Label Roundup: Black Mass Prayers – Lykten, Urluk, & Valadier (Reviews)

Wonderbox Metal gets sent a lot of new music, (which is great), but there’s no way that everything can get covered unfortunately, (which is not so great). This new column hopes to redress this balance, if only slightly, by taking a look at a handful of releases that a record label has recently sent out that might have otherwise slipped through the cracks.

For this edition we turn to Black Mass Prayers, an Italian label that states it is “supporting the Italian Black Metal underground and aiming to spread its glory worldwide”. Neither other the label nor the bands on it were familiar to me prior to this, so it felt like a good time to dig in and explore what they had to offer… Continue reading “Label Roundup: Black Mass Prayers – Lykten, Urluk, & Valadier (Reviews)”

Black Fucking Cancer – Procreate Inverse (Review)

Black Fucking Cancer - Procreate InverseThis is the second album from Black Fucking Cancer, a black metal band from the US.

What can you say about a band with a name like Black Fucking Cancer, other than to describe them as sounding completely and utterly evil? 2016’s Black Fucking Cancer and 2019’s Boundless Arcane Invokations – Split with Gloam, both impressed me with their malignant take on underground black metal, so when Procreate Inverse raised its ugly head, I knew I had to prepare myself for a beating. Continue reading “Black Fucking Cancer – Procreate Inverse (Review)”

Gaahls Wyrd – The Humming Mountain (Review)

Gaahls Wyrd - The Humming MountainThis is the latest EP from Gaahls Wyrd, a black/dark metal band from Norway.

Gaahls Wyrd are a very experienced band, (with current and ex-members of acts such as Aeternus, Grimfist, Gorgoroth, Harm, Horizon Ablaze, and others), and I very much enjoyed their debut album Gastir – Ghosts Invited. Continue reading “Gaahls Wyrd – The Humming Mountain (Review)”

Mara – RÖK (Review)

Mara - RÖKMara is a Swedish one man black metal band and this is his third album.

Sometimes you just need a hit of the black stuff, and RÖK offers 36 minutes of the darkness you need. Spread across 5 tracks, this is cold black metal played as if it was still the 90s. Continue reading “Mara – RÖK (Review)”

Gaahls Wyrd – Gastir – Ghosts Invited (Review)

Gaahls Wyrd - Gastir - Ghosts InvitedThis is the debut album from Gaahls Wyrd, a black metal band from Norway.

Here we have 42 minutes of non-standard black metal brought to us by the ex-frontman of Gorgoroth. Continue reading “Gaahls Wyrd – Gastir – Ghosts Invited (Review)”

Sykelig Englen – Hagall (Review)

Sykelig EnglenSykelig Englen is a black metal solo project from the UK and this is the artist’s second album.

Hagall features short slices of Scandinavian-influenced black metal. Bands such as Marduk, Mayhem, Shining, and Gorgoroth are probably pretty decent starting reference points, but don’t tell the whole story. If you throw in some depressive black metal alongside this, as well as some other, quirkier elements, then I suppose you’ve largely a got a good idea of what this sounds like. Continue reading “Sykelig Englen – Hagall (Review)”

Christ Dismembered – Christ Dismembered (Review)

Christ DismemberedChrist Dismembered are an Australian black metal band and this is their debut album.

With a duration of only 28 minutes, this album goes for the throat big time. Yes, it’s time for some raw second wave black metal, and Christ Dismembered play their brand of misanthropic hatred very well. Continue reading “Christ Dismembered – Christ Dismembered (Review)”

Gorgoroth – Instinctus Bestialis (Review)

GorgorothThis is the tenth album by these veteran Norwegian Black Metallers.

This is a band that need no real introduction, and the album is the same; Radix Malorum opens things off with a bang and blast beats aplenty.

On Instinctus Bestialis the band stay true to their roots and deliver 31 minutes of Norwegian Black Metal as it is meant to be played.

The album has a quality recording that’s dark enough to suit the genre but polished enough to sound really strong. Everything is clear and full of fiery vigour.

The riffs are suitably Blackened but Gorgoroth impress by inserting some good melodies into the mix where needed. These Blackened melodies help the songs have extra depth, but they are not overly flashy; they work with the structure of the songs to enhance them without being the focus of attention.

I also like the Thrashy edge that Gorgoroth have always been so good with. This gives their sound a heavier dimension that some Black Metal lacks. Again, it’s not an overly ostentatious part of their sound but it all adds to the whole. Burn in His Light is a prime example, featuring a very satisfying and crunchy guitar riff.

Over two decades since their formation Gorgoroth continue to have what it takes to show the world that they still have sharpened teeth. Instinctus Bestialis is a finely realised collection of Black Metal songs and is firmly a winner in my book.

All hail Gorgoroth!

Kaosophia – The Origin of Extinction (Review)

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

Kaosophia play occult Black Metal with plenty of speed and bite that’s inspired by the likes of Gorgoroth, Watain and Marduk.

The riffs are Blackened and the melodies evil. On top of this though the band also use some tasty Thrash-inspired riffs on occasion. It’s not a huge part of their sound but it’s there.

The vocals are hateful croaking screams that may be the norm for the genre but are still performed well.

Kaosophia operate at all speeds and manage to create dark atmospheres regardless of whether they’re blasting out at full throttle or creeping around much slower. Either way, the Blackened melodies and writhing riffs give an impression of grandeur and horror.

This is a really enjoyable 46 minutes of music. This is the kind of Black Metal that it’s easy to like; a well-recorded and well-written slice of apocalyptic hymnals.

Check them out.

Karne – Faith in Flesh (Review)

KarneKarne are a Black Metal band from France. This is their début album.

Karne play the kind of Black Metal that’s fast and aggressive. Blackened riffs and dark melodies tear out whilst scythe-like vocals scream from the dead of night. The singer has a voice like ragged silk and her performance is worthy of dark praises.

The songs rage along effortlessly, propelled by melodic bile and vociferous emanations. It’s the kind of Black Metal that’s easy to like.

The melodies and riffs seem to coast along as the band channel all of their collective hatred and grim determination into these dark musical expositions.

This is Black Metal for fans of Marduk, Immortal, Gorgoroth, Naglfar, Dark Funeral and the like. It’s well-written and very enjoyable. Faith in Flesh is mainly a high-speed affair, but they also know how to lock into a good groove when they need to.

Karne also manage to foster the true Melodic Black Metal atmosphere and mood that the best of these kinds of bands manage. There is just the right combination in their sound of polish and evil, cult malevolence. For me, it works just right.

Check them out.