Hailing from Belgium, today we have the always improving Symphonic Black Metal outfit Saille and their fourth full-length release “Gnosis”. Returning with their highly melodic music, the band manages to craft 45 minutes divided in nine tracks that showcase their musical evolution in to a cleaner and leaner outfit since their conception. After releasing 3 albums in a span of 4 years, the band took more than two years to fully prepare and unleash this near perfect gem into the world.
Opening with the melodic riffing of “Benei ha'Elohim”, the band slowly introduces their clean cut musical style that remind us of bands like Apostasy, Old Man's Child, and Emperor. Things get catchier with the Dimmu Borgir-esque “Pandaemonium Gathers”, the perfect contrast between funky keyboards and pummeling drums/guitars make this song quite interesting and engaging. The killer solos and melancholic guitars in “Blôt” brilliantly complement Dennie Grondelaers mixture of growls and shrieks, making this track one of the most complete and diverse pieces in this release.
Delivering one the of most brutal and yet melancholic releases of the last few years, today we have French newcomers Au Champ des Morts and their demoralizing debut release “Dans la Joie”. Featuring seven tracks of brilliant Black Metal, the band blends influences from outfits like Anorexia Nervosa, Shade Empire, etc. with some Post-Black Metal sprinkles thrown into the mix. If you are only going to buy one album this month, better make sure it is this one.
The mournful explosiveness of “Nos Decombres” perfectly sets the mood for this release. Mixing highly melancholic riffs with gut-wrenching vocals, this album opens with a killer bang. This opening track is loaded with raw emotions nearing its end, making it quite the experience… and it is only the first six minutes. Keeping things melodic and yet highly dissonant, the oppressive riffing of “Apres Le Carnage” brilliantly continues the album’s ravaging pace.
Showcasing two of the most interesting Dutch Black Metal bands, today we have Ván Records Kjeld and Wederganger split release. Unluckily released at the end of 2016, this split release deserves your attention as it delivers five Black Metal tracks that range for raw and atmospheric to catchy and creepy. As a highly recommended release for BM fans, this is the perfect introduction to two bands killer sound.
Kjeld opens the release with the pummeling “Banier van Frisia”, this opening track sets a very intense mood with crushing riffs and superb drumming. Remind us at times of bands like Algazanth, “Wanskepsel” perfectly blends atmospheric elements with melodic riffs, a perfect blend for headbanging passages. The last Kjeld track is the blistering “Keningsein”, a furiously paced piece that again features that cold and dissonant Scandinavian Black Metal vibe.
Hailing from Italy, today we have five-piece Gaerea and their punishing self-titled debut EP. Featuring over 27 minutes of blistering Black Metal music, this debut showcases a very promising band with a highly atmospheric oppressive BM sound. Filled with cathartic moments, this release sets the bar quite high for any future activities by this young outfit.
Opening with the atmospheric “Santificato”, building up on punishing drumming and imposing vocals, this opener sets a very dark and gloomy mood for the release. “Final Call” continues the onslaught with dissonant riffs and pummeling tempo that quickly escalates the level of aggression. As one of their best skills, Gaerea effortlessly changes tempos while trampling the listener with crushing passages and dissonant contrasts.
Closing 2016 and very appropriately set for release on Christmas day, today we have Black Metal outfit Paria and their devastating EP titled “Knochenkamp”. Delivering 28 minutes of punishing Black Metal, the band combines incisive riffs with hellish vocals to create a very foul and demoralizing atmosphere that submits the listener from beginning to end.
After a drone-ish eerie intro, the band lashes at the listener with the piercing rifing of “Pergamentikkch Nemesis”. A very interesting thing in this track is the funky bass guitar line that instantly gets under your skin and allows the music to be psychedelic and weirder in nature. The mixture of screams reminds us at times of early Bethlehem. The band’s sound is raw and uncompromising as you can hear in the all-out war anthem “So Far From the Hidden God”, a track that will haunt your dreams.
