Emblazoned – Eucharistiae Sacramentum (Review)

EmblazonedEmblazoned are from the US and this is their début album. They play Blackened Death Metal.

This is music with an evil feel created by minions of some Dark Lord or other who worship and defile their way through 8 tracks of daemonic Death Metal.

The deep growls and high screams call out hymns to darkness whilst the crushing production allows the music to be both heavy and precise.

All of the instruments are clear and played with surgical steel. The drums have an especially crisp sound to them, the bass is audible and worthwhile and the guitars have a crunchy, crushing edge.

The riffs have a Blackened feel to a lot of the melodies which adds a touch of the underworld to the songs; they already have a malevolent feel to them as it is and as the band are mainly interested in creating a brutally evil atmosphere it’s only to be expected that a Black Metal influence should make its way onto the album.

The songs are very enjoyable and make the most of their relatively short playing time by effortlessly blending the brutality of streamlined Death Metal with the dark feeling of Black Metal.

Emblazoned combine parts of bands like Deicide, The Black Dahlia Murder, Satyricon, Behemoth, Arsis and Lvcifyre into their merciless sound and the result is a very strong album indeed.

It’s time for you to check out Emblazoned and join them in their war against the forces of light.

Sterbenzeit – L’Oltrenotte (Review)

SterbenzeitSterbenzeit are from Italy and play Black Metal. This is their second album.

This is raw Black Metal with slight ostentation mixing the style of early-era bands such as Dimmu Borgir, Darkthrone and Satyricon.

There are no keyboards so the ostentation comes in the form of some of the guitars – the band’s riffs are highly atmospheric; the impression of mystery and of a boundlessly vast and uncaring cosmos is a powerful one.

Blackened rhythms and icy melodies propel the songs and I really like the fact that the band have succeeded in creating atmosphere with dark riffs alone.

The drums are low-key but prominent enough to be a integral part of the songs. The bass is very subtle but is actually audible beneath the fuzzy guitars. It provides a bedrock of support for the tracks and shouldn’t be discounted.

The shrieking screams of the vocalist accompany the music and are befitting the style they play. It’s a standard Black Metal scream but it’s done well and there are no complaints from me about it; his voice scrapes and bleeds Blackened aggression and passion for the cause.

L’Oltrenotte is true to the early Black Metal style and the band have created a worthy piece of Black Metal art.

Fornicus – Storming Heaven (Review)

FornicusFornicus are from the US and this is their début album. They play Black Metal.

Featuring a previous member of the brilliant Aeons of Eclipse, I was excited to see what Fornicus had to offer. Storming Heaven is 8 tracks in 39 minutes – 6 originals, one intro and a Sepultura cover.

This is unholy Black Metal with an evil feel that recalls similar bands like Satyricon and Marduk. There is a touch of Death and Thrash Metal here and there, including some deeper growls in addition to the normal Black Metal vocals.

The songs are fast and heavy with Blackened melodies coating everything. They also have an ear for a good mid-paced riff and sometimes find a great groove to get stuck into and make the most of. This is frequently enhanced by the aforementioned Blackened melodies that seem to seep out of the speakers like liquid silk and pour straight into your ears…

Well, suffice to say it sounds really, really good.

Storming heaven is very well written and the songs have a good rhythmic quality to them. This isn’t just confined to the guitars though as the vocals also follow similar patterns; it makes for a very satisfying listen as the guitars and vocals sync up and become greater than the sum of their parts.

This is not faceless Black Metal with no personality; these songs have bite and the band have talent. A well-recorded sound rounds off a very strong package and Storming Heaven is definitely one of the more enjoyable straight-forward Black Metal albums I’ve heard this year.

Highly recommended.

Skiddaw – Skiddaw (Review)

SkiddawSkiddaw are from the UK and play Black Metal.

Skiddaw offer us 4 tracks across 13 minutes of Black Metal.

The first track Skiddaw Forest is a short opener that’s Blackly melodic and suitably raw and frostbitten. It does its job amiably and whets the appetite for the show to begin proper. Nice use of bass, also.

