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)”

Fuath – II (Review)

Fuath - IIThis is the second album from Fuath, a one-man UK black metal band.

Here we have 42 minutes of atmospheric black metal in the vein of the 90s second wave. The promo blurb mentions bands such as Darkthrone, Mayhem, Burzum, Drudkh, and Windir, and these influences are well-represented Continue reading “Fuath – II (Review)”

Aara – Triade I: Eos (Review)

Aara - Triade I EosThis is the third album from Swiss black metallers Aara.

The melodic and atmospheric forms of black metal collide and collude on Triade I: Eos to produce 45 minutes of concept-themed music. Continue reading “Aara – Triade I: Eos (Review)”

Mare Cognitum – Solar Paroxysm (Review)

Mare Cognitum - Solar ParoxysmThis is the fifth album from one-man black metal band Mare Cognitum.

The artist behind Mare Cognitum is one of the absolute best in the genre when it comes to atmospheric black metal. I’ve had the pleasure of reviewing Phobos MonolithLuminiferous Aether, and last year’s colossal Wanderers: Astrology of the Nine – Split with Spectral Lore, and his stellar Continue reading “Mare Cognitum – Solar Paroxysm (Review)”

Wolf King – The Path of Wrath (Review)

Wolf King - The Path of WrathThis is the second album from US blackened hardcore band Wolf King.

2018’s Loyal to the Soil was an enjoyable slice of vicious nastiness, so I knew that Continue reading “Wolf King – The Path of Wrath (Review)”

Monthly Overview – the Best of February 2021

As far as Februarys go, I found February 2021 to be quite exceptionally high in quality when it came to metal albums. Let’s dive in to some of the best from last month… Continue reading “Monthly Overview – the Best of February 2021”

Kjeld – Ôfstân (Review)

Kjeld - ÔfstânKjeld are a black metal band from the Netherlands and this is their second album.

Kjeld’s debut album Skym saw the light of day back in 2015, and apart from their split with Wederganger in 2016, (which was then rereleased as an EP in 2018), we’ve had nothing new from them since. So, when Ôfstân appeared on my radar, I knew Continue reading “Kjeld – Ôfstân (Review)”