As yet another side project from the man behind Lustre, today we have Nachtzeit and his ‘solo’ project under the same unleashing its EP “Sagor I Natten”. Focusing more on intensity, this release will remind you a bit of Lustre, but with a more destructive and raw edge. If you are a fan of one-man battalions, we can assure you that this release is a worthy addition to your collection.
Wasting no time to pummel the listener into submission, “Ett fjärran mine” is full of ferocity in the shape of blistering riffs and devilish harsh vocals. The track sets a nice groove in terms of tempo that is nicely continued by the relentless “De färdas genom natten”. Nachtzeit’s vocals are the perfect match for the wall of sound created by the hectic riffing. The drumming on the other side sounds bit plain, when you compare the rest of the music, but it gets the job done.
After more than 10 years since their last full-length release, we finally have Crimson Moon back with their latest opus “Oneiroaut”. Delivering six crafty Black Metal hymns, this release is rare gem in a world filled with BM albums that all sound the same. Mixing creepy atmospheric elements with a retro-sounding Black Metal foundation, Scorpios Androctonus and company deliver one of the creepiest and most effective albums in 2016.
Opening with the blistering “Gossamer of Arachne”, the band sets a high standard in terms of viciousness and intensity. The riffing is quite punishing and the drumming is pretty hectic, but the best part is the eerie atmospheric sections filled with creepy vocals and a very ritualistic vibe. The same raw viciousness is greatly present in killer tracks like “Molding of a Spell” and the brutal “Seeker of the 7th Gate”. Both songs remind us of ‘old-school’ Black Metal like Absu, Lord Belial, and earlier Enthroned.
As one of the heaviest releases through Dooweet Records in the last few months, today we have Parisians The Prisoner and their sophomore release “Life of the Mind”. Clocking in at 62 minutes, this release perfectly blends aggressive Black Metal elements with Death Metal and Post-Metal influences. Creating a very unique and powerful wall of sound, this band is ready to captivate the listener with their sheer brutality and craftsmanship.
Opening with the catchy riffs of “Awake”, the band sets a very Doomy/Post-Metal mood just before they jump into some blistering Black Metal onslaught, a la Der Weg Einer Freiheit. Achieving a perfect balance between sheer aggression and more hypnotic states, the band pummels through tracks like “Emptied”, “Battling Ego”, and “Still Here”, perfectly tweaking their craft.
Delivering one of the most sorrowful releases of 2016, today we have Italy’s Raspail and their crushing album “Dirge”. Perfectly amalgamating Doom, Post Metal, Black Metal and Shoegaze influences, the band manages to sound like a mix of Lantlôs, Desire, Skepticism with some Heretoir thrown into the mix. Not for the faint of heart, this release unleashes eight highly emotional compositions that will haunt your dreams.
The album starts with the dissonance of “The Wander”, a track that slowly evolves into an oppressive force thanks to the harsh vocals and demoralizing riffs. The band’s tempo changes are outstanding and one of the reasons this release is so powerful, as we can see on the monolithic “The Nymph’s Wood Hymn to the Rising Sun”. This nearly six-minute piece reminds us of bands like Desire and their knack for juxtaposing oppressive atmospherics and gut-wrenching vocals.
Being huge fans of Post-Black Metal it is always quite delightful to get a new release from the genre that manages to be good enough to avoid being called a clone of Alcest, Heretoir, etc, today Lascar deserves that honor with their debut release Absence. Hailing from Chile, this new signing to ATMF’s A Sad Sadness Song imprint unleashes to a wider audience this special release that also includes the band’s demo titled “Depths”.
Opening with melancholic acoustic guitars, “Atlas” delivers a very interesting mixture of elements from bands like Agalloch and An Autumn for Crippled Children. The track’s rawness is perfectly balanced by dramatic atmospheric elements and mournful riffs. As a one man project, Lascar manages to control all creative aspects and delivers emotionally charged songs that ooze melancholy and brutality as the contrasting “Wilderness”.