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  • Entartung - Maleficae Artes (2020)

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    Germany’s most vicious Black Metal band returns with a brutal fourth full-length release titled “Maleficae Artes”. Grounding their sound in 90’s BM, the band delivers five furious anthems of brutality, melody, and destruction. Focusing on longer songs, than a typical BM band, this German outfit unleashed intricate compositions that are both highly atmospheric and brutal, inciting furious headbanging from start to finish.

    The release kicks off with the savagery of “Tower of Silence” and its waves of riffs paired with pummeling drumming. The level of intensity is a good indicator of what is to come, and it is nicely offset by ravaging melodic sections perfect for intense headbanging moments. Going through several tempos and styles, the track closes in a vicious manner and extreme brutality, only to lead into the cavernous opening of “Bortförd”. This last track showcases the band’s ability to craft hypnotic passages filled with creepy clean vocal arrangements and harsh onslaughts.

  • Ayr - The Dark (2020)

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    Oozing melancholy and brutality, today we have Ayr and their debut full-length release “The Dark”. After a several year hiatus, this band returns with a furious and well balanced release filled with eerie atmospherics and ravaging harshness. Clocking in at nearly 40 minutes, this album has a vibe similar to Abigail Williams and similar North American acts that are bending the boundaries of Black Metal.

    After the mysterious opener “Lion’s Blood”, the album title track delivers the first onslaught of blistering drumming, hellish screams, and incisive guitar riffs. The core of the music is quite old-school Black Metal which is both visceral and yet melodic at times. The band magically transitions from weeping melody into atmospheric eeriness as “Worship the Dark” provides a very creepy vibe.

  • Moonworshipper - 13 Fullmoon Nights of Loneliness (2020)

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    Always releasing superbly interesting stuff, Hypnotic Dirge Records unleashes Moonworshipper and their ‘EP’ “13 Fullmoon Nights of Loneliness”. Featuring a truly chaotic, experimental, and yet lush sound, this release pretty much takes elements from almost every genre of music and mixes them together in a very melancholic and tormentous release. If you are a fan of Manes, Lethe, Ulver, and similar outfit, this release is right up your alley.

    Starting with some cavernously Doomy guitar riffs, the single 24-minute track in this release hints at a very heavy and punishing journey. The crushing guitars and rhythmic drumming is perfectly offset by hellish vocals and crafty tempo changes. This is until the band switches things up with hauntingly eerie piano/atmospheric passages and the introduction of sultry female vocals. Note that at this stage the guitars and doomy vibe are still very present as the band continues to dabble in some Depressive/Suicidal BM influences mixed into jazzy and noir-esque female singing.

  • Convocation - Ashes Coalesce (2020)

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    Unleashing a tectonic plate shifting release, today we have Finland’s Convocation and their sophomore release “Ashes Coalesce”. Giving a modern edge to the timeless Funeral Death/Doom Metal genre, this duo delivers one of the most intense and intricate releases we have heard in 2020. Perfect for fans of Mournful Congregation, Dark Buddha Rising, and Waste of Space Orchestra, this release will rock your world from start to end.

    Featuring Marko Neuman of Dark Buddha Rising/Waste of Space Orchestra fame on vocals, the release starts with the intense “Martyrise”. For over 12 minutes, this track delivers a web of intricate tempo changes and an onslaught of weird and sinister vocal styles, creating a very chaotic and cavernous feeling. The release turns to doomier and more ‘traditional’ territories with the mournful “The Absence of Grief”, a 13-minute beast that delivers solemn atmospheric elements and crushing riffs paired with Marko's deep and piercing growls.

  • MIGHT - MIGHT (2020)

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    Blending a plethora of genres, today we have MIGHT and their brilliant self-titled release. Unleashing a barrage of massive guitar riffs and combining influences from High on Fire to Chelsea Wolfe, this release will have you worshiping the band’s creativity and distortion levels in just a few songs. With over 35 minutes of music, the nine tracks presented here develop a very warm and fuzzy sound for this duo that is quite engaging and hard to stop listening to.

    Leading the listener with the mysterious and post-rock-ish “Introduce Yourself”, this duo unleashes their full force with the furious guitar and drumming opening of “Pollution of Mind”. This is all abruptly changed into a more traditional Doom/Sludge drawl with meaty guitars, crafty tempo changes, and the sultry vocals of Ana Muhi. The band’s musical core is simple and yet quite effective, particularly in crafty songs like the hypnotic “Vampire” and the crushing “Possession” with waves of intricate bass guitar notes and pummeling riffs.

