Almost every year I think about how challenging it is to compile a definitive best of list, and how subjective it is, etc. Although that’s still true for this collecting of albums, this year, however, has been easier than most. 2020 has been heavy on the black metal for me. It’s been my most reviewed genre, in all its myriad permutations, and this is reflected in the below list.
For the longest of times the bands in positions 5 and 6 vied for top position, but then October and November happened. All of a sudden, unexpectedly, these two months unleashed a wealth of quality, and stole the top four positions in a rampant display of blackened supremacy.
I hope you enjoy the below recommendations of mine and find something new to obsess over. Let me know how you get on.
Having recently released their début album Storming Heaven, Fornicus are ready to make a mark on the Metal world with their bitingly aggressive take on Black Metal. Curious about the band, I asked their lead guitarist some questions…
For those who are unfamiliar with your band – introduce yourself!
I am Kelly McCoy lead guitarist. The rest of the band is Scott Briggs-vocals/guitar, Chris Carver-bass & David Snow- drums. We are black/death metal from the bowels of central Kentucky that tends to appeal to old school ears.
Give us a bit of history to Fornicus – what are your influences?
Scott and Chris formed the band having known each other from a previous band they played in years ago. Scott had recorded David’s previous band and knowing they were no more he was asked to join. I came last to the line-up. Scott and I play in a blasphemous gore grind band together where he is on drums and I found out that Fornicus was looking for lead player so I gave it shot and made the cut. I personally am influenced by Carcass, Slayer, Morbid Angel, Death, Dissection. … I know the other guys like many of the same as well as Emperor and I recall Chris saying Miley Cyrus.
What are you listening to at the moment that you would like to recommend?
Visceral Disgorge, Ghost B.C., Abominant, Fornicus, Gorgy, Nevermore, Nifelheim, Watain, Broken Hope, Carcass, Vulkodlak. Just a few off the top of my head staying regular in the playlist.
What did you want to achieve with your new album?
Not to come across as arrogant but just to make and be a part of music I like to hear. I am sure all our goals may differ in way but short of world domination just enjoying our own music is most important to me.
Are you happy with how it turned out?
Absolutely, Scott owns the studio we recorded at and mixed, mastered and made it perfect for us.
Where do you see yourself in relation to the larger Black Metal scene?
Not sure… black metal purist may like us just as much as new comers to the scene however we are more refined sound wise. I don’t think any of us concern ourselves with whether or not we fit in anywhere.
What can you tell us about the lyrics?
Blasphemy, disappointment, anger, sorrow, rage and war all reflect our lyrical content. We are disgusted with herd conformity and the dogmatic monotheistic bullshit fed to the masses.
Give us a bit of information on the songwriting process.
It’s rather simple really. We write riffs or become inspired by lyrics and put it all together in the jam room. No preconceived notions of what we should do.
Tell us about the Sepultura cover – why include a cover on your album, why Sepultura, and why that song in particular?
Antichrist was a great choice because we could make it more powerful than it was remembered. We are all Sepultura fans and it is paying homage to the metal we grew up enjoying.
How do you see your sound developing in the future?
Darker and more chaotic. As musicians we will always push ourselves but there is no formula for Fornicus just what naturally comes out. Evil spews forth from a deep well in our band.
What’s next for Fornicus?
Continuing to promote the first release with shows and writing new material. We are discussing a 4 way split to be released by our label Negative Earth Records. Other than that banging our heads and blaspheming.
Fornicus are from the US and this is their début album. They play Black Metal.
Featuring a previous member of the brilliant Aeons of Eclipse, I was excited to see what Fornicus had to offer. Storming Heaven is 8 tracks in 39 minutes – 6 originals, one intro and a Sepultura cover.
This is unholy Black Metal with an evil feel that recalls similar bands like Satyricon and Marduk. There is a touch of Death and Thrash Metal here and there, including some deeper growls in addition to the normal Black Metal vocals.
The songs are fast and heavy with Blackened melodies coating everything. They also have an ear for a good mid-paced riff and sometimes find a great groove to get stuck into and make the most of. This is frequently enhanced by the aforementioned Blackened melodies that seem to seep out of the speakers like liquid silk and pour straight into your ears…
Well, suffice to say it sounds really, really good.
Storming heaven is very well written and the songs have a good rhythmic quality to them. This isn’t just confined to the guitars though as the vocals also follow similar patterns; it makes for a very satisfying listen as the guitars and vocals sync up and become greater than the sum of their parts.
This is not faceless Black Metal with no personality; these songs have bite and the band have talent. A well-recorded sound rounds off a very strong package and Storming Heaven is definitely one of the more enjoyable straight-forward Black Metal albums I’ve heard this year.