Forgotten Tomb – We Owe You Nothing (Review)

Forgotten TombThis is the ninth album from Forgotten Tomb, an Italian black/doom/sludge metal band.

I do have a particular fondness for Forgotten Tomb. Over the years they have morphed from depressive black metal into some form of reeking, hideous piece of blackened sludge nastiness. They’ve reached the point now on We Owe You Nothing that they’ve just thrown everything that they like about darkness and hatred into 42 minutes of blackened sludge doom. Continue reading

Au Champ des Morts – Dans la Joie (Review)

Au Champ des MortsAu Champ des Morts are a French black metal band and this is their debut album.

This is contemporary black metal that has a firm foundation in the traditional style, but updated for the modern day with post-black metal, atmospheric and blackgaze influences.

Dans la Joie is full of emotive and Continue reading

The Infernal Sea – The Great Mortality (Review)

The Infernal SeaThis is the second album by UK black metallers The Infernal Sea.

This is sophisticated black metal that still manages to somehow sound filthy, ugly and grim. It’s a beguiling combination that sees the band combine atmosphere and ferocity in tantalising ways across this 42 minute release. Continue reading

Terra Deep – Part of This World, Part of Another (Review)

Terra DeepThis is the third album from US Progressive Black Metal one-man group Terra Deep.

The music on this release is a complicated and sophisticated Progressive Metal feast that’s born out of the corrupted undergrowth of Black Metal’s fertile roots. Progressive and Post-Black Metal elements take control of proceedings quite early on, reinforced by a dark core of frozen steel.

Deep, unsettling growls, evil shrieks and powerful cleans all add a multitude of texture and feeling to music that successfully combines the cold malignance of Black Metal with the expansive, exploratory nature of Progressive music. This is further enhanced by elements of Doom/Depressive Black Metal that add a forlorn, lonesome sheen to some of the tracks. It all adds up to a multifaceted release full of quality music and songs that engage.

Richly textured tracks seem to bleed shades of pain and grim tidings, while still fostering a highly emotive side that connects with the listener in a visceral way. The songs are advanced exemplars of what can be done with a Black Metal base and a will to explore.

The production is solid and allows the music to hit the right balance between heaviness and nuance. It’s a good sound that satisfies and does justice to the differing parts and influences that make up Part of This World, Part of Another.

These five songs are impressively-realised affairs that speak of the experience and talent of the brains behind the outfit. He obviously has a coherent and well-rounded vision for Terra Deep and has the ability and skill to achieve it.

If you combine Opeth, Enslaved, Forgotten Tomb and Ihsahn then you’ll have a good idea of Terra Deep’s style.

There really is a lot here to offer the discerning Extreme Metal fan and I can’t really recommend this highly enough.

Stellar Master Elite – III: Eternalism – The Psychospherical Chapter (Review)

Stellar Master EliteThis is the third album from German Black Metallers Stellar Master Elite.

Here we have Black Metal that managers to foster an air of festering rot alongside a sophisticated malevolent darkness. It’s an intriguing combination that gives Stellar Master Elite a distincive flavour when compared to a lot of bands.

Their music has a depressive, Doom-drenched Black Metal base that’s not a million miles away from a band like Forgotten Tomb in spirit, although in reality they don’t sound too similar. The music is powerful and atmospheric without being pompous or overblown. This is very definitely epic music, but in a miserable, negativity-infused way.

The deep growling vocals consolidate the feelings of Funeral Doom/Death-gone-Black Metal. The singer’s voice is full of dark promise and has a gruff, tight character that allows it to be both brutal and compact. The screamed vocals are more typical-Black Metal, but no less effective for this. Clean vocals appear on the fourth track, adding yet another dimension to the band’s music.

Keyboards/synths/Hellsounds add a considerable amount to the already emotive Blackened dirge and it quickly becomes apparent that this is an integral aspect of the band’s music. They’re also creative and atypical in many respects, which is something I like.

This is a diverse and well-paced album, with lots to keep the listener interested and many different moods and palettes used effectively. There’s plenty of feeling thrown into the mix here, as well as a decent helping of prime-riffage. Occasionally the streamlined darkness that the band peddle brings to mind Enslaved and their sterling work in similar areas.

This is an impressive collection of long songs that successfully fuses Black Metal, Doom and all things dark and evil into 63 minutes of quality Metal.

Enjoy.

Eye of Solitude/Faal – Split

Eye of Solitude FaalEye of Solitude are from the UK and Faal are from the Netherlands. They have teamed up to produce this dark, malevolent split where each band contributes one track.

Eye of Solitude are a particular favourite of mine, with a slew of quality releases, (Sui Caedere, Canto III, Dear Insanity), to their name. Here they contribute a 12 minute song – Obsequies.

