Nyss – Princesse Terre (Three Studies of Silence and Death) (Review)

NyssNyss are a French ambient/atmospheric black metal band and this is their debut album.

Nyss play raw, underground black metal that’s inspired by the second wave, but then fleshed out by atmospheric and ambient influences. Continue reading

Eoront – Another Realm (Review)

EorontEoront are a Russian black metal band and this is their second album.

Playing keyboard enriched atmospheric black metal with a deep mystical side, Eoront’s latest album contains over an hour of sprawling, epic music. Continue reading

Ande – Het Gebeente (Review)

AndeThis is the second album from Ande, an atmospheric black metal solo project from Belgium.

We have already encountered Ande’s 2015 debut Licht, and now it’s time to take a look at the follow up.

Longer by about 15 minutes than the first release, Het Gebeente is a more mature, confident and assured selection of dark hymns.

Starting off with a piano intro, the remaining five songs, (the sixth is different), mix the second wave of black metal with Continue reading

Ultha – Converging Sins (Review)

UlthaThis is Ultha’s second album. They are a black metal band from Germany.

Now this is quite the find. Mixing elements of Burzum, Emperor, Wolves in the Throne Room and Lycus, Ultha mix old and new black metal with some crushing doom influences to produce 63 minutes of bleak melancholy and dark allure. Continue reading

Moloch – Verwüstung (Review)

MolochMoloch is a Ukrainian one-man Black Metal band. This is his latest album.

This is Old-School Black Metal that’s bookended by two Dark Ambient pieces, both of which are strangely effective.

The main feast is primitive, raw Black Metal that’s of the lo-fi persuasion and reminds of bands like Burzum and Xasthur. Elements of the Depressive Black Metal style rear their despondent heads on occasion, lending a painful edge to Moloch’s cold Black Metal.

These songs seem barely held together, but not because they are sloppily played or anything like that. The playing is in fact quite tight, but the style of Black Metal on Verwüstung has an inherently chaotic, tortured feel to it; it’s almost as if this has been created and released under extreme duress and some significant amount of pain.

The vocals howl, shriek and seemingly claw their way through the tracks with the sharpness of a sword. An impressive performance is given and I can only imagine the man was emotionally ruined near the end of the recording process. At least, it sounds that way.

Good variety and songwriting means that Verwüstung is an involving and engaging listen, with enough changes in speed and feeling to keep things interesting without becoming inconsistent.

With a recording that’s underground enough to be raw yet coherent enough to work well with the material, Verwüstung is a very satisfying album and a very strong listen.

Be sure to check this out.

Todesstoss – Hirngemeer (Review)

TodesstossThis is the seventh album from German Black Metal band Todesstoss.

At 75 minutes in length this is a long album that only contains 3 tracks. I mention this purely to set the scene for the kind of sprawling, unconventional, Blackened vision that Todesstoss have.

This is Experimental Black Metal that takes the serrated core of Black Metal and adds Electronica, Ambient, Martial, Dark Rock, Avant-Garde and Depressive tendencies to it, creating songs that are unhinged marvels of deranged darkness.

Various instruments and flashes of sound compliment the core instrumentation and the mangled, psychotic vocals punctuate the music like stab wounds. His violent outbursts are quite disturbed and fit the uncompromising music.

Think bands like Bethlehem/Burzum/Deinonychus/Dødheimsgard, only stretched out to the extreme.

There are a lot of themes and moods spread across these tracks and it’s clear that a lot of work and effort has gone into perfecting the meaning and rationale for the existence of every part of this music. To some listeners it may seem as if occasional bits of noise or instruments are randomly inserted here and there, but I suspect that everything is where it is for a reason.

These certainly aren’t songs in the traditional sense, but rather canvasses of sound that are used for exploratory experimentalism by their creators to give voice to what dwells inside them. It’s a fascinating insight into a warped psyche as portrayed via the medium of mutated, corrupted Black Metal.

