We get a ton of cookie cutter Black Metal bands and their ‘cult’ sounding albums, and this makes for a very tedious job of listening to their albums and producing an objective opinion on them, however there are days when we get lucky and bump into an actual release that represents the earlier days of BM with a bit of a different edge to it. Today we found “In Memoriam, III Omen”, and after doing some research of the band we figured out that the quality of this album made sense since it features several members of the great Nazxul.
When it comes to rawness Vulvark would get the highest marks, however the whole raw concept of the album gets a bit tired after a while and then you are left with a disconnected array of several elements that would have made for a better album under the hands of somebody more creative.
The ten minute epic opening track and the next two made me very optimistic about how this album was going to turn out, but as the next tracks made their appearance this illusion quickly faded. Clocking at 1 hour and 6 minutes, I think this album should have been cut at track 3 and this would make a great EP. However the last 5 songs just destroyed the whole momentum the band built on the opening tracks.
The Ruins Of Beverast is a one man project from the drummer of the defunct band Nagelfar. The ‘band’ brings us a very dense sounding and highly enjoyable Black Metal album that features a wide variety of elements that make this release a very different one from the piles of BM albums that are released every month.
“Foul Semen Of A Sheltered Elite” features 10 tracks of sickness that will keep the listeners on the edge of their seats. The music ranges from ambient-like passages to blast-beat sections in a very well arranged manner. It never becomes dull or boring for the whole duration of this journey into darkness.
With the moniker of “True Slovenian Black Metal” stamped on the CD I figured this band would play something a little more… organized. While the brutality and speed is undeniable in this release, sometimes it just feels that they are just banging at their instruments with no coherence behind them.
That being said, there are plenty of ‘trashy’ sounding BM riffs here and the intensity of the guitars is pretty good. The drumming is very bestial and sounds like a demon with 4 arms and 4 legs is playing the drums at some points, it’s also sometimes very random sounding and it makes me wonder if they can play the same song twice without making a mistake.
If I’m ever looking for a brutal and raw Black Metal album, I always turn back to my Azaghal and Horna albums, since they are the true embodiment of this genre. Azaghal returns after one year of releasing “Omega” and the still bring their A game to the table.
The only change that Azaghal has suffered is the very light use of synth in their last two albums, and in “Teraphim” this element makes me like this album even better. This being said, do not expect Dimmu Borgir style synths or anything like that, just small hints to complement a song.
“Wormwood” is probably one of the most expected Black Metal releases of 2009 and it fully delivers what is expected from Marduk. The album features Black Metal at its most refined state, blasting away since the first song and never letting go.
Marduk’s status as BM legends has been earned by constantly releasing quality albums since their debut album “Dark Endless” back in 92, the band has constantly been evolving refining their style to its current state.
Merrimack is a French Black Metal band that while not extremely ‘known in the scene’, they manage to create a good album with “Grey Rigorism”. After 3 years of releasing their best album to date “Of Entropy And Life Denial” the band is here trying to recapture their momentum, but they just achieve other album just like “Of Entropy And Life Denial” and nothing more.
The quality of “Grey Rigorism” is unquestionable and the band is very good at writing songs and creating a very malevolent atmosphere. If this is the first album you have heard of the band it will surely blow you away. The band creates a very balanced mix of BM that includes fast tremolo picked parts and some less intense more rhythmic parts, like many BM bands are doing these days, particularly Marduk.
Ambient Raw Black Metal newcomers Canis Dirus hail from Minnesota, USA, yeah you read correctly from the USA. This two man band is probably one of the best new bands of the genre hailing from the USA besides Wolves Of The Throne Room.
Invoking the old Burzum sound as well as the insane vocals of Bethlehem’s first albums “A Somber Wind From A Distant Shore” is a very solid release that features a very primitive and raw sound that will send shivers down to anybody’s spine after listening to it in the dark or better yet in the woods.
After going into a full-length album hibernation of 14 years, Australia’s cult legends Nazxul are back with a masterful Black Metal release that will set straight all the posers in the scene, and will show to all others how a Black Metal album should be done.
While the band’s releases between full length albums where good, they could not compare to “Totem” until now. “Iconoclast” features 14 tracks (ambient passages included) of 90’s sounding Black Metal, something that is rare to find these days. While people might argue that the passages in-between tracks are just fillers, I have to say that they provide the perfect breathing time and the necessary pause in order to fully appreciate the next ‘real’ track.
Hiems (winter in Latin) hails from Italy and it’s a one man band side-project from Algol the bassist of Forgotten Tomb, one of the most boring Black Metal band’s that I’ve heard.
“Worship Or Die” is an overall improvement of the music created by Forgotten Tomb, but is still pretty tame in comparison to other Black Metal releases. The whole album feels very slow except for the occasional bursts of speed that are infused here and there, probably for the listener to not fall asleep.