Atmospheric Black Metal

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.

Felled – The Intimate Earth Review

Felled – The Intimate Earth Review

Felled approach black metal differently than many. There’s a lot of mournful folk imbued within these sonic landscapes, thanks to a lead violin which takes center stage as often as, if not more often than, the lead guitars. Dour atmosphere grips with a cold, unforgiving hand and drags you across snowy tundra, no thought given to your ability to weather the journey. All that matters is that the melodies and moods cut through your thin flesh-wrapper and find a home deep inside your marrow.” Intimate despair.

Firienholt – By the Waters of Awakening Review

Firienholt – By the Waters of Awakening Review

Firienholt sound pretty much exactly as you’d expect based solely on this album art. Falling somewhere in the center of a Venn diagram split between atmospheric black metal, symphonic folk-ish metal, and dungeonsynth, By the Waters of Awakening offers an experience that not only relaxes and soothes, but also evokes a desire for bone-chilling winter to return forthwith. Tambourines, flutes, strings, trumpets and French horns, and glistening synths decorate a light dusting of blackened frost across a wondrous landscape of mournful melodies and heartfelt verses. This is not an album for headbanging.” Serenity now!

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?

Dordeduh – Har Review

Dordeduh – Har Review

“Until a few months ago I was only peripherally aware of Dordeduh. I had heard their debut album, 2012’s Dar de duh, and thought it was “good” but not really worth revisiting. Similarly, I was aware of the apparent amazingness of Om, Negură Bunget’s 2006 opus, in which Edmond “Huppogrammos” Karban and Cristian “Sol Faur” Popescu played a pivotal role. While that album was stunning in scope, the black metal production values turned me off. Potential, yes: essential, no. Fast forward to 2021, and on a whim I clicked on the first track released from Har, entitled “Descânt.” It was then that I knew I had to not only hear this album, but bring it forth to the Angry Metal Guy faithful.” From Romania with love.

Fyrnask – VII-Kenoma Review

Fyrnask – VII-Kenoma Review

“When I think of the sprawling extreme metal bands that I admire the most – The Ruins of Beverast, Urfaust, Spectral Lore, Blut Aus Nord and Darkspace a handful – I picture their music as labyrinthine cathedrals: their domes, spires and towers encrusted in shadowy depth; their facades etched in malicious secrets, crafted meticulously over hundreds of years; a visitor’s footsteps echoing minutely against the leering iconography of the interior walls. Using rough raw material, the best bands craft cathedrals of splendor that loom over the scene with menacing authority. Many bands, too many bands, attempt to recreate the fine detail of the best. They try, but the foundation of their place of worship is fractured and cheap to begin with. The finished product stands tall for a brief moment in time, but as the wind changes the structure falls – they lack the intricacy, the balance, the transitions. Another band on the rubble heap. On a plot of land somewhere in the East of Germany another architect lays the first stones of a new creation. Fyrnask has experience.” Building toward destruction.

Nordgeist – Frostwinter Review

Nordgeist – Frostwinter Review

“Black metal is a tricky beast to pin down. More, I believe, than many other sub-genres of metal, black metal is about feeling. Of course, they’re all about feeling, but black metal gets points for versatility – some black metal is designed to make you feel angry, some cold, some sad, some alone, some despairing, and the list goes on. Frostwinter, the debut full-length by Serbian single-person (known to us only as “T”) metal crew Nordgeist, is black metal that wants to make you feel something altogether more complicated.” Winter 4 eva.

Spectral Lore – Ετερόφωτος Review

Spectral Lore – Ετερόφωτος Review

“It’s no secret that I was a huge admirer of the 2020 Spectral Lore / Mare Cognitum split, Wanderers: Astrology of the Nine. Like an elaborate dance, the ethereal material from Spectral Lore waltzed perfectly with the more grounded, riff-driven focus of Mare Cognitum. I was fascinated to see how each band would follow this with their respective solo albums. Mare Cognitum clearly incorporated the introspective, mournful influence of Spectral Lore to great effect on Solar Paroxysm. The question was how Spectral Lore mastermind, the Greek Ayloss, would approach his latest collection, Ετερόφωτος.” Tales from the basement (sub-floor lore).

Paysage d’Hiver – Geister Review

Paysage d’Hiver – Geister Review

Paysage d’Hiver is an act with no need for introduction, but I have a word count to meet, so here it is: Paysage d’Hiver is a black metal act from Schwarzenburg, Bern, Switzerland, consisting of sole member Wintherr (also of Darkspace). Technically, Geister is the act’s second full-length, but he’s been cranking out music for twenty-four years.” Right in the Geister!