Atmospheric Black Metal

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!

Lebensnacht – The Realm Beyond Review

Lebensnacht – The Realm Beyond Review

The Realm Beyond is the second album from Germany’s Lebensnacht, a German duo, which has been active since 2008. They specialize in mid-paced, atmospheric BM, with a heavy emphasis on ethereal synthesizers, like early Wolves in the Throne Room or Lustre. This is all mashed together in an incredibly raw and harsh mix. Where Lebensnacht differs from many other bands is the strong depressive black metal element that pervades its work, providing an ominous air to the music.” Birds in the Mud Room.

Fuath – II Review

Fuath – II Review

“Representing a darker, meaner interpretation of black metal, Andy Marshall, better known for Saor, unleashed his Fuath (Gaelic for hatred) project around now over 5 years ago (fuck me, my life’s getting away from me). I excelled in black atmosphere and understated but sticky melodies and remains one of the decade’s better examples of atmospheric black metal, in a sub-genre full to the brim with mediocrity. It was intended to be a one-off but the inspirationally-entitled II is now primed for release.” Atmo-II: Electric Boogaloo.

Mare Cognitum – Solar Paroxysm Review

Mare Cognitum – Solar Paroxysm Review

“There’s atmospheric black metal, and then there’s Mare Cognitum. Two sides of the same planet. On the former, the sphere is completely devoid of life, eroded by endless recycling of ideas to the point of being uninhabitable. Then you have Mare Cognitum, a one-man force of nature who consistently releases quality material. Mastermind and multi-instrumentalist Jacob Buczarski’s side of the atmoblack world thrives against the eroding tides of time.” Renewable energies.

Malist – Karst Relict Review

Malist – Karst Relict Review

“Like distant thunder, the world of atmospheric black metal is simultaneously a comfort and a terror. I’ve been craving new atmospheric music lately. Thinking back, my two most recent forays into its claws have been the most recent offerings by Old Growth and Winterfylleth. Good enough albums, but neither really grabbed me the way I’ve been hoping for. Whether because of too much atmosphere, not enough variety, or just an altogether lack of menace or edge, atmospheric black metal of this particular vein was not all that good to me in 2020. So when I encountered Karst Relict, the third full-length in as many years from Malist, the solo project of one Ovfrost (Bewailer), I was cautiously optimistic.” Malist in Hell.

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.