This is not an album you enjoy in the traditional sense. It’s an album you survive, and then, suffering from Stockholm Syndrome, you develop an affinity for the abuse it puts you through and eventually go back to it time and time again for more punishment.

Let your re-education begin.

Fluisteraars – Luwte (Review)

FluisteraarsFluisteraars are a Black Metal band from the Netherlands and this is their second album.

Fluisteraars forge their windswept Black Metal from a core of the harsh, razor-sharp second-wave sound and build on this with expansive and emotive qualities to produce the Atmospheric Black Metal that we have on Luwte.

As noted above; their approach to lengthy Atmospheric Black Metal is a sharper and more dangerous proposition than most. Luwte shares more in common with the darker, more epic side of Burzum and Darkthrone than it does with Atmospheric Black Metal bands that incorporate Progressive and Post-Black Metal sounds into their music.

Icy, Blackened riffs tear out from the music like a blizzard, but this harshness is restrained by more melodic passages. These sections still have an affinity with the biting frost, but it’s a more insidious, creeping cold, and all the more deadly for it.

The music has a tendency to blow like a storm, interrupted by moments of calmer beauty that are still dark and foreboding, warning of what’s to come. The songs are punctuated violently by howling screams, although these are relatively few and far between, with the music remaining the focal point of the band.

Fluisteraars have created a deeply engaging album with Luwte. Rather than relying on keyboards, additional instruments or elements of different sub-genres, it’s nice to see Atmospheric Black Metal that takes its cues from the original, raw, frozen style.

Highly recommended.

Myrkur – M (Review)

MyrkurThis is the début album from this Danish solo Black Metal project, although on this release she is joined by other musicians too.

This is second-wave Black Metal with supplemental ethereal flourishes. Angelic clean vocals and harsh, daemonic screams play out across music that’s as frozen as it is beautiful. Think bands like Burzum and Vinterriket, only with added atmospheric instrumentation and stunning female cleans.

And stunning is the right word, as the brains behind this outfit has an amazing voice. Sounding transcendentally beautiful and uplifting, her voice is an incredible tool that gets used just right. The screaming doesn’t let the side down either; this is the kind of scratchy, static-like high-pitched shrieking that works so well in Atmospheric Black Metal.

If the music was straightforward Black Metal I think that it might be put to shame by her voice. However, in reality the Black Metal core is added to by so many other instruments and elements that the beauty of the clean vocals and the icy nature of the guitars don’t reveal too much contrast as there’s a lot of other music going on to bring the two closer together; in addition to the standard Black Metal instruments we also get piano, violin, horn, tuba and other traditional Scandinavian instruments used on the tracks.

The main juxtaposition comes when the angelic cleans aren’t being used; here we get malevolent Black Metal with frosted fury and malignant intentions. These sections segue nicely into the more atmospheric/Folkier parts though, so there’s no massive disconnect, only a compelling and involving soundscape that contrasts the beauty of a frosty landscape with the dangers inherent in such a scene.

M doesn’t contain songs in a traditional sense; the tracks are movements designed to showcase an emotive musical tapestry that takes the best from second-wave Black Metal and adds extra layers to it via clean singing and bright atmospherics.

There’s not really anyone playing this kind of Black Metal at the moment, certainly not with this level of proficiency at any rate. It’s definitely a less-travelled path that Myrkur is treading and it’s going to be pretty exciting to see where it leads in the future. My hope is that the songs become lengthier and even more epic in scope, as my only real complaint about M is that it is over far too quickly.

But I digress. For the moment let’s ignore what the future holds and concentrate on what we have; authentic Black Metal with an individual and highly emotive take on the source material. M is a success in every way, and after the tantalising glimpse into her world that was her début EP, we have not been disappointed by the promises it contained.

This is a class album; doing something a little different with Black Metal while still retaining the core of the style has worked wonders.

This album will garner all kinds of praise from all kinds of people. Trust me, it’s worth it.