Aornos – The Great Scorn (Review)

AornosAornos is a one man black metal project from Hungary and this is his fourth album.

Rooted in traditional black metal, The Great Scorn is an atmospheric and raw rendition of cosmic black metal that also incorporates some elements of more modern styles in its blistering delivery. Continue reading

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Blood Worship – Death’s Omnipotence (Review)

Blood WorshipThis is the debut EP from Swedish black metal band Blood Worship.

Here we have 21 minutes of cold, venomous black metal. The promo blurb says that it’s for fans of Dissection, Naglfar, Marduk, and Satyricon, and it’s hard to disagree with that assessment. I’d also throw in a bit of A Grand Declaration of War-era Mayhem regarding some of the band’s riffs too, although this is largely a more minor aspect of their sound. Continue reading

Witchery – I Am Legion (Review)

WitcheryThis is the seventh album from Swedish blackened thrash metal band Witchery.

Hot on the heels of last year’s In His Infernal Majesty’s Service, this Swedish supergroup, (Arch Enemy, The Haunted, among others), have returned suprisingly quickly with another collection of sharp, vicious tunes. Continue reading

The Infernal Sea – The Great Mortality (Review)

The Infernal SeaThis is the second album by UK black metallers The Infernal Sea.

This is sophisticated black metal that still manages to somehow sound filthy, ugly and grim. It’s a beguiling combination that sees the band combine atmosphere and ferocity in tantalising ways across this 42 minute release. Continue reading

Wederganger/Laster – Split (Review)

Wederganger LasterWederganger and Laster both play black metal and are both from the Netherlands. They have teamed up for this very tasty split.

Wederganger contribute one song, Klaroenen Van de Dood, lasting almost 15 minutes. They’ve been featured on this site before with their début album Halfvergaan Ontwaakt, which was an enjoyable listen that fused orthodox black metal with epic, folk influences.

On this split the band show their predilection for Darkthrone/Satyricon-styled grooves Continue reading

Vredehammer – Violator (Review)

VredehammerThis is Vredehammer’s second album. They play Black Metal and are from Norway.

Vredehammer play aggressive Black Metal that keeps the core of the genre alive and well, while merging it with a state-of-the-art blackness that bands like Satyricon, Keep of Kalessin and Temple of Baal do so well. Add a bit of Death Metal in the form of something like Behemoth and even a touch of Aura Noir-esque Thrash and you have a good overview of Vredehammer’s style. Tracks like Ursus even have a bit of the Amon Amarth about them, to my ears.

The vocals consist of dark outbursts that strike a fine balance between legibility and outright harshness. Sitting somewhere between the styles of Black and Death Metal, they work well to provide a focal point for the music without dominating it.

Powerful rhythm guitars form the bedrock of the tracks and these punish and damage for all they’re worth. Interestingly though, the band build on these strong foundations to provide a more well-rounded listening experience than you might expect; Violator is not a one-dimensional album.

Twisted melodics and bright, ethereal leads occasionally add colour and texture to the band’s blackened rhythms, allowing them to explore wider pastures that their brutal tendencies might otherwise preclude them from. This adds a lot to the album and raises it to another level, quality-wise. This is all wrapped around their inherent malevolent nastiness though, which is never too far from proceedings.

Boasting a strong production to round things off, Violator is a very enjoyable album, and at 35 minutes in length it’s easy to get your fill of their blackened aggression.

Recommended.

Infernal War – Axiom (Review)

Infernal WarInfernal War are from Poland and play Black/Death Metal. This is their third album.

This is ultra brutal Extreme Metal that takes no prisoners and is utterly relentless in its taste for killing. It’s heavy, nasty and downright evil.

Infernal War play a hybrid of Black/Death Metal that’s right on the line between the two styles. Blackened Death Metal, I find, usually leans in favour of Death Metal rather than Black Metal, but occasionally a band appears who gets the mixture just right and we end up with a band that’s hard to categorise into just one of the two. Extreme Metal is an apt description for this reason.

Mixing influences from bands like Behemoth, Marduk and Satyricon, Infernal War proceed to spread spite and bile across these 11 tracks.

Bestial drumming and sharp riffing collide to create fast songs where the band spread their nefarious message with a distinct aggression.

The tracks mainly hover around the 3-4 minute mark and this is ample time to blast their wares out.

It’s enjoyable to hear a band take the direct approach and at the same time merge the two genres in such a competent way. This album is perfect for when you want something that’s hyper-aggressive but can’t decide whether to listen to Death Metal or Black Metal. Infernal War fill the gap and Axiom is a highly recommended listen.

Keep of Kalessin – Epistemology (Review)

Keep of KalessinKeep of Kalessin are from Norway and play Black Metal. This is their Sixth album.

Keep of Kalessin return, and it’s a very welcome one.

Fusing the best of bands like Emperor, Satyricon and Enslaved, Keep of Kalessin have produced an album that’s as epic and soaring as they’ve always promised.

Elements of the symphonic, majestic and even Avant-Garde combine with a state-of-the-art Blackened core to produce tracks that are brightly textured and rich in colour and taste.

Expertly performed cleans act as a central highlight of many of these songs, whilst expressive screams provide an acidic hit of aggression.

Highly emotive music connects with you on a visceral level as the band work their way through 52 minutes of top quality Metal.

The band may have a firm Black Metal core but they have used this to create music that almost transcends genre boundaries. Almost. Ultimately though, this is Black Metal, and it means business.

Their songwriting skills have been further refined since their previous work and this is a relatively varied album that takes in the past whilst leaning towards the future.

Intricate, inspired and sometimes warped riffing is impressively integrated into the wider song structures to create tracks that don’t always do or sound as you expect them to.

The musicianship and production values are first rate of course. Everything is played and recorded extremely professionally and the clean vocals in particular seem vibrant enough to jump out of the speakers.

A must listen for all Extreme Metal fans.

Sühnopfer – Offertoire (Review)

SühnopferThis is the second album from French Black Metallers Sühnopfer.

Sühnopfer play Black Metal that’s sharp, atmospheric and full of Blackened melodies bubbling beneath the blasting surface.

The vocals sound genuinely unhinged. They consist of high pitched screams that are piercing in a way that demands attention.

The songs are richly written with an emphasis on grandiose melodies and expressive guitars. This is Black Metal that’s absolutely played on its own terms to the beat of an older drum. Well, an older set of blast beats mainly.

The sound of the drums is infectious and the guitars seem to shine like crystal. This gives Offertoire a brightness that stands out, even with the dark core that’s inherent in this style of music.

Recalling melodic late 90’s dark delights from the likes of Setherial or even Satyricon, Sühnopfer rarely let up the pace and it works for them very well.

The band manage to create a medieval quality to these tracks, with the rhythms and leads frequently seeming to be inspired by this era; further enhanced as well by the album cover.

This is an album that hits the right spots and ends up as a very satisfying listen.

Highly recommended.