Ὁπλίτης (Hoplites) – Ψευδομένη (Review)

Ὁπλίτης - ΨευδομένηThis is the debut album from Ὁπλίτης (otherwise known as Hoplites), a one-man post-black metal band from China.

Ψευδομένη contains 38 minutes of experimental avant-garde black metal. The artist behind Ὁπλίτης has combined a lot of different styles and influences into this record. Imagine Blut Aus Nord, Jute Gyte, and Deathspell Omega crossed with Frontierer, Converge, and Sectioned, along with a touch of Ephel Duath and Oranssi Pazuzu, and you’ll have a rough idea of what you’ll encounter here. Continue reading “Ὁπλίτης (Hoplites) – Ψευδομένη (Review)”

Ashenspire – Hostile Architecture (Review)

Ashenspire - Hostile ArchitectureAshenspire are a post-black metal band from the UK and this is their second album.

Holy crap. This is not your standard album, not at all. It’s striking, individual, shockingly emotive, and relentlessly harsh in atmosphere and tone. To set the scene somewhat – Ashenspire play a form of post-black metal with strong avant-garde, experimental, and progressive tendencies. Featuring current and ex-members of Barshasketh and Falloch, Hostile Architecture is a 44-minute journey into the contemporary urban heart of darkness. Continue reading “Ashenspire – Hostile Architecture (Review)”

Act of Denial – Negative (Review)

Act of Denial - NegativeThis is the debut album from Act of Denial, an international melodic death metal band.

Featuring current and ex-members of bands such as Death, Decapitated, Ephel Duath, Septic Flesh, and Testament, as well as the superlative singer of Soilwork/The Night Flight Orchestra, I was eagerly awaiting this release to see what kind of punch it packed. Continue reading “Act of Denial – Negative (Review)”

Cicada the Burrower – Corpseflower (Review)

Cicada the Burrower - CorpseflowerThis is the fourth album from one-woman black metal band Cicada the Burrower.

Corpseflower is an intriguing and engaging collection of tracks that mix jazz, post-hardcore, psychedelic rock, and post-rock into a 31-minute progressive/post-black metal framework that also incorporates elements of blackgaze and depressive black metal. Continue reading “Cicada the Burrower – Corpseflower (Review)”

White Ward – Futility Report (Review)

White WardThis is the debut album from White Ward, a Ukrainian post-black metal band.

This is post-black metal with avant-garde tendencies. However, this is a very simplistic description of what you’ll find on Futility Report; the music is anything but simple.

Mix Ihsahn, Ulver, Ephel Duath, Blut Aus Nord, Deafheaven, and Wolves in the Throne Room together, and you’ll still only have the barest glimpse of what White Ward play. Continue reading “White Ward – Futility Report (Review)”

Brain Tentacles – Brain Tentacles (Review)

Brain TentaclesBrain Tentacles are an experimental/avant-garde/jazz/grind/doom metal band from the US. This is their debut album.

Experimental/avant-garde/jazz/grind/doom metal is a bit of a mouthful, and in all honesty doesn’t even properly do justice to the sounds that this album contains at any rate.

In addition to the usual drums and bass you’ll also find synth, piano and horns on this release. But no guitars. Continue reading “Brain Tentacles – Brain Tentacles (Review)”

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.