Wonderbox Metal gets sent a lot of new music, (which is great), but there’s no way that everything can get covered unfortunately, (which is not so great). This new column hopes to redress this balance, if only slightly, by taking a look at a handful of releases that a record label has recently sent out that might have otherwise slipped through the cracks.
A new release from Avantgarde Music is almost always worth exploring. Whenever I see a new record from the label on the horizon, I know to pay attention. With a strong track record for producing engaging and interesting black metal and doom albums, there’s always something good to discover…
Mesarthim – CLG J02182–05102 – Atmospheric Black Metal – Australia
The mysterious entity known as Mesarthim continues to pump out quality, exploratory music it seems.
On this latest release the music utilises an atmospheric black metal approach that’s fused with elements of electronica. The end result somehow manages to combine blackened rawness with both atmospheric immensity and a sci-fi beauty that’s quite remarkable. The songs are immediately striking, but stick with you longer and longer the more you get to know them.
Another Grade A release from Mesarthim. Creative and expansive, this is very gratifying material.
Ikarie – Cuerpos en Sombra – Doom/Post-Metal – Spain
Ikarie play a mixture of Cult of Luna-style post-metal and old-school Peaceville-style doom metal.
The songs are atmospheric and filled with a sense of loss and woe. The band have a well-developed sense of post-metal’s heaviness and its build/release mechanic, which Ikarie blend together with old-school doom’s concise songcraft and misery-drenched vibes.
Cuerpos en Sombra is an exploration of not only despondent moody gloom, but also of how the worlds of doom metal and post-metal might come together to work as one. As an experiment, it has worked, and Ikarie have shown that they know what to do with this sort of material.
Olio Tähtien Takana – Spectral Katharsis – Symphonic Black Metal – Finland
Here we have a swirling maelstrom of misanthropic fury, grim melody, and otherworldly keyboards.
Inspired by the symphonic black metal of the 90s, (think Emperor, Alghazanth, and Limbonic Art), Spectral Katharsis sounds as if it could have been made back then. I appear to have somewhat of a soft spot for this style of symphonic black metal. Honestly, it’s like I’ve travelled back to the 90s when I listen to this. With well-written songs, buckets of atmosphere, and a singer that can do a wide range of vocal styles very well, Spectral Katharsis is a very enjoyable listen, despite my rampant nostalgia.
Well, it’s not often you hear something as good as this in the symphonic black metal realm. 2021 does seem a suspiciously good year for the style however, although Olio Tähtien Takana’s sound is rawer and more old-school than that of Necronautical and Night Crowned, for example.
Just listen to this.
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