Mānbryne – Heilsweg: O Udręce Ciała I Tułaczce Duszy (Review)

Mānbryne - O Udręce Ciała I Tułaczce DuszyThis is the debut album from Polish black metallers Mānbryne.

Featuring members of Blaze of Perdition, Odraza, and Voidhanger, Mānbryne grabbed my attention right out of the gate. On Heilsweg: O Udręce Ciała I Tułaczce Duszy the band offer up 41-minutes of malevolent black metal, and it is very gratefully received. Continue reading “Mānbryne – Heilsweg: O Udręce Ciała I Tułaczce Duszy (Review)”

Corr Mhóna – Abhainn (Review)

Corr Mhóna - AbhainnThis is the second album from Irish black metal band Corr Mhóna.

Abhainn is a 56-minute progressive black metal album that also contains a healthy amount of doom and folk influences. It’s ambitious and bold, but also very striking and well-realised. The band have clearly put a lot into this work, and it shows; Abhainn is Continue reading “Corr Mhóna – Abhainn (Review)”

Utburd – Story of Frozen Souls (Review)

Utburd - Story of Frozen SoulsThis is the third album from Russian one-man black metal band Utburd.

Story of Frozen Souls is the 58-minute follow up to 2018’s The Horrors Untold.

Utburd’s music is a mix of the atmospheric Continue reading “Utburd – Story of Frozen Souls (Review)”

Saille – V (Review)

Saille - VThis is the fifth album from Belgian black metallers Saille.

Following on from 2014’s Eldritch and 2017’s Gnosis, Saille now return with V, which contains 46 minutes of new material. Saille are not the same band we have met in the past, however. The 2021 incarnation of Saille is Continue reading “Saille – V (Review)”

Forsmán – Dönsum i Logans Ljóma (Review)

Forsman - Dönsum i Logans LjómaThis is the debut EP from Icelandic black metallers Forsmán.

Forsmán play melodic black metal that’s potent and cold. There are four tracks here with a total duration of 25 minutes, and it makes for a quality first foray into the world. Continue reading “Forsmán – Dönsum i Logans Ljóma (Review)”

Scitalis – Awakening (Review)

Scitalis - AwakeningThis is the debut EP from Swedish black metallers Scitalis.

Scitalis display a controlled aggression and boast a potent melodic streak. This EP is 29 minutes long and is a great opportunity to experience the spirit and talent of a promising new band’s first creation. Continue reading “Scitalis – Awakening (Review)”

Wode – Burn in Many Mirrors (Review)

Wode - Burn in Many MirrorsThis is the third album from UK black metallers Wode.

Burn in Many Mirrors contains 39 minutes of furiously potent blackened aggression.

Wode mix in elements of death metal into their blackened brew, allowing them to beef up their Continue reading “Wode – Burn in Many Mirrors (Review)”

Nordicwinter – Sorrow (Review)

Nordicwinter - SorrowThis is the fourth album from Canadian one-man black metal act Nordicwinter.

After enjoying 202’s Desolation, I was pleased to see another work from this artist so quickly. Sorrow contains 53 minutes of atmospheric/depressive black metal. Continue reading “Nordicwinter – Sorrow (Review)”

Decline of the I – Johannes (Review)

Decline of the I - JohannesThis is the fourth album from French post-black metallers Decline of the I.

After enjoying 2015’s Rebellion and 2018’s Escape, when Johannes appeared I knew I had to sample its dark wares. Armed with a new lineup formed around the band’s core artist, Johannes is a 51-minute journey into thoughtful mood-driven darkness.

These new songs are layered explorations of post-blackened detail and nuanced soundscapes. The music is multifaceted and textured, drawing in a range of influences to build on the band’s black metal foundations. The five songs on Johannes are each masters of their own creation, while still fitting into the whole, and provide the listener with a creative and rich landscape to explore.

Each song boasts a lot of content, with a wealth of good ideas and enriching sounds ably showcased by the band. There’s an epic streak to Decline of the I’s music, more apparent than ever in their latest work. Sometimes it’s hidden in plain sight, while at others it ascends to malevolent prominence. Either way, a certain amount of majestic grandeur is ever-present in the music, and it works very well indeed.

The band’s ability to blend sharp aggression with menacing atmosphere is very effective. I really like the use of guitars on this release. Some of of the riffs and blackened rhythms feel like they cut to the core, and combined with the skilful and inventive use of melodies, contribute to the thoroughly enjoyable and satisfying musical experience that these five songs offer. Lighter moments appear, balancing the blackened heaviness of the distorted sections. Existing somewhere between post-rock, jazz, and experimental atmospheric ambient minimalism, these parts may not be too common, but they add value to the songs.

Piercing screams are joined by darker growls and choral accents. The singers all do a great job, and, like the music, the vocals are very accomplished.

Despite how much I enjoyed both Rebellion and Escape, I think that Johannes is probably Decline of the I’s richest, most complete and well-realised work to date.

Very highly recommended.

Udånde – Life of a Purist (Review)

Udånde - Life of a PuristThis is the debut album from Udånde, a solo black metal band based in Slovakia, augmented by as session vocalist and drummer.

Now here’s an album to thoroughly scratch that modern black metal itch. Life of a Purist is atmospheric and melodic, without being entirely beholden to either Continue reading “Udånde – Life of a Purist (Review)”