The track starts off with an exotic flavour; Middle Eastern-inspired music that shortly is replaced with heavy guitars in the mournful, Doom/Death style. Eye of Solitude are very good at combining the stark heaviness of Doom with the rich melodic streaks of Doom/Death.

The vocals continue to be the pitch-black growls that we know and love so much. If anything the singer’s voice seems to be getting deeper as time passes, and his performance on Obsequies is quite monolithic. Combined with the slow pace of the accompanying funeral dirge each growl becomes akin to the passing of aeons.

The middle section of the song is comprised of a piano and violin section, amiably breaking up the crushing misery of the main composition with a textured, emotive exploration of grief.

After this, the song crawls to a natural close, all emotion spent, all energy drained.

After Eye of Solitude comes the contribution from Faal. This is a track called Shattered Hope that lasts over 13 minutes. I have not heard Faal before this, but they quickly draw me in with their atmospheric Funeral Doom.

Accompanied by subtle synths, their music is bleak and suicidal, reminding of some of the older, slower material from Forgotten Tomb, only with less Black Metal and more Doom/Death; maybe kind of Forgotten Tomb mixed with Esoteric?

Dark growling vocals appear to swim in and out of the music, adding highlights to it rather than being the main focal point. Although the band have a heavy side, Shattered Hope is more about mood and substance than heaviness for the sake of it. It’s slow, miserable and easy to become absorbed in. Before you know it, the long running time is over with and you’re left with an unsubstantiated feeling of having lost something important.

A quality split of slow, mournful Doom. Press play and lose all track of time.

Forgotten Tomb – Hurt Yourself and the Ones You Love (Review)

Forgotten TombForgotten Tomb are from Italy and play Black Metal. This is their eighth album.

Forgotten Tomb specialise in negatively-charged Black Metal with a healthy amount of Doom influence thrown in. I’ve always found their work to be highly engaging and have always viewed them as sounding akin to what Paradise Lost might have ended up like had they discovered and embraced Black Metal early on.

Like Paradise Lost, Forgotten Tomb have a good ear for the melodies. They twist, turn and wind their way through the songs with an emotive passion that brings these seven tracks alive with a rich despondency. The melodic leads may form a central point of focus, but the rest of the music rallies around it effectively too.

Having said all that though, Hurt Yourself and the Ones You Love has a bit more bite than previous releases; not that they’ve lacked for this in the past, it’s just that this latest release has more of a vicious snarl to it than some of their other work.

They haven’t turned into Anaal Nathrakh, of course, and the depressive element of their sound is still their major driving force; but there’s an increased aggressive side to the band on this release. It’s as if they’re no longer content to merely be vessels for the misery and they’re now wanting to take a more active role in its propagation.

The music has a professional recording and is nicely heavy. The guitars have a very satisfying tone and the vocals are sounding as good as ever, maybe even a little more evil than normal.

Forgotten Tomb have mastered the art of sounding catchy without drifting too far into commercial-sounding waters. They’re a band who, after so long, know exactly how to write a good song, and Hurt Yourself and the Ones You Love is full of them.

This is an extremely strong album that demonstrates how to write Depressive Black Metal with enough kick and personality to truly engage and connect with the listener. Bleakly wonderful.

Wrong – Pessimistic Outcomes (Review)

WrongWrong are a Black Metal band from Spain and this is their second album.

Created by two people; one from a Thrash Metal background and one from a Technical Death Metal background. From these unlikely roots an album has grown which is surprising in that it is both the epitome of what is meant to be but also pleasingly fresh and full of morbid life.

Wrong play creepy, fragile, melancholic Black Metal with a depressive/nihilistic edge akin to some of the work by Xasthur and Leviathan only not quite as minimalistic and with more of a Paradise Lost/Katatonia/etc. influence to some of the Doomier riffs; think Forgotten Tomb for some of the parts in fact.

The songs are long compositions and have many different facets to their delivery, from fast and sharp to slow and misery-laden. It’s an approach that serves them well.

The sound is suitably fuzzy and Blackened but it has a solid backbone of precise, focused drumming that grounds the band no matter what they’re playing.

Wrong take you on a Blackened nihilistic journey through the underworld, tastefully underscored by some subtle riffing and even subtler effects that hide underneath the torrent of darkness and the pounding drums.

Pessimistic Outcomes takes me back to prime-time 00’s underground Black Metal and all the associated feelings it has for me. This is a great album full of bleak melodics and nuanced moments propelled forwards by some powerful drumming, expressive riffing and scathing, slicing vocal emanations.

If you only have a choice of one album full of emotive Black Metal this month then make it Wrong.