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  • Venues - Solace (2021)

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    Unleashing a lively mixture of Modern/Alternative Metal with some *Core elements, today we have Germany’s Venues and their latest release “Solace”. Featuring a brand new singer, Daniela ‘Lela’ Gruber, the band delivers nearly 40 minutes of superbly catchy music with soaring vocal melodies and heavy distorted guitars. Similar to outfits like Amaranthe and Sumo Cyco, this band has a more Metalcore aesthetic and edge to their sound.

    Opening with the heavy guitars and harsh vocals of “Razorblade Teeth”, the band sets a heavier mood than their previous release, however, Lela’s vocals nicely balance the band’s sound. As the band delivers pieces like “Whydah Gally”, “Rite of Passage”, and “Uncaged Birds”, the listener is presented with a masterful combination of atmospheric synths, engaging clean vocal melodies, and crafty heavier parts for moshing and non-stop headbanging.

  • Korpituli - The Ancient Spells of the Past (2021)

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    There is nothing like some good old Finnish Black Metal to start the day. Luckily for us, today we have Korpituli and his debut full-length release “The Ancient Spells of the Past”. Featuring over 35 minutes of savage raw Black Metal adorned with some subtle synths and a moody pace, this release is just the perfect blend of melody, timing, and brutality.

    Opening with the hypnotic “On Forgotten Paths”, we quickly get old Horna, Fimbulwinter, Behexen vibes thanks to the piercing tremolo picking and hellish screams. Far from linear, one-man machine S.Korpituli nicely adds a certain atmospheric touch with songs like the instrumental “At Nightfall” and “Longing for the Unheard Of”, creating a very immersive and yet demoralizing listening experience, similar to what Burzum achieved on “Filosofem”.

  • Burial in the Sky - The Consumed Self (2021)

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    Hailing from the USA, today we have Progressive/Tech Death Metal outfit Burial in the Sky and their sublime release “The Consumed Self”. Perfectly blending technical proficiency, melancholic songwriting, and flawless execution, this release unleashes nearly one hour of mesmerizing music. Highly recommended for fans of bands like Sculptured, Obscura, Necrophagist, etc. this release will have you both in awe and bruised from all the headbanging.

    The release opens with the dreamy/proggy intro “The Soft Violet Light” and pummels right into the sheer brutality of “An Orphaned City”. This contrast perfectly introduces the heavier side of the band and their technical proficiency with blistering guitars and massive drums flanking the harsh screams. The band’s seamless transition between heavier parts and more melodic and proggy passages, like on “On Wings of Providence”, is exactly what draws us to this outfit and their polished sound.

  • Baxaxaxa - Catacomb Cult (2021)

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    Unleashing a 47 minute dose of foul, raw, and old-school sounding Black Metal, today we have Germany’s Baxaxaxa and their debut full-length release “Catacomb Cult”. Interestingly enough, the band originally formed in 1999 and 20+ years later finally unraveled their piercing debut. Perfectly crafted for those nostalgic BM fans, this release delivers a good mixture of old-school elements alongside crafty tempo changes and eerie atmospherics.

    The band set a very cavernous atmosphere with the album title track, instantly transporting the listener to the mid 90’s BM years. The release continues its devastating path with the incisive “As The Moon Inhaled All Sunrays” and the punk-ish edge of “Flame Of Redemption”. While stylistically very different from how the genre evolved, tracks like “Kingdom Ablaze” and “The Great Malicious Tongue” feel eerily frozen in time.

  • Groza - The Redemptive End (2021)

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    It is definitely a great time to be a Black Metal fan as bands like Uada, Mgła, etc. are leading a new wave of highly polished and modern sounding contributions. Germany’s Groza falls in this category with their guitar driven and brilliantly crafted and layered 42 minutes of music in “The Redemptive End”. Balancing out brutality and flawless execution with a good dose of melody, this band creates six very intense and punishing tracks that any fan of this modern style will enjoy.

    Opening with the mood setter “Sunken In Styx - Part I: Submersion”, we get slowly introduced into the band's hypnotic and incisive style. As soon as “Sunken In Styx - Part II: Descent” transitions in, the intensity becomes higher and the riffing takes command. The band’s harsh vocals and ravaging intensity quickly induce headbanging attacks.

  • Thyrfing - Vanagandr (2021)

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    After a wait of 8 years, Thyrfing is finally back with their high-octane brand of Viking/Pagan Metal. “Vanagandr” unravels nearly 50 minutes of superbly catchy and highly polished melodic music, just as one would expect from this band. Perfectly mixing precise guitar work with lush atmospherics and firm vocal melodies, this release is as good as it gets in this genre.

    Opening with “Döp dem i eld”, we get that vibrant mixture of atmospherics and incisive guitar riffs. Always creating a very epic Folky/Viking vibe while maintaining a hefty dose of heaviness, “Undergångens länkar” and “Fredlös” are prime examples of the band’s duality. We particularly enjoy how the band uses additional instruments to adorn a very powerful guitar-driven musical core like “Järnhand” shows.

  • Wormwood - Arkivet (2021)

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    Unleashing some of the most incisive and yet superbly catchy melodic Black Metal of 2021, today we have Sweden’s Wormwood and their latest opus “Arkivet”. Delivering the perfect blend of aggression, melody, and melancholy, this outfit unravels 46 minutes of highly intense and piercing music. Recommended for fans of bands like Ellende, Netherbird, and Seth, this release is one of the most impressive ones we have heard in a while.

    Opening with the incisive guitars of “The Archive”, the band sets a very high-octane mood thanks to the crafty drums and engaging vocal styles. There is no shortage of brutality in this release as the headbanging quickly starts and alternates with dreamy interludes. Tracks like “Overgrowth”, the melancholic “End of Message”, and the captivating “My Northern Heart”, slowly unravel the band’s very complex and yet precise songwriting, weaving different tempos and styles seamlessly together.

  • Fluisteraars - Gegrepen door de geest der zielsontluiking (2021)

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    If you thought that “Bloem”, was an impressive release, Fluisteraars returns with an even more visceral and ravaging opus with “Gegrepen door de geest der zielsontluiking”. Recorded in a very unconventional way: one track per day, one take per instrument, no synths, and no overdubs, this track is more punishing and raw than anything the band has ever released before. That being said, this release is a 35 minute journey of raw decadence.

    The release kicks off with the violent outbursts of “Het overvleugelen der meute”, an 8-minute track filled with pummeling riffs, intense drumming and some of the most ravaging vocals in the genre. The band’s musical approach is both direct and punishing, while encoding melancholy and introspection in the slower passages. We particularly love how the band’s sound is still eerie in the more minimalist sections of the track.

  • Netherbird - Arete (2021)

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    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.

  • Agrypnie - Metamorphosis (2021)

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    As one of our favorite bands in the Post-Black Metal space, Agrypnie is finally back with the punishing “Metamorphosis”. Featuring nearly 70 minutes of highly intense music, this release continues the band’s musical evolution with a more defined and electrifying sound. While some Post-Black Metal bands focus on making things a bit too mellow or melancholic, this band achieves the melancholy part with droves of punishing guitars and instrumental passages.

    Opening with “Wir Ertrunkenen”, the first part is an orchestral prolog that suddenly turns dark as Torsten’s hellish vocals nicely weave between punishing riffs. However, this is not the only thing to digest, as the tempo changes keep things fresh. After a pummeling start, “Verwuestung” has a more introspective nature as it slowly evolves into more aggressive and yet melancholic moods. For those looking for the band’s faster and more ‘traditional’ BM side, tracks like “Am Ende der Welt - Teil 1” deliver the goods.

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