Ty – The Golden Soul and the Hunger Feelings (Review)

TyTy are an atmospheric/post-black metal band from Venezuela and this is their debut album.

It was the album cover that drew me to this release, and I’m glad it did. This is obscure, underground black metal that focuses on atmosphere and mood rather than aggression or blackened hatred. Continue reading

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Myrkur – Mareridt (Review)

MyrkurMyrkur is a one woman post-black metal band from Denmark. This is her second album.

I thoroughly enjoyed both Myrkur and M; their combination of raw, second wave black metal and folk, choral beauty was as well-judged as it was well-executed. However, if you thought M was the culmination of Myrkur’s style, and Mareridt would be just more of the same, you’d be mistaken. Continue reading

Cormorant – Diaspora (Review)

CormorantCormorant are a progressive black metal band from the US. This is their fourth album.

This is a highly ambitious release, with a wide range and scope across its hour long playing time. Spread across only four tracks, Cormorant pack a lot in on this release. Continue reading

Kjeld/Wederganger – Split (Review)

Kjeld WedergangerKjeld and Wederganger are both black metal bands from the Netherlands. They have teamed up for this split release.

Kjeld are the opening band on this split. 2015’s Skym was cold and evil black metal in the Scandinavian style. On this release they contribute 17 minutes of music in the form of three songs. Continue reading

Jarun – Pod Niebem Utkanym z Popiołu (Review)

JarunJarun are a Black Metal band from Poland and this is their second album.

Jarun play Black Metal with Progressive/Folk elements.

This release combines considered reflection, passionate delivery and fiery Black Metal into a cohesive hole that does well to temper Black Metal’s dark flame with a subtle Folkier perspective. The Progressive Metal elements fit well into this musical tapestry and allow the music an even broader scope.

If you think of a merging of Enslaved, Thy Worshiper, Opeth and ugly, primitive Black Metal then you’ll be on the right lines. The juxtaposition of the raw Black Metal core with the sophistication and nuance of Progressive Black Metal is enough for many bands to contemplate, but add to this some Folk influences and Pod Niebem Utkanym z Popiołu becomes even more impressive.

The band have a guitar sound that they use well; when distorted it’s gritty and abrasive, but when the distortion fades it’s nicely clean and polished.

The vocals are gruff, savage barks that wouldn’t be out of place on an underground Grindcore release. They add real bite to the tracks and show that Jarun have that aggressive core, even when the music is more refined.

These songs are impressively realised beasts that have a lot of variety and content to them. They’re well-written and the playing time makes the most of the incorporated styles to take the listener on a journey through Jarun’s highly textured world.

Jarun strike the right tone with their songs and they get the correct balance between their particular influences. Acoustic and cleaner sections abound within the heavier, grimmer framework and the riffs, solos and leads all add a lot to the moods they create.

When I first approached this release I wasn’t sure what to expect; the cover gives little away, and I don’t read Polish so apart from knowing it was a Black Metal release of sorts, that was all. As it turns out, Pod Niebem Utkanym z Popiołu has been an extremely pleasant surprise. I love albums that have a depth to them and Jarun succeed in being able to write songs that capture the attention with their Progressive style and yet have ample enough aggression to satisfy.

I do fear this is somewhat destined to be a lost gem; let’s try to stop this from happening. Jarun are a band more than deserving of support; this is an impressive album from a talented band.

Extremely highly recommended.

Falloch – This Island, Our Funeral (Review)

FallochFalloch are from the UK, and this is their second album. They play Folk-tinged Post-Rock.

This is the kind of album you’d listen to when trying to relax at the end of a hard day, or when you want something light and non-invasive to tinkle away in the background.

Falloch specialise in nature-inspired songs that take the slow route and utilise the build/release nature of Post-Rock to carve out their ethereal sounds.

This Island, Our Funeral is somewhat of a mix of bands such as Agalloch, Anathema and Blueneck only with more of a Post-Rock style and an elemental, windswept feel.

Guitar melodies and leads conjure images akin to the album cover and the organic production has some steel to it despite the nature of the music.

