Duir – Obsidio (Review)

DuirDuir are an Italian folk/black metal band and this is their debut EP.

Here we have 31 minutes of music that’s largely rooted in black metal, but has a firm folk side to it. Continue reading

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Bhleg – Solarmegin (Review)

BhlegBhleg are a Swedish folk black metal band and this is their second album.

Roughly four years after Bhleg’s enjoyable debut album Draumr Ást appeared, the band have now returned with a colossal new album; Solarmegin is a 98-minute celebration of the sun. Yes, that’s right; this album is a big one. Continue reading

Crystalmoors – The Mountain Will Forgive Us (Review)

CrystalmoorsCrystalmoors are a Spanish pagan/folk black metal band and this is their third album.

This is a double-album release consisting of two different parts. The first is named The Sap That Feeds Us and the second is named La Montaña.

The Sap That Feeds Us is pagan/folk black metal that should find fans in any that favour the work of Dissection, Primordial, Agalloch and Drudkh.

I like the blackened Continue reading

Hryre – From Mortality to Infinity (Review)

HryreHyrye play atmospheric black metal and come from the UK. This is their debut album.

Featuring harsh black metal that’s born out of the early atmospheric style, it also has some progressive and folk influences that it welcomes into its wind-swept embrace.

Over 66 minutes the band paint dark pictures through extremity Continue reading

Sov – Aklamerad Kalamitet (Review)

SovSov are a Black Metal band and this is their début album.

Sov play underground and honest Black Metal that might superficially seem like the standard fare at first glance, but a deeper scrutiny reveals a band with impressive creative power and a lot of raw talent.

This is an interesting release in that it manages to cultivate an air of both natural forest-dwelling and sophisticated blackened art. The music is suspended between the more naturalistic elements and the modern, progressive influences so that these six tracks are a pleasing blend of the early second-wave style and a more up-to-date interpretation of the genre, à la Watain and Deathspell Omega. Continue reading

Old Forest – Dagian (Review)

Old ForestOld Forest are a Black Metal band from the UK and this is their third album.

This album features four long songs and a fair amount of variety across the 48 minute playing time. The band play Atmospheric Black Metal that has a contemporary feel with nods towards the Pagan, Folk, Gothic, Depressive and Progressive sub-genres of Black Metal.

These additional influences make their presence felt during the tracks and manifest in different ways, from exploratory sections, to enhancing cleans, to Folk instrumentation, subtle synths, and more.

It’s a hugely impressive demonstration of musical ability and songwriting skill; even only a couple of minutes into the first track Morwen, with its Doom-laden intro and understated-yet-powerful cleans, you know this is going to be a special release.

The songs have a lot of content, all contained in a modern Black Metal wrapping and serviced by a recording that’s meaty enough to do the material justice without loosing its Blackened lustre.

The emotive guitars do everything requested of them with ease, whether this is playing fast, slow, or even at a good rocking pace. The guitars serve as a bedrock for the other instruments to be built around, both the standard ones such as the drums and bass, and the non-standard ones that serve to add so much additional atmosphere to the tracks.

Vocals are as varied and interesting as the music; Blackened screams, Gothic cleans and lots in the middle.

Old Forest have produced a very gratifying release that manages to successfully combine old and new into a cohesive atmospheric package. Dagian is impressive, emotive and destined for a lot of positive feedback I would imagine.

For any fans of expressive Atmospheric Black Metal.

Wederganger – Halfvergaan Ontwaakt (Review)

WedergangerWederganger are a Black Metal band from the Netherlands. This is their début album.

This is largely mid-paced Black Metal with a haunting, mystical sound. They have a knack for combining typically dark Black Metal auras with more hopeful/heroic feelings to create music that is a double-edged blade, with one side sounding evil and malevolent and the other sounding epic and heroic.

Let’s start things off by saying that this is a damn fine record, with strong songs and interesting ideas.

The vocals combine strangled screams and confident cleans. These work with the dual nature of the music to create an atmosphere that’s both epic and grim. You can kind of think of it as Darkthrone meets Bathory, with probably a little more of the former in their sound rather than the latter. Either way, it results in Halfvergaan Ontwaakt sounding a bit different to the usual Black Metal norm, which is to be commended.

Wederganger continue in this vein for just under 44 minutes, working their black magic on the listener and weaving a spell that’s quite enticing. Their interesting take on Black Metal is infectious and it’s quite clear that the formula they’ve developed on Halfvergaan Ontwaakt works. These are enjoyable songs that perfectly straddle the boundaries of Orthodox Black Metal and epic, Folk Black Metal.

This is a thoroughly enjoyable release that uses two very old styles as its musical base, allowing the band freedom to create their own vision of what Black Metal should be.

And do you know what? Their vision looks pretty damn good.

Favourite Track: Dodendans. Perfectly judged, sorrowful cleans with just the right amount of vigour, powerful leads and a hypnotic, crawling delivery make this track a winner among a wealth of strong songs.