Delivering a very interesting concept of covering tracks from each other, today we have Norwegian artists Frøkedal and Sâver. In this split release we get two very unique pieces, one highly atmospheric, the second with a Folkier edge, creating a dark and engaging release that we found ourselves playing in repeat a few too many times.
After being broken up for 15 years or so, Hate Forest returned with a punishing release in 2020, and before we even knew it, they dropped “Innermost” this past December. Featuring six tracks and around 35 minutes of punishing Black Metal, this release keeps the band’s mythos alive and well by unleashing their signature demoralizing style. If you are a fan of the band, and/or bleak and ravaging BM, you can’t miss out on this release.
The release quickly goes for the throat with “Those Who Howl Inside the Snowstorm”, a blistering piece of traditional Black Metal in the vein of Immortal, with piercing tremolo picking and crushing drumming. The album’s savagery level is quickly showcased as pieces like “By Full Moon's Light Alone the Steppe Throne Can Be Seen” and “Ice-Cold Bloodless Veins” provide no respite except for the occasional atmospheric interludes. Hate Forest has always been characterized for their relentless brutality and this is front and center on this release.
As the last post of 2022, here you will find our top 20 albums of the year. It was a very solid year in terms of releases and it took a while to agree on the order. We hope you enjoy them:
Honorable Mention: Therion - Leviathan II (2022)
For the second year we combine Post-Metal and Post-Black Metal releases in this category as both genres nicely combine fragility with unrivaled aggression. This year we had some excellent releases in these genre's and here are our picks for 2022:
Honorable Mention: E-L-R - Vexier (2022)
While there are still tons of 'regular' Death Metal releases being submitted to us, we opted to review mostly Progressive/Technical Death Metal releases as we find them more interesting. However, there are some exceptions that made our list as well:
For Black Metal, 2022 was a great year filled with crushing release both traditional and a bit unconventional:
Honorable Mention: Wampyric Rites - The Wolves Howl to the Moon (2022)
Raw and cavernous, nothing fancy just pummeling and quite engaging.
After blowing us away with their 2020 debut “Hierophant Violent”, Forlesen is back for more with a poignant sophomore release titled “Black Terrain”. Clocking in at nearly 60 minutes of crushing and yet experimental music, this album perfectly blends elements of Ambient music and Doom/Black Metal to create a massive slab of enigmatic atmospheric brilliance. Better digested after more than a dozen spins, this release is a killer follow-up to their antics.
The release opens with the 19-minute behemoth “Strega” and its slow burning approach, flanking distorted guitars with crafty vocal arrangements and additional subtle instrumentation. The solemn combination of male and female vocals alongside a super slow tempo creates a very unique and devastating aura as more colorful guitar leads are introduced. The song reaches an excellent climax and we will definitely not ruin it for listeners here.
Hailing from Russia, today we have Atmospheric Death/Doom outfit Mare Infinitum with an engaging release titled “Cryosleep”. Showing further evolution in the band’s sound, this album adds some bombastic Symphonic Metal elements to the band’s powerful Doom core. Evoking thoughts from Therion to Epica to Funeral and Swallow the Sun. For over 46 minutes the band dazzles listeners with a high octane release.
The release starts with the highly theatrical and Therion-esque piece “Your Final Bow”, a song with very dramatic choir arrangements and excellent clean male vocals. This track sets a very imposing and lush backdrop, which serves quite well for the traditional deep growls and weeping Doomy guitars the band lays down. With an even more dramatic edge, “The Flight Of No Return” is a fragile piece that nicely shakes things up with crafty tempo changes and excellent guitar leads.