2020

Forhist – Forhist Review

Forhist – Forhist Review

“Sometimes, we all gotta get back to basics. When you’re Vindsval from the influential band, Blut Aus Nord, that means returning to your atmospheric black metal roots. Blut Aus Nord has always been an interesting proposition, veering wildly between the avant-garde (The Work Which Transforms God, 777 trilogy) and the traditional (The Memoria Vetusta trilogy, Hallucinogen). While I admire the boundary-pushing stuff, I have a mighty soft spot for those Memoria Vestusta albums, which I think comfortably inhabit the apex of melodic black metal. Forhist is Vindsval’s solo project, and Forhist the debut under this moniker.” Blut Aus More.

Ablaze My Sorrow – Among Ashes and Monoliths Review

Ablaze My Sorrow – Among Ashes and Monoliths Review

“Melodeath is a tough sub-genre to review because it exists in a constant state of tension. It’s pulled in three directions constantly: death metal at one point, traditional heavy metal at another, and power metal at the third. The ebb and flow between these is what makes it enjoyable, but it’s also what divides fans. Err too much to one end and the music sounds “death metal-lite.” Err towards another and it resembles strained power-metal without any heft. The best melodeath is able to resolve these tensions, creating a palatable middle-ground. The Swedish melodeath scene of the 90s mastered this, and was pivotal to the movement’s popularity. A minor, but not inconsequential, contributor was Falkenberg’s awkwardly titled Ablaze My Sorrow.” Pain in the ash.

Scáth Na Déithe – The Dirge of Endless Mourning [Things You Might Have Missed 2020]

Scáth Na Déithe – The Dirge of Endless Mourning [Things You Might Have Missed 2020]

“There’s something special about the Irish metal. Mythological elements intertwine with its primordial melodies in a unique blend of sounds that conjure rage, desperation, melancholy, and heritage, often simultaneously. One-man project from Rush, Scáth Na Déithe is a shining example of this balancing act of death and black metal.” Dirge and purge.

Kannustaa – Kannustaa [Things You Might Have Missed 2020]

Kannustaa – Kannustaa [Things You Might Have Missed 2020]

“Black metal is known for a lot of things. Vulnerability is not one of them. In amongst the hyper-masculine and satanic theatrics, there just isn’t much wiggle-room for nuanced takes musing on the softer side of the human condition. Given that anger is usually a mask for sadness, black metal is clearly one of the saddest forms of art we have. Yet we generally only get the viciously furious or the overwhelmingly maudlin. Enter Kannustaa, an international hybrid band of Americans and Serbians.” Black tears ov rage.

Völur – Death Cult [Things You Might Have Missed 2020]

Völur – Death Cult [Things You Might Have Missed 2020]

Völur is a thing that I too nearly missed this year. The Canadian folk/doom trio received a strong recommendation from Akerblogger some years ago, and returned this year to unleash their third full-length, Death Cult, upon the Angry Metal Masses this past November. Unfortunately, life got in the way, and the album was never picked up for review. Now I’m here to rectify the issue, because as far as doom metal goes, Death Cult is one of the best albums I’ve heard in some time.” Drinking the Kool-Aid.

Intellect Devourer – Demons of the Skull [Things You Might Have Missed 2020]

Intellect Devourer – Demons of the Skull [Things You Might Have Missed 2020]

“Here’s a heartwarming tale of perseverance in the Aussie death metal underground. Intellect Devourer formed way back in 1991, and after releasing a couple of demos, enduring splits, hiatuses and reformations, finally recorded their full-length debut, entitled Demons of the Skull, in 2020. Featuring members from various other bands, including Mournful Congregation and StarGazer, Intellect Devourer bring a wealth of battle hardened experience into an inspired batch of old school technical death songs.” Mind monsters.

Luna’s Call – Void [Things You Might Have Missed 2020]

Luna’s Call – Void [Things You Might Have Missed 2020]

“2020 provided plenty of quality metal releases, but only a scant few of those which tickled my fancy fall into the “progressive metal” category. Of those, we missed two that deserve mention. The first is Cellar Vessel‘s immense slab of Xanthrochroided symphonic prog-death, entitled Vein Beneath the Soil. The second—and, obviously, more preferred, since I’m writing about it—is UK quartet Luna’s Call‘s sophomore epic Void.” When the void calls…

Mamaleek – Come & See [Things You Might Have Missed 2020]

Mamaleek – Come & See [Things You Might Have Missed 2020]

Mamaleek‘s experimental fluidity has been bubbling beneath the surface since 2008. Not a lot is known about the two brothers who have channeled many genres through the Mamaleek moniker. Come & See is their seventh full-length and another chapter in their difficult-to-place story. If you asked me about this record a few months ago I would have huffed, puffed and dismissed it as a work of directionless cross-genre experimentation. After revisiting the record last month, however, I was struck by how coherent and engrossing it was as a whole.” Experiments in sound.

Funeral Fullmoon – Revelation of Evil Review

Funeral Fullmoon – Revelation of Evil Review

“Sometimes, on a cold and miserable winter evening, when you haven’t been outside for several days because Lockdown 3.0 and work sucks because you haven’t been to the office or seen any of your colleagues for 11 months and you really want a beer or five but can’t because you decided not to drink for January for some damn fool reason and… well, anyway, you get the picture. On those sorts of evenings, sometimes what you need is an ice-cold sliver of raw, lo-fi black metal.” Feel the moon.