Atmospheric Black Metal

Liminal Shroud – All Virtues Ablaze Review

Liminal Shroud – All Virtues Ablaze Review

“I was first alerted to the upcoming release of All Virtues Ablaze, the second full-length record from Canada’s Liminal Shroud, in a social media post by Hypnotic Dirge Records. That post brought excitement, as I loved the band’s debut record, Through the False Narrows, which was a proper, pitch-black soundtrack to my 2020 Autumn. Hypnotic Dirge’s post also, however, brought sadness, as, in a rather classy fashion, it was promoting the upcoming release of All Virtues Ablaze, even though Liminal Shroud had moved labels (to the very good Willowtip) because Hypnotic Dirge is winding down its operations.” Thresholds, shrouds and bittersweet endings.

Grima – Frostbitten Review

Grima – Frostbitten Review

“Finally, I have wrested reviewing rights for Russia’s Grima from the grips of the dastardly Cherd of Doom. Not, it should be noted, because he accepts that he underrated the masked duo’s last two albums but because he has other pressing deadlines. Underrate them he did though, in my opinion at least. 2019’s Will of the Primordial and the 2021 follow up, Rotten Garden, were both 4.0s if you ask me (not that Cherd did ask me). Atmospheric black metal powered by the icy winds of the tundra and the exhaled air of a bayan or accordion, Grima is very much my cup of vodka.” Roll out the blizzard barrel.

Alburnum – Buitenlucht Review

Alburnum – Buitenlucht Review

“Certain things just go together. Prawn and avocado. Holdeneye and 4.0s. Ozzy and Black Sabbath. You get the gist. Two of those things are “black metal” and “nature.” From its early pagan roots, black metal has always had a close affinity with the great outdoors, rejecting rigid theism for a more atavistic, mystical spiritualism. It’s why half the shitty black metal videos you see happen in forests or on mountaintops. New Dutch band, Alburnum (another name for “Sapwood”) are therefore trodding well-worn ground; when compatriots, Fluisteraars have an album with flowers all over the cover, you’re going to have a tough time out-naturing the competition.” Play outside!

Tómarúm – Ash in Realms of Stone Icons Review

Tómarúm – Ash in Realms of Stone Icons Review

“We as a community speak often of defining and categorizing genres, but sometimes a promo comes along that legitimately challenges those definitions. Atlanta, Georgia’s Tómarúm received a generic “black metal” tag from Prosthetic Records’ PR team, and it falls short as a descriptor for what Tómarúm play. As you’ll surely deduce after giving debut album Ash in Realms of Stone Icons even just one spin, this nascent two-piece perform forbidden alchemy with myriad metallic ores, smelting a writhing, metamorphic amalgamation. It’s that very transmogrification that not only makes this album difficult to categorize but also exciting and satisfying to experience.” Pigeon holes don’t come easy.

Cailleach Calling – Dreams of Fragmentation

Cailleach Calling – Dreams of Fragmentation

“When an experienced musician, or musicians, begins a new project, expectation is a tricky part of the equation. After all, a new project is a new project, with all the bumps, twists, and booby traps associated with starting something new, regardless of the experience of its creator. I muse on this because Dreams of Fragmentation, our super-atmospheric black metal album for the day, is the debut full-length for Cailleach Calling, which itself is formed of Tony Thomas and Chelsea Murphy of Dawn of Ouroboros, whose debut full-length floored the Master of Muppets and left a lasting impression on a good number of you, alongside Yurii Kononov, formerly of White Ward.” Great expectations and fragments of dreams.

Unru – Die Wiederkehr des Verdrängten Review

Unru – Die Wiederkehr des Verdrängten Review

“There’s something about abstractness in music that rides a fine line between tantalizing and off-putting. While anything tagged “avant-garde” is immediately greeted by a chorus of hissing and boos, there are ways to create effectively challenging tunes using relatively standard methods. Some metallic styles are born out of this aesthetic, as post-metal’s emphasis on landscapes or drone’s focus on overwhelming density spring to mind, but black metal has always maintained a bit more straightforward nostalgia in the unholy trinity: tremolo, blastbeats, and shrieks. Unru seeks to challenge such things.” Dare to be difficult.

Izthmi – Leaving This World, Leaving it All Behind Review

Izthmi – Leaving This World, Leaving it All Behind Review

Izthmi sure have a sense of timing. Their debut album, The Arrows of Our Ways, was released in mid-February 2020, right around the time a certain virus you may have heard of began entering the news…  Despite impressing a cantankerous Grymm with its progressive and melodic take on atmospheric black metal (as well as a frankly gorgeous cover), it kinda got lost in the craziness that followed.” Storms and storming out.

Pure Wrath – Hymn to the Woeful Hearts Review

Pure Wrath – Hymn to the Woeful Hearts Review

Pure Wrath is a one-man atmospheric black metal project from Indonesia, and it really only took that bit of information—plus the cover art you see here—to sell me on reviewing it. I also learned that Hymn to the Woeful Hearts is the third full-length release from this project started by Ryo in 2014, and that he’s using the album to tell a story. Throughout the album, he imagines a mother who survived the Indonesian mass killings of 1965-66.” Innocents and Wrath.

The Mists From the Mountains – Monumental – The Temple of Twilight Review

The Mists From the Mountains – Monumental – The Temple of Twilight Review

“If raw black metal, like Old Nick or Black Cilice, is 99% chocolate dissolved in disquietingly malodorous milk, then Monumental – The Temple of Twilight is 45% milk chocolate in milky milk, with neither too much, nor too little, sugar. And nothing else. This is the basic recipe, almost unaltered and unadorned. You’ve had this a hundred times before and the mileage you get from this collection will entirely depend on how fond you are of this stuff.” In the nightside eclair.

Aquilus – Bellum I [Things You Might Have Missed 2021]

Aquilus – Bellum I [Things You Might Have Missed 2021]

Griseus by Aquilus was the best metal album of the 2010s never reviewed by AngryMetalGuy.com. It is a wonderful, ethereal, expressive, other-worldly experience tied to the metal genre by its atmospheric, blackened qualities, but spending just as much time and energy on its classical ones. It is, in short, symphonic black metal, but is so much more than this implies. This brings us to December 2021 and its long-overdue sequel, a decade in the making.” Music of blackened socialites.