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”

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)”

Somnium Nox – Apocrypha (Review)

Somnium NoxThis is the debut release from Somnium Nox, a black metal band from Australia.

Somnium Nox are harbingers of esoteric progressive/atmospheric black metal that plays out over one 16 minute track, revealing an expansive tapestry of music that explores the underground world of black metal with aplomb. Continue reading “Somnium Nox – Apocrypha (Review)”

Spectral Lore – III (Review)

Spectral LoreThis is the fourth album from Greek Black Metallers Spectral Lore.

Spectral Lore play atmospheric Black Metal which courses with malevolence and a feeling of exploration without too much experimentation.

The songs are long, (as indeed is the album at just under 90 minutes), and they’re not afraid to develop their Progressive and Ambient sides. Well, I say “they” but Spectral Lore is actually only one person, which makes this album even more impressive.

The songs have a good amount of interest and variety during their long playing time which is essential for a work such as this. The Blackened melodies slip out of the speakers and the howling vocals are perfectly judged.

Even the bass is audible and does its own thing irrespective of the guitars in a rare show of autonomy.

Each track is emotive and lavishly bestowed with depth and character. A classic and masterfully judged recording harks back to the early glory days of the genre when Black Metal was already straining at the seams of its genre definitions but had yet to burst out completely. The sound in general is reminiscent of early Emperor and Satyricon and evokes nostalgic feelings whilst simultaneously earning it a stamp of high quality.

II is a veritable work of Black Metal art. It’s worth investing in this as its true value will only increase in time.