Modern Rites – Monuments (Review)

Modern Rites - MonumentsThis is the debut album from Modern Rites, a Swiss/US black metal band.

Featuring members of Aara and Kuyashii, Monuments contains 37 minutes of modern blackened aggression that mainly exists in the melodic black metal sphere, but not exclusively. The music also borrows from the wellspring of 90s industrial music, (which can be especially felt in some of the melodies, structuring, and atmospheres), as well as some of the more brutal strains of modern black metal. Continue reading “Modern Rites – Monuments (Review)”

Monthly Overview – the Best of March 2021

March was an insanely good month for metal. I wouldn’t be surprised if more than one of the below made it to my end of year list. Check out these scorchers! Continue reading “Monthly Overview – the Best of March 2021”

Mare Cognitum – Solar Paroxysm (Review)

Mare Cognitum - Solar ParoxysmThis is the fifth album from one-man black metal band Mare Cognitum.

The artist behind Mare Cognitum is one of the absolute best in the genre when it comes to atmospheric black metal. I’ve had the pleasure of reviewing Phobos MonolithLuminiferous Aether, and last year’s colossal Wanderers: Astrology of the Nine – Split with Spectral Lore, and his stellar Continue reading “Mare Cognitum – Solar Paroxysm (Review)”

Wonderbox Metal End of Year List – Best Metal of 2020

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.

Let’s dig in… Continue reading “Wonderbox Metal End of Year List – Best Metal of 2020”

Silver Knife – Unyielding/Unseeing (Review)

Silver Knife - Unyielding UnseeingSilver Knife are an international post-black metal band and this is their debut album.

Featuring members of bands such as Cult of Erinyes and Laster, Silver Knife have produced 42 minutes of harsh, mood-driven black metal. Continue reading “Silver Knife – Unyielding/Unseeing (Review)”

Monthly Overview – the Best of March 2020

Lots to choose from this month, so narrowing it down to just a handful of releases was not easy… Continue reading “Monthly Overview – the Best of March 2020”

Spectral Lore/Mare Cognitum – Wanderers: Astrology of the Nine – Split (Review)

Spectral Lore Mare Cognitum - Wanderers Astrology of the Nine - SplitSpectral Lore and Mare Cognitum are both one-man black metal bands, (from Greece and the US respectively), and this is their latest collaborative split.

No stranger to teaming up with each other, these two atmospheric black metal bands have created an epic project with Wanderers: Astrology of the Nine. Just under 2 hours in total duration, this monolithic release features four tracks from each band interspersed with each other, topped by a final two tracks that are collaborative, with both artists creating music together. Continue reading “Spectral Lore/Mare Cognitum – Wanderers: Astrology of the Nine – Split (Review)”

Mare Cognitum – Luminiferous Aether (Review)

Mare CognitumThis is the fourth album from this one-man US black metal band.

Over the years Mare Cognitum’s output has proven to be of exceptionally high quality, with 2014’s Phobos Monolith being a particular highlight.

Luminiferous Aether provides us with more of the progressively-edged atmospheric black metal that we’ve come to know and love from the outfit, all lavishly arranged, produced and delivered across over 50 minutes of Continue reading “Mare Cognitum – Luminiferous Aether (Review)”

Astral Path – An Oath to the Void (Review)

Astral PathAstral Path are an atmospheric Black Metal band from Canada. This is their début album.

This is the kind of modern, expansive Black Metal that so many bands seem to do so well these days. If you’re a fan of bands like Wolves in the Throne Room, Chaos Moon, Midnight Odyssey, Krallice, Mare Cognitum, Deafheaven and their ilk, then you should also like this.

Astral Path’s music combines this type of stargazing, cosmic Black Metal with ambient soundscapes to create atmospheric Black Metal that seems to roll out of the speakers in a pool of spectral fog. Continue reading “Astral Path – An Oath to the Void (Review)”

Mare Cognitum – Phobos Monolith (Review)

Mare CognitumThis is the third album by US one-man project Mare Cognitum. He plays Atmospheric Black Metal.

This is Black Metal of the most expressive and epic variety. Inspired by the mysteries of the cosmos and powered by Blackened harmonies and thick atmospheres, Phobos Monolith takes the listener on a journey through the unexplored natures of the universe.

The songs on this album are exploratory and impressively composed and performed. It’s almost a full 6 minutes before any vocals first appear, so confident is the music in its ability to capture and hold the attention alone. With good reason; the music is an impressive blend of Atmospheric, Post- and raging underground Black Metal.

This is an album that, for all its grand designs and lofty concepts, actually manages to forge an emotional connection with the listener and the result is a very personal-feeling experience. These songs are simply that good.

There are so many bands/albums/etc. these days that simply sound as if they are going through the motions. For Mare Cognitum, however, this is clearly not the case at all. This is an album that has the true mark of a labour of love, and it’s this, combined with the impressive sonicscapes that have been created, that resonate so strongly with the listener.

Find somewhere open to the sky, play this album loudly, stare up at the stars and get absorbed in the endless possibilities that there are out there.

This is an album that has surpassed all of my feeble expectations.