Agalloch

Noltem – Illusions in the Wake Review

Noltem – Illusions in the Wake Review

“It’s an uncomfortable moment in a reviewer’s life when you stumble across some promo blurb from a band’s label or PR company that is actually right on the money. While I recognize it must be no easy life if your day job is relentlessly writing promo for bands, these mini-essays are normally so pumped full of hyperbole, so riddled with awkward phraseology and so glowing with praise that this band is the second coming of [insert relevant genre titan], that the write-ups are effectively useless as a guide to the band one is about to sonically ingest. Every now and again, however, the promo hits the nail on the head. Such was the case for Connecticut-based atmospheric black metal trio Noltem and its debut, Illusions in the Wake.” Good PR.

Wolves in the Throne Room – Primordial Arcana Review

Wolves in the Throne Room – Primordial Arcana Review

Wolves in the Throne Room is an important band for me. When I was just getting into black metal, I found my way to the early albums in the band’s discography, which demonstrated to me the intrinsic and glorious bond black metal has with nature. I was absolutely captivated and I still consider the trilogy of Diadem of 12 Stars, Two Hunters and Black Cascade to be one of the strongest in black metal’s catalog. While I may be less enamored with the later albums (Thrice Woven, apart from its thunderous opener, left me cold), I feel a very close affinity with the band, and any new release is a very big deal to this reviewer.” Wolves or sheep?

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.

Anael – Mare Review

Anael – Mare Review

“Black metal carries an image, a culture, and an aesthetic. You know the hallmarks: corpse-paint, leather, spikes, frosty forests, an appreciation of all things blasphemous and evil. Initially shocking and terrifying, its image becomes tacky and cringeworthy with repeated exposure, so I’ve discovered greater appreciation for humble musicians who don’t buy into the novelty. Anael is such an act.” Restrained kvltness.

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.

Over The Voids – Hadal Review

Over The Voids – Hadal Review

“The Fall, the sole member of Over The Voids, has stated that the great motivator is his ‘fear of death.’ This infatuation with the unavoidable is the pulse of metal and the life force of Over The Voids, a spectral blackened project that seeks to evoke the mystery of the second wave whilst constructing an immersive narrative.” Death fuels art.

Fellwarden – Wreathed in Mourncloud Review

Fellwarden – Wreathed in Mourncloud Review

Fellwarden is an atmospheric black metal project created by Fen frontman, the Watcher and joined by fellow Fen drummer, Havenless. Much like many black metal projects we know (think Agalloch or Panopticon), Fellwarden‘s music is inspired by the nature that surrounds them. For the Watcher and Havenless, the nature that surrounds them means the rearing landscapes and quiet, understated majesty of the fells of North-Western England.” Mournclouds in your coffee.

Blaze of Sorrow – Absentia Review

Blaze of Sorrow – Absentia Review

“It’s amazing the things you discover lurking around the Promo Pit. Blaze of Sorrow is not a band that has been on my radar, but between that album art (I mean, look at it), that name (Absentia is such a cool name it nets you twelve band name search results on Metallum), and the promise of “windswept, cascading black metal [that] is undoubtedly melancholic at heart” (I know, I know, marketing copy is marketing copy, but what can I say, it sounded good), I was sold on Blaze of Sorrow‘s Absentia before I’d heard a single note.” Grand declaration of expectations.