Belgian Metal

Lhaäd – Below Review

Lhaäd – Below Review

Below is the debut full-length from one-person ambient black metal project Lhaäd. This description is likely to conjure up worrisome images of self-indulgent hours-long snoozefests that use tepid atmospheres to mask lazy writing. But Belgian multi-instrumentalist Lykormas, Lhaäd’s prolific mastermind, is not so easy to pigeonhole.” Pigeons without homes.

Zaäar – Magická Džungl’a Review

Zaäar – Magická Džungl’a Review

“It’s no secret that I love Neptunian Maximalism. Since the Belgian collective’s 2020 debut, magnum opus Éons, I’ve been craving more. For better or worse, its disciples and side projects have since attempted to fill that whack-ass void. With the likes of Sol Kia, Ôros Kaù, Wolvennest, and even NNMM themselves making metal-adjacent free jazz, however, I’ve met nothing but vague disappointment. As such, the NNMM offshoot Zaäar fell across my lap.” Zaäar she blows!

Aborted – ManiaCult Review

Aborted – ManiaCult Review

“There’s no such thing as a truly objective review so let’s get one thing straight: I fucking adore Aborted. Their brand of pulverizing death metal appeals to me on a primitive level and I’ve followed these Belgians for years. For the most part, I have enjoyed being reduced to DNA and endorphins every few years. And it’s that time again. 2018’s TerrorVision was good but it had some issues. Or rather it had one big issue. It just seemed to ramble on too long, which, for a band with grind sensibilities, isn’t optimal. ManiaCult is the definitive younger model.” Culted nuts.

Neptunian Maximalism – Solar Drone Ceremony Review

Neptunian Maximalism – Solar Drone Ceremony Review

Neptunian Maximalism took the metal world by storm last year. Éons was an absolute monument of an album, fusing drone, jazz, and psychedelia into one of the most evocative listens in recent memory. It spoke to something primal, something ancient that lived at the bottom of a listener’s subconscious, and snuck its way into my year-end list at number 2. Conjuring the likes of Sunn O))), Sun Ra, Swans, and Miles Davis, it was a concept album regarding the fate of Earth and its inhabitants, resulting in mass extinction and planetary destruction. Only nine months later, we’re treated with a new offering; can Solar Drone Ceremony continue where its predecessor left off?” Maximal effort.

Fragmentum – Masters of Perplexity Review

Fragmentum – Masters of Perplexity Review

Fragmentum want to be famous so bad. By the beard of Johan Hegg, they want to be famous so bad. On top of their own homepage with the hip and cool .zone domain, the promo package includes a list of no less than 9 social media and related pages, including Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, Twitter, Bandcamp, Bandsintown, Spotify, Soundcloud and Apple freaking Music. The package also has the very stylish modern (and generic) band logo in 4 different formats and no less than 11 pictures of the 3 man band (5 of the band, 2 of each band member individually. The promo text, which is so masturbatory it may as well have been handwritten in man-brine, speaks of “a well known Belgian diverging metal band,” trying to squeeze the formation into the genesis of a new subgenre, whatever the hell ‘diverging metal’ is supposed to be. So the trio has everything it needs for its break into metal stardom, right?” Vexed and perplexed.

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.

Alkerdeel – Slonk Review

Alkerdeel – Slonk Review

“As you’re reading this, I’m sure you’re thinking, “Alkerdeel. Why does that sound so familiar?” You ask yourself if it’s a similarity to the British Akercocke – maybe? Well, perhaps a similarity to the illustrious Akerblogger, and you question if in fact the good lad was named thusly – nah, that’s not it either. You give a brief overview of their discography, noting that 2012 album Morinde features a somewhat abstract but violent portrayal of, what, a wolf beating a rabbit to death? That seems excessive for a predator with, y’know, teeth. Oh look, they were involved with Hypertension Records’ The Abyss Stares Back split series that’s fucking impossible to find.” Rabbit don’t come sleazy.

Iron Mask – Master of Masters Review

Iron Mask – Master of Masters Review

“Twenty-twenty has been the year of ore. Iron ore, that is. We’ve seen it extracted from the earth, thrown into the blasting furnace, and molded into steel. From that steel, we’ve seen so many swords forged, that it’s practically raining the motherfuckers. There’s Ironsword and Megatron Sword, Possessed Steel and Blood Hails Steel – Steel Hails Fire, to name a few. And it won’t fucking end as long as Steel is fanning the furnace.” Mask ore die.