  • Deeper Graves - Open Roads (2020)

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    Unleashing a big glob of darkness, Alternative/Gothic/Post-Punk one-man unit Deeper Graves delivers their debut release “Open Roads”. From the mind of Jeff Wilson (Chrome Waves, ex-Nachtmystium), this release features nearly 40 minutes of superbly atmospheric and depressive music. While not really ‘traditional’ Metal, this album is still heavy in atmosphere and very enigmatic. For fans of Katatonia, Nick Cave, Sisters of Mercy, and Kayo Dot.

    The release slowly unravels with the bleak “Final Divide” and its haunting clean vocals paired with sublime string instruments and an eerie tempo. This sinister aural exploration continues with the dreamy guitars of “Leave This World”, the Post-Punk/Gothic Rock vibe of “Ode to War”, and the enigmatic percussions of “Open Arms” and its shoegazy approach. As you can read, every track is a unique experience that perfectly blends genres while creating a very dense and emotional atmosphere, unique to Deeper Graves.

  • Eisenkult - ...gedenken wir der Fisnternis (2020)

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    Delivering a wave of old-school Black Metal, today we have the debut release of Eisenkult, titled “...gedenken wir der Fisnternis”. Perfectly blending simple melodic elements to a very raw and traditional BM core, the band unleashes nearly 30 minutes of relentless music. Aimed for the nostalgic fan of the genre, this release brings back the early days of BM with skill and craftiness.

    Starting with a cheesy 8-bit intro, just like some of the earlier Symphonic BM releases, the band sets a very old-school and DYI vibe as the “Stahlross” delivers the first furious onslaught of ravaging riffs and hellish vocals. With a distinctly raw round, the mixture of hypnotic symphonic elements and blistering drums is very well delivered on tracks like “Deprecatio” and the poisonous “Gedenken wir der Finsternis” which oozes of that early BM naivete we all love.

  • Aleah - Aleah (2020)

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    Marking the final release of Aleah Starbridge musical legacy, this double album delivers over 85 minutes of her enchanting vocals and captivating music. Having passed away too soon, her musical legacy has been recently honored with the Trees of Eternity’s “Hour of The Nightingale” release, and with this release featuring nine acoustic tracks and six additional songs that highlight her range and wide musical interests and influences.

    The release starts with the somber “Vapour”, and it slowly eases into the magic of “Sacrifice”, both songs showcase Aleah’s soothing vocals and a very dark and eerily sad mood. Many of these songs are taken from her demo, but here they sound amazing and create a very somber atmosphere as “My Will” and “Breathe” sound completely different and bleaker in the acoustic version. Thanks to the simple musical core, these songs allow the vocals to be in full attention and drive the listener’s mood with every single word.

  • Uerberos - Stand over Your Grave (2020)

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    Delivering a blistering onslaught of crushing Death Metal, today we have Uerberos and their brutal sophomore release “Stand over Your Grave”. Hailing from Poland, this outfit delivers crushing intensity paired with a crystal clear production that makes these nearly 40-minutes and nine tracks feel like a bag of bricks to the head.

    Roaring at the listener since the first song, “Levitation”, the band’s intensity delivers waves of punishing chugging riffs, catchy hooks and firm growls. With great finesse and ravaging brutality tracks like “Ruthless Execution”, “Beautiful Crimson of Your Blood”, and “Flaming Darkness”, deliver a masterful combination of hectic drumming, a pulsating bass guitar line, and tons of brilliant moshing moments. It is quite refreshing to hear such a young band deliver expertly crafted songs that are both engaging and destructive.

  • Eremit - Desert Ghouls (2020)

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    Hailing from Germany, today we have Doom/Sludge Metal wizards Eremit and their two-song EP “Desert Ghouls”. Aimed at fans of the ‘power of the riff’, this release delivers nearly 20 minutes of crunchy guitars and a sluggish pace. For fans of bands like Conan, Bongripper, and Sleep, this release showcases an up-and-coming band with enough chops to make it.

    This 10” vinyl release opens with the crafty riffing of “Beheading the Innumerous”. For around 8 minutes and change the band unleashes a warm and fuzzy riffing barrage that is nicely complemented by Moritz Fabian snarls. On side B we get treated to “City of Râsh-il-nûm” and its hypnotic opening that suddenly transforms into a headbangers paradise with incisive guitars, engaging guitar leads, and superbly crafted drum patterns.

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