Batushka

Ossaert – Pelgrimsoord Review

Ossaert – Pelgrimsoord Review

Ossaert is an anonymous duo from the Dutch city of Zwolle, which they describe as “indoctrinated.” This is foreshadowing in that the duo, spearheaded by vocalist/guitarist/songwriter P., specializes in a breed of black metal not unlike the many confused faces of Batushka. Utilizing cold, ruthless second-wave black metal run through the dark lens of religion, they balance blasphemy with a spiraling feeling of madness.” Religion as brutality.

Wolvennest – Temple Review

Wolvennest – Temple Review

“Belgium is a weird place. Maybe it’s the chocolate or waffles, but any country that offers groups like Neptunian Maximalism, Emptiness, or Amenra & Co. needs to have its cholesterol checked. Spewing out bizarre organic atmosphere with haunting repetition, artists like these have strangely minimalist tendencies that end up feeling bigger than the individual parts suggest. While spanning a broad range of metallic subgenres, it comes across as otherworldly, surreal, and fiercely dark. To add their two cents to these Belgian shenanigans is Wolvennest.” Temple of Weird.

Misotheist – For the Glory of Your Redeemer Review

Misotheist – For the Glory of Your Redeemer Review

“Remember dangerous Norwegian black metal? Remember when just listening to it felt like an act of rebellion? The stuff that made priests and your parents upset? Me neither. Those days seem like a long time ago; the original fury replaced by bands passively crowd-surfing on the reputation and mystique of old. Well, Misotheist, an anonymous black metal group from Trondheim, is here to kick you in balls, spit in your face, and remind you that God is dead and you should quit crying about it.” Cup check!

Heretical Sect – Rapturous Flesh Consumed Review

Heretical Sect – Rapturous Flesh Consumed Review

“As I close out the year with reviews, what better way than to go back to my roots? Is that vague? Maybe. Mysterious? Definitely. What on earth would I have in common with Heretical Sect? Am I a skeleton with a snake in my skull? Maybe. I’ll bring that up with the doctor later. I suppose you could ask: what do chile, Breaking Bad, Ancestral Puebloans, hot air balloons, and the worst pedestrian safety rating in the US have in common? Secting crew.

Death. Void. Terror. – To the Great Monolith II [Things You Might Have Missed 2020]

Death. Void. Terror. – To the Great Monolith II [Things You Might Have Missed 2020]

“One of my main motivations regarding black metal is finding albums like this. Offerings from Ancient Moon, Dolorian, or Amnutseba have come close, hinting at a devastatingly empty atmosphere and pitch-black density through aural executions of dread that invoke the feeling of drifting in the eternal void. Attempts have never really hit the sweet spot, until Death. Void. Terror.’s 2018 debut To the Great Monolith.” Monoliths R Us.

Dawn of a Dark Age – La Tavola Osca Review

Dawn of a Dark Age – La Tavola Osca Review

Dawn of a Dark Age is an Italian black metal duo formed in 2014, brainchild of multi-instrumentalist Vittorio Sabelli (aka Eurynomos, also of Suici.De.Pression), currently featuring vocalist Emanuele Prandoni (aka Anamnesi of Progenie Terrestre Pura and Grind Zero). Sabelli has released five full-lengths since the project’s inception: volumes 1-5 of The Six Elements series (in order: Earth, Water, Fire, Air, Spirit / Mystères). This presumably culminates in sixth full-length La Tavola Osca, even if I’m unsure what it has to do with the elements.” Bend them all.

Wolves Den – Miserere Review

Wolves Den – Miserere Review

Wolves Den, a German blackened death quartet, unleashed an unsung monster of a record back in 2015 named Deus Vult. While it wasn’t genre-defining or anything like that, I often question why it gets such little fanfare. Perhaps with their sophomore full-length, Miserere, they can establish some kind of foothold in the heart-voids of our fair metal community.” Misery loves running with the pack.

Venomous Skeleton – Drowning in Circles Review

Venomous Skeleton – Drowning in Circles Review

“Having been raised in church, I found my religious experience carried over into my vast expeditions into metal’s colorful multiverse: I find myself reaching more and more for the stuff that incorporates a unique tone of reverence, a sound of standing beneath the colossal or infinite. For bands like Batushka, Ancient Moon, and Behemoth, this liturgical and hieratic atmosphere is proposed through its ritualistic songwriting and uses of common religious musical elements (Gregorian chants, choirs, etc.) contrasting with blasphemy’s twisted dagger in an aural representation of madness. Sonne Adam‘s death/doom solo LP Transformation did this for me.” Worship music.

Amnutseba – Emanatism Review

Amnutseba – Emanatism Review

Amnutseba is a “lacerating ‘n labyrinthine” black metal group from Paris. After releasing a couple demos, re-released in vinyl as compilation I-VI, they reemerge to release Emanatism, a devastating tour-de-force packed to the brim with noisy ideas. What separates it from any other Deathspell Omega– and Satan-worshiper? It is, in a word, unhinged.” Midnight in Paris.

Faustian Pact – Outojen Tornien Varjoissa Review

Faustian Pact – Outojen Tornien Varjoissa Review

“There’s something intriguing about black metal. While its origins are saturated with violence and its imagery is so defiantly anti-status quo, it’s calmed down significantly over the last decade or so. With more accessible styles like folk and post-rock taking more of a prominent role, it can be difficult to find the trve kvlt style that once circulated the underground in whispered rumors.” Dirty deals.