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.
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.
In recent years, some bands have been taking Death Metal into very creepy and cavernous territories. Today we have Qrixkuor and their debut release “Poison Palinopsia” which follows that eerie path into aural madness for over 48 minutes. Featuring two tracks that evenly split the album’s running time, the listener is taken into a decadent journey that is both disturbing and highly dissonant. If you want to feel like you are trapped in a downward spiral towards hell, this album is just what you need.
Opening with the cavernous atmospherics of “Serpentine Susurrus - Mother's Abomination”, the release quickly escalates with piercing guitar riffs and hellish vocals. The tempo feels a bit slower than usual, but still reminiscent of the slower tracks of bands like Centinex and Grave, while throwing in some of the savagery of Grave Miasma and Mitochondrion. While one would expect that a 20-plus minute Death Metal track would get old, it is actually quite the opposite as these songs feel fresh and go by super quickly, thanks to all its crafty tempo changes and punishing elements.
Unleashing a very powerful and emotionally charged release, today we have Felled and their debut full-length “The Intimate Earth”. Perfectly mixing Black/Folk and some Doom Metal elements, this outfit creates a very unique and ravaging sound thanks to the misery-inducing Violin that accompanies all songs. Particularly reminding us of the short lived band Forty Days Longing, this is one hell of an emotional release filled with crafty songwriting.
Immediately a very somber mood is set with the piercing “Ember Dream” and its dramatic arrangements. Weaving back and forth intense onslaughts and melodramatic tempo changes, this track perfectly blends Black Metal with a doomier edge and some Folky elements. The mixture of harsh vocals alongside sweeping guitar leads nicely evolve into a very cathartic closing. Showing the first track was not fluke, “Fire Season on the Outer Rim” nicely continues the dramatic aural experience by adding some clean female vocals into the mix.
Nearly eight years have passed since Year of No Light’s last full length release “Tocsin”. Making all the wait completely worth it, “Consolamentum” delivers a monumentally sonically abusive 55 minutes of soul-crushing instrumental Post-Metal/Doom. Competing with the latest Amenra release, this album explores the depths of sound with its punishing onslaughts and nicely evolves the band’s already signature style.
Opening with a few minutes of drone/atmospheric intro, “Objuration” slowly builds up to massive riffs and oppressive drum patterns. The atmospherics nicely further elevate the band’s sound, creating very contrasting and dissonant sections. The second piece, “Alétheia” burns even slower with a dreamy Post-Rock-ish/Shoegazy intro that gradually escalates into sweet sweet heaviness.
Perfectly blending melancholy and melody, today we have the latest EP of international duo Enshine, titled “Transcending Fire”. Highly recommended for fans of In Mourning, Insomnium and similar outfits, this release delivers 20 minutes of highly refined melancholic music. Slowly evolving since their 2013 debut release, the band seamlessly blends different influences in a highly appealing and atmospheric package.
Opening with the title track, we are treated to a slow and melodic intro with lush guitar arrangements and highly melancholic atmosphere. The mixture of clean and harsh vocals works in perfect harmony as the track weaves back and forth between heavy passages to more exploratory melody interludes. One of the band’s greatest strengths is the ability to create highly enjoyable songs that are conducive of both fearless headbanging and hypnotic contemplation, as we can hear in “Awake in Void” and the dreamy “Ascend”.
For those of us that like weird music that pushes the boundaries while keeping Metal elements in the mix, Thy Catafalque has been delivering highly innovative releases over the years. Tamás Kátai returns after one year since the band’s last release with “Vadak”, featuring over 62 minutes of captivating and yet difficult to digest music. If you like the band’s brand of weirdness, you know that this release will demand your full attention for more than a few dozen spins to be fully digested and appreciated.
After setting a weird and futuristic sounding mood with the first few minutes of “Szarvas”, the jazzy weirdness instantly takes center stage as the track is quite intricate and yet delicate. As you can imagine, elements are mixed from all kinds of genres, and the resulting amalgamation mixes harsh BM screams with jazzy/proggy influences. Completely flipping the script, “Köszöntsd a hajnalt” has a nice Eluveitie folky vibe, while “Gömböc” mixes heavier Death Metal-esque elements with funky instrumental passages.
Further settling into their own brand of Black Metal, Eisenkult delivers their excellent sophomore release “...vom Himmel, hoch herab”. With a mixture of old-school Black/Symphonic Black Metal with some Eisregen-like theatrics, this release unleashes 41 minutes of crafty music that is both fierce and playful enough to entice listeners that like the more bizarre side of the genres they cover.
After the 8-bit/MIDI vibe from the instrumental opener “Einklang”, “Ein Leib, ein Feuer” delivers Eisregen-esque onslaughts of harsh screams, playful tempo changes and crafty drumming. The band’s sound is quite melodic in nature, but the bizarreness of the mixture of elements really works to separate them from the pack. The versatility of the band can quickly be noticed as “Ein Brunnen voller Aas” unleashes traditional old-school BM fury with piercing riffs and a great sense of melody.
Unleashing a very unique brand of Black’n’Roll with Groove Metal elements, Denmark’s Angstskríg manages to inject extra catchiness to an already catchy subgenre of Black Metal. Featuring six tracks and plenty of guests, “Skyggespil” is an engaging and highly unconventional killer release.
From the start, the album title track takes on guitar-driven Black Metal reminiscent of older Immortal and Satyricon, but introducing additional grooviness, making their music quite catchy and yet incisive. The vocalist snarls are the perfect fit for the guest appearance of usually live-guitarist Attila Vörös. Showing more of the band’s own brand of chaos, “Uhygge” is an excellent old-school BM piece filled with a pulsating bass guitar line and some interesting surprises as the song progresses, touching some decadent Gothic influences.
Delivering over 55 minutes of lush and epic Atmospheric Black Metal with some Dungeon Synth elements, today we have Firienholt and their debut full-length release “By the Waters of Awakening”. Highly recommended for fans of bands like Bal-Sagoth, Summoning, Enid, and Mortis, this release creates a very regal and epic atmosphere that immerses the listener into the band’s musical realm.
Opening with the lush “A Forgotten Legacy”, which sets a very cinematic and dramatic atmosphere that is led by over-the-top synths and crafty drum programming. With nearly all songs being over 10 minutes each, tracks like “War of Wrath, War of Ruin” and “Ashes of the Golden Hall”, slowly develop via melodic passages into heavier territories with the use of harsh vocals and imposing guitars with some BM riffs thrown into the mix.