Sektarism – La Mort de l’Infidèle (Review)

SektarismSektarism are a French doom band. This is their second album.

When an album is just three tracks and yet spans over an hour of material, you know you’re in for some properly slow doom dirges. Continue reading

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Ols – Ols (Review)

OlsOls is a one-woman neofolk project from Poland. This is her debut album.

This is a release that’s spiritually inspired by atmospheric black metal in some ways, (and also features cover versions of Katatonia and Agalloch tracks), but is musically separate from the style. Essentially a neofolk release, the album also takes influence from dark ambient and alternative rock/pop in places. 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

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

Caïna – Christ Clad in White Phosphorus (Review)

CainaCaïna are a black metal band from the UK. This is their seventh album.

What do you get if you combine raw black metal with industrial and dark ambient? You get Christ Clad in White Phosphorus.

The ugly, intense black metal parts are my favourite bits of this album, as they rage with an underground fury and intensity the likes of which most bands only aspire to. It’s not all about Continue reading

Messa – Belfry (Review)

MessaThis is the début album from Messa, a doom/drone metal band from Italy.

Messa provide the listener with almost an hour of occult retro doom and dark ambience.

This is akin to a strange-yet-effective mix of Sunn O))) and Pentagram, with deliciously seductive female vocals included. Some tracks are dark ambient/drone, full of mysterious atmospheres and distorted malice, while others take Continue reading

Abstracter/Dark Circles – Split (Review)

Abstracter Dark CirclesAbstracter are a Sludge/Doom band from the US, and Dark Circles are a Hardcore band from Canada.

Both of Abstracter’s full length albums, (Tomb of Feathers and Wound Empire), feature regularly in my listening. And with good reason; their brand of heavy, blackened Sludge/Doom is expertly done. On this release they contribute 2 tracks, lasting almost 20 minutes in total.

Barathrum starts off showcasing the band’s blackened aspect, with dark, murky blast beats charging through a sea of tar. This rather quickly spends itself, leading into a slow, sludgy crawl through murkiest waters as Abstracter embrace their dirty Doom side. Occasional forays into speed and groovier territories comprise the remaining running time, with the singer’s thick growl accompanying you the entire way.

If you haven’t encountered Abstracter before then this song is as good an introduction as any into their harsh, underground Sludge Metal.

But we’re not done yet, as there’s a second track; Where All Pain Converges. This is a little longer than the first and generally a bit slower and more considered. If Barathrum showcased the band’s harsher side then this one showcases their more atmospheric. That’s not to say this isn’t harsh and heavy, (it is), but that it also has more of a blatant emotive quality to the guitars than the soul-crushing nihilism of the first. Mixing slower sections with some more upbeat parts, the overall mood is maintained throughout and Abstracter once again show why they’re so very good at what they do.

After this onslaught of despair and misery, we leave Abstracter to wallow in their pit of pain, and approach, timidly, Dark Circles. This band offer up a different form of gloom with their characterful brand of dark Hardcore. Being familiar with their previous work on MMXIV, it’s good to catch up with them again and here they give us 4 songs, lasting just under 13 minutes.

Ashen starts us off with a squeal of feedback before violently picking up the pace with the band’s dark blend of abrasive Hardcore. One of the things I like about Dark Circles is their ability to inject an emotive bleakness into their raging chaos, engaging the listener and prompting them to move closer, despite the inherent danger. The second track Void follows on in a similar theme, (but with added atmosphere), and both initial tracks blur by in a haze of anger and distorted malice.

After these typically short and nasty affairs both of the next tracks are much longer by comparison, relative to this split and to their work on MMXIV. Isolate starts immediately, all blackened teeth and bile. The longer playing time allows the band the opportunity to flesh out the more atmospheric side of their sound that briefly reared its head during Void. This shows itself to be an apocalyptic Sludge/Doom influence, heavy and foreboding, before the Hardcore energy picks up once more.

The final track is called Epilogue (Quietus) OP. 28 No. 4 and is a little different, as the name suggests; here the band give vent to a dark ambient side and swamp the listener with a slow-building tense piece of drone that creates a nicely unsettling and worrying atmosphere.

Both bands have contributed some very nice work to this split release, and although they do play different styles they also have more than enough overlap and similar themes to complement each other perfectly. As splits go, this works a treat and is definitely one you should check out.