Atmospheric Black Metal

Praise the Plague – Suffocating in the Current of Time Review

Praise the Plague – Suffocating in the Current of Time Review

“Evolution can be a tricky thing for a band to get right. Change too much and risk alienating an existing fan base. Or don’t change enough and risk pigeon-holing oneself, or even boring the audience who want to see some growth. Ever since Praise the Plague stepped onto the scene in 2018, they’ve been subtly shaping their intriguing admixture of doom and black metal. Particularly after sophomore The Obsidian Gate saw them commit to wielding in equal measure the grandiosity of the former with the sinister savagery of the latter, the question of where their approach would go next, as they established themselves, was foremost.” Down with the…Plague.

Litosth – Cesariana Review

Litosth – Cesariana Review

“Despite their frosty, dour tunes, the first comparison I draw when listening to Cesariana is Oubliette’s warm and rich The Passage. The second is Ethereal Shroud’s magnum opus Trisagion. Aesthetically falling somewhere between these two disparate references, Litosth’s style sounds epic without resorting to double-digit song lengths, feels relaxed in pacing without lacking passion, and manages to be memorable without possessing especially unique songwriting tenets.” Black haze.

Aureole – Alunarian Bellmaster Review

Aureole – Alunarian Bellmaster Review

“What unifies the uniquely melodic take on funeral doom heard in Drown and the cavernous death metal of Tchornobog? The answer is Ukraine’s Markov Soroka, the multi-instrumentalist behind both projects, and also a third considered today: Aureole. Alunarian Bellmaster represents his third record under this title, but the first in 8 years.” Bells in a warzone.

Hulder – Verses in Oath Review

Hulder – Verses in Oath Review

“Originally from Belgium but now firmly ensconced in the Pacific Northwest of the US, one-woman black metal project Hulder caused some ripples with debut LP, Godslastering: Hymns of a Forlorn Peasantry, in 2021. Steeped in dark medieval themes and even darker folklore, it channeled both an almost second wave black metal harshness and a folk edge to create a unique sound. Although a little rough around the edges, it promised much for the future.” The future is NOW!

Solbrud – IIII Review

Solbrud – IIII Review

IIII, the aptly titled fourth album from Denmark’s Solbrud, comprises ninety-four minutes of atmospheric black metal and HOLY SHIT WHERE ARE YOU GOING HOW ARE YOU RUNNING THAT FAST?? Well, anyway. For the die-hards who didn’t immediately flee at the concept of a double LP of atmoblack, I can guarantee a valid reason for why I’m endeavoring to cover this thing at all. I’ve made it no secret that this meandering, often forceless subgenre has not so much a home in my heart as a lean-to fashioned from three sticks and a handful of dental floss.” Three times the atmoblast.

Olhava – Sacrifice Review

Olhava – Sacrifice Review

“Less black metal than Trna, and more evocative synths a la Unreqvited, there is no rushing Olhava. Shimmering soundscapes are what they do, albeit that, where Unreqvited has (at least since 2018’s Mosaic I: L’Amour et L’Ardeur) hints of light and promise in the sound, Olhava is all shades of loss and a sense of hopeless grey.” 50 shades of sadboi.

Vemod – The Deepening Review

Vemod – The Deepening Review

“The sophomore album can be a make-or-break moment. Does a band double-down on what made their first release remarkable, or dilute its impact and fade into obscurity? The Deepening by Vemod is such a record, although comes so long after the debut that the band might as well be new again. 12 years is a long gap and a long time in which a band may reinvent itself. The Deepening finds these Norwegians deepening their own lore through a new take on their original black metal – but has the gap afforded their new sound quality too?” Deep or sunken?

Malist – Of Scorched Earth Review

Malist – Of Scorched Earth Review

“If there’s anything I could say for certain about Malist, it’s that they can get a hell of a lot of variety out of the superficially simple ‘atmospheric black metal’ subgenre. This variety, spanning melodic, second-wave, and quasi-DSBM styles, has doubtless played a role in Malist’s very positive reception in these halls. At least through 2021’s Karst Relic.” Mal, Maler, Malist.

Crow Black Sky – Sidereal Light Volume 2 [Things You Might Have Missed 2023]

Crow Black Sky – Sidereal Light Volume 2 [Things You Might Have Missed 2023]

Crow Black Sky’s second album, Sidereal Light Volume 1, caught my eye in 2018 for several reasons. Firstly, it received a well-deserved 4.0 on this here blog. Secondly, it came from a band located in my home (and favorite city in the whole world), Cape Town, South Africa. For those unaware, extreme metal is a tough sell in Africa. No established scene, no radio support, few venues, and conservative crowds. Any metal band from Africa faces an uphill battle from the get-go, which makes it all the more astonishing how many cool bands South Africa produces. Crow Black Sky are no exception” Early birds arrive late.