Only getting better and better with time, today we have UK’s Atmospheric Black Metal masters Fen and their latest musical opus titled “Winter”. Delivering over 75 minutes of music, the band further cements their status as one of the scene’s best, thanks to the outstanding level of quality and creativity their music showcases. Greatly improving on what bands like Agalloch, Drudkh, and Negură Bunget have done in the past, this release is a definitely must have for fans of atmospheric Black Metal.
Opening with the 17-minute behemoth “I (Pathway)”, the band has enough time to build up with atmospheric elements and majestically transition between hypnotic melodic passages and very aggressive sections. After such an intense and moody opening, the band brilliantly transitions into calmer territories with the dreamy opening of “II (Penance)”. In this track we get to enjoy the playful interplay between the guitars and the intricate bass guitar line, while keeping things heavy and mellow thanks to the aggressive vocals and tight drums.
Delivering one of the most devastating Black Metal releases of 2017, today we have Patria and their latest full-length release “Magna Adversia”. Released via Soulseller Records, this album is no slouch as it delivers some of the finest Black Metal we have heard in quite a while. As an added bonus, the legendary Asgeir Mickelson plays the drums and it was produced by none other than Øystein Garnes Brun. If you are a follower of the genre, you can’t afford to miss out on this one.
Opening with the pummeling riffing of “Infidels”, the band casts a brilliant spell with their ravaging music and high-octane energy. Things turn Black’n’roll-ish with the super catchy “Axis”, a song that reminds us of Vreid and similar outfits. As the band pummels through tracks like “Heartless”, “A Two-Way Path” and “Communion”, we are quite impressed with their versatility and their influences ranging from catchy Black Metal like Satyricon to the more brutal and speedy sections of outfits like Dark Funeral.
Delivering a pulverizing mixture of Crust/Sludge and Black Metal, today we have Italy’s Rest and their self-titled debut release. Featuring five tracks of expertly crafted incisive riffs and a throbbing bass guitar onslaught, this release is one of those short but sweet albums that leaves you begging for more.
The album opens with the Crusty onslaughts of tracks I and II. The band quickly creates a punishing atmosphere of catchy and powerful riffs that revolve around engaging drums and very fitting screams. The intensity of the bass guitar and drums allows the band to be quite heavy and very fast-paced. Things move more into Black Metal territories with the savage track “III”, which perfectly showcases the band’s versatility and unique take on the genre.
Bringing back the days when Black Metal was intended to be unsettling and highly creepy, today we have one-man project Coldborn and its debut full-length release “Lingering Voidwards”. Masterminded by Norgaath of Grimfaug and Nightbringer fame, this release delivers over 47 minutes of bone-chilling raw Black Metal with enough atmospheric elements to make you sleep with the light on at night for the rest of your life.
Perfectly balancing eerie atmospheres with ravaging lo-fi Black Metal, the album opens with the 12 minute behemoth “The Call of Death’s Clarion”. This track nicely blends some Doom-ish elements into the music, creating a very engaging and disturbing atmosphere. Coldborn continues its onslaught with the blistering opening of “In the Absence of Light, Death Gazes”. As the track progresses, we are reminded of older Satyricon, Tartaros and even Limbonic Art, thanks to the combination of slower paced sections with very prominent keyboards.
Hailing from Germany today we have Fjoergyn and their latest very impressive foray into the realm of Avant-garde Black Metal with “Lucifer Es”. Joining the elite list of bands like Anomalie, Agrypnie, and Nocte Obducta, which are re-defining the genre, this band delivers 61 minutes of action packed music that commands your attention from start to end. Perfectly crafted for fans of the bizarre and complex, this release is one hell of a ride.
After opening with the somber “MMXVII”, the band perfectly blends punishing riffs with intricate atmospheric arrangements as we hear in “Leviathan”. The mixture of vocal styles is something that instantly sticks out from such a unique mixture of elements, giving the band that extra level of creepiness. With tracks like “Viva La Inquisition” exploiting the band’s heavier side, Fjoergyn delivers a very expansive and relentless sound that very few bands can pull off.
Finally returning with a thought-provoking full-length release, today we have Poland’s Mord’A’Stigmata and their latest offering “Hope”. Continuing their musical evolution, this release delivers over 40 minutes of hard to define music filled heavy Post-Black Metal overtones. If you are a fan of bands like Harakiri for the Sky, Anomalie, and even Moonspell, this release will certainly appeal to you.
Opening with the 12-minute title-track, the band leads with expertly layered guitars and a very enigmatic pace. The mixture of clean and harsh vocals reminds us a bit of Moonspell. However, the intricate guitar work is what truly makes this track quite unique and engaging. The band continues their musical experiments with the faster paced “The Tomb from Fear and Doubt”. This song we are treated to faster drums alongside hypnotic instrumental interludes.
Delivering one of the most pungent and demoralizing Black Metal onslaughts of 2017, today we have Alaska’s Arria Paetus and their debut self-titled full-length release. Unleashing over 43 minutes of punishing music split in seven tracks, the band perfectly balances unrivaled brutality with melody and rawness. Reminding us of underground bands like Avzhia and more known outfits like Sargeist and Naxul, this band will take you by surprise.
Opening with the crushing “Slash Your Flesh, Drink to Death”, the band wastes no time in delivering gut-wrenching shrieks and dissonant riffs that slowly build up to total brutality. The savagery unleashed upon the listener on tracks like “Exsanguine” and “The Entropic Hive” perfectly demonstrate the band’s misanthropic views laid on their lyrics.
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.