ‘movements’ with a few instrumental/atmospheric interludes as tracks 2,6, 8 and 10. After the first interlude, “Endtime Sermon” returns with a killer mixture of dramatic atmospheric/keyboard arrangements alongside crafty tempo changes, piercing riffs and a mixture of growls and harsh screams.
Unleashing a cosmic onslaught of highly melodic/symphonic Black Metal, today we have Ceremonial Castings and the re-recording of their 2008 opus “Salem 1692”. As one of the most promising and interesting Black Metal bands in the USA, it was quite a surprise to see this release pop in our inbox as the band has been in hiatus(?) since 2014. With over 70 minutes of enthralling music, this release is a true gem in the crowded Symphonic Black Metal arena.
The release leads off with the dreamy atmospherics of “Beneath the Sabbath Moon”, a track that quickly triggered old-school Emperor and Tartaros flashbacks, but with an even more melodic spin. Jake Superchi and company have done a great job in improving the quality of this release, making epic tracks like “Where the Witches Waltz”, “Obsidian Spells of Hysteria”, and the eerie “The Devil in Salem” completely pop with an over-the-top lushness and crafty guitar work.
Featuring a truly captivating and engaging Melodic/Symphonic Black Metal sound, today we have Sweden’s Ages and their sophomore release “Uncrown”. In the intense 42 minutes of music of this release, the band gives us a bit of a nod to the past of the genre, while crafting nine extremely catchy and effective songs. If you like bands of the caliber of Dissection, Naglfar, Keep of Kalessin, etc., you will love this band.
Opening with the hectic “Burn Them”, the band instantly creates a very high-paced tempo that gives us a bit of a certain Vreid/Windir vibe as the crafty guitars and harsh vocals are introduced. The band continues their high-octane approach with the devilish “Illicit State” and its dramatic atmospherics. We are particularly loving the head banging fest incited by the superbly melodic passages of “Herolds of Enslavement”.
As one of the biggest surprises of 2020, we have Israel’s Symphonic Black Metal outfit The Bishop of Hexen returning with their first full-length release in almost 14 years with “The Death Masquerade”. Featuring a highly bombastic sound, this album delivers nearly 50 minutes of highly engaging music similar to Dimmu Borgir and Cradle of Filth. While some might cringe after reading those names, there is nothing to cringe about how this band captures the vibe of the early days of Symphonic BM (think Argentum, Limbonic Art) and unleashes a very powerful trip down memory lane alongside haunting melodies.
Setting the mood with the creepy orchestrations and voices of “Catacumba Essentia”, the band dives head first into an onslaught of lush atmospherics and dramatic vocal arrangements with “A Witch King Reborn”. We are huge fans of the theatrical/cinematic experience provided by the band, with tracks like “Of Shuttering Harps & Shadow Hounds” and “Death Masks”, delivering over the top atmospherics alongside crafty drumming and ravaging guitar melodies. This brings back that old-school naivety about the genre making the release special.
Just when you think that 2020 can not get any better in terms of Black Metal releases, today we have Serment dropping their majestically bombastic “Chante, Ô Flamme de la Liberté”. For nearly 40 minutes the band creates an immersive and superbly dramatic atmosphere that is fiercely pierced by ravaging onslaughts of hellish Black Metal onslaughts. As a side project of Moribond of Forteresse fame, this release delivers intensity, rawness, and melancholy in droves, making it one of the most pummeling releases of the year.
Seconds after the lush opener “Ouverture”, “Sonne, le Glas Funèbre” will fill your speakers with frosty synth arrangements and blistering drumming. The underlying catchiness of this track is perfectly captured as both harsh and clean vocals adorn the dramatic atmospherics, making it one intense opening for this release. Continuing to set the mood, “Par-Delà Collines et Rivières” and “Flamme Hivernale” keep the frosty atmosphere intact with waves of over-the-top arrangements flanked by violent screams and an overall apocalyptic feeling.