Damnation Festival – Leeds University, 03/11/18 (Live Review)

Damnation Festival 2018 Header

The UK’s Damnation Festival has once again rolled around, and it’s time for all good music fans to get themselves to Leeds and bask in the amazing lineup that the festival gods always seem to be able to pull together. As you can see from the above poster, this year boasted some great talent.

The running times I’ll post below, so you can get an idea of how the day ran. The festival was once again sold out this year, and really felt it. Continue reading

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Morrow – The Weight of These Feathers (Review)

MorrowMorrow are a US black metal band and this is their debut album.

Not to be confused with the Morrow from the UK that have appeared on this site previously, this US band play atmospheric black metal with ambient and post-rock influences. Continue reading

Horizon Ablaze – The Weight of a Thousand Suns (Review)

Horizon AblazeHorizon Ablaze are a Norwegian progressive black/extreme metal band and this is their third album.

Horizon Ablaze play a brand of extreme metal that largely consists of atmospheric/progressive/avant-garde black metal, (among other things). It’s an impressive and well-delivered proposition, that’s for sure. Continue reading

Ne Obliviscaris – Urn (Review)

Ne ObliviscarisNe Obliviscaris are an Australian progressive extreme metal band and this is their third album.

Urn is epic, progressive, aggressive, and textured. It’s a release that has a lot to absorb and experience, requiring multiple sittings to really even start to get the most from it. This is a complex and emotive listen, one that’s highly rewarding and enjoyable. Continue reading

White Ward – Futility Report (Review)

White WardThis is the debut album from White Ward, a Ukrainian post-black metal band.

This is post-black metal with avant-garde tendencies. However, this is a very simplistic description of what you’ll find on Futility Report; the music is anything but simple.

Mix Ihsahn, Ulver, Ephel Duath, Blut Aus Nord, Deafheaven, and Wolves in the Throne Room together, and you’ll still only have the barest glimpse of what White Ward play. Continue reading

Ophidian Spell – Nux/Hêmera (Review)

Ophidian SpellOphidian Spell are a symphonic/melodic death metal band from France and this is their debut album.

Combining aspects of melodic, progressive and symphonic death metal into their delivery, Ophidian Spell offer up the listener a modern blend of these various influences. I can hear aspects of The Faceless, Devin Townsend, In Flames, Emperor/Ihsahn, Ne Obliviscaris, Delain and Septic Flesh in the mix, along with some others. 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.

Unfathomed of Abyss – Arisen Upon Oblivion (Review)

Unfathomed of AbyssUnfathomed of Abyss is a one-man project from the US. This is his début album of Symphonic Black Metal.

It’s clear from the start that the brains behind this album is a very talented individual as the musicianship and songwriting is at an advanced level.

The drums are the only instrument he doesn’t perform. Rather than going the easy route and opting for a drum machine however, instead he has enlisted the considerable talents of Kevin Talley, (Suffocation, Dying Fetus, Chimaira, Misery Index, Six Feet Under, etc.), which lends the album much more presence than a mere drum machine ever could.

Symphonic Black Metal can sometimes lack bite and attack, but this is not the case here. Unfathomed of Abyss boasts an aggressive demeanour which is only enhanced by the keyboards, effects and piano additions.

Powered by the relentless drumming, the songs are lengthy and layered in thick atmospheres. Care and attention has been spent on these creations that much is clear. Strong soundscapes and expansive Blackened auras permeate everything.

There’s more to these songs than just Black metal though, as influences from Death Metal and even wider genres, (elements of Doom and Djent, for example), can be heard in some of the riffs.

The vocals run the spectrum from deep growls to the very high pitched screaming that forms the bulk of the performance.

Taking off where early Emperor left off; Arisen Upon Oblivion manages to capture a similar feeling to those early classic Black Metal albums. Mix this with a bit of Ihsahn’s solo work and Peccatum and you have an album that manages the admirable achievement of being strongly influenced by a notable Metal legend without sounding like a pale imitation.

This is an enjoyable album that won’t please everyone, but then again that was never the aim of Black Metal was it?