False – Portent (Review)

False - PortentThis is the second album from False, a black metal band from the US.

Portent contains 41 minutes of atmospheric, melodic black metal. Effortlessly combining USBM with the old-school Norwegian variety, False have crafted an album that moves beyond either individual style. Continue reading

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Skeletonwitch – Devouring Radiant Light (Review)

SkeletonwitchThis is the sixth album from Skeletonwitch, a blackened metal band from the US.

Well, this is not what I was expecting to hear from Skeletonwitch. I confess that I’ve only ever really heard a small amount of the band’s prior material, and what I did hear was kind of a thrash/melodic metal affair, from what I recall. I approached this Continue reading

Opus Inferii – Ancient Mysteries Unveiled (Review)

Opus InferiiOpus Inferii are a Brazilian Black Metal band and this is a re-release of their 2012 début album.

Here we have 48 minutes of Occult Black Metal. It’s raw, infused with darkness and cold to the touch.

Ancient Mysteries Unveiled has a solid sound that’s underground enough to suit the music but strong enough to not do the band any disservices.

This has the air of 90s-era Second Wave Black Metal and there’s a Swedish Melodic Black Metal influence at play here too, alongside a Norwegian one as well. Kind of like Dimmu Borgir stripped of orchestration and merged with Dissection, as well as a hint of mid-period Immortal here and there. This allows the band to not be constrained by just a single style. There are quite a few nice touches and ideas on this release, including moments of introspection, atmosphere and grandeur alongside the ritualistic violence.

The songs contain both blast beats and mid-paced sections, with a good balance between rhythm and dark melodics. The riffs are bleakly emotive but also know when to get heavier and meatier as required.

The singer’s Blackened rasp is one that does the genre proud. There are no issues with his performance at all.

This is such a classic style and it’s always a joy to hear Black Metal that’s played with such conviction and with talent. Add to this an infectious sound that allows the band to show off their wares without impediment and you have a recipe for success.

I really enjoyed this. A great combination of older Black Metal styles wrapped in darkness and shrouded in mist. Opus Imferii have impressed.

Taran – Taran (Review)

TaranTaran are a Polish Black Metal band and this is their latest release.

This is over 36 minutes of evil, hate-filled Black Metal. There are seven tracks of blisteringly fast/groovy Black Metal, as well as an intro, outro and an Immortal cover.

This is the real deal. You’ve gotta love this kind of Black Metal. No frills, uncompromising and pure dark intent.

The riffs are as Black as any and the sharpness of the assault will leave you reeling. Of course this style has been done to death, but when faced with a band playing music they obvious love so much it’s hard not to get swept along in their trails.

Differentiating them from any number of other bands that merge the Darkthrone/Dark Funeral styles is the quality of the songs; Taran actually know how to write music that’s memorable. Some of the guitar melodies are even hummable.

Taran have really given me a fix of raw, underground Black Metal and it feels pretty damn good.

They may be all about the evil and darkness, but they’ve made me a happy bunny listening to this. As I said; you gotta love Black Metal.

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.

Misericordia – Throne of Existence (Review)

MisericordiaMisericordia are from Sweden and this is their second album of Black Metal.

This is, unsurprisingly, in the Swedish style and aimed squarely at fans of Marduk, 1349, Immortal and Dark Funeral – high speed blasting and frosted melodies.

The sharp riffs come thick and fast as the drums blast and the Blackened melodies seep into your every pore. The guitars embrace their atavistic, icy Black Metal legacy and they ooze windswept hatred.

Some of the vocals are deeper than normal for this style of Black Metal, although they alternate with more traditional higher screams in addition to these growls.

Solos and leads are played well and the band are very focused on what they want to achieve. The drumming is tight and precise and the songs as a whole are quite satisfying.

If you’re a fan of unholy hyperblast then this is the Black Metal for you.

The Committee – Power Through Unity (Review)

The CommitteeThis is the first album by international collective The Committee.

This is Black Metal which is bleakly atmospheric and retains this feeling throughout the album. The guitars are powered by a darkly melodic undercurrent, with the central riffs seemingly constructed of continuous rolling rhythms, a feeling further enhanced by the drums.

The tracks are all between 7:01 and 9:20 in length which means that they all take the time to have their mystique flow freely and allow the listener to become absorbed in the songs.

The vocals are typical Black Metal fare but that’s not to say anything bad about them; they are handled competently and the voice fits the music as it melds with the songs while they speed by. The lyrics deal with historical events; the band themselves have described each song and what it’s about here.

For an album that is comprised of disparate members spread across multiple countries this is coherent and well-made. The songs are enjoyable, Immortal-inspired, double-bass-powered gallops through bloodied history.

Listen to the band here.