• Burzum – Umskiptar (2012)


    Keeping up with releasing an album a year since his release from jail, Mr. Varg delivers Burzum’s “Umskiptar” this 2012. Combining the ‘traditional’ Burzum sound with some of the ‘new’ elements he showed in “Fallen”, this new release is a perfect mixture of both Black Metal and Folk elements, that while not groundbreaking it is still a solid release for this one man outfit.

    Drawing inspiration from the Norse poem “Völuspá”, Varg does a solid job in creating chilling atmospheres that have a powerful Nordic feeling to them. Opening with the “Bloostokkinn”, this song feels like a war chant due to its atmosphere and spoken word sections. In “Joln” the quintessential Burzum guitar work marks its presence and delivers perverse riffs nicely paired with harsh and clean vocals. One of the things that made “Fallen” such an interesting release was the clean/spoken sections and “Umskiptar” is full of them as well.

  • Sigh – In Somniphobia (2012)


    As one of the most cracked-out albums of 2012, today we have Sigh’s Black/Avant-garde masterpiece “In Somniphonia”. Hailing from Japan, Sigh never ceases to amaze people with their extreme combination of Black Metal with almost everything else under the sun. The band’s sound is as complex as it is entertaining, mixing it up with all kinds of samples and a saxophone.

    Packing 11 tracks for around 64 minutes of pure madness, “In Somniphonia” is one of those albums that you will either love it and embrace it, or hate it and discard it immediately. Since the opening track “Purgatorium”, the band delivers very rich drums paired with melodic guitars and all kinds of ‘strange’ sounds surrounding Mirai Kawashima’s harsh vocals. The classical elements in this track make it very contrasting and interesting to hear.

  • Corrosion of Conformity – Corrosion of Conformity (2012)


    Corrosion of Conformity (CoC) have finally delivered a full-length release, the first since their 2006-2010 ‘break’, and like we all expected it is excellent and shows how the band’s sound will always be timeless and greatly enjoyed by all. With Pepper Keenan being absent from this release (focusing on Down), the band taps into their raw side and delivers a very solid album with an old ‘school’ approach to the genre.

    Featuring the Animosity line-up, “Corrosion of Conformity” is one hell of a ride through 11 tracks of very down-to basics music that puts all others to shame. Since the opener “Psychic Vampire” the band’s mixture of Crosssover with Sludge/Southern elements is outstanding since the punkish riffs are catchy but with a Southern twang to them. The track sounds both raw and powerful, indicating the band is back. “River of Stones” delivers a similar approach, but near the end the track goes more melodic and the overall atmosphere created by the vocals and the bass guitar line is very effective.

  • Orange Goblin – A Eulogy for the Damned (2012)


    Arriving just in time to be the perfect Valentine’s Day gift for Stoner Rockers, today we have Orange Goblin and their seventh full-length release “A Eulogy for the Damned”. In their first album in four years, the band returns in full-strength to deliver 10 tracks of super catchy and high-quality Stoner Rock/Metal unlike you’ve ever heard before.

    Aging as a fine wine, the band shows their awesome song-writing skills that have been constantly improving over the years. Backed by the production and engineering magic of Jamie Dodd and mastered by two-time Grammy-nominated Pink Floyd engineer Andy Jackson, “A Eulogy for the Damned” has the band sounding at its best. Since the opening “Red Tide Rising”, the bar is set very high with catchy guitar melodies and very energetic vocals.

  • Abigail Williams – Becoming (2012)


    With yet another crushing blow, Abigail Williams is set on conquering the US Black Metal scene on 2012 with “Becoming”. In this release the band morphs once more from their Symphonic BM roots into a hybrid of Cascadian hipster Black Metal and straight-up European Melodic Black Metal. While many people might call them pretentious or undefined, we totally love how this band keeps popping up with different styles and overall excellently crafted music.

    Similar to tracks by Wolves in the Throne Room, “Ascension Sickness” opens this release with a hefty dose of atmospheric elements, crushing BM shrieks, powerful riffing and ultra-brutal drumming. The production is very similar to WITTR and such bands, but Abigail Williams brings their own elements into the mix with some nice classical string instruments and a more ethereal atmosphere. After the 11-minutes of ecstasy provided by the first track, “Radiance” keeps the decadent and Doom-ish atmosphere alive with inhuman vocals and crushing riffs.

