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  • Délétère / Sarkrista - Opus Blasphematum (2021)

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    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.

  • Nightland - The Great Nothing (2021)

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    With the barrage of promos we get each month, it is easy to lose track of under the radar releases that are quite interesting. Luckily for us, Nightland’s latest album “The Great Nothing” popped in our queue and hasn’t left after more than a dozen spins. Mixing Progressive elements with a Symphonic Death Metal core, this release unleashes over 47 minutes of highly polished and very engaging music that will appear to fans from bands like Sculptured, Fleshgod Apocalypse, Septicflesh, and Arcturus.

    The release opens with the crafty “The Conjunction of Benetnash” and its intricate guitar lines paired with dramatic choral arrangements. This opener sets a very intriguing mood as the band’s sound is still yet to fully unravel. With a more mellow approach “For Once My Name” introduces a nice mixture of harsh and clean vocals, having a very epic feeling, a bit like bands like Arcturus, but with a cleaner and more ethereal purpose.

  • Solacide - Fall from Eternity (2021)

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    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”.

  • Sol Sistere - Sol Sistere (2021)

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    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.

  • Vetrar Draugurinn - The Night Sky (2021)

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    With the amount of releases we get at Infernal Masquerade, sometimes killer albums fall through the cracks and we end up reviewing them later than anticipated. In this category, today we have Dutch outfit Vetrar Draugurinn and their sophomore full-length release “The Night Sky”. Featuring one of our favorite singers, Marjan Welman of Autumn fame, and ex-Stream of Passion guitarist Eric Hazebroek, this band creates a very unique and dense sounding Gothic/Doom Metal.

    Opening with the heavy riffs of “The Observer”, this track nicely combines melancholic passages with some proggy influences, creating a very unique and powerful style that nicely bleeds into “The Night Sky”. For fans of more melancholic and Autumn-like songs, “Lansdown Hill” perfectly uses Marjan’s vocals alongside clean male vocals to create a dark and somber piece.

  • Two Hundred Wolves - The Hold (2021)

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    One of the best parts of the gig of reviewing music for this site is that I get to enjoy countless amounts of music, particularly the submissions from up-and-coming bands. Today we have one killer gem that made its way into my inbox: Two Hundred Wolves and their release “The Hold”. With a style similar to Jess and the Ancient Ones and Madder Mortem but with a fuzzier and jazzier side, this release delivers 44 minutes of captivating music led by the sultry vocals of Anna Matveinen.

    Opening with the jazzy/proggy “Visceral Redemption”, the first impression the band makes is one of a highly original sound perfectly fronted by a versatile singer. We like all kinds of music, and this band certainly has a bit of everything, from post rock to occult rock/metal influences, creating tracks like “Oblivion”, the dynamic “Absolute Bearing”, and the highly emotive “Event Horizon”. We are huge fans of deep and unique female voices, and the band’s vocalist definitely stands out from the rest.

  • Aran - Pimeyttä vasten (2021)

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    As a relatively new band, Aran delivers some intense and lush Atmospheric Black Metal that many other bands wish could emulate. With “Pimeyttä vasten”, band mastermind Juhani K unleashes over 45 minutes of intense and captivating music. Filled with crushing harshness and dream-like atmospherics, this release is highly recommended for fans of bands like Lustre and Midnight Odyssey.

    The release kicks off with the magical and enchanting atmospherics of “Valon Vienyt”, a track that has that vibe that Sci-Fi/Fantasy movies create of distant realms, perfectly paired with harsh Black Metal shrieks and crushing guitars. There is an art to creating versatile atmospheric BM, and Aran has it figured out with tracks like “Musta meri”, which start quite punishing and slowly evolve into more dreamy and ambient-ish territories.

  • Anguish - Doomkvädet (2021)

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    Hailing from Sweden, today we have Anguish and their perfectly excruciatingly doomy release “Doomkvädet”. Unleashing a gargantuan slab of 49 minutes of heavy riffs, this outfit has that old-school grittiness that many modern bands lack, prompting comparisons to Candlemass and similar outfit. If you are in the market for traditional Doom Metal with a harsher edge, this is one of those band’s that you will play on repeat.

    Opening with the cavernous “Herein I Burn”, the first riff is a perfect foreshadowing of things to come, as it is slow, heavy and twangy. We like the mixture of clean-ish/snarly vocals giving a more aggressive edge versus your traditional Doom clean vocals, particularly on tracks like “Consumed By The Necro Doom”, and “Deranged and Forgotten”. For non-stop headbanging, “I ett dunkel förlorad” and “Blood Veil” are our go-to songs in this release.

  • Iskandr - Vergezicht (2021)

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    Unleashing a very cohesive and emotional musical experience, today we have Iskander and their third full-length release “Vergezicht”. Perfectly flowing between six tracks and nearly 64 minutes of music, this release combines melancholy, harshness, and dreaminess in a very robust and enjoyable package. Released through Eisenwald, this album showcases a great level of maturity and expert craftsmanship from this Ducth duo.

    Opening with the lush acoustic elements of “Gezag”, there is a magical mood that is slowly set until it's nicely contrasted by heavy riffs and harsh vocals. Oozing with melancholy, songs like “Bloeddraad” and “Gewesten der Tijd” perfectly showcase the band’s range and creativity, with tons of unique tempo changes, atmospheric and dreamy passages alongside haunting vocal arrangements. However, the heavy side of the band is always present with furious onslaughts like on “Baken”, making this band comparable to a mixture of Thurisaz and Thyrfing.

  • Malignament - Hypocrisis Absolution (2021)

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    Hitting you like a bag of bricks to the face, today we have newcomer Malignament and their debut full-length release “Hypocrisis Absolution”. Unleashing over 42 minutes of razor sharp Finnish Black Metal, this band is as aggressive and in-your-face as it can be, thanks to its incisive guitars and pummeling onslaughts of brutality. When you think you have heard it all from this scene, an album like this comes along and re-shapes your perception.

    Pummeling the listener from the start with the ravaging “Thunder of Awakening”, the album makes a commanding introduction thanks to its brutality and yet melodic nature. Continuing with the merciless onslaught with “Call to Arms” and the sinister “Like Rats They Followed”, the atmosphere of this release is electrifying as you get buzzsaw-like guitars, paired with imposing harsh snarls and a very polished style and production.

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