Olhava – Frozen Bloom (Review)

Olhava - Frozen BloomOlhava are a Russian black metal band and this is their fourth album.

Frozen Bloom is a 59-minute exploration of loss and mournful intensity. The band’s post-blackened brew is concocted from the bones of atmospheric black metal, blackgaze’s warmth of emotion, dark ambience, and synth-driven drone. Continue reading “Olhava – Frozen Bloom (Review)”

Cicada the Burrower – Corpseflower (Review)

Cicada the Burrower - CorpseflowerThis is the fourth album from one-woman black metal band Cicada the Burrower.

Corpseflower is an intriguing and engaging collection of tracks that mix jazz, post-hardcore, psychedelic rock, and post-rock into a 31-minute progressive/post-black metal framework that also incorporates elements of blackgaze and depressive black metal. Continue reading “Cicada the Burrower – Corpseflower (Review)”

Utburd – Story of Frozen Souls (Review)

Utburd - Story of Frozen SoulsThis is the third album from Russian one-man black metal band Utburd.

Story of Frozen Souls is the 58-minute follow up to 2018’s The Horrors Untold.

Utburd’s music is a mix of the atmospheric Continue reading “Utburd – Story of Frozen Souls (Review)”

Rorcal & Earthflesh – Witch Coven (Review)

Rorcal & Earthflesh - Witch CovenWitch Coven is a collaboration between Swiss post-black/doom metallers Rorcal, and Earthflesh, a noise incarnation of Rorcal’s ex-bassist.

This collaboration has birthed two immense tracks with a duration of 30 minutes in total. Combining Continue reading “Rorcal & Earthflesh – Witch Coven (Review)”

Decline of the I – Johannes (Review)

Decline of the I - JohannesThis is the fourth album from French post-black metallers Decline of the I.

After enjoying 2015’s Rebellion and 2018’s Escape, when Johannes appeared I knew I had to sample its dark wares. Armed with a new lineup formed around the band’s core artist, Johannes is a 51-minute journey into thoughtful mood-driven darkness.

These new songs are layered explorations of post-blackened detail and nuanced soundscapes. The music is multifaceted and textured, drawing in a range of influences to build on the band’s black metal foundations. The five songs on Johannes are each masters of their own creation, while still fitting into the whole, and provide the listener with a creative and rich landscape to explore.

Each song boasts a lot of content, with a wealth of good ideas and enriching sounds ably showcased by the band. There’s an epic streak to Decline of the I’s music, more apparent than ever in their latest work. Sometimes it’s hidden in plain sight, while at others it ascends to malevolent prominence. Either way, a certain amount of majestic grandeur is ever-present in the music, and it works very well indeed.

The band’s ability to blend sharp aggression with menacing atmosphere is very effective. I really like the use of guitars on this release. Some of of the riffs and blackened rhythms feel like they cut to the core, and combined with the skilful and inventive use of melodies, contribute to the thoroughly enjoyable and satisfying musical experience that these five songs offer. Lighter moments appear, balancing the blackened heaviness of the distorted sections. Existing somewhere between post-rock, jazz, and experimental atmospheric ambient minimalism, these parts may not be too common, but they add value to the songs.

Piercing screams are joined by darker growls and choral accents. The singers all do a great job, and, like the music, the vocals are very accomplished.

Despite how much I enjoyed both Rebellion and Escape, I think that Johannes is probably Decline of the I’s richest, most complete and well-realised work to date.

Very highly recommended.

Udånde – Life of a Purist (Review)

Udånde - Life of a PuristThis is the debut album from Udånde, a solo black metal band based in Slovakia, augmented by as session vocalist and drummer.

Now here’s an album to thoroughly scratch that modern black metal itch. Life of a Purist is atmospheric and melodic, without being entirely beholden to either Continue reading “Udånde – Life of a Purist (Review)”

Monthly Overview – the Best of February 2021

As far as Februarys go, I found February 2021 to be quite exceptionally high in quality when it came to metal albums. Let’s dive in to some of the best from last month… Continue reading “Monthly Overview – the Best of February 2021”

Hænesy – Garabontzia (Review)

Hænesy - GarabontziaThis is the second album from Hungarian post-black metal band Hænesy.

Having followed Hænesy from their debut album Katruzsa in 2018 to their 2019 split with Moondweller, I was keen to hear some new material from the band. Enter Garabontzia, which contains 44 minutes of the stuff. Continue reading “Hænesy – Garabontzia (Review)”

Jours Pâles – Éclosion (Review)

Jours Pâles - ÉclosionThis is the debut album from French post-black metallers Jours Pâles.

Jours Pâles have an interesting and in some ways non-standard sound. Not because they’re especially avant-garde or experimental, but because of the way that they combine a few different ingredients from different musical brews into something of their own making. Continue reading “Jours Pâles – Éclosion (Review)”