The vocals are well-performed with layered harmonies and angelic tones. The singer’s voice is well judged and fits the music well; it shares the same Folk-edge that the music does and the vocal melodies seep out of the speakers like honey.

Falloch have crafted an album that attempts to forge an emotional connection with the listener and its success largely depends on how receptive the listener is to what they have to say. They clearly believe in what they’re doing and I think they’re definitely worth a listen or two. Have at it.

Twilight Fauna – Hymns of a Forgotten Homeland (Review)

Twilight FaunaHymns of a Forgotten Homeland is the fourth album from this one-man Black Metal project from the US.

This is a strange and, I would guess, deeply personal release. It’s an album that’s all about creating mood and atmosphere and will undoubtedly not appeal to the vast majority of music fans out there, probably not even most Black Metal adherents.

Why? Because this may be rooted in Black metal but it’s equal parts acoustic/Drone/Ambient in scope. The tracks seep together with dark ambience and seem to corrode at the edges when you listen to them.

The brain behind the project creates a harrowing soundscape of brittle Folk and Blackened Depressive noise. It’s an ode to nature filtered through the Blackened tar-stained lens of Black Metal.

Percussion is used sparingly on these songs, with the main propulsion being the guitar work and low key sounds of cymbals and other noises.

Vocals are low in the mix and are entwined with the music; a sort of agonised braying that tugs at the hidden places in the mind.

The journey through these tracks is fraught with distorted longing and a deep sense of loneliness. It’s not an expedition that most people will want to take, and those that do would do well to remember not to leave home unequipped and unprepared.

So, if you’re made of stern stuff and prepared to open your heart to what Twilight Fauna have to offer, then Hymns to a Forgotten Homeland will accompany you on a journey into the raw, lonely beauty of nature.

Eissturm – The Purpose (Review)

EissturmThis is US band Eissturm and they play Black Metal with Ambient and Folk touches.

This is Black Metal in the style of Vinterrikket with Metal tracks interspersed with more Ambient, Folky numbers.

In the Metal parts the guitars are fuzzy, atmospheric and concentrate on building mood with layers of ice cold depth. It’s heavily distorted and laden with reverberation.

The guitars aim to create maximum emotion and the extra effects create a veneer of feeling that radiates outwards from the songs like a cyclone.

The vocals are either emitted like static; scratching and screeching their way through the storms, or howling and tortured; crying out in anguish against the wind.

The ambient tracks reinforce the fact that this is Black Metal born of a frigid, desolate environment where survival is hard and night is perpetual. Each one adds to the mystique and flavour of the album and draws you into their world even more.

Like walking through a snowstorm in a barren landscape with no food or shelter for days. Icy and atmospheric Ambient Black Metal done well.

The Down Troddence – How Are You? We Are Fine, Thank You (Review)

The Down TroddenceThe Down Troddence are from India and play an interesting blend of Thrash Metal and other influences.

The Indian scene seems to be endlessly fresh, exciting and innovative; you’re never quite sure what to expect from the multitude of different bands that are based there. The Down Troddence are a perfect example of this; based on the name and album cover I wasn’t given much clue, even the brief description that I did have didn’t really tell me much.

What we get here is groove-heavy Thrash with interesting melodies and influences from a multitude of other genres interspersed within the heaviness.

The vocals remind me of the ones that Pitchshifter used on their early releases, only raspier; they share that same strange, rhythmic, mechanistic and unusual quality that Pitchshifter used so well in the beginning. They sound robotic, inhuman and characterful all at the same time. Odd but effective.

Musically it’s well-played modern Thrash with melody, leads, solos and added effects and keyboards. As well as the odd Folk influence they also incorporate aspects of psychedelia and Industrial sounds into the songs. Taken all together this adds up to an interesting and quite varied listen that has a modern Metal core but has enough elements of older Thrash and other influences to keep things really interesting.

So, take old Pitchshifter, add a dollop of Devildriver, throw in some classic Thrash, and then mix in a pinch of Folk/Psychedelia/Industrial sounds and you have a recipe for How Are You? We Are Fine, Thank You.

Unexpected and gratefully received; this is an album full of joys and with a lot to offer. Another victory from India.