Skiddaw Towers follows this with a scream. Skiddaw have a classic Black Metal sound that’s somewhere between Darkthrone and Mayhem and this song does both of these spiritual parents proud. The track rumbles along with menace and a solid double bass foundation.

The third track is named Gates of Beleth and is faster then the previous tracks with a winding riff leading the way before descending into murkier climes. There’s a sense of urgency and escape, as if being pursued by something unnameable and indescribable. Enjoyably raw, with the vocals in particular sounding especially savage on this song.

Finally we have Even Titans Fall which is even faster, more melodic and has a touch of Satyricon about it. It’s a good closer and leaves you wanting more.

Skiddaw have an energetic and enticing sound that’s bleak, windswept and icy; just how Black Metal should be.

Check them out.

Hellhate – Retsonretap (Review)

HellhateHellhate are a Black Metal band from the Ukraine, and this is their début EP.

This is a short EP at only 15 minutes but it functions as a good introduction to the band.

Hellhate have a raw sound that is nonetheless clear and functional. It wraps darkness around the already grim riffs and holds them tight.

The high pitched rasps are demonic and maniacal, giving the impression of an angry imp not entirely dissimilar to the cover.

Each song is a good collection of Black Metal riffs in the Old-School style mixing Darkthrone and Satyricon with a even a little hint of Black Sabbath now and again to the guitars.

Hellhate seem just as comfortable playing slowly as they do when blasting, and they do both producing a well-rounded release that I have really enjoyed.

When they blast they sound tight and focused and when they get a good Black Metal groove going then it’s all I can do to keep still while I’m listening. Up to the Stench is a particularly good example of when the band exhibit both traits in an extremely satisfying way.

It may be little more than a taster EP but this is the kind of Black Metal that it’s easy to like; simple, well-written and evil. If you like Black Metal you can’t fail to like Hellhate.

Humut Tabal – The Dark Emperor ov the Shadow Realm (Review)

Humut TabalThis is the second album by US Black Metal band Humut Tabal.

Humut Tabal play frigid Black Metal with dark melodies lashing out from every angle. The riffs are catchy and purposeful and the songs are driven by a sense of urgency and grandeur.

Speed is very important on The Dark Emperor ov the Shadow Realm and the band give it their all when they need to. They’re not adverse to slower/mid-paced sections too though and there is enough mixture between the two to keep things interesting.

The band base their sound on the likes of Mayhem, Satyricon, Naglfar and Emperor. Using this base they then build on it with their own personality as well as injecting some Classical/Experimental influences into their compositions. They’re confident enough in their own abilities to pull it off with panache.

Vocally the high pitched shrieking is classic Black Metal and sounds just right for the music.

The complete package is rounded off with a strong recording that serves the band well.

On the whole the band have created an enjoyable and powerful set of songs.

Hyperborean – Mythos of the Great Pestilence (Review)

HyperboreanHyperborean are from Sweden and play Black Metal. This is their second album.

We have 9 tracks here, one of which is a cover of (Don’t Fear) the Reaper by Blue Oyster Cult.

Hyperborean play Melodic Black Metal with bite and flourish. This accomplished band are comfortable playing both at speed and at a more mid-paced rate. Expressive leads and emotive riffs accompany some inhuman drumming to produce the kind of songs that bands like Naglfar and Satyricon would be proud of.

The vocals scream their rage into an empty abyss, occasionally venting into a deeper grunt to emphasise their disdain for all things full of life and hope.

The music is sharp and some of the riffs are surprising; they have a good sense of dynamics and a good ear for melody. They also incorporate more solos and leads than a lot of bands of this ilk and this sits on top of their hardened core making the songs seem to zip by in a colourful blur. And with a 54 minute album this is no mean feat.

This is really enjoyable Black Metal and I like that the band haven’t gone the safe route and simply regurgitated generic riffs that have bean heard a thousand times before; some of the mid-paced riffs especially hit the spot nicely and really get the limbs gyrating along with the tunes.

Quality band, quality album.

The video below is for the title track, and one of my favourites from the album. Give it a try.