Hailing from France, today we have Melodic Black Metal outfit Bahrrecht and their sophomore full-length release “L'aube glacée”. Originally started by Fëanor and Winterhalter (Alcest, Glaciation), this band unleashed their debut album back in 2011 and finally returns after a few line-up changes (Winterhalter has departed) with a very solid and engaging old-school sounding Melodic Black Metal opus. Filled with over 45 minutes of music, this album is both punishing and atmospheric enough to sound different and entertaining.
After the folky/atmospheric opener “Hommage à une foi perdue”, the band delivers their first blow with the crushing “Un orage éternel”. In this track the band often changes tempos while delivering waves of powerful Black Metal riffs and melodic solos. This level of intensity nicely continues in the playful “Le géant des neiges”, which reminds us of “Nemesis Divina”-era Satyricon, thanks to its atmospheric elements and overall pace.
Perfectly arriving for Halloween 2016 via Ván Records, today we have Urfaust and their fourth full-length release “Empty Space Mediation”. After a considerable number of single and split releases since the last full-length, this Atmospheric Black Metal duo returns with one of the most disturbing and yet captivating releases the year.
The opener sets a very hypnotic atmosphere with very minimal elements and throat singing passages which send chills through the listener’s spine. The album continues with the incisive “Meditatum II” and its brilliant atmospheric keyboards. This track quickly changes the pace of things with a perfect balance of majestic clean vocals and harsh vocals. The music is perfectly delivered in a wide variety of tempos which showcase melodic riffs and blistering drums.
Hailing from the UK, today we have Winterfylleth and their crushing fifth full-length release “The Dark Hereafter”. Crafting a very unique atmospheric brand of Black Metal, the band manages to deliver 40 minutes of relentless music. Improving upon their already refined style, the band perfectly captures oppressive atmospheres and blistering drumming into an all-encompassing well rounded package.
The album opens with the mesmerizing title track, filled with aggressive BM riffs and hyper-fast tight drums, creating a whirlwind-like atmosphere filled with brutality. With such an intense opening, the band manages to transition into a more melodic driven “Pariah’s Path”, which builds an intense atmospheric cloud around itself. This nine minute peace perfectly captures the band’s balance between melody, atmosphere and brutality in such a lush and yet devastating way.
Hailing from Finland, today we have Atmospheric Black Metal one-man battalion Antimateria and their debut full-length “Valo aikojen taka”. With all tracks in Finish and a knack for heavy rudimentary atmospheric elements, this release will crawl under your skin thanks to the subtle rawness of the band’s sound.
Immediately opening with an oppressive shriek paired with raw guitars and dreamy atmospherics, “Sieltä mistä valokaan ei milloinkaan karaka” instantly sets a very eerie mood. The atmospheric elements have a certain resemblance to Perivuan flutes, giving this track a fresh and original angle. Delivering raw riffs which sound a bit muffled (probably by the production quality), tracks like “Tieni kohti lopullista tuhoa” and “Roihuten läpi yötaivaan” have a certain old-school Pagan Metal vibe from the days of Falkenbach, but without the fluffiness.
Hailing from the USA, today we have a very unique band under the moniker Wolfpack 44. Formed by members of Electric Helfire Club and Kult ov Azazel , the band plays a very unique blend of Industrial Black Metal with some experimental elements. Featuring over 45 minutes of music, this release will appeal to fans of bands like Mysticum, Aborym and Diabolos Rising.
After the disturbing atmospheric intro, the band unleashes its full power with the pummeling riffs and oppressive atmosphere of “The Black March”. Perfectly mixing incisive guitars, tight drums and superbly harsh vocals, this track sets a very brutal tone. Following with the completely deranged “Rituale Romanum” featuring Dana Duffey on guest vocals, the band makes it clear that this release will be a true roller coaster ride.
Hailing from Spain, today we have Unbegotten and their savagely demoralizing Black Metal. Unleashing their debut release “Proem of the Unborn”, via Forever Plagued Records and on tape, this album delivers 21 minutes of soul crushing old-school Black Metal. Featuring four tracks and an intro, this is one of those tapes that will bring you to your early days of listening BM.
The only break the listener gets in this release is the mood setting intro, once “Into the Entrails of my Deliverance” kicks in, the band crafts a dissonant wall of sound that enshrouds the listener. The band’s sound is raw and basic, but with melodic moments and quality songwriting. Tracks like “Porphyric Curse” deliver solid drumming and catchy riffs that perfectly complement the demonic vocals.
Never ceasing to amaze us, today we have another killer release from Sun & Moon Records: Svoid – Storming Voices of Inner Devotion. Hailing from Hungary, this band nicely blends Post-Punk, Post-Rock, and Black Metal in a very unique way, kind of sounds like a mixture of Amesoeurs and Watain. Delivering 11 tracks of truly unique and catchy music, the band delivers one of the most unique and chaotic releases of 2016.
Opening with the devilish riffs of “Through the Horizon”, this track has a very unique tempo that completely contrasts the Black Metal elements, similar to what Ihsahn achieves in his latest releases. This contrast is actually what makes this release quite engaging an intoxicating, as you feel that something is a bit off, but in the best of ways. Creating a unique balance between the Post-Punk/Post-Rock and the rawness of their Black Metal foundations, tracks like “Crown of Doom”, “Death, Holy End” and “Never to Redeem” are truly magical and super interesting.
We rarely review split releases, but due to the involvement of both the legendary Drudkh and the gritty Grift, this one made the cut. As a collaboration between Nordvis Produktion and Season of Mist, this four song split release is filled with melancholic Black Metal. Hailing from Ukraine and Sweden respectively, these two outfits have perfected the craft of highly emotional Black Metal that is both aggressive and memorable.
Opening the release we have Drudkh and their “His Twenthy- Fourth Spring” master piece. This track delivers the band signature tempo changes that weave from intense BM passages to more melodic and refined interludes. With a very graceful pace, this track has a certain Vreid/Windir vibe that we find magical. The heavy hitter “Autumn in Sepia” delivers another onslaught of brilliant riffing and tight drumming, perfectly paired with harsh vocals and a very atmospheric chorus section.
Hailing from the dark depths of South America, today we have Colombian trio Nox and their demoralizingly crushing Black Metal 7-inch “Ancestral Arte Negro”. Featuring four raw and punishing tracks, this release brings forth a very organic BM sound that reminds us of the early days of the genre.
The release kicks off with the brutal onslaught brought forth by “Espectro”. The music is quite straightforward, but to the point delivering catchy riffs and powerful shrieks. The grainy sound behind the band’s sound gives it that certain vibe that 90’s releases used to have. Preparing for all-out war, “Atravesando El Umbral” is yet another powerful piece filled with pummeling drumming and a very chaotic and devastating tempo.
Just went you think a band can’t get any better, Harakiri for the Sky unleashes their third full-length release “III: Trauma”. Featuring an even more depressing and more refined sound, this Austrian duo delivers nearly 75 minutes of majestic music. Further expanding and perfecting their melancholic Post-Black Metal sound, the band keeps blowing our minds with their excellent musicianship and brilliant song writing abilities.
Opening with “Calling the Rain”, we instantly get an opus that sounds like a combination of Alcest and Katatonia, without being a rip-off of them. The band’s pace allows their music to grow and deliver waves of melancholic onslaughts as only a handful of bands can do these days. Not settling for one particular musical influence, “Funeral Dreams” moves into more melodic Death Metal territories with some similarities to October Tide… if they played with Black Metal inclinations.