Dear Hollow

Vouna – Atropos Review

Vouna – Atropos Review

Vouna was one of my first reviews here at AMG. While I certainly feel dated by the release of Atropos, it also allows me time to reflect. Sole member Yianna Bekris has undoubtedly honed her craft, and I’d like to think that I have as well, even as the morale-boosting beatings continue and the terrifying ape-in-charge keeps staring at me from the dark corner over there. An associate of Wolves in the Throne Room‘s Weaver brothers, Bekris took me completely off-guard with Vouna‘s self-titled debut in 2018, an effort dubbed “funeral doom” but was anything but the bellowing¬†subterranean lurching we’ve come to know and love. Atropos offers a huge step forward, adding a healthy dose of obscurity and an unrelentingly bleak atmosphere to sink your teeth into.” Bleak houses.

Elderblood – Achrony Review

Elderblood – Achrony Review

“Blasphemy and the rejection of religion is not a new thing to black metal at all, but geography does play a part. As Diabolus in Muzaka mentioned in his review for Elderblood‘s Messiah, there’s something distinctly Polish about these Ukrainians. Christianity, especially the heavily ritualized flavor of Eastern Orthodox, runs deep in Slavic heritage – especially considering the virtual elimination of traditional Slavic religion at the hands of Christian tyrants. Nergal’s continuing rejection of Polish theocratic movements, Batushka‘s use of Russian Orthodoxy, and Elderblood‘s latest album cover have all shown the region’s unflinching hate. With these Ukrainians, you can expect vitriol and blasphemy in the fullest measure.” Burning faith.

Anthropophagus Depravity – Apocalypto Review

Anthropophagus Depravity – Apocalypto Review

Anthropophagus Depravity is a brutal death metal quintet from Yogyakarta, Indonesia, and 2021’s Apocalypto is their debut. While undoubtedly committed to bludgeoning listeners over the head with gore-splattered riffs, tar-thick grooves, and hell-scraping gutturals, Apocalypto is also dedicated to Mayan civilization and its emphasis of human sacrifice.” Sacrifices must be made.

Noctambulist – The Barren Form Review

Noctambulist – The Barren Form Review

Noctambulist is a blackened death metal band from Denver. Their 2019 debut album Atmospheres of Desolation was an interesting and twisty take on the brutal arts, aptly reflecting its name through an onslaught of vicious vocals, shredding riffs, and relentless percussion, through a contemplative dissonant melodic template. According to the illustrious¬†Kronos, it still needed to hone its songwriting and set out on its own non-Ulcerate-ordained path.” Form and friction.

Irae – Dangerovs Magick Zpells from the Mesziah of Death Review

Irae – Dangerovs Magick Zpells from the Mesziah of Death Review

“Getting dibs on albums is pretty rad when there’s a cool band with a new release I forgot about: a mini-Christmas in the otherwise lifeless dregs of the promo bin. That was my initial thought when I saw Portugal’s Irae new release. Last year’s Lurking in the Depths, while not terribly original, was a jolly fun batch o’ blackened tunes. It blended raw-ish tendencies with a healthy dose of groove for a subtle and consistent listen that perhaps held more promise than delivered but was good enough for my heart to leap at the newest installment. Does Dangerovs Magick Zpells from the Mesziah of Death¬†deliver?” Dangerovs toyvs.

The Day of the Beast – Indisputably Carnivorous Review

The Day of the Beast – Indisputably Carnivorous Review

“The almighty riff. While I’m not entirely convinced of its importance, masochists like Diabolus in Muzaka and Ferrous Beuller spend their days raking the dregs of the Skull Pit’s outer limits in the vain hopes of discovering it laying amid the rusty needles of tech-death or beneath the gore and grime of OSDM, only to return empty-handed and receive yet another beating from the all-knowing ape. While the foundation of countless styles of metal, it’s a frail thing, as its weak implementation or absence can violently derail a song or an album. Worshipers of the almighty and ever-elusive riff, does The Day of the Beast succeed or will they crash and burn with the hordes of Nifelheim-copycats?” Nice to eat you.

Ossaert – Pelgrimsoord Review

Ossaert – Pelgrimsoord Review

Ossaert is an anonymous duo from the Dutch city of Zwolle, which they describe as “indoctrinated.” This is foreshadowing in that the duo, spearheaded by vocalist/guitarist/songwriter P., specializes in a breed of black metal not unlike the many confused faces of Batushka. Utilizing cold, ruthless second-wave black metal run through the dark lens of religion, they balance blasphemy with a spiraling feeling of madness.” Religion as brutality.

Portal – Avow Review

Portal – Avow Review

“Before Ion, we thought we had Portal figured out. The kings of murk would release another album of slogging dissonance, just like Swarth or Vexovoid. However, taking the path of least resistance or going with ol’ reliable has never been the esoteric Australian collective’s way, and we were greeted with Ion, a big obscure middle finger to the masses in their abruptly clearest and most pristine listen. In spite of the almost complete abandonment of murk, Ion adhered to their signature impenetrability, creating one of the most challenging listens in recent memory and showcasing that they weren’t just some disso-death one-trick pony. Avow reminds us that Portal is still king.” There will be cake.

Atrium – Ancient Spells Review

Atrium – Ancient Spells Review

“Wolves are neat critters, but their portrayals have gotten a bad rap. The gift shop t-shirt of choice for angsty teenagers who listen to Five Finger Death Punch‘s “Jekyll & Hyde” and convince their friends that they have a “dark side,” the symbol has lost its teeth. Toss in that one individual who identifies as a wolf and barks at a lake, these canines have often become a symbol of try-hards rather than the courageous and loyal representation with which it is traditionally associated. Gazing upon the howling wolf that graces the cover of Ancient Spells, does Atrium offer strength and courage or is it upended by its own insecurities?” Eyes bigger than your belly, Wolfie?

Noctule – Wretched Abyss Review

Noctule – Wretched Abyss Review

Serena Cherry has a knack for melody. In her storied career with Svalbard, the charismatic vocalist and guitarist has co-written and performed a decade of melodic hardcore tinged with post-hardcore, post-metal, and black metal. Now, Cherry tries a little something different in her new solo project Noctule, hoping to “spread her dragon wings and take off in an intriguing musical direction on her own. A labor of love and isolation, Cherry composed and recorded the Noctule debut while in the UK Coronavirus lockdown. Opposed to the melodic hardcore leanings of Svalbard, she now bets it all on black in blackened release Wretched Abyss, an album themed after the popular RPG Skyrim.” Dragon, why do you cry?