Black Lion Records

Tethra – Empire of the Void Review

Tethra – Empire of the Void Review

“Space is very metal. I don’t refer to the space between you and the nearest hunting knife, of course, but rather to outer space, which has captured the imagination of metalheads from all walks of the genre’s spectrum. Today brings Tethra’s Empire of the Void into the mix, a monstrous slab of death-doom designed to crush and inspire.” Void rage.

Kvaen – The Funeral Pyre Review

Kvaen – The Funeral Pyre Review

Kvaen is the solo project of Swedish musician Jakob Björnfot (The Duskfall), although he employs a number of guest musicians to flesh out his vision. With The Funeral Pyre, he joins acts like Sun of the Sleepless and Spectral Wound as artists who play throwback melodic black metal with such verve and venom that it sounds as fresh as when it first emerged from the primordial forests.” Higher, higher, feel the pyre!

Apotheus – The Far Star Review

Apotheus – The Far Star Review

“Every now and then you run into something that seems to have been made specifically for you. It’s like someone reached into your head, downloaded a copy of your soul, extracted exactly the sort of things you enjoy, and made something that panders to the template it found. Apotheus’ promo described a progressive melodeath band with a sci-fi concept album about interstellar colonization. Periods for emphasis, but Sign. Me. The. Fuck. Up.” Swallow the wvrm.

IATT – Nomenclature Review

IATT – Nomenclature Review

IATT—FKA I Am the Trireme, the one-time recipients of an AMG 1.0—is a band I hoped would capitalize on my renewed craving for a smarter kind of blackened death metal. Much of Nomenclature certainly qualifies as prog—and as such, scratches that particular itch—but like the best music in the style, it is great music first, progressive music second. Through theatrical songwriting and melodic grandeur, IATT has assured that their second record is a deeply captivating experience.” You can call this a comeback.

Nihility – Thus Spoke the Antichrist Review

Nihility – Thus Spoke the Antichrist Review

“It’s been said that the scariest monsters are those which are vaguely familiar. From zombies to the shape-shifting alien in The Thing, it seems the best way to leave a sense of lasting fear in your audience is to take familiar traits and twist them into something grotesque and appalling. Metal (usually) isn’t designed to scare people, but the same basic principle applies. The new releases I enjoy the most are those which take recognizable features from other bands and morph them in their own unique way. Portuguese quintet Nihility are a great example of this. With their Thus Spoke the Antichrist debut, the group take the Behemoth and Belphegor influence promised in the promo blurb and mutate it with an injection of brutal death metal.” Familiar Hell.

Kull – Exile Review

Kull – Exile Review

“In my three years with this blog, I have never had as much difficulty penning an introduction as with Kull‘s debut record, Exile. This is not due to any conflicting feelings about the subject at hand; rather, I’m petrified of underselling just how monumentally special Kull is to me. Their existence is borne from the ashes of Bal-Sagoth, an English band that is a permanent staple of my listening rotation, and whose output fizzled out just before I stumbled upon them in 2008. Mind you, my ongoing affection for them does not stem from sentimentality or nostalgia.” Big Balls(agoth).

Mist of Misery – Unalterable Review

Mist of Misery – Unalterable Review

“As I’m typing this, I’m staring out the window at a dead tree across the street. It may be past the start of spring, but much like a stereotypical black metal cover, cold dominates the sky and spring seems to have missed the memo. It’s perfect for some depressing tunes, and Mist of Misery‘s fusion of symphonic black metal and depressive suicidal black metal fits the bill.” Winter is still here.

Black Therapy – Echoes of Dying Memories Review

Black Therapy – Echoes of Dying Memories Review

“Nobody sane wishes to be sad, but at some points in our lives we all have been, and it’s beyond dispute that emotional pain will be a part of our future. This begs the question of why we metalheads tend to seek out and enjoy music that evokes feelings of sorrow and listen for our own enjoyment. I’ve always found melancholy set to music a beautiful thing but have never considered why I’ve found it so. Perhaps it’s because to mourn a loss, a man must care deeply about that which has departed. Perhaps it’s the ubiquity of sorrow, and the sad song’s reminder that we’re not alone in our perils. Perhaps it’s the confronting of melancholy through music which gives us courage and makes us feel like we’ve faced down that which we feared. Perhaps it’s none or all these things, or perhaps more.” Therapeutic suffering.

Meadows End – The Grand Antiquation Review

Meadows End – The Grand Antiquation Review

Sweden’s Meadows End has been pushing their symphonic metal wares on the world for over 20 years and across 3 full-length albums yet had surprisingly avoided coverage at this website thus far. Album four goes by the name of The Grand Antiquation (TGA) and features album artwork about which I am undecided: is it delightfully tacky or just tacky? Light / dark theme? Check. Angel / devil imagery? Check. Heaven / Hell setting? Check? Shotgun wielded in one hand Terminator-style? Check. It’s certainly eye-catching and perhaps an indicator of the unsubtle amalgamation of metal and classical housed within. But does it fall closer to Heaven or Hell?” Worse or better angels?

Vanha – Melancholia Review

Vanha – Melancholia Review

“As a mere music critic, I’m well aware I’m not in the music business in a meaningful way. Still, I’m entirely baffled when artists choose to release albums at the very ass end of the year. Even more perplexing is when an album drops on December 30th when a sizable portion of the world is distracted by holiday cheer and excessive eggnogery. Call it bad capitalism or extreme trvism, but one man doom death act Vanha decided to release an album on this of all days in what seems like a calculated attempt to get it overlooked. Luckily for all concerned, Steel isn’t letting this slip into that good night unnoticed.” Bad timing, good doom.