Mixing folk, soul, Gothic, electronic, pop, and ambient into slow, meaningful songs, Purge contains 31 minutes of exquisite material. Pretty much every second of it is tinged with darkness and melancholy, which has all contributed towards the creation of a superlative collection of tracks. Continue reading
Although principally a solo act, the artist behind Afsky did bring in many session musicians for the creation of this album, (including Myrkur who brings not only her musical skills to the band, but also her always impressive vocals at the end of the last song). These help to flesh out the album fully, and add additional touches to the songs here and there. For example; Continue reading
2017 was an amazing year for music, with so many top-notch albums seeing the light of day. I pretty much say this every year, of course, but that doesn’t seem to stop it being true. With this in mind, the 2017 list was especially hard to put together, and I agonised over this one more than I did for any of the lists in previous years.
As is traditional, I also want to mention some releases by bands that could easily have made it onto the list, and should have by many rights, if only I could have somehow managed to fit them all in –
I urge you to check out all of the above releases, in addition to the ones in the actual list below. I could probably keep adding more bands you should give a listen to, but a line has to be drawn somewhere, I suppose.
So, without further ado, let’s get right down to it… Continue reading
It’s once more time to gather in Leeds for this year’s Damnation Festival. With another amazing lineup, this is a festival that’s a definite milestone in the yearly metal calendar.
It’s that special time of year once more. With yet another amazing lineup of quality bands both big and small, the UK’s Damnation Festival returns this weekend for another sold out weekend of extremity. So yes, on Saturday 4th November at Leeds University, something colossal will be happening.
It’s an absolutely great lineup, and you can see the full list of bands, including stage times, below – Continue reading
I thoroughly enjoyed both Myrkur and M; their combination of raw, second wave black metal and folk, choral beauty was as well-judged as it was well-executed. However, if you thought M was the culmination of Myrkur’s style, and Mareridt would be just more of the same, you’d be mistaken. Continue reading
Now, here we have something very impressive.
Cairiss’ music is atmospheric metal that takes a good amount of black metal influence but builds on it with post-metal knowledge and application.
The singer has a voice that does the music justice. Her harsh screams are savagery Continue reading
Featuring a wealth of instruments and influences, this is an epic album that lasts 73 minutes and takes the listener on a tour of all of the dark places.
The bedrock of the band’s sound is grim, murky Black Metal; this immediately differentiates them from some other Blackened Doom bands as usually the style is predominantly Doom with added Blackness; here it’s a good mix of two, probably leaning towards the Black Metal side of the equation a little more overall. There’s plenty of serrated Blackened parts to keep the blood pumping.
Elements of Crust, Post-Metal and pure Doom work their magic in among the blood-fed trees of the Black Metal forest in which the music grows. Litany is powerful, wonderful, ambitious and terrifying in equal measure. Taking aspects of bands like Hope Drone, Neurosis, Wolves in the Throne Room, Myrkur, Usnea, Nux Vomica, Bergthron, Lycus and a whole host of others, this is an impressive body of music that brings something different to the table with each track, all within the established framework of the band.
Sharp Blackened screams are juxtaposed with softer cleans, both male and female. Dark growls populate the undergrowth and harsh, rolling shouting stabs in like spikes. Guest vocals appear throughout the album, making the entire performance varied and interesting for the listener.
The overall feeling is one of a refined, sombre misery. Viola and other instruments give the music an additional air of sophistication and Dead to a Dying World are nothing if not accomplished at the spells they weave; the band are adept at creating thick atmospheres and dark moods.
The recording has a sickly, unnatural warmth to it, like something alive that shouldn’t be. It’s soft when it needs to be and roiling, churning and destructive at other times.
This is a long, involving and emotive listen that builds, crests and waves through the six tracks like a dark tsunami, crushing and destroying yet followed by calm and retrospection, reflecting on all that has been lost.
A very special album.
This is second-wave Black Metal with supplemental ethereal flourishes. Angelic clean vocals and harsh, daemonic screams play out across music that’s as frozen as it is beautiful. Think bands like Burzum and Vinterriket, only with added atmospheric instrumentation and stunning female cleans.
And stunning is the right word, as the brains behind this outfit has an amazing voice. Sounding transcendentally beautiful and uplifting, her voice is an incredible tool that gets used just right. The screaming doesn’t let the side down either; this is the kind of scratchy, static-like high-pitched shrieking that works so well in Atmospheric Black Metal.
If the music was straightforward Black Metal I think that it might be put to shame by her voice. However, in reality the Black Metal core is added to by so many other instruments and elements that the beauty of the clean vocals and the icy nature of the guitars don’t reveal too much contrast as there’s a lot of other music going on to bring the two closer together; in addition to the standard Black Metal instruments we also get piano, violin, horn, tuba and other traditional Scandinavian instruments used on the tracks.
The main juxtaposition comes when the angelic cleans aren’t being used; here we get malevolent Black Metal with frosted fury and malignant intentions. These sections segue nicely into the more atmospheric/Folkier parts though, so there’s no massive disconnect, only a compelling and involving soundscape that contrasts the beauty of a frosty landscape with the dangers inherent in such a scene.
M doesn’t contain songs in a traditional sense; the tracks are movements designed to showcase an emotive musical tapestry that takes the best from second-wave Black Metal and adds extra layers to it via clean singing and bright atmospherics.
There’s not really anyone playing this kind of Black Metal at the moment, certainly not with this level of proficiency at any rate. It’s definitely a less-travelled path that Myrkur is treading and it’s going to be pretty exciting to see where it leads in the future. My hope is that the songs become lengthier and even more epic in scope, as my only real complaint about M is that it is over far too quickly.
But I digress. For the moment let’s ignore what the future holds and concentrate on what we have; authentic Black Metal with an individual and highly emotive take on the source material. M is a success in every way, and after the tantalising glimpse into her world that was her début EP, we have not been disappointed by the promises it contained.
This is a class album; doing something a little different with Black Metal while still retaining the core of the style has worked wonders.
This album will garner all kinds of praise from all kinds of people. Trust me, it’s worth it.
Myrkur combines the rawness and bleakness of second-wave Black Metal with ambient and atmospheric sounds to create frostbitten and ice-filled sonicscapes that scar the imagination and enchant the brain.
Ethereal clean female vocals and raw Black Metal mix in such a way that helps the music to transcend the usual genre constraints and become something greater than the sum of its parts.
There are medieval influences to some of the guitar sounds, (when they’re not wrapped in grim darkness of course), and even a touch of the Post-Metal/Post-Black Metal on occasion.
Think a pared down Wolves in the Throne Room, or a more atmospheric Darkthrone, or a less synth-powered Vinterriket; add angelic female vocals and this is the space Myrkur inhabit. It’s not all beauty however as she can also scream and shriek with the best of them when needed.
It’s rare that you find harsh Black Metal skilfully interweaved with music that’s atmospheric and epic in scope. Here the two are thoughtfully and flawlessly intertwined. Usually this is only accomplished by the elite and cream-of-the-crop bands like Agalloch.
Add to this a softer feminine touch that usually, if incorporated into Metal at all, just sounds tacked on; here it’s an integral, fully embedded and realised part of the Myrkur experience.
And to think, this is only a début EP. Imagine what she can do with a full album of material? The mind boggles. The mind can’t wait.