Arkheth – 12 Winter Moons Comes the Witches Brew (Review)

ArkhethArkheth is an Australian one-man black metal band and this is his third album.

12 Winter Moons Comes the Witches Brew is an experimental black metal release that takes a multitude of styles and influences and boils them all together into 41 minutes of very enjoyable music. Continue reading

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Orbseven – Cosmos out of Chaos (Review)

OrbsevenOrbseven is a one-man post-black metal band from the US and this is his fourth album.

2014’s .ismos. was a creative and novel album that took various aspects of avant-garde, experimental, and post-black metal and forged them into something quite enjoyable and satisfying. Continue reading

Locust Leaves – A Subtler Kind of Light (Review)

Locust LeavesLocust Leaves are a Greek avant-garde/progressive black metal band and this is their debut album.

This is black metal that embraces classic, thrash and progressive metal in its search for a perfect form of artistic expression. Continue reading

Todesstoss – Ebne Graun (Review)

TodesstossTodesstoss are a German black metal band and this is their eighth album.

After releasing 2015’s challenging and unusual Hirngemeer, Todesstoss are now back with their latest release, which features one 48 minute track.

Just like its predecessor, Ebne Graun is a sprawling, mind-shattering release full of discordant black metal, rampant experimentation and peculiar personality. Continue reading

Créatures – Le Noir Village (Review)

CréaturesCréatures is an avant-garde/experimental black metal one-man project from France and this is his debut album.

The vocals on this release are quite varied, shifting and morphing in line with the demands of the music. Apparently multiple guest vocalists contribute to the tracks, each having a different part to play in the narrative.

Sometimes we get a voice that’s full of commanding authority and blackened malice, sometimes even Continue reading

Todtgelichter – Rooms (Review)

TodtgelichterThis is the fifth album from Todtgelichter, who play progressive/avant-garde black metal.

Rooms comes across as a combination of Enslaved and Madder Mortem, with a side-order of some of Arcturus‘ work. The resultant mix reminds of a post-black metal version of Obscure Sphinx. Which, considering who good Obscure Sphinx are, is an exciting proposition.

The music generally fuses elements of Continue reading

Terra Tenebrosa – The Reverses (Review)

Terra TenebrosaThis is the third album from Terra Tenebrosa, a black metal band from Sweden.

Terra Tenebrosa are definitely one of the stranger, more imaginative bands out there at the moment. This is experimental, avant-garde metal with a blackened side and all manner of sinister and misanthropic vibes.

If you take a mutated, warped black metal core, and add in Continue reading

Pogavranjen – Jedva Čekam Da Nikad Ne Umrem (Review)

PogavranjenPogavranjen are a Croatian avant-garde Post-Black Metal band and this is their third album.

Pogavranjen are one of many Post-Black Metal bands who are not content with the base genre and are intent on pushing boundaries and experimenting with the genre to help them get to the sound they want. In this case, this means twisting the core style in avant-garde, progressive, jazz and psychedelic ways, mutating it into the end result on Jedva Čekam Da Nikad Ne Umrem.

In addition to the standard instruments, the band use keyboards, synths, trumpets and trombones to achieve their vision. All of these are well-played and the musicians clearly know what they’re doing, whether it’s playing more straightforward parts, more involved, jazz-inspired free-form chaos, or building atmosphere with grim intent.

Coming across as a curious mix of Ephel Duath, Arcturus, Manes and Solefald, the band spend 45 minutes building up intricate and textured soundscapes, taking the listener on a compelling journey into the abyss.

The vocals mainly consist of well-performed cleans that are full of presence and an authoritarian charisma. They immediately catch the attention and provide a focal point while the music travels down multiple paths of darkened delights.

Jedva Čekam Da Nikad Ne Umrem is a real slow-burner of an album, requiring multiple listens to truly give up its secrets, and even then it keeps some back, jealous of its esoteric knowledge. It’s worth the effort though, as Pogavranjen’s avant-garde stylings are definitely on the right-side of quirky and this album is full of impressive sounds and moods.

Recommended.

Arcturus – Arcturian (Review)

ArcturusArcturus are a Norwegian Avant-Garde Progressive Black Metal band and this is their fifth album.

This legendary band finally make a return with their unique and charismatic take on Metal. This is 48 minutes of extravagance, style, class, eccentricity and outright esoteric musicality. The level of skill and talent involved in a release like this is staggering really, when compared with the average band. But then Arcturus have always been outliers.

This album is somewhat of a blend of their earlier and later work. It’s more accessible than the pure theatricality of La Masquerade Infernale, but less cautious than Sideshow Symphonies; the result is an album that takes the right amount of cues from both.

Arcturian is a perfectly judged melting pot of disparate influences that balances them all off against each other in a coherent-yet-varied way. From blast beats to orchestral oddness and everything in between, this is highly-textured and richly evocative music that’s not afraid to pile on the layers of atmosphere and feeling. The songs have depth, dynamics, pacing and personality.

As a focal point, we have the amazing voice of the singer. He has always been one of my favourite vocalists, no matter what band he has been playing in, and on Arcturian he excels in every way. Boasting one of the most distinctive and powerful voices in Metal, he complements the expansive and nuanced music with a strong presence and commanding performance. Hot stuff.

I’m extremely pleased to say that Arcturus’ first offering in a decade is a resounding success, at least with me it is. Music is highly subjective and a lot of people just won’t ‘get’ this, (more fool them), but for those that do, this heralds a wondrous homecoming. Arcturian is a return to form after their last album, (which was good, but lacking that something special that their other work had), and an album to listen to and absorb over and over again.

An important release.