  • Taake – Noregs Vaapen (2011)


    As the saying goes: “if you want stuff done right, do it yourself”, Hoest delivers us the latest and finest Taake album to date: “Noregs Vaapen”. Featuring the traditional Norwegian Black Metal that we all love from the band plus a few surprises here and there, Hoest has greatly enhance the aural power of the band’s raw and aggressive sound.  Delivering waves of brutal Black Metal for over 46 minutes, Taake shows no signs of aging and continues to be one of the best Black Metal bands in the world.

    Opening with some traditional BM guitar work, “Fra Vadested Til Vaandesmed” delivers waves of BM pleasure. The brutal yet rhythmical drumming is one of the main trademarks of the old-school Norwegian BM sound, and on this track (and album) is one of the best elements. Hoest vocals are as hellish as usual and the speed-ups in this track are excellent. Keeping a similar atmosphere “Orkan” and “Nordbundet” keep the album flowing very effectively with some melodic sections that nicely blend into the brutality of this release.

  • Falloch – Where Distant Spirits Remain (2011)


    As one of the most beautifully crafted releases of 2011, today we have Falloch’s debut album “Where Distant Spirits Remain”. Featuring 7 tracks of emotional atmospheric post rock/Metal with shoegaze and Black Metal, this release is set to take the scene by surprise due to its intricate design and flawless execution. If you are a fan of bands like Les Discrets, Alcest, Wolve in the Throne Room, Lantlos, etc, you will be blown away by the quality of this album.

    Formed by Andy Marshall and Scott McLean in Glasgow, Scotland, this very young and promising band has managed to capture both emotional landscapes and beautiful imagery through highly atmospheric and nostalgic music. With an emotional layer of vocal styles paired with dreamy guitars and ethereal atmospheric elements, “Where Distant Spirits Remain” is one of those albums that you will not be able to put away after one listen.

  • The Living Fields – Running out of Daylight (2011)


    In days where most American bands are trying to be as vanilla as they can in order to play what’s popular and/or achieve fame, it is quite enjoyable to get bands like The Living Fields and find that there are still lone warriors trying to combine different genres and produce very interesting (and fresh) sounding music.

    Mixing a hefty dose of Death/Doom Metal with Pagan/Viking/Folk influences, “Running out of Daylight” is one of the richest and multi-leveled releases we have received in 2011 and made us take more than a fare dose of spins before we could actually write anything about it. With the opening “Remnant”, the band quickly delivers a powerful Doom foundation with classical string instruments in a way that bands like Ashes You Leave and Silent Stream of Godless Elegy do in their own respective areas. With crushing guitars and interesting tempo changes, the band dances around the lines of Doom brutality and melody seamlessly.

  • Xerath – II (2011)


    The bastard children of John Williams and Meshuggah are back with their aptly titled second release “II”. After delivering one of the most interesting and different sounding releases of 2009, the band’s sound is as epic as before with 10 monumental compositions and around 56 minutes of music.

    Immediately after the enthralling opening track “United to Defy”, the band quickly falls into the one-trick-pony category. Their sound in this release is indeed very epic and the massive orchestral arrangements with the groove elements is still as impressive as before, but it feels too much like their last release.

  • Anaal Nathrakh – Passion (2011)


    The UK’s most brutal band is back with yet another crushing release that will blow your eardrums. With “Passion”, Anaal Nathrakh continues their Grindcore infused Black Metal aural assaults. With 10 tracks and 36 minutes of hellish vocals and relentless drumming, we are sure that “Passion” will make the top 10 list of most brutal albums of 2011.

    With the first brutal track “Volenti Non Fit Iniuria”, we are treated to the traditional destructive sound of the band with powerful guitar riffs, massive drums and the hellish vocals of Dave Hunt, with the added bonus of clean vocal chorus sections and some melodic parts mixed in between. This track is a very effective warm-up for the 7 minute epic “Drug-Fucking Abomination” that follows.


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